Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bible Truth #399 - Matthew 18:1-4

1  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I wrote about Jesus speaking of being converted in Bible Truth #318 so I won’t go into that here. Nor will I go into the unbiblical “Age of Accountability” which I wrote about in Bible Truth #319. Please feel free to click either of the hyperlinks for more in-depth thought.

Jesus said “...and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

This is not a blanket statement made by Christ to show all children are safe from eternal damnation. Rather, this is a simile to describe a Christian's faith - ...become AS little children. Children unreservedly trust those over them without question. It is their nature and God designed them that way for, among other reasons I'm sure, their own safety. God wants Christians to trust Him the same way, without reservation, because He is sovereign, on the throne, in control, and directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). That is why we are to thank Him FOR everything (Ephesians 5:20), yes, even the “bad” things. There are no accidents or coincidences in a Christian's life - everything is incidental and directed by God. Since that is the case, children who die at whatever age, or before birth, have died as directed by God. He owns everything and everyone on earth (Psalm 24:1, 2 Peter 2:1) and He can do with anyone as He wants for His glory. We were created for His pleasure, not ours (Revelation 4:11).

Let’s talk about little children, the total depravity of the natural man, and when we inherit that nature.

Because of Adam, every human being is conceived a sinner (Psalm 51:5). He is a sinner from the instant of conception. His spirit is dead and unless God quickens that spirit at some point after conception that person will go to eternal damnation whether he dies at 95 years of age or in the womb. No one enters Heaven unless their dead spirit has been quickened by God.

At some point before they step into eternity, God WILL quicken the spirit of every person He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). This is true regardless of age - from a 95 year-old man to a fertilized egg that, because the mother is on the “birth-control pill,” the endometrium does not accept the implantation of that human life and hence the mother is directly responsible for an abortion (but that's another topic). If that child is Elect of God and was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, God WILL quicken his spirit and as such, will join many others in Heaven. But it doesn’t change the fact that at the moment of conception his spirit was dead and needed to be quickened by God.

There is nothing anyone can do to BE chosen; and if one is chosen, there is nothing he can do to be UNchosen. People are chosen because of NOTHING they did or didn’t do (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5). This is also true of those who were NOT chosen: they were passed over NOT because of anything they did or didn’t do. Just as Christians are not saved by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), neither are works the basis for a man’s condemnation. It is the sinful nature inherited from Adam that condemns and it is the sinful nature that must be redeemed. Because every human is conceived in sin they are condemned already. If they were not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, because of Adam God’s wrath remains on him (John 3:36).

The Scripture that proves an unborn child is spiritually dead is John 3:6.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Therefore, anyone conceived of man is spiritually dead, flesh can give birth ONLY to flesh. Therefore, just as any man, woman, boy, or girl is saved only by the grace of God because they were chosen, salvation is the same for any child, infant, or unborn child - he/she is saved by the grace of God and ONLY the grace of God. But those who survive pregnancy and childhood and who will never be converted are wicked from birth (Psalm 58:3).

But it is a fact that many die who are unable to “make a decision” and because the flesh has come up with the idea that a man goes to Heaven because of something he did in the flesh - i.e. he “made a decision” for Christ - a theory had to be fabricated to give this group of people a way to get to Heaven. So the unbiblical theory called “Age of Accountability” has been concocted. There is NO SUCH THING in Scripture as the “Age of Accountability.”

Some believers have told me what happens to an unborn baby, newborn, or young child if they die is not set in Scripture so it should not be debated or made into a dogma. While that is indeed true, the principle of who will enter Heaven and for what reason IS a doctrine... the Doctrine of Election. What some men try to do is put a group of people (babies, mentally infirm) in a position where they’re safe from damnation because they aren’t able to make a moral decision. Sorry, that’s not in Scripture. What IS in God's Word is clear, only His Elect are going to spend eternity with Him in Heaven, period. To prove one way or another about those “unable to make a moral decision” is getting into emotionalism and is uncalled for. Those “unable to make a moral decision” are in the same position as every human being ever conceived or born - God owns them, they are in His hands, and He does with them whatever pleases Him. (Psalm 24:1; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 4:11).

However, if someone wants to insist that it is indeed our sins that condemn us and not our sinful nature, and since infants and mentally infirm cannot make a moral decision and therefore have not sinned, then they must remove Romans 3:23 from their Bible.

FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD;

There is no exception for babies or mentally infirm. Someone may ask, well how do babies sin? That is beside the point. God identifies sin, not man. When God had Paul write ALL HAVE SINNED, God means exactly that, ALL HAVE SINNED.

The very existence of an unredeemed human is a stench before God, every breath an unredeemed human takes is sin. Every heartbeat of an unredeemed child is sin. They that are in the flesh (ANY lost person) can not please God (Romans 8:8). That means if God would be pleased by someone “accepting” Jesus, a lost man can’t “accept” Jesus! If God would be pleased by someone truly repenting of their sin, a lost woman can’t truly repent of her sin!!

Do you think God is indifferent? That is, if someone can not please God, is it possible they can not displease God? That someone can remain “neutral” in their relationship with God? No. If someone is not pleasing God, they are displeasing Him, hence their activity is sin. Paul confirms this when he writes whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Does Paul write “whatever adults do that is not from faith is sin.” ?? NO.

The bottom line is that at conception, the spirit in that one cell human being is DEAD and must be quickened by God before death for that soul to enter into Heaven. And it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but God's mercy (Romans 9:16).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bible Truth #398 - Luke 10:1-2

1  After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.

Jesus did not pray for the harvest, i.e. Gods Elect. Nor did He at this point teach the apostles to pray for the harvest. He taught them to pray for WORKERS to be sent. WHY?

Because God is the one who makes any planted seed grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7), God is the One responsible for what is IN the fields, and that’s where the harvest takes place. There is no harvest among the thorns, there is no harvest along the path, and there is no harvest among rocky soil. All these are the equivalent of the hearts of the lost who haven’t been chosen (Matthew 13 - Bible Truth #38) and just as soil can’t change itself, neither can lost men change their hearts and believe, repent, or “accept” Jesus. The heart must be changed BY GOD from a God-hater to a God-lover BEFORE a man will respond by recognizing his need for the Savior. That is exactly what takes place every time God saves a man. God changes the soil (the heart) FIRST, the soil THEN is receptive to the seed and God MAKES it grow and produce fruit.

But back to the harvest field... Jesus taught his disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to SEND OUT WORKERS. Here is a verse that reconciles and supports Philippians 2:13, that God works in us to think & believe and act according to His purpose. “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers...” Sounds to me like workers aren’t going to go unless they are sent. Jesus didn’t teach pray that workers go, He said, pray that God would SEND the workers. I pray you see the difference. Think about it. The difference is huge. Please read it again: Jesus didn’t teach pray that workers go, He said, “pray that God would SEND the workers.”

Do you think if God sends a worker, there’s a chance that the worker won’t go? Do you think if God sends a worker, there’s a chance the worker will say, “No, I’m not going.” ? Sovereign means God gets His way and He DOES get His way (Isaiah 55:11), EVERY time.

Please, please pay close attention to the pronoun preceding “harvest field” in verse 38. Whose harvest field is it? God is sovereign and if He doesn’t want workers going into His fields, they aren’t going. An example of this is Romans 1:13 and Acts 16:6-7 (Bible Truth #127). More than once not only was Paul NOT sent, but actually prevented from going into the harvest field. So the opposite of God sending a worker is also true. Do you think if God doesn’t send a worker, or actually prevents a worker from going into an area, do you think that worker will go? Even if you think a man can be “disobedient” and go anyway (which I don’t believe can happen), do you think the worker will “harvest” anyone? (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

Bottom Line - God makes the seed grow and God sends (or doesn’t send) workers into HIS fields. THATs sovereignty in Election.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bible Truth #397 - Psalm 34:16

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

In the book of Psalms the “face of the Lord” is a symbol of God’s divine favor. If God’s divine favor is against them, how can “them that do evil” turn God’s divine favor toward them? Is there anything “them” can do to merit God’s favor? Of course the answer is an emphatic NO! A lost man is unable to do anything that would make God save him (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5) because he is unable to do anything pleasing to God. (Romans 8:8)

We already know from the rest of the Holy Scriptures that every imagination of the thoughts of a lost man’s heart is only evil, continuously (Genesis 6:5). Well, since God’s divine favor is against them, that would explain why they are always thinking evil. Did not Jesus say that everyone who does evil hates Him? And will not come to Him? (John 3:20) Again, who does evil? The answer is every lost man.

