Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The Heart of the Matter

By Ramone - February 18, 2008

Having and professing the right beliefs doesn't equal salvation. The heart may still have stony walls around it.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."

- Romans 10:9-11
The heart must come first. If the mouth speaks the right confession but the heart is not soft, trusting in Him, then the confession does not save. You can adopt the right beliefs and still have a hard heart. God is after our hearts above all.

In the same way, having "good works" does not mean you're saved, and does not prove the state of your heart. Having the correct theology can also become like "good works". Just like you can't ultimately judge someone's heart by their works, you also cannot judge someone's heart by their theological beliefs. Both errors judge the inner by means of the outer.

My spiritual mum Hazel, when writing of the wideness of God's mercy (link), said it very well:
Faith in God is what saves us—not possessing a certain amount of minimum information. God's Word tells us that He cares about faith more than the content of our theology. He cares about trust more than orthodoxy. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). In essence the issue God cares about is the direction of the heart.
God is seeking to penetrate the walls we have put around our heart! He's not just after profession, but He wants our heart! Indeed, will He not look past our professions to the state of our heart? Will not the state of our heart's response to Him be the determining factor more than the accuracy of our mind's beliefs?

faith is simple: belief followed by action. Why do we need so many words?
Friend, please sign your name! I am afraid I will probably have to disallow anonymous commenting if you do not start putting up your name. I want to allow anonymous commenting for people who don't know how to use the system well. But people who leave unsigned semi-veiled indirect challenges to what I've written show a lack of integrity, courage, and willingness to dialogue if they do not sign their name or make a way for me to return contact to them.

Yes, faith is very simple! It is belief trusting in Jesus for your salvation instead of in your own actions. At times He leads us in steps of action, but it is His action that saved us. See these pictures: Believe On Jesus.

It gets complicated when people pick apart the "informational" aspect of it and the do battle about that. It also gets complicated when people bring "Law" into it, because the New Covenant (New Testament) proclaims that Christ fulfilled the Law, and now we live by His Spirit, not by the "ministry of death" (the Law).
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[Previous anonymous comment removed -- but bless you in His love. I pray that one day we can talk like men or women of God to one another, not in secret.]

"We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

- II Corinthians 4:2

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

- John 3:20

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin."

- I John 1:5-7
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I suppose it's appropriate that a difficult exchange has taken place in the comments area of this particular picture, "The Heart of the Matter", and that the picture itself shows a heart enclosed, protected and hidden by walls of stone.

I'm trying to not be interested in mere debating of "beliefs" or "intellectual discussion". I want to know hearts. In the same way, I want people to know my heart, not merely my "ideas".

It's been a tough battle for me because really, for much of my life I was that stony heart in the picture. I didn't want to be hurt, so I didn't open my heart to many people, including to God. But He broke through, comforted me and set me free.

He let me know that it wasn't about my "ideas", but that He was interested in my heart. He wanted to "know" me and He wanted me to know Him.

I recall how when Jesus said "I never knew you" in Matthew 7, He said it to people who had been doing many deeds in His name (and likely believing many right things, too), but in the end He said, "I never knew you." They never let down their inner wall, the mask never came off, and they never let Him into their hearts.

Anyhow, wrapping this up... as Paul told the Corinthians, "Make room for us in your hearts!" He and his fellow workers had loved the Corinthians, but they had not loved him back, preferring instead to criticize him from afar. As a spiritual father, he wanted to give his love to them, just like our Father wants us to open our hearts and give our love to one another.

Blessings in His love to you today,

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Be blessed in His heart today! His heart is for you!

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