I have witnessed countless believers giving advice that is Biblical and, in the end, ends up hurting other people because it is not entirely accurate. Lately, I’ve had my ears full of how our hearts are deceitful. Yes. At one point in our lives it was. You see, verses like Jeremiah 17:9 (“more deceitful than all else”…“desperately sick”…“who can understand it”…) addresses the magnitude of the natural condition and the spiritual corruption of a person apart from Christ. This is called “total depravity” in theological terms (it is expanded in Romans 1:18-3:18) and it is a critical doctrine found throughout the Bible. It is usually a reference to those presently unsaved or to a Christian’s unsaved past.
In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul says God made those who are in Christ alive…and that we have been remade for good works. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, he also describes our new birth as being “new creatures” and that the “old things passed away, new things have come.” We are also told in the Bible that Christians “walk in the light”. These (and many other passages) would indicate the deceitful nature of the heart…and for those who are recipients of this new birth in Christ, it has been eliminated. The heart of those saved is no longer described as deceitful…because it has been recreated by God.
Although believers no longer have a deceitful heart, they do continue to have an inadequate heart (for understanding). This is because with every Christian there is a growth process (one might call this “sanctification”). Salvation does not bring with it all knowledge. It brings with it the ability to learn and embrace the things of God. No Christian will be completely transformed until they are glorified. The bottom line is the battle goes on for the Christian once they are saved…one must have an attitude of leaning on Christ and God’s Word for confidence. It is not so much that the heart is deceitful in the Christian, as it is that the heart is inadequate. We need the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16)…and so that is the focus of the Christian in our new birth.
I just wanted to clarify. This topic has been on my heart for quite sometime now. I’ve witnessed countless Christians in deep depression over things like this. I’ve been given a charge by God to “set the captives free” in the life of the Christian who has forgotten The Gospel. I pray this is received well in holy hearts…