I was grateful for the verses that we were provided as background to Paul’s discussion of the hardening of the Jews in verses 7-10. This is a difficult concept to reconcile with what we know of God’s mercy and kindness and love, especially His love for His people.
On one hand, we might conclude that God hardens peoples’ hearts in a way that prevents or precludes them from believing. But that is not what is consistent through scripture. Instead, we find that God allows them to be “given over” to their sinful ways. It is not that God forces them into sin, but that God allows them to continue undeterred in their sinfulness.
The easiest way of seeing this is found in the term “calloused heart” as found in Matthew 13:15, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” By definition, the way one receives a callus is from repeated pressure and friction, such as rubbing against something that does not fit correctly.
God did not create us to sin, so when we bring evil and wickedness into our heart we introduce something that doesn’t fit. We try to push the Holy Spirit out of hearts when we want to hide from God because of sin. Pushing is a form a pressure. We were not designed for repeated contact with the forces of evil and when we don’t safeguard our heart from wickedness, we end up calloused and hurt.
God does not desire for us to have a calloused heart, instead He wants to renew us and give us a clean heart, but, God will use all things for the good of the people who love Him. This even includes using a calloused heart, all allow people to turn from Him, while He then brings new believers into His family, those brought in through faith instead of by birth.
They sought to be holy/righteous through works of the law, but holiness and righteousness was granted to some by grace and others were hardened in disbelief
IS: They approached God with human rules and obligation but not with a contrite heart or true belief. They wanted to earn God
PS: They lack compassion, They believe each deserves what they get
MT: Their hearts have become calloused, they hardly hear with their ears and they close their eyes
JN: That Jesus was the Messiah was evident, He blinded eyes and hardened hearts so they could not rely on knowledge for faith
ACT: Others would not believe, They were not allowed to see or hear fully because of their calloused hearts