[Via Ray Ortlund]
Be careful how you treat God, my friends. You may say to yourself, ‘I can sin against God and then, of course, I can repent and go back and find God whenever I want him.’ You try it. And you will sometimes find that not only can you not find God but that you do not even want to. You will be aware of a terrible hardness in your heart. And you can do nothing about it. And then you suddenly realize that it is God punishing you in order to reveal your sinfulness and your vileness to you. And there is only one thing to do. You turn back to him and you say, ‘O God, do not go on dealing with me judicially, though I deserve it. Soften my heart. Melt me. I cannot do it myself.’ You cast yourself utterly upon his mercy and upon his compassion.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival (Westchester, 1987), page 300.
Sin deceives us and harden us to the truth of God (Heb 3:13). And the truth is that when our hearts are hardened, we will become ignorant, ‘darkened in… understanding and separated from the life of God’. And it doesn’t stop there: ‘Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.’ (Eph 4:18-19)
Somehow, this couple of verses never fail to scare me. Once we let ourselves loose in the struggle against sin, it’s a downward spiral all the way. If God would restore us after we cross the line of disobedience, it is a gift of grace. Repentance is a gift of God (2 Tim 2:25), and not everyone may get to enjoy that gift. If we are able to repent, let’s give thanks for that gift.