Monday, July 8, 2013

Could it be a heart issue?

          Could it be a heart issue?

Why does the unregenerate heart rail against God's Word? Why does the sinful nature of man become stiff necked when God's truth confronts them and knocks on their door? I think we find the answer all throughout the pages of the Bible.

It all comes down to a heart issue. No, not the physical organ that pumps life giving blood throughout your body, but who you are, your very nature, the center of your being. The Hebrews understood the heart in a much broader sense than we do in our modern western culture, but still the use of a concrete object of the heart to express an abstract idea is understood in both cultures. We in the western culture often associate the heart with emotions such as love and kindness as in, "He has a good heart". This is also true with the Hebrews who saw the heart as the seat of emotion. But unlike us they also saw the heart as the seat of thought, whereas we see the brain as the seat of thought. To the ancient Hebrews the heart was the mind including all thoughts and emotions.

Louis Isaac Rabinowitz notes,
"The rabbis adopted the biblical view that the heart is the seat of the emotions, and they applied this notion to every sphere of human action and thought." The Hebrew Bible speaks about the whole inside of man being the center of life as so aptly put by Harold Louis Ginsberg when he says,”The interior of the body is conceived of as the seat of the inner life, of feeling and thought. Strong feeling is conceived of as a stirring or heating of the intestine...."  Ginsberg tells us that even

"Gladness is a function not only of the heart (e.g., Prov. 23:15) but also of the kidneys (Prov. 23:16; cf. Jer. 12:2b)."

The picture is that the whole of man is referred to when the Bible uses the word heart: man's thoughts, emotions, and will. Getting back to the question, why does the unregenerate rail against the truth of God's word? Because he has been corrupted in his whole inner life, sin has affected his emotions, his will, and his thoughts. The picture of man’s brokenness in the Scripture is what the Reformers called Total Depravity.

Unless God gives a new nature to man he will always rebel against the truth of God's word. One of the most glorious portions of Scripture is found in Ezekiel 36:25-31. In this passage we find Israel’s restoration and national salvation. Their salvation is described as a washing in v.25, in v. 26 as the giving of a new heart, and finally in v. 27 as God putting His Spirit within them.

The answer to a rebellious hard heart is no less than getting a heart transplant. God needs to give a new heart to the unconverted so that they can then please Him and submit to Him through the authority of His word. The difference between an old heart and one who has had a heart transplant is that the new heart will delight itself in the law of the LORD Psalm 1:2

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