Daily Word

All about grace | John 12:37-41

37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

40 “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.”

41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 

John 12:37-41 (ESV)

God is God

This section is very difficult to understand and accept outside of the context of who God is and how He works. It is best to first seek to understand these things before tackling this passage. The primary point is simple but critical to understand and accept: God is God and we are not. God says in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

All about grace

In v38, John first quotes Isaiah 53:1 to show that it is impossible for us, mankind, to know whom God will show grace to. Then he moves to Isaiah 6:10 which declares that God does what He wants – even the granting of knowledge of Him. “In quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10 John emphasized that unbelief was because God acted in judgment upon those who refused to see His truth and turn to Him.” (enduringword.com

Romans 9:18 states this quite concisely: “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” This is in the context of Paul talking about how God used Pharaoh of Egypt to accomplish His will by hardening his heart at a point in the progression of plagues. 

God operates as He wills. He chooses to forgive. He determines who to adopt into His family (Eph 1:3-6). It is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Our response?

How do we respond? As we grow in our knowledge of Him we more and more understand and see that indeed He is a good God, a God of love who is indeed love. We choose to trust that all He does is right and good – His definition of good (Romans 8:28). 

<- Reflection ->
  • How do you respond to this? If you’re struggling, don’t fret. Take it to the Father. If you think it’s unfair, tell Him and ask Him to increase your knowledge of Him.
  • Are you still wondering if you will accept Christ? Do you realize that God already knows your decision? He’s waiting, in His time, for you to believe, to confess your sin and repent so the wall of sin that is blocking your relationship with Him can be removed as you are forgiven.
Focus on grace. Image from https://gatewaypeople.com/ *

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