“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9
God’s Word here makes a declarative statement concerning the natural condition of the human heart. In Scripture the use of the word “heart” refers the seat of our very being. It is this very center from which our thoughts and motives spring. From this natural “heart” we find the propensity for all evil and wickedness. As people born with a fallen nature, this is the description of the heart of all humanity, apart from receiving a new heart and a new nature from God by faith in Jesus Christ. This has been true since the fall of Adam. Prior to God judging the world with the flood of Noah, Scripture states in Genesis 6: 5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.” Things haven’t changed much over the eons of time.
When Jesus walked the earth he declared the same truth in Mark 7:20-23, “And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Jesus names numerous “fruits”, and then tells us that the unregenerate human heart is the “root” of all evil. That is a frightening thought; that the root of any and all evil lies within the heart of each one of us is disconcerting to say the very least. Does that mean that we will commit all of these evils? Not at all, but it does mean that we all have the potential to commit any or all of them. Paul states in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, FOR THAT ALL HAVE SINNED.”
This spiritual truth pretty much destroys the notion that if we could only create a better environment, or guarantee a better education, or eradicate poverty, that man would not demonstrate such behavior. Alas, we have spent countless billions if not trillions of dollars as a nation attempting to correct social ills and engineer our cultural and societal environment, all to no avail. What do we have to show for our efforts? Schools have become war zones fill with drugs and violence, and of late, places where teachers take sexual advantage of our children. Social programs are a bottomless pit of deceit, fraud and waste. Even the church has not escaped these things. Stories of ministers who have abused children are common today as well. Evil is not limited to the poor, the uneducated, the homeless, or the outcasts. Evil is evident across all socio-economic-educational demographics. Why is that so? God’s Word makes it abundantly clear. It is a matter of the unregenerate heart. Rather than look in the mirror and deal with the “root” of the problem, we continue to throw money at the “fruit.” So if all of this is true, then what is the answer? How do we deal with the source of the problem rather than the symptoms? The Scripture has an answer for that as well.
Thankfully, God loves the world enough that He provided a remedy for the problem of evil and unregenerate hearts. That remedy is Jesus Christ. God in the flesh took on the sin of humanity and according to the Scripture nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14) In doing so, Jesus provided the ONLY way to fix this terminal heart condition. In a conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus Jesus said in John 3:3, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus raises the question then, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Jesus responds with the following words, “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Following, in John 3:16 we read how this rebirth becomes possible. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In Acts 2:19, the Apostle Peter put it this way, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” We frequently hear people say that they gave their heart to Jesus, but the truth of the matter is, what we really need is for Jesus to give us a new heart. He will do so gladly, but only as you invite Him to become your Lord and Savior. When we trust Him for salvation, we receive a new heart. It’s ALL a matter of the heart.