The Hardened of Heart

Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”

Who are the Gentiles?

Who are the Gentiles in this context? They are the ungodly of this world, those without genuine faith in Jesus Christ, who are still walking in their sins. And some of them profess faith in Jesus Christ, but not in truth, and not in righteousness. And my father was one of those. And he definitely had a hard heart, and he was callous, and he gave himself up to sensuality and sexual addiction, greedy to practice every kind of impurity, all the while he attended gatherings of the church faithfully most all of his 86 years of life.

So, just because some people profess faith in Jesus Christ, or they attend gatherings of the church (or what is falsely called “church”) most all of their lives, it doesn’t mean they are in relationship with Jesus Christ. For if they live to the flesh, and if they are those who practice sexual immorality, or any other kind of addictive sin, and/or if they are abusers like my father was, then they are alienated from the life of God due to the hardness of their hearts towards God and towards his commands (New Covenant).

Now God hates sin because sin alienates people from God, and because sin separates humans from the Lord, and because sin destroys human lives, first the lives of those who are living in sin, and then it can destroy the lives of those who these people are sinning against. And this is why Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, to deliver us out of our lives of addiction to sin and to give us new lives in Christ Jesus which are to be lived for the glory of God in freedom from the control of sin and in walks of obedience to God.

But not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ is free from their bondage to sin. Many are still living sinfully addictive lives, holding on to pet sins, not willing to let them go, while they claim Jesus as Lord and as Savior, and while they hold on to a false hope of heaven when they die. And please know that not everyone who professes the name of Jesus is going to heaven when they die. Even many nice people in this life are going to spend eternity in hell because they remained addicted to sin and not as servants of Christ.

Wounding the Wounded

Now I mentioned my father on purpose here because I want to spend just a few minutes talking about how those who keep on sinning, and who practice sinning against others in very damaging ways, end up hurting people who sometimes never recover from that hurt for the rest of their lives, or for many years forward. For when you sin against God, you don’t sin to yourself alone. Even if your sin is in private, if affects how you treat other people in your attitudes and in your words and in your actions towards them.

But now my father just happened to be a monster who took advantage of those weaker than him. And he was a big bully who beat up those who were under his care, and who sexually abused some of his children. And, although I experienced healing from his abuses at different stages in my life, I was 52 years old before I was truly released from that pain and suffering that he caused. And part of that was because I was abused by other people, too, not all sexually, but in many different ways, and they all claimed to be Christians, and some of them were in positions of authority in churches.

So, let me tell you something here. Many people are being abused by those in positions of power and authority over them. And that is sad. But what is even sadder is when they go to people in positions of power and authority within the church, or even to fellow Christians who are not in any positions of power, and they cry out for help, only to be ignored or not believed or told it is their fault or to even have the others take the side of the abuser, or to be shushed because people just don’t want to talk about such things.

And so this just adds more pain to what they are already suffering, and they feel abandoned, and even betrayed, and by those who are supposed to love them and care for them and to protect them from evil. For not too many people want to talk about such things or to have to deal with them, and so the abusers continue to abuse and the abused continue to be hurt, and they feel all alone sometimes, feeling like no one is there for them. And they are put to shame for even mentioning such things. And this is so very sad!

Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

So, we are not to be like my father was. We are not to be like the ungodly, some of whom profess faith in Jesus Christ, and some of whom are even pastors of churches. We are not to continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against other humans, especially without conscience and without remorse and without care or concern for those who are being hurt. And we are not to be people who close our hearts to the hurting because we just don’t want to have to deal with the effects of sin on people’s lives – both the lives of the ones sinning and the lives of those being sinned against.

For we are all to put off our old sinful selves, which belong to our former manner of life and are corrupt through deceitful desires. And we are to be renewed of the Spirit of God in the spirit of our minds. And we are to put on the new self in Christ Jesus, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. And we are to live pure and holy lives in obedience to our Lord, and we are to no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin. And part of those old sinful selves have to do with selfishness. We are not to think only of ourselves and of our own comfort level.

But we are to think of others who need Jesus Christ in their lives, and who need to be delivered from their slavery to sin, and/or who need healing from past abuse or present abuse. And we are to love them, and care for them, and reach out to them in love, and share with them the teachings of Christ and of his gospel and those of the New Testament apostles, for that is where we will all find true healing, in the truth of God’s word, and in genuine relationships with Jesus Christ free from slavery to sin and now free and empowered of the Spirit to walk in righteousness and holiness.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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