One of the realities of life that is difficult to grasp is why people reject the gospel. We witness to people in hopes of their conversion, but many times we are meet with a rejection of the truth of the gospel. But why would people reject such a good message. After all, we refer to the gospel as the good news. Although this issue is widely debated, it is also broadly misunderstood. If I were to ask a group of believers why the Pharaoh of the Exodus was judged, I would probably get various answers, but two very popular ones. Some people would no doubt answer, because he hardened his heart, while others would answer because God hardened his heart. Which of these individuals would actually be right. Well, biblically, both of them would be accurate. You see, the Bible lays the hardening of the heart of pharaoh at both the feet of Pharaoh and at the feet of God as the same time. Both had a hand in it. Why is this the case?
When the Bible considers the matter of mankind’s judgement and the basis of his rejection of the gospel of God, it affirms three basic realities that all are true. First, man is judged because of who he is and his own workings. Second, man is judged because God wants him judged and carries out certain actions to assure that such will take place. And third, Satan relishes the desecration of the human race and executed certain realities upon mankind to assure his like punishment to his own. So, first, man is judged because of who he is and his own workings. Man, in his very nature, is dead in his trespasses and sins and thus cannot without the effective working of God in and upon him respond positively and rightly in the spiritual realm of his existence (Eph. 2:1-3). A dead person cannot respond in that sphere in which the death has occurred. He is unable to. Without a resurrection from the dead, there can be no spiritual life (2:4-6) and without that spiritual life man’s incapacity to respond in a right manner to God will perpetually and ceaselessly manifest itself in his life (Rom. 8:7-8), ultimately resulting in his judgement (Pro. 14:12; 16:25). It seemed right to pharaoh to say no to Moses’ request. Such was in perfect agreement with his nature. So too, it seems right to a sinner to reject the gospel, for it is in his very nature to do so.
Connected with this reality is the fact that God wants man judged and carries out certain actions to assure that such will take place. God told Adam in the garden of Eden, “in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). When sin entered the world, along with it came death and the two walked and continue to walk hand in hand throughout human history (Rom. 5:12-14; cf. 1 Cor. 15:56). Because God is a holy God, He cannot and will not skip sin in His subjects and so executes His plan to effect in them the death He swore would take place upon them violating His will. That death included spiritual, physical, and eschatological components to it. According to Romans 9:19-24, as much as God planned for the rescue of His elect vessels of mercy be grace was as much as He planned for the destruction of the vessels of wrath, which He would justly bypass. To confirm them in the state in which they already are, God, according to Matthew 11:25-27, hides and hardens thus assuredly bringing to pass what the heart of the unsaved truly desire. That is a Christless existence. What pharaoh desired, a godless existence pharaoh got. What unsaved man truly desires, a Christless existence, he will get, unless visited by God with unmerited and unearnable saving grace.
Finally, Satan relishes the desecration of the human race and executes certain realities upon mankind to assure his like punishment to his own. As Jesus makes very clear in John 10:10, Satan’s prime objective is to steal, kill, and destroy. He will not go quietly nor passively. As such, he seeks the devouring of mankind and does so in an aggressive manner. He uses his possession of the world system to dominate and control those who belong to this world order and he casts a veil over the eyes of the perishing to reinforce what their nature mandates and God’s workings confirm (2 Cor. 4:3-4). So, why is man judged, why does man reject God. He rejects God because of who he is, because of what God demands, and because of what the devil desires.