Thursday, April 20, 2017

“The Redemption of the Heart”

"The Redemption of the Heart"         

   You've heard the old adage, "The only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history."  There's much truth in the thought, whether in personal, individual terms, or regarding the human race as a whole.  This reflects a plainly stated Biblical declaration:

   "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

   Humanity's great problem involves not the education of the mind, but rather the redemption of the heart.  This is not to minimize the value of learning.  "With all thy getting, get understanding" counseled Solomon (Proverbs 4:7).  However, we can fill our minds with facts, organize them into understanding, and still find ourselves groping in the darkness of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.  To truly live requires spiritual regeneration, reformation, and rebirth.  The Spirit of God must take residence within us for the purpose of initiating and executing an ongoing work of spiritual and moral change.  "Ye must be born again" declared the Lord Jesus (John 3:7).  Regarding our current consideration, emphasize the word "must."  Only the salvation of Christ makes possible our learning from history, that is, our transformational discovery of those paths that lead to life, and those that lead to death.  "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).

   The work of heart change involves progress and growth in our present lifetime rather than perfection.  Believers still sometimes repeat the same mistakes despite the active working of God's Spirit in our hearts.  We've all found ourselves coming to the Lord to yet again confess a sin that we've committed before.  No excuses.  We should have known better.  We should have learned.  But we do at times fall into the same pit that felled us in the past.  Thankfully, a merciful and patient Lord lifts us up yet again as we look to Him in repentance and confession.  "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 2:1).  Moreover, He always works in us that we might learn from our history of both success and failure.  The progress may seem slow and sometimes even imperceptible.  It continues nevertheless as the Lord fulfills His promise: "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

   History teaches us.  We do well to illuminate our minds accordingly.  However, we do better to heed Solomon's command to "keep thy heart with all diligence."  This we accomplish by directing our hearts to the One who diligently works to change our innermost being into the likeness of His Son: "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).  Only God can change who and what we most deeply are.  The new birth began such grace.  The indwelling Holy Spirit continues the process, and we can be sure of His perfect faithfulness to help us learn from history, but even more, to execute the conforming of our hearts into the likeness of Christ.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He did foreknow, He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
(Romans 8:28-29)

Weekly Memory Verse
   But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(II Corinthians 3:18)

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