Deceitful Hearts
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama
"Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17:5-10).
    There is an awesome matter before us today, and every day it continues, and will continue so long as we dwell in mortal flesh. And that matter concerns the heart. It concerns the depraved nature of the heart. It concerns the deceit that lurks within the heart of sinful man. We cannot cast it out, nor can we hope to reform it so as to alter its nature. We may, to some degree, restrain, but we cannot reform.
    I call your attention to verse 9 of the reading from Jeremiah, chapter 17, and ask that you prayerfully enter into a concentrated study of the text within the context of what is recorded. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" This text will occupy our thoughts as we seek to examine the great truths that God presents to His people. May we be taught. May we examine.
    One other text comes to our minds, which is also connected with what we seek to declare to you during the course of this message. Look to chapter 14 of the same writing: "Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought,and the deceit of their heart" (Jeremiah 14:14).
    I stand firmly convinced that the heart is deceitful. I stand firmly convinced that the heart is deceitful above all things. I stand firmly convinced that the heart is deceitful above all things, and that none can know it so as to understand, nor exercise sufficient control over it.
    Yet, I must speak to myself, and to each of you who hear or read these words, what I consider to be a heavenly dictated maxim. And that is, "Know thyself." God's word enjoins us to consider our circumstances, and our state. Not only what is our condition, but also what is our nature. Not only what is our conduct, but more vitally, what is our character.
    It has been reported that John Bunyan said, of himself, that he often prayed that God forgive his sins. But, he then declared that when he, John Bunyan, was permitted and caused to see himself as God saw him, his prayers then became, "Lord, forgive me for being sin". Not only for sinning, but for being sin. And so it is with every one who is so brought to look at themselves as they ought, and to "know thyself". May we all be so brought.
    Whatever knowledge we may possess in matters of the things around us, the world and all its many and varied subjects, the universe and all its myriad arrangements, is of little real value to us if we do not know ourselves. Whatever knowledge of these things we might strive to attain throughout the entire span of our lifetime will avail us nothing if we pass through that span being destitute of any real knowledge of ourselves. For without knowledge of ourselves, we will never be made to see our need to know God. The apostle Paul wrote, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Romans 7:7).
    Paul said, "... I had not known sin ...". Did he say, or did he imply when he thus wrote that he was not infected by sin, when he conducted himself as he said that he did? Did he say that while he lived most manifestly as a "Pharisee of the Pharisees", that he was not then a sinner? If he was not then a sinner, when did he become a sinner?
    No, dear ones, he did not say that he was not a sinner. What he said was that he did not know that he was a sinner. He did, not know himself to be what in actuality he was. He had a totally misguided opinion of himself, for he said concerning his life then as Saul, that, "I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (Acts 26:9).
    But take note of this same one, who, following a work of grace having been performed on his heart, made this resounding statement concerning himself. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (I Timothy 1:15).
    Paul said of himself that he was before, "... a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." (I Timothy 1:13). He, previous to this transaction by God in his behalf, was ignorant of his condition, and while in that awful state, went about doing those things that were injurious to God's people and to His cause. His heart was so deceitful until it had convinced this highly religious man that he was doing God service, when in reality, he was a blasphemer and a rebel against the God whom he thought he was faithfully serving. How deceitful was his heart?
    Dear reader, ignorance of ourselves is a willful blindness, for which we cannot plead extenuations. Men who do not know themselves and their state of blindness are in that deplorable condition because of sin. And sin was willful on Adam's part, and consequently on all our parts, for we sinned when Adam sinned, and are fully responsible before God for our sins. "... Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it :..." (Genesis 3:17). Did Adam willfully sin?
    Ignorance of ourselves is willful. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:19,20). "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willing are ignorant of, ..." (II Peter 3:3-5).
    Ignorance of ourselves likens us to a traveler who prefers to go on in the darkness with all its attendant dangers to the journey being taken in the fullness of light. To grope in darkness is to be desired over moving in light? How foolish is the darkened heart of man?
    God's word is the only resource which is available to us so that we can find the way. God's Spirit is the only source of enablement that we have for the self-examination that we all need so that we can "know ourselves", as we must be brought to do in order to know of the deceitfulness of our own hearts; and then be brought to lean not upon our own arm of fleshly strength, but instead upon Him who is our Strength.
    God's word is our resource. It is our only sure haven of safe harbor. It is our only light to enable our journey to be taken in full illumination; in full safety. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105). "For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the diving asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12). Note that God's word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart!
