Evangelist-Daniel Ruegg Emailfirstname.lastname@example.org Web site-mariettarenochurchofchrist.org
Sunday Bible Study-9:30 am Sunday Morning Worship-10:30 am Sunday Evening Worship-6:30 pm Wednesday Bible Study-7:00 pm
Spring Meeting March 19th-23rd
Different speakers each evening
The Hardening Of Pharaoh's Heart
by David Padfield
Of all the characters in the Bible, few have caused as much speculation as the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the time of Moses. God spoke to Moses about Pharaoh and said, "I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go" (Exodus 4:21). This promise of God was repeated on several other occasions (7:3; 9:12; 10:20, 27).
Many fanciful theories have been devised to explain how God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Calvinists often point to this case and claim that God miraculously hardened his heart by the Holy Spirit. But, as is always the case, their argument fails in the light of other passages.
Three times in the narrative we read that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15, 32; 9:34). Four other times the Bible simply says his heart "grew" or "became" hard (Ex. 7:14, 22; 8:19; 9:7). The record also indicates the magicians had a hand in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart (Ex. 7:22; 8:19).
When we put all the pieces together, what do we find? Pharaoh was an insolent, arrogant and cruel man. He had two reasons for not wanting to release the Israelites: pride and covetousness. It would look bad for a monarch to allow nearly two million slaves to go free. It would also hurt the national economy if he lost his labor force.
It went against the grain for one to make demands in the name of Jehovah. Every time Moses spoke Pharaoh's heart grew harder.
The magicians also played a part in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. By the use of enchantments, they tried to minimize the miracles of Moses. Jamieson commented, "the art of those ancient magicians, who were not common jugglers, but educated men, was enlisted in support of the idolatry of Egypt it is not difficult to imagine what immense power those professors of occult science must have wielded over the minds
of men in an age of darkness, when the superstition of Egypt was in all its glory."
God hardens the hearts of men today the same way He did 3,500 years ago. Some will never listen to a simple gospel preacher. The "pride of life" (1 John 2:16) will cause them to close their ears. Pride kept many of the rulers from confessing Christ, "lest they be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42, 43).
When a man repeatedly hears the gospel message, yet refuses to obey it, his conscience becomes "seared" (1 Tim. 4:2). To some men, gospel preachers are the "aroma of life," but to those who have had their conscience seared, they are the "aroma of death" (2 Corinthians 2:16).
False teachers also help to harden the hearts of some. Pentecostal preachers, by their use of "signs and lying wonders" (2 Thes. 2:9), have deceived people into putting their trust in things other than God's word. Denominational creed books and traditions have also blinded men to the truth (Matthew 15:8, 9).
Religious groups like the PTL Club have convinced many people that "Christianity" is a sham. It is tragic that the shenanigans of these con artists will cause people to give up on God, and never find out what means to be a Christian.
When Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples, He said, "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me" (John 17:21). The unity of our Lord's followers would help convince the world that the Father had sent Him. The denominations who preach "join the church of your choice" are acting against the prayer of Christ.
Pharaoh had the opportunity to heed the message of God. I am sure he would give 1,000 worlds like this one for another chance. You have the same choice Pharaoh had. The difference is that he cannot change his decision now, but you can.
Does Man Have To Sin?
QUESTION:Please explain the verse that says, "If we say that we have no sin." How, then, is it possible for us to live without sin?
ANSWER: All men have sinned, i.e. all have transgressed God's rule of conduct given to man (Rom. 3:23, 1 John 3:4). To deny our sins is to deceive ourselves. Such deception results in a rejection of Jesus as our sacrifice for sins. Of this John writes, stating that "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:7-10). This is not to say, however, that it is impossible to live without sin. In fact, John writes as he does "that ye sin not" (1 John 2:1). The fact is that man has and does sin. But that he can live free of sin was proved by Jesus. "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Jesus came in the flesh (Heb. 2:14, 17), became a sacrifice for sin (Isa. 53:10-12), and condemned sin in the flesh in that He demonstrated that man can resist temptation(Heb. 4:15). Sin is not of necessity but is wilful and therefore worthy of condemnation. Man is a sinner not because he was made a sinner or made to sin; he is a sinner because he is a transgressor of law (1 John 3:4). But it is possible for him to live in obedience to God's law and overcome temptation. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13).
Man can live in harmony with God's will. He is so commanded: "Only let your conversation (citizenship or manner of living) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ" (Phil. 1:27). Sin in the life of a Christian is not the norm but the exception: "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). In becoming a Christian the believer was required to repent and be baptized into Christ for a remission of sins and thereby become dead to sin (Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:2-7). As a Christian he is to keep the commandments of God, but if he sins forgiveness may be obtained through Christ as he repents and prays (Acts 8:22, James 5:16).
If sin is inevitable, then man could not be responsible. Responsibility is response to ability, and without ability to live sinless he could not respond, hence no responsibility. But man is responsible and will be judged by all that he does in the body (2 Cor. 5:10).
In conclusion, John states a fact that all have sinned and can sin (1 John 2:3-6). He writes in condemnation of the theory that once a child of God he can no more sin, that he is released from responsibility to law, and therefore is eternally secure. But the child of God can sin, but he cannot sin with impunity (1 John 3: 3-10). And so he must bring his body into subjection (1 Cor. 9:27) and crucify its desire for unlawful gratification (Col. 3:5-10). He can overcome sin. By Gene Frost