Monday, June 26, 2006

A Pure Heart - Part 1

Last night in our family’s evening devotionals, we came across this verse.

And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:15)

What struck me was Jesus’ description of the heart of the people who hear the word and hold it fast. Their hearts are honest and good. When I read that, I was struck by the contrast between Jesus’ words and how many in the church describe their own hearts. Too many professing Christians say that they still have evil in their hearts or that their hearts can’t be trusted. Apparently they don’t agree with Jesus.

The Bible says that Christians are cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:7). We have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24), and we have had the flesh removed from our hearts (Colossians 2:11). It is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20), and there can be no evil in the heart of one in whom Christ dwells (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

The heart of a true Christian is not evil. It is holy and pure. And the proof of true faith is the holy life that pours forth from this Christ-cleansed heart.


sally apokedak said...

I still sin, though. I sin every day. What is it that makes me sin if not my deceitful heart? James says no man should say he tempted by God for God does not sin and does not tempt man to sin but each man sins when, BY HIS OWN EVIL DESIRE, he is dragged away and enticed.

I am selfish. I love myself more than I love others. I wish it were not this way but it is. Does this mean, do you think, that I am not yet a Christian? That I have not been made a new creation? Because I do believe that Jesus died to pay for my sins. I do believe that God sent his wrath against Christ on the cross and never deals with me in wrath now. And I thought that was what saved me--faith in Christ's sacrifice--and not works.

There are works in my life that indicate I am a new creature. I do love others more than I did before. I just don't love them perfectly as Christ loves me. I don't easily sacrifice my time, let alone, my life, for a man who hates me and wants to kill me. That is how Christ loved, though, and for me to love less is to disobey his command--to sin.

Do you love perfectly? Do you know anyone who does?

Clefspeare said...

Hi Sally,

I am not in a position to judge your spiritual condition. I didn't post my thoughts to shake anyone's security or question anyone's salvation. I just jotted down my meditations on the passages in front of me.

James does say that sin comes from man's own evil desire. That's why I'm so thankful that Jesus cleansed me from evil desires and has thereby cleansed me from sin. Without Him, I would still be dead, lost, and drowning in my own sinfulness. Thanks be to God for His glorious grace and mercy!

Do I love perfectly? By the witness of Scripture and my own experience, my answer is yes.

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." (1 John 4:15-18)

So, it seems, that all who have God abiding in them are perfected in love.

I realize this isn't a popular doctrine, but it seems to me that Scripture teaches it.

sally apokedak said...

Brayn, I wasn't taking offense--just trying to ascertain what you believed. I had to use myself--my own sinfulness--since I can't judge your heart and I don't know its sinfulness.

But going with just scripture--it also teaches us that we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ. I have always taken that to be something I must believe by faith. I am not literally and physically seated in the heavenlies, I am seated in my living room. However, I believe that Christ is so identified with me that when he sits in the heavenlies, there am I also.

I believe the same way about righteousness. I wear Christ's righteousness and I am holy. When God sees me, he sees that I am holy. I am sinless. But this has to be taken by faith. Because on one plane I am still a sinner sitting in my living room.

It all comes down to being in Christ. I am in Christ--no longer in Adam. I am a new creation--no longer part of the old sinful creation. In Christ I am holy, I am sinless, I am perfect.

And yet, I have to wait for the consummation of these things. I have to live by faith now, believing that they will be consummated.

There is an inheritance, incorruptible, kept in heaven for me. I am hid in Christ and no one and nothing can snatch me from God's hand. But if I am a princess, I am still not of age. I have not come fully into that inheritance. It is assured, but I have not fully taken possession of it.

I believe you and I are perfected in love. And I believe we have been set free from not only the consequences of sin but also from its tyranny. We are no longer slaves to sin but are slaves to righteousness. But I know that I still sin. I do not love God as I ought. I do not pray as I ought. I do not meditate upon scripture as I ought. I sometimes yell at my children in frustration. I sometimes ignore them when I should spend time with them. I sometimes resent my husband. I gossip, I am prideful.

I know these things are true about myself and if my salvation is based upon these things I will not be saved. Wretched man that I am. I can do nothing but throw myself down before God and beg his mercy.

Psalm 143 is one of my favorites. Do not bring your servant into judgment for no one living is righteous before you. David, the man after God's own heart, was a rotten, unfaithful, murdering sinner. I am not happy David sinned, but I am happy that God loves sinners.

I'll be quiet now and wait for part two. =0)

Clefspeare said...

As I'm sure you know, blogs aren't a great place to debate. Still, it's a good place just to state a case and let it rest. So, here goes.

I understand the concept of a positional placement by God, but such a placement is always in concert with concrete realities. We are seated in the heavenlies, and that agrees with our placement in God's design, care, and love.

A positional holiness that doesn't have a corresponding practical holiness doesn't wash. To say that God "sees" a person as holy, when in reality he is not, makes for a blind God.

Christians are positionally holy as well as holy in concrete, day-to-day reality. God sees us as holy, because we are.