Hardening of Pharaohs Heart
A Sermon on Romans 9:17-18
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (ESV)
Does God purposefully harden people’s hearts? There is no other statement that causes greater offense to the natural man. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the meaning behind Paul’s statements and the conclusions that we can draw from Romans 9:17-18. Paul says that God raised up Pharaoh into this situation for his specific purposes and then hardened his heart. God did this so that he could display his power through Pharaoh. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds us that when we come across a difficult passage, we should compare it with other similar passages. He then gives several examples in the Old and New Testament that show God hardening people’s hearts. So how does God do this? Several factors that result in a hardening of the heart include God removing his restraining influence, by showing his mercy, by initiating desires that were already in a person, and by using Satan. God never creates sin or causes an evil position of the heart; he only aggravates what is already inside of a person. In this passage of Romans, God used Pharaoh to create the result of his plan. In this, Pharaoh chose to harden his own heart in addition to God also hardening his heart.