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Home The Light Articles from 2007 Hardened or Softened?

Hardened or Softened?

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There are a number of things that tend to harden and also to soften. For in­stance, heat is an element that will soften wax, and at the same time it will harden clay: and that is exactly the effect of the gospel.
I want to ask:   What shall be my atti­tude, what shall be yours, toward God's demands? Are you going to let it come to pass that your heart became hardened rather than softened by God's wonderful appeal and God's demand that you forsake the passions and the lusts of the flesh? You ought to make the sacrifice if any there be, take up your cross, having denied yourself, and follow after the Christ. That is God's demand.
Now, my attitude toward it will depend upon whether or not my heart shall be hardened or softened and attuned unto him. Hear it: If I study what the world calls a "good time;" if I study the gratification of my own lusts and the satisfaction of my own animal desires; if I am determined to live upon the common sphere of the brutes and of the beasts of the field, the results will be identical with that of Pharoah. My heart will be hardened, and it could be truly said that God did it. O, not by the performance of a miracle, not by something superhuman, but by making a request that is contrary to my desires, that is against my worldly ambi­tions, that is in opposition to my animal nature; and if I do not yield, I am to be hardened day by day, as I postpone, stub­bornly refusing the gospel of the Son of God. Hence, Paul said (Heb. 3:13): "Exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Here, friends, the very thing that we call "sin" has the effect upon us to harden our nature, to blunt our per­ceptive powers, and to stultify our con­sciences until it is possible for you and me, as human beings upon the earth, to hear the gospel, sit under the glad sound thereof, and refuse it, reject it, until by and by our consciences will be seared over as with a red-hot iron, until the penetrating appeals of God's Son will not be effective, and hence we have reached that point in the down­ward path of human possibilities where it is impossible for us to be saved.
I am certain that Paul had that in mind when thus he spoke in 1 Tim. 4:2 of certain characters having their consciences seared over. Did you ever see a branded ox or branded mule, where the red-hot iron burns into the very flesh and immediately under­neath the nerve is killed and there is a scab and a sore that is left? You may touch that and prick it any way you may want to: but it is dead, and there is no flinching that comes there from. Why? There has been a red-hot iron applied, and underneath that the feeling has been destroyed.
Paul, what are you talking about? "I am talking about the time to come, of which the Spirit speaks expressly, when some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to insidi­ous spirits and doctrines of devils, having their consciences seared as with a hot iron, so that all the sensitiveness and feeling of the nervous system thereunder has been destroyed, until to that man the truth may be preached time and again and it becomes ineffective, because he has hardened his heart, stiffened his neck, become stubborn and rebellious, and hence the power of God to save is ineffective unto him."
Take upon yourself the armor of the Lord, raise aloft his splendid banner, and march under His unsullied flag, I beg you. If you refuse to do so, you are acting the part of old Pharoah; and the result becomes day by day the hardening of your heart, of all those elements that go to make up the heart of which the Bible speaks. -Bro. N. B. Hardeman, 1923.


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