Hard Hearts

I think these verses are some of the saddest, most sobering in the entire Bible:

The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood — idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20 & 21

This is mankind’s response to the unleashing of the horde of demonic locusts out of the Abyss in Revelation 9, attacking those who have not been sealed by God for His supernatural protection. Their commander is Abaddon (Hebrew) or Apollyon (Greek) and they have been given power to torment men for five months.

Some express amazement when they read these verses, while others click their tongues and shake their heads at the utter stupidity of resisting God’s judgment and continuing on their course of idolatry. Some Christians seem to think that they are somehow different… that they are morally superior to these end times fist-shakers. Not me. I am sadly aware of who or what I am. I share Paul’s attitude:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15 – 17

You see, God says:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

So, if I’m a hard-hearted fist-shaker by nature, a sinner from birth… what changed? How will I escape the wrath of God? Well, I know that I put my faith in Jesus and I’m living for Him. But, there’s more… You see, God was acting on my behalf behind the scenes, just like He said He would:

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19

The difference is God’s saving grace:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

I’m standing firm, because:

…it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21 & 22

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