Q. I don’t understanding Mark 4:12. Jesus is explaining the parable of the four soils and I understand when he says they will see but not see and hear but not hear but I don’t understand the last statement “They may hear and not understand lest they return again and be forgiven”. Is He saying that if they return seeking forgiveness they will be refused?
A. Someone once said, “Either we say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ or He will say to us, ‘Thy will be done’.” To me that means once we decide what we want to do about God, He will help us do it, no matter what. If we want Him to be in our life, He’s provided a way for that to happen through the sacrifice of His Son, and if we accept it He’ll make sure we’ll be with Him forever (John 3:16).
But if we want Him out of our life, He’ll help us accomplish that too. And just as permanently. An example is 2 Thes. 2:9-12 where He sends a strong delusion to those who refused to believe the truth and be saved, so they’ll believe the lie and be condemned.
The parables Jesus used serve a two-fold purpose. They help those who have chosen to follow Him better understand the ways of God. At the same time they further confuse those who have rejected Him.
In Mark 4:12 He was saying in effect that those who had rejected Him they would see but not perceive, and hear but not understand, making it impossible for them to return and be forgiven. He wasn’t saying He would refuse them if they did return, He was saying He would further confuse them so they wouldn’t return. Their minds were made up and He would help them get what they wanted, which was to be free of Him.
Later Paul would add to this thought by saying,
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14)
You can only have the Spirit if you’re saved.