No one knew the human heart like the Lord Jesus Christ. When he peered into the human soul, He diagnosed depravity that penetrated and plagued every portion of man. The Lord’s diagnosis was perfectly accurate, revealing the true nature of man’s heart. The entire inner being of man is corrupted and controlled by the principle of sin. 

1. Unreceptive Hearts. In the parable of the soils, Jesus revealed that the unconverted hear the gospel with natural ears that are unreceptive to it. Thus, they fail to understand its true meaning and fail to grasp their desperate need to receive it:

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” (Luke 8:11-14)

Here Jesus taught in parable form that the soul of the human heart, left to itself, is utterly unreceptive to the seed of God’s Word. Whether the Devil snatches the Word, whether it falls upon a shallow heart, or whether it is choked out by worldly pleasures, the unconverted heart will not receive the Word. It is simply too hardened, too shallow, and too stony to accept the Word by faith. God must prepare and cultivate the soil first.

Hendrickson writes, “Each group of people differs from the one described before. Those belonging to that category, represented by the seed that fell along the path, never respond in any way to the preaching of the word. They are and remain callous, insensitive. Those of the second group respond immediately and enthusiastically … and as quickly drop out. Those belonging to Call No. 3 also perish, but more gradually.” [1] Apart from sovereign grace, none receive the Word when its sown. (Foundations of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men, 261)

Dr. Steven L. Lawson


[1] William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1978), 428.

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