Let’s consider how the term heart is used in the Bible, both in Hebrew and in Greek. Over 1000 times the Bible refers to our hearts!
First, let’s get this out of the way. This term is not speaking of the Physical organ called a heart by us today. That is just not what is being spoken about at all.
The Hebrew word for the physical heart is “Kardia”! The Hebrew term for “soul” is Nephesh. In the Greek, the term for our innermost being is spoken of as “Psuche” or the soul! The physical heart in Greek is Lebh.
Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 7: 21-23;
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Jesus is speaking primarily about a LOST person here. Not a redeemed person who is born again and a new creation, but even a new creation born again person, has dwelling in his body the flesh, or (Sarx in Greek) sin, which seeks to express itself, and many times comes forth in our bodies even though we are “new created” persons in Christ. Most of the “heart” or “innermost being of man”, and I say it in that manner because ‘sin’ dwells within the body, has been made new by the new birth! But we have left, the core of sin and it is residing in our bodies now.
I realize that it is difficult to put our minds around all of this innermost part of our being. We have the conscience, the mind, the desires, the will, the thoughts, then our spirit and our soul, along with the unregenerated part of our being, which is consider the “old man”, or “the flesh”, and sin which dwells therein. So, I certainly am not an authority of how all of this works out, but we do know for sure two facts: we are now new creatures (creation), born again, a spiritual birthed into existence person and we are sanctified, holy, with God dwelling in us, and He has purified and forgive us of all and that means ALL sins, past, present, and future ones. So we are now considered saints by God. Children of God! I think Paul and John, both apostles, spoke of this dichotomy that exist at the one and the same time now that we are saved. The NEW MAN is in Christ perfect, the OLD MAN is still under sin and although considered by the new man as dead, it functions in its environment. It works on our fallen nature which is still existing and has not been regenerated or born of the spirit yet. It will one day be resurrected from the dust of the ground or translated to a spiritual body, if we are alive in this physical body we have now on earth when Jesus comes back.
The confusion comes when we hear words and teachings which imply we are still sinners or wicked people as if we have not been forgiven of all of our sins now, and have still wickedness dwelling in all of our faculties, which the Bible states has had a New Spiritual Birth making us HOLY people! Also, the idea that our sins need to be handled as if we are still in the past, they are NOT forgiven, so we have to confess, repent of, and turn from them and ask Jesus to cover them with the Blood Atonement again as if they have not been forgiven under Justification by faith which means ALL sins past, present and future have been put away and not to be remembered against us any more.
If the present and future ones are not that way, then we are asking for Christ to shed His blood again and atone for our sins again, and thus we are like the Roman Catholics who keep Christ on the Cross and have no assurance at all they are saved by Grace through faith in His ONE TIME CROSS BLOOD SHEDDING act. This is so wrong. Yes, we do bow to Jesus, and confess our failures and sins after being born again and have become saints! But the idea is that we recognize that His blood covers those sins already, and we recognize that It is no longer I that sin (the new man) but rather sin that dwells in me, or in my fallen old man body.
Asking Jesus through the Spirit of God to empower us to not obey its lusts and temptations and following through with such sinful activities now that we are IN HIM. Our new man is NEVER contaminated again by Sin! That is impossible because Sin and the Devil would have to BREAK THROUGH CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GET TO OUR NEW BORN PERSONHOOD! THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Hebrews tells us that there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, if after trusting in Christ, we sin again and more. The point is that they are under Christ’s blood! He paid for them at the Cross and nailed them to the Cross. But we seek to resurrect the old or past sins or present ones we engage in and make them fall into a position whereby He has to atone for them again. No double jeopardy folks! Not so!
So confessing our current sins and failures is proper. We acknowledge they are wrong, we hate them and we stand with Christ and His word and law! But remembering all the time they are forgiven already! We ask for more strength in the SPIRIT to see us control our behavior patterns which exist still with the body of skin and bones having the “flesh” that is, the old man of sin still residing. Our identiy now is as a saint, a born again new creature or creation, not the same old dead man or sinful acting person now. We walk in the Spirit and deny the flesh which we consider by faith is dead to me and I am dead to the world, the flesh and the devil really. I seek to walk in my new identify which is as a Saint and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this flesh, yes, as Paul said, “Even Jesus Christ our Lord”! He will and is and does!
To try and make it simple, let’s remember that the term is speaking of the innermost being of a person. When we were lost, our innermost being classified as our “heart” was defiled, a idol factory as John Calvin would say.
From this, you can see how that ‘sin’ produces these fruits and they flow from the very core of a child, orman or woman’s being. That is, their entire spirit being such as: soul and spirit (God says this is a two-fold part of man for HE can divide it and if HE sees it as two it is two); innermost being, and in fact, as a lost person, our entire conscience, mind and thoughts are evil continually.
