Unlimited: The Elect and the Hardened
May 16, 2023 260
The elect among them did, but the others were hardened (Romans 11:7b).
The people of Israel, as a whole, did not obtain righteousness through their own works (“the law”). However, Paul tells us that some of them did obtain righteousness. He calls them the “elect.”
The elect among Israel were the ones who accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Saviour. However, the ones who persisted in trying to obtain righteousness through the law were hardened. What does this mean?
God is always calling us to accept his gracious offer of love and salvation, but he never forces us to accept it. The more times that we reject him, the more difficult it is for us to accept his promptings towards good next time. In a sense, we progressively “train” ourselves to reject God.
The elect among Israel were the ones who accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Saviour.
The “hardening” of Israel is not an arbitrary action of God, rather it is God’s permissive action in response to their own will. That’s why we are warned,
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb. 3:15.)
Rather than being hardened, our lives should rather display the opposite tendency. The work of the Spirit doesn’t “harden” us but instead, it softens our hearts. Paul writes to the Ephesian church that,
…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… (Gal. 5:22).
If you have someone you really trust and who has known you for at least several years, ask them, “Do you think my heart is becoming harder or softer?” Just listen, and thank them for their feedback. As Galatians 5 teaches us, the fruit will indicate the state of our hearts.