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Monday, January 27, 2014

"Heart-felt" Religion

By George Arthur Jackson

    There is no such expression in the Bible as "heart-felt" religion, but the idea of a religion of the heart is found there.
    The religion of Christ is, basically and preeminently, a religion of the heart, Christ rules and controls the heart of the believer and thus controls his conduct.
    Man is a dual being. He has both a physical and a spiritual nature. There is both an “outward” and an “inward” man. (2 Cor.4:16).
    Man has a physical heart, but this is not the heart, which the Bible almost always refers. If so, how was if that Nabal’s “heart died within him” and yet it was about ten days later when “The LORD smote Nabal, so that he died?” (2 Samuel 15:6). And how can a man be on earth and his heart in heaven? (Matt. 6:19-19). And how can five thousand people have only one heart? (Acts 4:4,32).
    The heart affected by Christ is the inner man, that part of man that thinks, feels and wills. With the heart man thinks: “Wherefore think ye evil in your heart?” (Matt. 9:4); Reasons: “Why reason ye these things in your heart?” (Mark 2:8); understands (Romans 10:10); loves (Matt. 23:37); hates (Leviticus 19:17); purposes Daniel 1:9); resolves (Judges 5:15); and obeys (Roman 6:17-18).
    Man can control his heart. God once destroyed the world because “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”(Gen. 6:1-8) Man can “wash” his heart (Jer. 4:14) “harden” his heart (Heb. 3:8) “keep” his heart (Prov. 4:23); or he can allow Satan to fill his heart with wickedness (Acts 5:3). The change of heart is very important, and yet many do not understand what it is. They think the change of heart is a feeling located in the physical heart. This is not true, but is a change which takes place in the inner man - a change of the intellect, the emotions, and the will. In this revolutionary process one’s thinking is changed from unconcern and open hostility to faith and love for God; and one’s will is changed from stubborn impenitence to penitence. This change is accomplished by the Spirit through the Word of God.
    When this change of the inner man has taken place , the outer man (the body) is ready to yield in obedience to Christ.

 - via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website:
http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org

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