That also explains man’s Total Depravity and why he can NOT, of his own volition and of his own so-called “free will”, do anything pleasing to God (Romans 8:8), because it is evil. For a man to do something pleasing to God, God must first do a work in him (John 6:29) and “enable” him (John 6:65).

Not only is God’s Divine Favor against “them,” Scripture tells us that God hates them as well (Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5). Is it any wonder the Psalmist tells us God wants to erase any memory of them from the earth? Even though they may do many mighty works in the Name of Jesus, they are still workers of iniquity and Jesus will tell them to depart from Him (Matthew 7:22-23).

The point of this Bible Truth is to convey the simple understanding of God’s Word. God is against every man who does evil, which is defined as all those NOT chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and to wipe out any memory of them.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bible Truth #396 - 1 Corinthians 3:5

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

...as the Lord GAVE to every man - GAVE, the Greek word is didomi. It is used elsewhere in the same context, God sovereignly acting without one shred of evidence of any prerequisite of man:
- the Lord gives the knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven to the apostles but not to others (Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11).
- the Lord gives His Life as a ransom for many (not all) - this is the Limited Atonement (Mark 10:45).
- the Father gives His Elect to Jesus (John 6:37)
- Jesus will lose none of those the Father has given to Him (John 6:39).
- no man can come to Jesus except it were given unto him by the father (John 6:65).

The time when there was a requirement first, before something would be given, was when Satan tempted Jesus. He said, “All these things will I give (didomi) thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9)

Paul can not do the job, or ministry, God gave to Apollos, nor could Apollos do the job God gave to Paul. The Lord has assigned to each and every man (Romans 12:3), and to each believer, a specific task - and to facilitate man's ability to accomplish that task God has given each believer a spiritual gift. Where was the free will in their lives? Where was the free will for them to do whatever they wanted to do?

It isn’t there. God has a plan for each man’s life, a purpose for every human being who ever lived. No one will go through their lives not fulfilling God’s purpose for them (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17). God will work in each man to accomplish His will (Ephesians 1:11, Philippians 2:13).

Is it also possible that when Paul writes that God has assigned a specific task to every man, that he is writing not only of Christians, but also of those He has chosen NOT to redeem? I think it must be considered because of how He had a plan for the life of Judas long before he was born. Judas was destined to do what he did (Psalm 41:9, John 13:18, Acts 2:23). God owns each and every human being who was ever born (Psalm 24:1, 2 Peter 2:1), and can have mercy and compassion upon whomever He wants (Romans 9:15). He has an expected end for each and every person because we were created for for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). Do you think God would create a specific individual without a plan for his life?

Free will? Sorry, that is simply a weakness of the flesh that many believers have not yet overcome. God has given every believer a spiritual gift and we can’t work successfully outside of the “boundaries” of that gift.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bible Truth #395 - Psalm 58:3

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

Notice the Psalmist did NOT write, “Some are estranged from the womb and become wicked when they go astray...” Please accept the truth found in the plain language of this psalm. The wicked are born ALREADY wicked. This is proof that every baby is not Elect at its birth - that many or even most are wicked. But it still does not prove, one way or the other, that every baby who dies is Elect.

We look at a newborn baby, or even one who has not yet been born, as pure and innocent. NOT in God's eyes. That child, like every child, is conceived a sinner (Psalm 51:5), is conceived unredeemed, and consequently his spirit is dead until God quickens it. An unredeemed human being, one whose spirit is dead, regardless of age, in God's eyes is as wicked as the most evil, vile, criminal on death row anywhere in the world (Romans 3:23).

What makes someone wicked? What makes ANYONE wicked? Is it something they do? Is it sin they commit? No! Sin is a work of the flesh and man is not a sinner because he sins, a man sins because he is a sinner. As we are not saved by works, neither do works condemn us. The natural state of man is corrupt, totally depraved, and wicked. Every man is wicked because every man’s progenitor is Adam (Romans 5:12). This is why the Psalmist identifies them as wicked even at birth! I say again, the Psalmist did NOT write, “Some are estranged from the womb and become wicked when they go astray...” They go astray because they are conceived wicked and born wicked.

