In these days of apostasy, secular people and even Christian people claim that their actions are allowed, authorized, or excused because it is a ‘matter of the heart.’ For example, in one recent blog essay I wrote about a Methodist pastor named Frank Schaefer who performed a homosexual wedding (his son’s) in 2007. A few years later a congregant complained, and now the pastor is on trial. Pastor Schaefer wondered,
“What is my crime? I blessed two people that loved each other,” Schaefer, 51, told ABC News.“
Ay, yes. Love. It’s all about what humans want from their heart, which immediately excuses all disobedience to God.
The bible explains in constant and plain terms what is in our heart. You know the heart is not to be trusted. Yet, so often we hear idioms about the heart, and believe them as if they were true.
Heart-to-heart means a serious conversation between two people in which they talk honestly about their feelings
Best interests at heart means to make decisions based on someone’s best interests
Heart of gold means a person is truly nice, deep down
One can set one’s heart upon something, meaning, one desires and expects something
Out of the goodness of one’s heart means doing something simply because one is kind
All lies. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
“And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21)
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
The Lord our God is merciful. He knows what is in our heart, and He made a way. In the Old Testament, circumcision was a picture of how the heart is covered but the Lord cuts away its foreskin.
“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” (Deuteronomy 10:16)
“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Pulpit Commentary explains, “As circumcision was the symbol of purification and sign of consecration to God, so the Israelites are enjoined to realize in fact what that rite symbolized, viz. purity of heart and receptivity for the things of God.”
In the New Testament, Paul spoke about the circumcision of the heart,
“But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” (Romans 2:29)
Our hearts are desperately wicked from birth and the inclinations of our heart are only evil continually. Only the Holy Spirit can purify the heart. Only Him. Paul is arguing that true circumcision is a matter of the heart, an operation only the Spirit can perform.
Left, Salvador Dali, The Veiled Heart
The beauty and grace of our merciful God is that He does clean us. If we repent, He will purify us and establish us as His adopted heirs, His very children. What Good News!!
Don’t believe your heart, but believe Jesus. The Book of Revelation calls for repentance 10 times. The entire New Testament in the ESV calls for repentance 53 times. The entire bible calls for repentance 75 times. The first word John the Baptist uttered in his public ministry was repent. (Matthew 3:2). The first word Jesus uttered in His public ministry was repent. (Matthew 4:17).
We are NOT “basically good.” Our heart is not something to depend on but contains the things that are evil, things He hates. Sin. Only Jesus can clean our heart, cleaning us from the inside out. He is the Resurrected Savior who shed His blood, died, and rose from the dead to perform this very act: forgiveness.