Thursday, October 13, 2016

Parables of Jesus, Part 3

Parables of Jesus, Part 3

Primary Sources:

1.The Parables of Jesus, James Montgomery Boice, Moody Publishers, 1983
2.The Parables of Jesus, R. C. Sproul, video series and Study Guide, Ligonier Ministries, 2013

Parables of Jesus, Part 1
Parables of Jesus, Part 2

Heart Hardening: Tread Lightly

"Heart Hardening" refers to the process whereby one becomes inured to one's own sin. Its ultimate tragic endpoint is when the sin is no longer considered a sin, but a virtue. We see examples in both testaments:

But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (Ex. 9:12)

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Rom 1:24-25)

Q: Is God active or passive in the process?

A: Passive

The Exodus passage reads as if God actively made Pharaoh more wicked. (May it never be!)

The Romans passage is more aligned with our understanding, that hardening of the heart is not God actively making someone more wicked, but rather it is God removing a common grace of restraint so that the (oh so ugly) natural man is more revealed.

So it is with the parables—God actively helps some to understand, while others are “given over” to their blindness.


  • Jesus taught new revelation (often about the Kingdom of God) through the use of parables. 
  • Jesus came to save and to condemn. Parables fit nicely into that mission because with salvation comes understanding and condemnation comes confusion (and don’t mix up cause and effect!) 
  • God does not actively shut the eyes and ears—in judgment eyes and ears are allowed to remain in their natural, closed state 

Next we will move on to, well, an actual parable! So concludes the three-part introduction. Stay tuned.


Jump to Part 4

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