Those babies who will survive childhood and reach maturity, and NEVER be saved are, even in the infancy, wicked. That is why they go astray. Just as a man sins because he is a sinner, so too a man goes astray because he is wicked (Isaiah 53:6). It is NOT a man is wicked because he goes astray. Now let’s take these facts to their logical conclusion: since it is a fact that most people are not saved it stands to reason that most babies are wicked.

But the fact that the psalmist wrote “...the [wicked] go astray” implies that there are those who aren’t wicked. I contend that there are those whom God has already quickened and need only to reach the point in their life where God draws them and grants them belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29) and repentance (2 Timothy 2:25). Then and only then will they believe, repent, and follow Jesus. Only then will they come to the Light (John 6:37), only then are they able to please God, and only then are they able to understand.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bible Truth #394 - Genesis 35:1-5

1  And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
2  Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
3  And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
4  And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
5  And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

This story picks up after Simeon and Levi had murdered all the men in Shechem for raping their sister Dinah in Genesis 34. Here we see once more how the sovereignty of God is working in the affairs of men, this time with the unregenerate people who would never be saved. Do you understand the significance of that? God is working in the wicked, those who will never be saved, to accomplish His will in the lives of His chosen people (Ephesians 1:11).

You’ve heard of people having the “fear of God” put in them, usually by someone in a position of authority. Well that makes a mockery of how God works. Here is a Biblical example of that maxim, but as you can see, it is far more than fear - God puts TERROR in their hearts.

The normal reaction of men in those days was to go after Jacob and his sons and their families and likely kill them all or take them into bondage as slaves for the rest of their days. But God worked in them to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Not only was God ordering the steps of Israel, He was also ordering the steps of unbelievers (Proverbs 16:9). Did they have free will? Like the lost today and even some saved, they certainly thought they had free will. But in this case their “free will” was to NOT go after Jacob. They made a “free will” decision to NOT pursue God’s chosen people. By removing from their mind pursuit and revenge, and inserting TERROR, God MADE them make the “free will” decision He wanted them to make.

So too God’s Elect. Before God does a work in one of His Elect, one of those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil, continually (Genesis 6:5), he hates Jesus and will not come unto Him (John 3:20), he can’t please God (Romans 8:8), and is not saved because of anything he does (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5) and that includes “repenting of his sin and accepting Jesus as his Savior.” But then God does a work IN him (John 6:29) and grants him belief (Philippians 1:29) and repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).

There is no free will. It is only God working in people to make them think they have free will. We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bible Truth #393 - Acts 28:23-29

23  When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.
24  Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.
25  And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,
26  saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
27  FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.”’
28  “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
29  When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.

Dr. Luke recorded that some were persuaded and believed but others would not believe. There is no difference between what had happened here and what Luke recorded earlier about Paul’s preaching in Pisidian Antioch. (Acts 13:14-52)

Paul preached the Word of God by giving a magnificent summary of God’s promise to Israel and how it had been fulfilled in Jesus. The people had begged Paul to come back the following Sabbath but when the Jews saw the crowds coming to listen to Paul that next week they were jealous and tried to discredit the things Paul was saying by contradicting him and blaspheming (Acts 13:45). But Paul & Barnabas stood boldly and proclaimed that the Lord commanded them that He had placed them as a light to the Gentiles, and that they would bring salvation to the ends of the earth. The gentiles heard this, rejoiced, and as many had been appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).

As many that had been appointed to eternal life, believed. And the opposite of the same coin can easily and accurately be inferred - those that had not been appointed to eternal life, those that had NOT been chosen, did NOT believe. Why did they not believe? Because God had not done a work in them to make them believe (John 6:29), He had not given them belief (Philippians 1:29). No amount of persuasion from even the most silver-tongued orator would convince those who did not believe. They were not given belief.

Going on to verse 26: for the most part Paul was quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 which I covered in Bible Truth #386 but there was one portion where he deviated from Isaiah and made the same change that Jesus made in Matthew 13:14-15.

However, as I wrote in Bible Truth #386, Isaiah said the God closed their eyes. If anyone believes there is a contradiction and believes that they did indeed close their own eyes, I submit to you that they did so only because closing their eyes to the Truth of God’s Word is the only choice the natural man will ever make. Man in his natural state is Totally Depraved. He will not seek God (Romans 3:10-12), nor will he understand anything from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). He must be enabled by the Father (John 6:65).

