Hardened Sinners

By D’Ann Davis

“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord.” – Hosea 5:4

Ephraim and Israel were guilty of grievous sin against the Lord. They had exchanged the truth of God for a lie and had worshipped the creature over the Creator, much like what is described in Romans 1. Instead of being a light to other nations representing God’s holiness, love, deliverance, and sovereignty, God’s people had jumped in bed with the idols of the other nations. Throughout the book of Hosea God continually compares Israel’s idolatry to whoredom. Like an unfaithful spouse, the people had forgotten their first love.

Israel had gone so far in their sin that they were now operating under the noetic effects of sin. This effect is the distortion of thinking and hardening that happens when we sin against the Lord. The more we sin against Him, the less we see the grievous nature of it, the less godly sorrow we have, the less we care, and the more shame we feel. In our ashamed and hardened posture, we find it difficult if not seemingly impossible to return to Him. The deeper this hardening runs, the less we care about it. We find ourselves in a nasty cycle of apathy, sin, and shame. Our deeds do not permit us to return to the Lord.

We are lost without Him as it is, but when we consider the noetic effects of sin, it is a wonder any of us ever returns to Him. Thankfully though, we are loved by the God of salvation. In our worst state, He loves us still. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Knowing we needed a sacrifice and propitiation for our reconciliation to Him, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him and be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). God not only saves us from our sin, but He also saves us from our blindness and apathy toward the weight of that sin! He takes our hearts of stone and gives us hearts of flesh, according to Ezekiel 36, and He puts His Spirit within us that we might keep His commands. We truly serve a loving, initiating, compassionate God.

So let us know Him and seek Him while He may be found. Let us cast aside the sin that so easily entangles and run the race set before us as Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us to do. Let us surrender our sin and our apathetic understanding of it in exchange for a godly sorrow that leads to life and repentance instead of death (2 Corinthians 7:10). Let us repent of our whoredom and return to our first love.

Dear Lord, we have all sinned against You. We pray that You would continually draw us close to You and convict our hearts, that we might not be hardened toward You and Your love. Thank You for making a way for us to be reconciled to You through Jesus Christ Your Son. Restore to us the joy of our salvation oh God, that we might love and serve You all of our days. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.