Jesus said that He came for those who are sick: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” those who recognize their need for God’s grace and forgiveness…

The terminal condition of the heart without Jesus…

Jeremiah 17:9-10
The Message

9-10 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.

But I, God, search the heart
and examine the mind.

I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.

I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be.
____

The Old Testament frequently uses “heart” (Heb. leb) to identify the source of a person’s thinking and acting.

It describes the root of unconscious as well as conscious motivation.

The human heart is deceptive; we may think we know why we do something, but really we may be doing it for another reason.

It is naturally incurably sick, really totally depraved, and in need of healing.

No one really understands his or her own corrupt heart, nor do we understand why our hearts behave as they do.

Verse 9 is an unpopular (but nonetheless very true) estimate of the natural heart of man.

R. K. Harrison comments on what is translated “desperately wicked” in the KJV tradition and “gravely ill” by some:

“Unregenerate human nature is in a desperate condition without divine grace, described by the term gravely ill in verse 9, and in15:18 and 30:12, where the meaning “incurable” occurs.

Every generation needs regeneration of the soul by the Spirit and grace of God.”

The mind of man has been so completely estranged from God’s righteousness that it conceives, desires, and undertakes, only that which is impious, perverted, foul, impure, and infamous.

The heart is so steeped in the poison of sin, that it can breathe out nothing but a loathsome stench.

But if some men occasionally make a show of good, their minds nevertheless ever remain enveloped in hypocrisy and deceitful craft, and their hearts bound by inner perversity.

Even though we cannot understand our hearts, the Lord searches them and knows our inner thoughts and motives.

“Heart” and “mind” (lit. kidneys, from the Heb. kelayoth, meaning “hidden depths”) are not that distinct in Old Testament psychology; they are virtually synonymous here and in many other places.

Together these terms cover the range of hidden elements in human character and personality.

God gives to each person what he or she actually deserves.

He judges on the basis of works because what we do reflects what we truly value, the condition of our hearts.

God makes it clear why we sin—it’s a matter of the heart.

Our hearts have been rebellious, sinful, and secretive from the moment we were born.

It is easy to fall into the routine of forgetting and forsaking God, but it is our choice whether to continue in sin.

We can yield to temptation or we can ask God to help us resist temptation when it comes.

For many of our daily tasks, there is a right way and a wrong way to do them.

Even more so, there is a right way and a wrong way to treat the people with whom we do these tasks.

Jeremiah says that people who become rich by unjust means will end up foolish and poor.

Whether at work, school, home, or anywhere else, we should strive to be honest in all our dealings.

Sinning in order to get a promotion, cheating to pass an exam, or gaining prestige by dishonest means will never bring God’s blessing or lasting happiness.

Jesus came to inaugurate a New Covenant so that sins could be forgiven and sinners could be born again (John 3:5).

As “desperately wicked” people, we cannot reform our hearts by our own effort.

The only solution is for God to make our hearts new, washed clean from sin and fundamentally reoriented toward pleasing Him.
_________________________________

Max Lucado’s Life Lessons….

Jeremiah 14:1—17:27

Jeremiah prophesied drought, famine, and days of disaster for God’s people.

Sin requires judgment. Sin can distort our judgment of good and evil.

God calls us to repent and to have moral outrage for violations of His holiness.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The Spiritual Cardiologist scans our hearts and finds deep disease:

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21, 22).

He describes our problem in pandemic proportions:

“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God” (Romans 3:10, 11, NLT).

Surely this is an overstatement, an exaggeration.

Can it be that “we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us” (Romans 3:23 MSG)?

This current generation is oddly silent about sin.

Late-night talk shows don’t discuss humanity’s shortcomings.

Some mental-health professionals mock our need for divine forgiveness….

Barbarism apparently is alive and well on the planet Earth.

Deny our sin? Quasimodo could more easily deny his hump.

Our heart problem? It’s universal. And personal.

(From 3:16 by Max Lucado)

What views about sin have softened so that they are even acceptable among Christians?

What areas of life has this affected?

Male-female relationships? Social settings? Family life?

Don’t be drawn in by the world’s standards.

Be morally pure in your dating or marriage relationship.

Be bold in keeping a high standard.

Don’t let Satan wear down your defenses.

In Romans 12:2-3 (JB Phillips translation), we are told:

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
_________________________________

Sunday, Oct 16
The Berean
Daily Verse and Comment

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.”
— Jeremiah 17:9-10

Clearly, there is something radically wrong with man.

The Bible discloses the seat of man’s problem as being his heart, his inner being, including his reason.

We are full of falsehood, duplicity, and contradiction. We conceal and disguise ourselves from ourselves.

Perhaps it is in this area that the heart performs its most destructive work; it conceals the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its tragic consequences and seriousness.

It deceives us into thinking that it is not so bad or that God is so merciful that He will overlook it.

Was it this kind of thinking that preceded the sudden deaths of Aaron’s sons, Uzza, and Ananias and Sapphira?

Do you suppose He can overlook an attitude that so casually takes for granted sinful acts that caused the horribly painful and ignominious death of One who was truly innocent, His Son?

Does He merely ignore an attitude that cares so little for its own life that it deliberately attempts to bring that wonderful gift of life to an end?

Does He just avert His eyes when we do something that forms a part of our character that will prevent us from being in His image?

Some people seem to think so, but is there innocence in this kind of reasoning?

Our own heart deceives us into taking sin lightly. But, believe the Bible, God is NOT taking sin lightly because He loves His creation.

Sin has caused all the emotional and physical pain and death that mankind has experienced since Adam.

Each of us is suffering to some degree from it right at this moment.

Does this bring us happiness? Do we love sin so much that we want it to continue?

Are we fully aware it may destroy us?

Do we want our sinful way of life to end?

There is only one way it will end, and that is to follow Jesus’ advice:

“Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

When we repent and begin controlling ourselves so that we do not sin, it will not stop sin in the world.

But unless WE stop sinning, sin will never be stopped.

EACH PERSON has to come to see that he is personally responsible for stopping sin in his own life.

He cannot wait for others to stop before he stops.

The government will not do it for him. Nobody but the individual can stop his sinning unless God takes away the person’s chance to repent by putting him to death.

We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into taking this casually as the world does.

They say, “Everybody’s doing it.” Millions cheat on their spouses.

Who knows how many have literally “gotten away with murder!”

Many cheat the government of their income taxes and never get caught. But we cannot cheat God.

How could we escape the gaze of a Being so acutely aware of what is happening that He sees even a sparrow falling?

David writes, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7).

God not only sees the acts, but discerns what is “going on” in the heart (verses 1-4, 23-24).

— John W. Ritenbaugh
____

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Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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