Friday, February 17, 2012


Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.”

Much attention is given in our day to the need to live in a “heart healthy” manner. Others say that it is imperative that we eat “heart healthy” foods and maintain a “heart healthy” exercise regimen. A myriad of drugs are available to improve our heart condition. Doctors have countless procedures that they utilize to deal with a plethora of heart problems.

There is another problem of the heart that is usually left undiagnosed. And even when diagnosed, wrong treatment options are suggested. The misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment of this particular heart problem is at the heart of man’s problem.

The Jews of Jesus’ day were careful to wash their hands. And that was not the only thing they washed. They washed their “cups and pitchers and copper pots” (Mark 7:4). They did so religiously and methodically. Their hand-washing was done according to a carefully prescribed pattern. An exact amount of water was prescribed. These traditions were not about cleanliness (a good thing), they were a part of their religious ritual—they did such things to keep from defiling themselves (Mark 7:15, 18). They supposed that religious rituals could somehow make them righteous before God.

The Great Physician diagnosed their condition (Jeremiah 17:9-10). It was far more serious than they had supposed. The heart of the problem is the heart itself. Adam sinned against God and unleashed a contagion of sin (Romans 5:12). Hereditarily, a “heart condition” has been passed on to every man (Romans 6:19).

The symptoms of the heart problem are alarming and touch on every part of our being—evil thoughts, deeds, and words flow forth from the heart in a myriad of damning and ugly vices. Dishonoring to God and destructive to others—the heart vomits up a deadly and poisonous brew. No amount of religious exercise can restrain it. And man has tried them all. They are all but “fig-leaf” religions. “Self-made religion...(is) of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Colossians 2:23).

A heart transplant is what is needed. A complete rebirth. The Bible uses the term “regeneration.” It means, literally, “new birth.” That is something Jesus alone can do. It is what He prescribed to Nicodemus (John 3:7). He is of sin the “double-cure.” Through His work on the cross He grants, to the believer, both forgiveness and heart-change. Sin’s power is broken. The heart is changed and renewed and made healthy in Him (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10).

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). The new birth is a wonderful thing! Christ Himself takes up residence in the heart of the believer. And His glorious presence there shines forth in wonderful ways. Sinful words and deeds are put off, supernatural virtues take their place. By a work of the Spirit these Christlike virtues usher forth from the born-again believer. A host of damning vices are replaced by glorious and compelling virtues (Galatians 5:22-23). The good heart bears good fruit (Luke 8:15).

What is the condition of your heart? The great physician can alone give a proper diagnosis. The diagnosis for every son of Adam is the same—a heart transplant is the only hope. Christ alone can do such a thing. He offers both forgiveness and transformation. Countless remedies have been offered, and are being offered, to rectify man’s condition. Anything less than rebirth through saving faith in Christ alone will not do. He alone can make us “heart-healthy.”

Pastor Jerry

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