Jeremiah 31:34 speaks of the New Covenant ‘born again’ experience or work created by our Lord in our hearts and innermost being. Jesus told Nicodemus “no one would even see the kingdom of God unless they were “born again”. Born of the SPIRIT!
Notice Jeremiah’s words:
“Behold, the days are coming says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—–not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their MINDS, and write it on their Hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for They ALL (all saved ones), shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The point then is this; Born again people made so by Christ alone, through the new spiritual birth, makes a person a “totally new creation”! One that did not exist prior to the new birth. It is NEW just as the New Covenant is New! It did not exist in the same manner as in the OT even though many were saved by grace in the OT! This new creation means that the “innermost part of a lost person comes alive and is no longer dead to God and the Spirit of God”! That means the “heart is the innermost part of each of us, and it is Radically changed by the power of the resurrected Christ. He didn’t do a patch up! He didn’t do it half-way, it is NEW and it is considered holy and sanctified now!
The heart consists of at least (soul, spirit, innermost part of a human being)! The Flesh (SARX in Greek) is where sin abides. The Flesh (Carnal part of the inner part of the skin and bones of a person) still under the domain of sin! Sin, now in a Christian, that would come forth, doesn’t come from the Regenerated heart of man now, it comes from that which is in the fallen body of man, his flesh or I think we could say his or her carnal nature, where it is stationed and lives.
The New Man, struggles, as the Holy Spirit and Christ, in Whom we are now living and abiding, senses the tempations, the weakness and many times allows such sin to operate in the body. Let’s let John the Apostle interpret this. I know it is difficult because these are mysteries of the new birth and yet it is so. Note John now in 1 John 3:4-9;
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him there is no sin. Whoever ABIDES in HIM DOES NOT SIN. WHOEVER SINS HAS NEITHER SEEN HIM NOR KNOWN HIM. Little children, let NO ONE DECEIVE YOU. He who practices righteousness is righteous, JUST AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the SON OF GOD was manifested, that HE might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God DOES NOT SIN, FOR HIS SEED REMAINS IN HIM; AND HE CANNOT SIN BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.
(NOTE: This confirms and goes along with what Paul the Apostle is stating in Romans 7 through 8! I will quote this later. But remember this!
So, it is SIN doing the Sinning and not the New Man who cannot sin, because he or she is IN CHRIST and IN CHRIST means Christ will not sin and won’t allow us to do so either. It is NOT our nature now. We are born again and totally and fully FORGIVEN, PURIFIED, MADE HOLY, HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND AS THE APOSTLE JOHN STATES HIS SEED REMAINS IN US SO WE CANNOT SIN!
This is so important to see how it all works out. Essential really, or if not, we will be very confused and very depressed, and very susceptible to shame, disgrace, and guilt! Listen carefully to what Paul states as a Christ follower and a Saved man, for the grammer demands this has to be his spiritual condition as he speaks of all of this. For a lost man would NEVER LOVE the LAW of God – NEVER!
Romans 7: 13 et.al.:
“Has then what is good (the law) become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For WE know that the law is spiritual, but I AM CARNAL, ‘sold under sin.
For what I AM doing, I DO NOT understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
(NOTE: No lost sinner can state such a thing. Sinners do not love the law, nor do they want to obey it and they do not hate their sin, but rather love it!_
Verse 16: “If then, I DO what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. BUT NOW, IT IS no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I KNOW that in me (that is, IN MY FLESH,) NOTHING GOOD DWELLS; for to will is present with me, but HOW to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, IT IS NO LONGER I WHO DO IT, BUT SIN THAT DWELLS IN ME. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
Note again: Paul recognizes that alongside of his regenerated nature (heart, soul/spirit), abides this sin!
Verse 22: “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (Only a saint could say that).
But I see another law in my MEMBERS (Flesh, the carnal nature which exists in the body of skin and bones and blood), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! Who will deliver me from this BODY OF DEATH? (That is now distinctively showing that we (the saint, lives in a wretched falled body),
THE VICTORY AND THE DELIVERANCE IS NOW SHOWN!
VERSE 25: “I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, WITH THE MIND I MYSELF SERVE THE LAW OF GOD BUT WITH THE FLESH THE LAW OF SIN. There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION TO THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO DO NOT WALK ACCORDING TO THE FLESH, BUT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.”
No one but a born again, new creation, saint, and follower of Jesus Christ could echo these words. He uses the terms me, my, I, now, etc., proving he is the subject matter of the activities being spoken about who has this very state of being on planet earth at that moment. ALL of us are like this if we have been born again. WE ARE SAINTS AND PRIOR LISTED AS SINNERS CUT OFF FROM GOD LIVING IN DEATH AND DARKNESS. Now we have a New LIFE and a Regenerated inner man who lives and abides in Christ alone! Living in a body which was bought by Christ and the Holy Spirit is the down payment on the body, which will one day be resurrected or translated and made new also.
