Many believe that the patience of God is inexhaustible. There is no deadline with God. God will patiently stand by and wait until the sinner gets good and ready to be saved. Yet, the Bible teaches that the patience of God is exhaustible and that the spiritual procrastinator runs the risk of crossing God’s deadline.
In Genesis 6:3, God warns us, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” In the first chapter of the book of Romans, we read these words three times: “God gave them up” (1:24, 26, 28). Men can become reprobate. When they do, “God gives them over to [their] reprobate mind.” Afterward, the Spirit of God ceases to strive with them and their eternal fate is sealed. They’ve passed the point of no return with God and forfeited their immortal soul.
In Matthew chapter 12, some Pharisees absurdly attribute Jesus’ power over the demonic to “Beelzebub the prince of devils.” In response to such hardheartedness, Jesus issues this solemn warning: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
The Holy Spirit is God’s last call to lost humanity. If the sinner hardens his heart to the Spirit’s invitation to come to Christ there remains no further hope of salvation. The sinner has committed the unforgivable.
Each time the sinner says “No” to the Spirit makes it easier for him to say “No” the next time. With each turning up of his nose to the Spirit’s invitation the sinner’s heart becomes harder, until finally becoming calloused. Once his heart is calloused, impervious to the Spirit’s conviction, the Spirit ceases to strive with the sinner and the unpardonable sin is committed. God’s deadline is crossed and all hope of salvation is lost.
Someone has insightfully quipped that the devil’s greatest “wile” is “wait awhile” (Ephesians 6:11). The devil will never attempt a Faustian deal with your lost family and friends. Instead, he will simply seek to persuade them to procrastinate. Once he convinces them that there is plenty of time to make their peace with God and that there is no urgency in the Spirit’s call, your lost family and friends are well on their way to a calloused heart.
Dear Lord, I praise you for your long-suffering. I thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to call lost humanity to Christ. I pray that your Spirit will not cease to strive with the lost souls for whom I am burdened. May the urgent need of their immediate response to the Spirit’s invitation be pressed upon their hearts as you draw them to Christ. And may none of them commit the unpardonable sin by hardening their hearts and becoming calloused to the conviction of your Holy Spirit. Amen.