    The text that we have presented to initiate this look into ourselves gives us a fearful, yet most accurate and revealing picture of ourselves. It also shows forth in vivid and unequivocal terms the moral condition of the soul. "The heart is deceitful ..." Thus, our subject can be seen as the spiritual anatomy of the heart, and we most surely need to carefully examine ourselves in light of this declaration that God has made concerning the condition of our hearts.
    First, let us verify the great and grand truths of this text. Then, we will seek to picture these truths so as to place the deceitful hearts on open display. And finally, we will seek to apply the truths of this text so as to be benefited in our lives, and to magnify the grace of God in living those lives as pleasing Him.
Verification of Truths
    When we begin to analyze what is told us in the text, we discover that what is said of the heart actually relates to the whole soul, to the entire mental man. In this analysis, we see that included here in this overall statement is the understanding, the judgment, the conscience, the will, the passion, and all other faculties of man, without exception. We see the depravity of man described when the heart is opened to view.
    Man's understanding is darkened. "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart :..." (Ephesians 4:17,18). Note that the believing Gentiles in the Lord's church were not to walk, or conduct themselves, as other, unbelieving, unregenerate Gentiles walk, in the vanity (emptiness) of their darkened minds, and this due to the fact that their hearts were blinded.
    Man's judgment is impaired. When Adam rebelled against God, and sinned against His Holiness, what did he then do? The inspired record bears out that he exercised his judgment as to what he imagined he ought to do under these circumstances, and did exactly opposite what sound judgment would dictate. Instead of fleeing to God so as to seek His forgiveness and corrective action, he fled from God and sought to undertake for himself. Was his judgment impaired? His actions say so. What about those fig leaf aprons he fashioned? What about his seeking to hide himself from God?
    Man's will is alienated from God. To captive Israel God said, "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." (Ezekiel 18:31,32). To His own people, God has frequently spoken that they might be instructed in the ways that please Him. Yet, because of their sin and the consequences of their sin, their darkened hearts and demented wills remain at odds with Him. Their will is toward themselves and their ambitions, and is contrary to His will.
   To Israel also the Lord Jesus Christ said, "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." (John 1:11). "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40).
    It seems to be needful as we proceed in this examination of our deceitful hearts, and the abject wickedness that these hearts exhibit to take a moment and look at the words "deceitful" and "wicked", since these two words have been chosen by the Holy Spirit to describe the heart of sinful man, as He superintended the writing of the Bible.
    The term, deceitful, literally means crooked, perverse, and totally lacking in conformity to that which is right, both as right pertains to rule, and to action. Crooked means tricky, as regards conduct; not to be trusted; dishonest. Perverse means turned aside; distorted from the right; obstinate in the wrong; disposed to be contrary.
    The term, deceitful, also means that what goes forth is false and fraudulent, both as to motive and intent. False signifying all that is not truth, and fraudulent signifying that the falseness is motivated by a deceitful intent to defraud, or to do, or cause evil to ensue. It is a monstrous display of self-will seeking to assert itself at whatever cost that may be incurred. In the case of rebellion against God, the cost to be borne is the cost of condemnation, resulting in separation from God. What an awesome cost this is. And yet man insists upon his own way, even when these costs result. Folly!
    The term, wicked, signifies corrupt, criminal, and totally given over to evil. It means, evil in principle and in practice; deviating from, or contrary to moral or divine law; addicted to vice; sinful; immoral; depraved; vicious. This description is of the heart. It is deceitful. It is wicked.
    Now, as we seek to verify the truths of this text, we will do so by presenting to you such evidence as cannot be denied nor successfully gainsayed. We will prove conclusively what the text declares. We will call forth the testimony of Scripture. We will call forth from the history of wicked men. And we will present also the record of the weakness and sins of those men who are generally regarded as "good men".
    First, we declare that the statements that God has made concerning men of old time are true, even today, as they were true when God spoke them. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). Jesus testified of the same truth when He said, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:18-20).
    Scripture likens man's deceitful heart to a cage of unclean birds, and to a corrupt fountain, and to a bad tree that can bring forth no good fruit. Scripture declares that the heart is not right with God, that the heart is forward to evil, that it is full of evil imaginings, that it is full of hypocrisy, etc., etc. The heart is said to be hard, impenitent, perverse, rebellious, and set to do evil.