I must insist also that we do no wish to sin, we do not advocate it is o.k. to sin and abuse the Grace of God in us, but we must realize that as saints, we do have a body which has sin living in it and will face all the time temptations from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Sometimes we fail and sin, gross sins, but most all the time we are not measuring up in the flesh we live in. That part of us has not been regenerated or redeemed as yet.
The new heart is new. It doesn’t have now a idol factory but the Flesh denotes sin living in the body and it is corrupt. We are now saints, so let us live as saints and realize that SIN shall NOT have dominion over us in our new man. WE died to sin so remember who we are and our identity in Christ. Sin can only operated in the unregenerate part of our body where it dwells. It can’t touch the heart, the soul, the spirit and the regenerated portion of any true believer. It can only seek to function in using the law to created sinful fruit in the body, and we are not to allow it to do so, with the help and power of the word of God and the Holy Spirit, but we still have this struggle and will have until we are glorified. SINLESS PERFECTIONISM DOESN’T EXIST IN ANY TRUE SAINT LIVING IN A FALLEN BODY. ONLY IN THE SENSE OF THE NEW CREATION THAT LIVES WITHIN THAT BODY CAN ONE BE CONSIDERED NOT SINNING AND A SAINT! HOLY! SANCTIFIED! BORN AGAIN!
If all of this is not true, then we have a very confused situation existing, that is, the entire new creation is polluted and Christ and the Holy Spirit and the Father who dwells in us is implicated in the sin that goes on as it expresses itself outwardly in our bodies. For we are IN CHRIST JESUS, and the HOLY SPRIT dwells within the New Creation and is HID by God there. That is why God can look upo you and I CHRIST and see NO SIN AT ALL – FOR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE SINS ARE TOTALLY COVERED AND NO MORE! This is really being debated all the time in many circles, but in my opinion, I think this is where we are, according to the word of God given to us, especially by Christ and Paul.
John Piper seems to come to these conclusions also but his idea of the “heart” seems to be flawed for he considers it to still be in a state of progressive sanctification, which I would consider that progressive work is spiritual maturity regarding knowing God and Christ and more knowledge of Him etc., along with of course, more spiritual strength exerted through the Spirit to control the operation of SIN in the body we inhabit. I see the heart as a NEW born again Creation by God Himself living in me. Kept by HIM, Me hiding in Him, Covered by His blood, Sheltered from wrath, condemnation, and the Anger of God the Judge, until the day of my passing out of this wretched body, to be with Him in the City of God prepared for me and all of us who know Him! Hope this helps you deal with your own personal struggles which we all go through in Life!
Conclusion: 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24 reads, “Now may the God of peace Himself Sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who CALLS you is faithful, He will surely do it.”
That was Paul’s prayer for the body of Christ in Thessalonica and for all down through the centuries.
READ Paul Tripp’s words in his book Morning Meditations;
“You and I live between the “already” and the “not yet.”
Already God has set His plan of Grace in motion.
Already the prophets have spoken.
Already Jesus has come.
Already He has suffered and died.
Already He has risen in victory from the tomb.
Already the Spirit has come.
Already the Word has been given.
But not yet is God’s work in the world finished.
Not yet is His work in our ‘hearts’ done. (*The flesh inside filled with sin, not the born again new creation)! *My words
Not yet is the last enemy under His feet.
Not yet is He ready to say: “Beloved, all things are now ready. Enter into my final kingdom.”
Read Psalm 89!
*Remember, the born again or new birth, the regenerated, the identity of the “real saint” – you and I, the sanctified already one, the innermost heart, soul and spirit, which IS IN CHRIST JESUS AND IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND IN THE FATHER GOD, WHO ABIDES IN US AND WITH US ALWAYS, MEANS THAT YOU AND I WILL NEVER BE MORE SAVED AND IN CHRIST THAN WE ARE TODAY! He perfected that when He did the work of Regeneration, that is, being made alive from the dead. He DID NOT DO A PATCH UP JOB! Our body now, is in a process of being sanctified, set apart for holy use, and which houses the carnal, and is called the flesh, and sin which dwells therein, will give us many problems and struggles during our remaining time on earth. That is why we need Ephesians chapter 6 spiritual warfare spiritual armor on daily. Remember also, our skin, bones, veins, muscles, tendons, blood, WHICH IS MATTER, IS NOT SIN, BUT SIN DWELLS IN IT TO DESTROY IT. Thanks be unto God His Holy Spirit has claimed this body and will resurrect it after it dies, or will translate it when He comes in the clouds back to earth one day. Either way we get a full package; body, soul, spirit fully glorified and free of sin and its effects.
by Lamar Carnes