John wrote that we become children of God NOT by human decision, or the will of the flesh (John 1:13). Jesus said that whoever does not believe in Him stands condemned already (John 3:18) and the lost will never come to Him (John 3:20). He also said that God’s wrath remains on those who reject Him (John 3:36).

Verse 29 - when the Jews left they were arguing amongst themselves. Here we see that nothing has changed in nearly 2,000 years. The Word of God says one thing but men can not let go of tradition and their idea of Who God is and how He works, to embrace completely and wholeheartedly on faith what God’s Word says.

Jesus raises up EVERY man God draws (John 6:44), NOT every man who accepts the drawing.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bible Truth #392 - Matthew 19:10-12

10  The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”
11  But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.
12  “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

In verse 11 Jesus said not all men can accept this statement. In the context of the disciples comment, Jesus’ answer can better be understood to mean that not all men can actually do what they (the disciples) stated - not marry. Only those to whom it has been given can refrain from having a normal reproductive life.

Some are born emasculated, and some kings would castrate men who were responsible for the king’s harem. But other men God has given the ability to remain celibate in order to give themselves to the cause of Christ without distractions. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:32:

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

Their celibacy is not because of physical impairment, but a matter of voluntary abstinence. And only those men to whom it has been given are able to live a life of celibacy. It is a God-given ability and against the “nature” of a man.

It is no different with faith, belief and repentance! Only those to whom God has given these gifts will be saved, and saved they WILL BE. The Bible states as much in Ephesians 2:8. Faith is a gift that God gives to His Elect whom He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and God uses that faith to save a man. Again! It is not a lost man who uses faith to save himself, it is God who uses faith, the faith He gave him, to save him.

Belief is also given (Philippians 1:29) when God works in a man and makes him a believer (John 6:29). God doesn’t give the ability to believe and man then has a choice, God gives a man belief and as a result that man believes. The same with repentance. No man can repent unless God grants it to him (2 Timothy 2:25) and if God grants it, that man WILL come to a knowledge of the truth and repent.

Without God granting these gifts to His Elect and quickening their dead spirits (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13) no man would be saved because a lost man is Totally Depraved. EVERY imagination of his heart is only evil, continuously (Genesis 6:5). He is accustomed to doing evil and cannot do good (Jeremiah 13:23). He hates Jesus and will not come to Him (John 3:20). He is hostile toward God and can not please Him (Romans 8:7-8). He accepts nothing from the Holy Spirit, thinks it is all foolishness and can NOT understand it (1 Corinthians 2:14). There are many other passages in both the Old and New Testament that tell us the inability of a lost man to come to Christ. A lost man is DEAD, he is not mortally wounded that he can call out for help. He is not drowning that he can reach for a life preserver if one is thrown to him. He is not bleeding to death that he can put a tourniquet on his leg to stop the flow - he is DEAD.

As Jesus said in John 6:65, a man must be enabled before he can do anything else and it is clear throughout the Scriptures that God enables some and doesn’t enable most.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bible Truth #391 - Matthew 13:10-15

10  And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11  Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
12  “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
13  “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14  “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
15  FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

There may be some who claim that the people were closing their own eyes as Jesus said in v15. But are there things going on beyond what they appear? Yes.

I would like first to point out that if you consider a lost man “opening his eyes to the Gospel and spiritual truths” as pleasing to God, then it contradicts Romans 8:8 where Paul tells us a lost man cannot please God. If you consider a lost man “opening his eyes to the Gospel and spiritual truths” as NOT pleasing to God (i.e. sin), why would God then quicken that lost man’s spirit - saving him, and grant him belief, repentance, and understanding?

If a lost man alone is responsible for closing his own eyes, he did it because that is the only thing he is able to do. Man in his natural state is Totally Depraved. He will not seek God (Romans 3:10-12), nor will he understand anything from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The second point I want you to consider is that Jesus was quoting the Prophet Isaiah where it is written:

9  He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10  “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”

These people, of whom Jesus was telling His disciples, are even worse off because it was God Himself that was ordering their steps and making them close their eyes (Proverbs 16:9). Not only do these lost people hate the Lord (John 3:20) and will never come to Him, God is working in them just as He works in the enemies of Israel to make them hate His chosen people (Psalm 105:25).

God rendered them blind and God closed their eyes. These people didn’t close their eyes of their own volition. See Bible Truth #386 for more discussion on those two verses.

Either way you look at it, we become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).