therefore they could not believe. for again isaiah said,

“he has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”

isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. [john 12:39-43]


“could not believe.”


this is a hard saying.


the phrase isn’t they “would not believe”–why does anyone come to Christ? if you are his, why?


because you made yourself see?

because you made your  heart soft?

because you were smart enough to understand the gospel and turned to Christ?

because you healed yourself?


of course not!


God made you see.

God made your heart soft.

God gave you understanding and caused you to turn.

God healed you, in Christ’s wounds, of the effects of your sin.


Jesus quotes the prophet isaiah (chapter 6) and affirms that it is God who blinds, hardens and removes understanding from those who he does not call–and we, in our limited understanding think “how cruel! how could God withhold his salvation?” the questions we should be asking, “why does he save anyone?”


when we want the glory that comes from God and not man, we confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord–


 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [romans 10:9]


this confession and belief isn’t a work that saves us, it is God who saves and the result is confession and belief–we cannot truly confess that Jesus is Lord unless he has caused us to be born again, unless he has unblinded us and mad our heart soft. 


when we know ourselves sovereignly saved by God the Father through the blood of Christ his Son, when we truly have the Holy Spirit, the result will be joy and thankfulness! 


make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

    serve the Lord with gladness!

    come into his presence with singing!


know that the Lord, he is God!

    it is he who made us, and we are his;

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.


enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!

    give thanks to him; bless his name!


for the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,

    and his faithfulness to all generations. [psalm 100]



~ ce