A properly functioning heart is essential to the life of our body. In a spiritual way, the state of our heart is also paramount in our lives for God. I would like to consider the role and effect our heart has in various periods of our lives.
Part I: Life’s beginning: the heart’s role in Rebirth
The Heart and Repentance
Spiritual life begins with the heart. God’s Word must touch my heart before I become serious about my need for salvation. It must reach into my inner being and make me aware of my sinful condition before God and need for forgiveness. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached a message that “pierced to the heart” of the listeners, as they understood that their sins had nailed the Son of God to the tree, and they responded in deep distress, “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 NASB). A repentant heart is first necessary before rebirth can take place.
The Heart and Salvation
The Philippian jailer asked the same question, “What must I do to be saved?” in Acts 16. The response Paul and Silas gave to him was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Paul writes in Romans 10:10 that it is “with the heart one believes and is justified…” (ESV). Faith is believing God, but it is not a simple acceptance of a few facts in the Bible. Faith must be from the heart. It must come from the being of the person, a connection made with the living God, resulting in a life that is transformed. It is a faith that acknowledges I am a guilty sinner, but Jesus died for me, and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior. A person who believes God to salvation is never the same again. A believing heart is essential for salvation.
The Heart and Transformation
When a person is saved, they are a different person. God places His Holy Spirit within them, and they have a new desire to please God. Hebrews 10:16-17 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” A changed heart is the result of salvation.
(to be continued)