    Then, we will call upon recorded history from the Scriptures, from man's recorded history, and from contemporary knowledge that the life and conduct of wicked men will verify the truths of the text into which we are looking as we seek to examine ourselves, to "know ourselves". Without going into great depths of detail, I will call your attention to some whom God has been pleased to tell us of. As we call your mind to these, I ask you to look into the Scriptures so that the record may be verified; so that the truths of the text may be verified and established in our minds.
    Examine the scriptural account of Cain. Did he exhibit a wicked, rebellious heart? Did he bring forth, in faith, a suitable and acceptable sacrifice? Did he? Why didn't he? Was his heart deceitful and wicked? Did not his sinful nature show itself when his heart convinced him that surely the best that his hands could produce would find favor when he presented the produce of his fields and of his labor?
    Look also to Pharaoh. Did not his heart lead him to continuously defy God and insist upon his imagined mastery of his own destiny? Did he not openly and flagrantly pronounce his independence from the God of the Hebrews? In fact, the heart of sinful Pharaoh manifested itself in all its grotesque arrogance when from the abundant evil that lurked in the deepest recesses of his depraved heart, his mouth was led to issue forth this terribly blasphemous statement: "...Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go." (Exodus 5:2). From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. And so, from the abundant wickedness of Pharaoh's heart, his mouth spoke.
    Look also to the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Look to the envious, sensual inhabitants of those cities as they sought to promote their "alternate life style", and to walk totally contrary to principle and practice of both divine order and moral precept. From the abundance of their wicked hearts, having been fed by the deceit from within, their mouths spoke, and their wicked and sinful lives defied God and His prescribed ways. And so it is, even to this dreadful day. Nothing is different.
    Look to Judas, to Pilate, to Saul, and to numerous others whose miserable lives are set forth for our examination in the Scriptures. In each of their cases, we may correctly view the outpouring of evil that dwelled within their darkened, depraved hearts. We may even be caused to wonder at God's willingness to tolerate such enmity against Himself as is so clearly exhibited by these, and other monsters who have lived while they so openly defied the God who rules supremely over all His creation. "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:" (Romans 9:22).
    And what of wicked men of our age, even of our day? What of Adolph Hitler? What of Saddam Hussein? What of Jeffrey Dahmer? What of wicked men of every age, innumerable in number, but alike in their character? What of sodomites today? What of wickedness of every stripe and species that runs rampant in the societies of the entire world today? What of sinful man in total?
    In these wicked men that we have named specifically, and those we have generally identified or alluded to, can we not see what man can become. Can we not see how vile, wicked, and terrible men in their depravity may become?
    As further study into the lives of men that are generally identified as "good men", as opposed to the adamantly wicked men that we have been viewing will reveal, we see evidence that substantiates what we have said. From the so-called worst to the best of men, and from the lowest to the highest of men, we find conclusive proof, when the facts are verified, that tell us of man's deceitful heart.
    Look at Noah as an example of what we are saying. Here is a man who has been commended by his exemplary life. Here is a man who is said to be one who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and whose life, generally, is a life that was found to be pleasing unto the Lord. And yet, because of excesses, he is also seen as being clothed in shame, as drunkenness are displayed. And this conduct from Noah, whom God set apart from all other men, and was pleased to save he and his family when judgment came upon men.
    Look at Lot. A man who is said to possess a righteous soul. A man who, being one of God's men, yet goes after the allurements and benefits, though fleeting, of the world. Lot looked upon the well watered plain and chose him that way and that place in which to live, not giving proper regard to what would please the Lord. He looked. He chose. His choice being influenced by the deceitful testimony of his own heart. Many today do likewise. They look, and choose, without regard for what God would have them do.
    Look at Jacob. Here is a man chosen of God to an exalted position. Yet, by fraud he robs his brother of the natural birthright, and by deceit he tricks his father into the bestowal of blessing. Jacob is a cunning and sly one. His heart led him to conspire and to act as he did. But so are many of us and of our contemporaries.
    And we could go on, but space and time are limitations upon our look. So, we just call your attention to the names of others, and ask you to consider their lives so that you will be able to affirm that what we are saying is true. Look at Moses, and Aaron, and David, and Solomon, and Peter, and you and I. Oh, to our shame, we too are included, the evidence is in. We too have deceitful hearts!
