Have you ever believed that at your very core you are wicked? Sick? Depraved?
The kind of nagging, inner feeling that, no matter what kind of pure life you are living and how much good you are involved in – that it is all masking an inner reality that is desperately dark?
Have you wrestled with the balance of being “forgiven” and yet still having a heart that is untrustworthy?
Yeah, me too.
Unfortunately, this feeling persists in so many, even and especially Christians, because we are taught and told that it is true, and (gasp!) we read it in our Bibles!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
Other translations say that the heart is “beyond cure,” “hopelessly dark,” and “desperately sick.”
Doesn’t leave alot of warm fuzzy’s does it?
How then should we receive this?
To me, in light of the finished work of Jesus Christ, we should not receive this as applicable truth for Christians today.
When the prophet Jeremiah spoke these words, he was addressing a people under the Old Covenant Law, pre Christ’s atonement on the Cross, and was indeed speaking an applicable truth about their heart’s condition. After the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man surely had a heart problem. It was sick, dark, depraved and hopeless to be true – and man needed a heart transplant.
My heart too was sick before Jesus, and needed to be replaced by Him, and the same for you.
But the moment we received the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – a new heart was given to us, and that old heart of stone was no more.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” – Ezekiel 36:25-27
Another prophet, Ezekiel, spoke of what God would do 600 years later in the Person and work of His Son, Jesus. In receiving Jesus, we exchanged hearts, and the heart that Jeremiah spoke of no longer indwells us, but now the heart Ezekiel foretold of does – and this heart is new, responsive and tender – and more, it is filled with the Spirit of God to guide us in His Life.
This is incredible news…Good news!
You will live your life out of what you believe. If you believe at your core that you are still somehow wicked or lost or depraved or hopeless in your heart – your actions and life will ultimately reflect that. However, gloriously, if you believe that you are indwelled by a Holy Lord, that He has made you pure and righteous, and has given you a new heart and Life – your actions and Life will ultimately reflect that too.
Wrong thinking leads to wrong believing leads to wrong actions leads to wrong lives.
Right thinking leads to right believing leads to right actions leads to right Lives.
In Christ, you have been “joined with the Lord, and are one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17). Further, having “escaped the corruption that is in the world,” (and in your old heart – my addition), you have “become a partaker of divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4).
God’s very nature has become yours. You are in union with Him. Because of Jesus Christ, you have a new heart. You are not desperately wicked any longer. You are filled with the nature of Jesus and therefore are not wicked to the core, but righteous to the core.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
You are new through and through, follower of Christ. You can trust He who indwells you to guide your new heart, and to continue His good work in you until you are completely conformed to His likeness.
I now receive Jeremiah 17:9 with thanksgiving – in that it helps me to see with perfect clarity the condition the Lord has brought me from, and postures me to move ahead in what He has brought me to.
Change your mind about the condition of your heart. Agreeing with Father that you have received a new heart from Him, one that is soft and pure and responsive to Him, will lead to acting out of a belief of who you now are in Him.
And that is something worth bursting out in songs of joy and thanks for.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” – Psalm 28:7