Still on the subject of the remnant who will be saved, Paul makes a telling statement in Romans 11: 7-8, “What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”
What did the Israelites want so badly? From the context of Romans we know it is salvation. But they did not get it except for the elect. With the exception of the latter, the rest were hardened and God gave them a spirit of stupor! They lost understanding! They couldn’t see and they couldn’t hear what God was saying. But the elect did, because they they followed the Law by faith.
What Paul seems to say is that when we stop acting by faith, our hearts become hardened and unbelief eventually takes over and we risk losing our secure position in Christ. If we persist in unbelief we risk being cut off from God’s grace. In Romans 11:20, Paul, likening the Jews to the branches of a tree, says “they were broken off because of unbelief”. He adds that the same fate that befell the Jews would also befall the Gentile believers. In verse 21 of the same chapter, he says, “For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.”
Our hearts harden when we lose hope to believe in Him for faith, doesn’t it? Hardening of the heart usually begins in just one area. There is always one area in our life we struggle in or which drags us down. It could be a sin, a shortcoming, a weakness, a bad habit, a continual struggle or just an area of neglect because it is a low priority. It is that area where we need to apply faith and find a way to overcome.
If that one thing is not addressed by faith, it will threaten to overwhelm everything else. You know, you only need one leak to sink a ship! You only need one sin for you to unravel or come undone. In the same way, you only need one area, unredeemed by grace, to undermine your faith.
When I was struggling with depression, I used to ask God why He let me go through it. In retrospect, I know the answer. The problem wasn’t depression; it was what triggered the depression. For a long time I was unable to confront the trigger and it affected nearly every other aspect of my life. But, because I struggled with it, I reached a point where I had to face the trigger. I did it by faith. When the trigger was gone, so did depression. And, I got my life — all of it! — back!
If there is an area in our life which is not resolving, if it has been haunting us for a long time, for decades, it means, we have not applied faith to it. It is a dark faithless area which naturally will attract the enemy who will find in it a stronghold and he will do everything in his power to cause that darkness to spread and consume us. When that happens we will be unable to act by faith, and, consequently, our faith will be in question.
It is that one area that needs to be addressed by faith so that the grace of Christ can flow through it and bring healing. When we fail to exercise faith in that area, we let unbelief creep in, and if we don’t confront it by confessing it, it will grow and eventually take over. The consequences will not be the workings of grace. Without faith, there is no grace, and our faith will, indeed, be in question.