The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
How many songs have you heard over the years which direct the listeners to “listen to the heart”, “follow your heart”, or “let your heart lead you”? In truth, if we let our hearts lead us to actions, we would have total anarchy.
Spiritually, our hearts lead us to reject God. This is confirmed by Jesus who states,
18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone” (Matthew 15).
This was addressed to religious people (Pharisees). They were so caught up living by their works and had so much confidence in their flesh, that they rejected the fleshly Son of God. They had no need of an external blotter to wipe away their wickedness.
It is like this in our day, too. Self-centered Christianity (which is not Christianity at all) has replaced the objective work of Jesus on the cross. Out of sinful hearts come all kinds of new inventions which ultimately keep the self in tact, without ever having to suffer the mortal blow of “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6)
This is exactly why Martin Luther (not to be confused with Martin Luther King Jr.) stated that faith is greater than love in the Christian life. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” But, doesn’t this faith come from the heart? No.
Faith is the gift of God (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is born in our crucifixion. Faith is born when we hear of the objective and redemptive work of the God-man, Jesus Christ. Love does not generate faith. God generates faith by crucifying us and resurrecting us as we hear His word.
And He has also come to crucify our man-made pseudo Christian beliefs. Not because He hates us, but because He loves us with an eternal love through His Son, Jesus Christ.