Ye Do Always Resist


Elder Mark Green


Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye.” This charge was made against the wicked Jews who stoned Stephen to death. It explains the reason why the unregenerate resist the gospel. The text has nothing to do with men resisting the Holy Spirit in his work of regeneration.

Men who are dead in trespasses and sins may take up the outward form religion, but they do not seek after true religion. That is a settled fact, as Stephen here records: “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” It was not something they did one day because they were in a bad mood, but changed the next when they felt better. It was not a matter of attitude, but of a lack of circumcision; and not an uncircumcision of the flesh, but of the heart and ears. Their hearts were hard because they were unregenerate hearts - hearts of stone.

Notice that this stiffnecked and uncircumcised condition had been just as true of the forefathers of these Jews as it was of them. It was not a new condition, but an old one that dated back to their fathers; indeed, all the way back to their first father Adam. In the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit he died in trespasses and sins, and passed that condition of death along to all his posterity. “The wicked are estranged from the womb,” David said. To be estranged from someone is to have the affections alienated. Estranged individuals exhibit hostility toward one another. These stiffnecked Jews were estranged from God, and this episode with Stephen showed just how hostile their hearts were toward Him.

Brother Paul said, “We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” Not only does this condition that afflicted the Jews in our text extend across time, but it also afflicts all of humanity in every ethnic and geographic division. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Surely, Paul, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Surely there are a few who are good! No, not one. Every man is conceived in sin and has this uncircumcision of heart passed to him by his father.

Thank God, however, that not all of humanity stays in this condition! Some portion of the human race are rescued from this uncircumcision. Those are the elect of God, who sometime between conception and death are born of the Spirit and have their hearts made tender by the grace and mercy of God almighty.