    As we continue the examination of our hearts, so that we can better know ourselves, we see the truths of this text illustrated as our deceitful hearts are displayed. We would not want to admit to their depravity, but we find no avenue open to us that allows us to escape the truth. The picture is too clearly drawn for further evasion, and we are left to the stark  reality that confronts us.
    Our deceitful hearts must be viewed and acknowledged. We must see them as they present a picture of ourselves. Oh, how often are we deceived as our hearts flatter us by representing our state as being better than it actually is. How often we are led to imagine that all is well with us while all the time we are being further drugged by the opium of conceit and self pride.
    We might admit to ourselves that the general wickedness that is all around us has some vague but remote effect upon us and upon our actions. We might even concede to the weakness and feebleness that infects all of mankind. But we are so unwilling to even discuss our own personal sinfulness in any great detail. We are reluctant to even consider that our specific sins can be truly ours. Always someone else's. But surely not ours. We try to be examined and judged by the more favorable aspects of our character. We strive to magnify the benevolent and kind acts that we may perform, and to totally ignore, or at least to minimize, our short-comings and our failures.
    Have you ever read a person's autobiography? I surely can not place each and every person's account of their lives into this exact mold, but generally, it can be said that man's account of himself reflects the same appraisals as he would give of himself were he to be asked. There are, of course, some exceptions. But as a rule, the autobiography of a person majors on good, while minimizing bad.
    Then too, our hearts often deceive us by providing for us a veritable endless supply of excuses and extenuations for our particular sins. Our hearts plead as a cover-up for our constitution, that is, our physiological and psychological make up to always give us a way out, an escape path so as to avoid responsibility. And so it is also with our education, or our examples, or the general influences by our environmental surroundings.
    It is so evident that sin and evil always finds other people, other things, other times, or other circumstances to place the blame for our sins upon. And it is our own deceitful hearts that conceive these excuses. We are mortally infected with this malady.
    Our hearts so often prevent us from any in-depth consideration of the consequences for our sins. It is as if our consciences have literally been seared over with a hot iron, so as to eradicate any sensitivity. This opium effect causes our hearts to shut out from our view the certainty of death and judgment, and of eternity and loss. It even can cause God's people to imagine that there is no chastening hand of the Lord to be feared.
    The inducement to put off until some other time the needed repentance and striving toward a corrective manner of life comes also from within the depths of our hearts. And yet the Scriptures teach the necessity of the repentance that we seek to delay or to avoid. There is no way out. We cannot escape. God requires men everywhere to repent. The lost are commanded to repent. The saved are commanded to repent. The Lord's churches are commanded to repent. But our hearts tell us, not now. Sometime, but not now.
    The deceitfulness of our hearts are also shown when we consider our thoughts and our actions toward other men. Are there those who read these words who would dare to submit himself and his life to the test of permitting and inviting another man to take a long, searching, revealing look into his heart? Would you, or I, ask that every sin, overt or covert, be placed on public display, enumerated, labeled, and in every way, made known to others? Would you, or I, consent to the drawing back of the curtain that conceals from view our innermost thoughts?
    "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:21-22). "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28).
    Then, the deceitfulness of our hearts is shown when we consider our thoughts and actions toward God. As we take a correct and careful look at our heart dictated thoughts and actions toward God, we are found to be displaying utter and complete madness. To be, and to act deceitful toward God is the utmost folly.
    So often we present to Him mere external service. In our foolishness, we present to Him our lips, our hands, our feet, our knees; even our PROFESSIONS. But, the spirit, the heart, the lowliness, the humility, the dedication, the DUTY are so frequently lacking. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8). "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." (Ezekiel 33:31). "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
    When we confess our sins, and follow with a vow of abandonment of those sins, and then persist in those same sins as if we had not confessed and vowed at all, we are so clearly demonstrating that our hearts are still filled with deceit and evil. Oh, dear one, please look carefully at your life! Please seek grace daily so as to be enabled to acknowledge and confess your sins, and then to come away from them. It is pleasing to God when we do so. It is folly on our part not to do so.
    Our hearts also are shown in their true colors when we plead God's grace at the expense of His justice and His righteousness. We foolishly imagine that because "where sin abounds, grace does much more abound", is an excuse to be claimed by us each time we sin. But, hear the Scriptures: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1,2).
    When we expect God's mercy, even when we are daily refusing His mercy, we are demonstrating the deceit that lies within our own hearts. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:8,9). We do not keep short accounts with God. We do not confess our sins as we should, thus the chastening hand of God is upon us, and will not be restrained. May we see our need, and act accordingly.
