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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Incurable hearts

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Joined: 2003/7/28
Posts: 404
Watford, UK

 Incurable hearts

Hi everyone, I created a post on another site about hearts and how they are incurable and stony.

I was asked the following question by someone:

Another thing: if our heart is so desperately wicked (and it is), how do we respond to God in the first place? How did David or Abraham or anyone in the Old Covenant – BEFORE God changed our hearts?

I responded with this:

I personally believe that God does something to a person before they can believe, the question is what does He do?
John 6:44a says "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;"
The word for draw here is used to describe someone drawing water from a well or used as the word "drag" in James 2:6
"But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?"
Therefore is seems as though the person has no choice when the father draws/drags him to Jesus, the question is, does a person have any choice once they are drawn/dragged to Jesus? I believe they do.
In terms of people in the OT I'm not sure but they probably had some kind of drawing/dragging as well.

I would like peoples opinions on this to see if I've gone wrong somewhere. :-o :-D

Mark Nash

 2004/2/20 5:00Profile

Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4807

 Re: Incurable hearts

"Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me [b]life[/b]." Psalm 119:49-50

This is an example of God calling the writer to faith in Him. God speaks to those who will listen, how else can man know Him?

In Christ

Jeff Marshalek

 2004/2/20 6:22Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Incurable hearts

Hi Nasher
We are into what I call bible-psychology. (not biblical-psychology; that is something quite different. I refuse to use words like 'self' and 'ego' and 'sub-conscious') By bible-psychology I mean the way we work as living beings. There are several words that the Bible uses to reveal truth in these realms; spirit, soul, body, mind, heart, reins, conscience, imagination. (you will notice I don't include 'the will') The fun starts when you try to put the jig-saw together. How does the heart relate to the spirit?

The Bible uses the word 'heart' for the centre of everything. It is the centre of our survival system as human beings; it is the centre of our spiritual activity; it is the centre of the sea in Jonah. It means the 'heart' of the thing. ;-)

Man's fountain is corrupt, his heart is stone. It simply means in this sense that part of his being is utterly fixed, resolute. Jer 17, which is where I am quessing you are getting your 'incurable' from begins by describing the perennial sin of Judah, idolatry. It is engraved, says Jeremiah, with a chisel (an iron pen) on the tables of their heart. ie it is indelible. God wrote His law on stone, it was unchangeable.

This spiritual-medical condition has no cure. [Jer 17:9] to express it literally is illuminating; "it is Jacob and incurable". You will see the picture has changed slightly now. The heart was ruined by a law written on it; the law of sin and death? Now Jeremiah says it is twisted/Jacob. He is revealing, by means of two linked but separate ideas, that at the very centre of their being there was an incurable twist; its nature was engraved into it.

The particular sin, in Judah's case, was idolatry. The prophets used some pretty rich language, on occasion this 'twist' in Judah's nature is likened to donkeys in season. There is a relentless drawing in a certain direction and there is no known cure for this condition. It is the backsliding heifer; it is determined to go its own way.

We need to remember that this is the language that God has chosen to reveal truth. I don't really have a stone heart, nor a twisted heart, I have a blood-pump. Sometimes we need to sit loosely to Bible illustrations and just let them speak to our 'feelings'. I guess that everyone knew what Jeremiah meant and no-one could explain it. If you pressed them they would say, "yes, I know what you are saying".

The bible doesn't really teach that sin is located in one part of our being. It has percolated to every part, and infected every part. It is a fountain in our innermost being. The 'heart' cannot initiate a right move towards God, it will always initiate a move away from God. If it were the only influence touching our lives we would be absolutely without hope. But there is hope, but not from within. It must come from outside. Hence, Jeff's great verse in his post. There are many such comments in the Bible; He sent his word and healed them.[Ps 107:20]

Left to our own devices we can make no move towards God, but when He speaks we can respond. His current word has inherent power. Even a Lazarus can hear and respond.

Ron Bailey

 2004/2/20 9:27Profile

Joined: 2003/9/30
Posts: 386
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


It seems everybody's on the same page here. Not always true in these forums. :>

Ultimately, it is God who always take the initiative in drawing us to him. We thought we found him, yet in reality he found us first. It is by God's grace that we could even hear him, and subsequently respond to him.

I think even Calvinists and Arminians agree on this. Arminians like John Wesley call this, "prevenient grace".


 2004/2/23 4:34Profile

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