When Christ illustrates God’s kingdom He describes some of those outside of it as “stony ground,” (Mk 4:16-17) people who eagerly embrace the gospel message and enjoy the community of the saints, but when called upon to actually live out their faith, especially in difficult times, they have no interest. It seems that a key factor in identifying the elect lies in their response to God in suffering.
Many today gladly receive a promise of forgiveness and a better life, but who counts it a privilege “not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake?” (Php 1:29)
As we do our diligence in making our calling and election sure (2Pe 1:10), we should carefully consider how trials are affecting us. And if we are not also choosing His ways and actively pursuing Him in the small things, should we expect to be faithful when it really gets hard? (Lk 16:10)
If we find our hearts to be shallow and stony let’s not despair, but seek new ones from God (Eze 36:26-7), not training ourselves in lives of ease but in enduring hardness as good soldiers of Christ. (2Ti 2:3) Let’s not find ourselves among those who wither in trial, but triumphant in God as He displays His strength in us. (Ro 5:3-5)
2 thoughts on “Stony Ground”
For those who may be thinking that stony hearts might be part of the kingdom, consider the following:
“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Mat 3:10)
“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.” (Ro 2:5-11)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze 36:26)
Let no one with a hard heart think they have experienced the salvation of God. His salvation produces a new heart, one that is soft and obedient.
The fact that seed actually sprouted in the rocky soil and began to grow indicates to some that those souls represented by this type of soil actually become saved and then lose their salvation. Note, however, that the soil is never soft, suitable for plant growth; it does not become hard but starts and ends this way.
We may interpret this type of soil as describing the superficial, emotional reaction of many to the gospel which is not properly rooted in faith, but in a perceived promise of forgiveness and temporal blessing to those who remain hardened, selfish. proud and obstinate against God.