    Just how deceitful is the heart of man? The text has declared, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" How deceitful is the heart? Superlatively deceitful! Deceitful above all things. Thee is nothing more deceitful than the heart of man. It is the epitome of deceitfulness, and has no peer.
    The Scriptures announce, and confirm, that Satan is a deceiver. But, the heart, acting under the influence of evil, sins, even against the greatest love that any creature could know. For God's people, who are, and have eternally been the objects of God's love, sin against Him. This cannot be said of Satan; of the fallen angels; of the reprobate; nor of any other creature. God's love has never been upon these. But it is, and has always been upon God's elect, even when they were alien sinners. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
    Because Satan introduced sin to man, and is the originator of it, it is assumed by some that he is the continuing cause of it. But this is not the case. When Adam willfully sinned, he, being an accountable, responsible creature before God, now bears his own guilt. He cannot correctly plead, "the devil made me do it". Not so. His own will was to eat of the forbidden fruit. He was not deceived by Satan. Eve was. Adam was not. But when he sinned, the result is that his own heart is now irreconcilably darkened. He is sin. So, from that moment on, his ruined heart is the source of the on-going deceit. His heart is not reparable. It must be replaced. And only the Great Physician is qualified to perform that transplant.
    The old, stony heart of man is now the source of deceit. The old heart is said to be the fullness, the fountain, the root, the womb of all deceit. "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1).
    Not only is the heart the source of deceit, it is also an instrument that is deceitful under all circumstances, and at all times. When prosperity is our portion, our hearts remain deceitful. When adversity is upon us, our hearts remain deceitful. When we are blessed with good health, or with sickness; when we face life or death; when in our youth or in old age, our hearts remain deceitful.
    The heart is deceitful beyond our knowledge or description. We cannot, within the limits of our knowledge, and within the limits of human language, describe, nor fully know the awful depths of our depravity, and of the deceit that has permeated every fiber and particle of our human make-up. The Scriptures have asked, "... who can know it?"
    Not the wisest and best among men can know the heart of man. God ONLY sees it and understands it. God ONLY knows the thoughts of men. All men. "But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." (John 2:24,25). The heart is deceitful and wicked beyond our capacity to restore. It is "desperately wicked". It is true that human influence and effort may, to some very limited degree, restrain and modify. But God alone can heal and restore. God alone can renew. Desperately wicked hearts are outside the realm of control, so far as the power of man is concerned.
    Therefore, we conclude, that what man whose heart as here described needs, is more than his resources are able to supply. What he needs is to have the stony heart taken out, and a new heart given to him. And he cannot perform such as is required. But, God can! "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26).
Truths Application
    The text has addressed these profound truths, and they concern every one who hears, or reads these words. Not one of us can escape the stringent demands that are placed upon us, nor can we meet these just and righteous demands, which require us to serve God with no deceit or conceit in our hearts, or evidenced in our lives. Therefore, let none of us seek to evade what is declared. Rather, let "every mouth be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God". (Romans 3:19). May we cry out, "Oh Lord, have mercy on me!"
    Surely, we should be able to see that our hearts ought not to be trusted. "He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife; but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." (Proverbs 28:25,26).
    We could more safely trust in the deadly serpent than to trust in the deceitful heart of man. We could more safely trust in the deep darkness with its sure dangers than to trust in our hearts.
    Let us not be satisfied with the performance of such hearts as we possess in our mortal flesh. Let us seek, rather, to take our case daily before the Lord so that we may there receive cleansing, and transformation, and continual sanctification. Let us lean hard upon the Lord, and trust Him, and put ourselves at His mercy so that we may be made pure.
                    There is a fountain filled with blood,
                    Drawn from Immanuel's veins,
                    And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
                    Lose all their guilty stains.
    Oh, my dear reader, let us know of our most desperate needs, and let us, with all haste and constancy flee to Him who knows us and knows our needs, and is able to meet. all those awesome needs. Let us flee to Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Let us look to Mount Calvary where the Prince of Glory died.
    Jesus is willing, and He is able to save them that come unto Him. He has never been found to be lacking, at any time, under any circumstances. He is able to save. He will give new hearts, and then He will make those new hearts the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. He will fill those new hearts with His peace, and will never, never, ever leave, nor forsake His own.

(The Baptist Herald - April, 1992)

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