Humans without God’s intervention cannot do any good. Even though outwardly a person may look like they are behaving morally or righteously, that does not mean that in God’s eyes the deeds are good or worthy. This is because, as the Bible tells us, the heart is desperately wicked and deceitful. Let’s take a look at this scripture to define it further, shall we?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
The heart in this scripture is defined as the inner man, or spirit (leb-Hebrew) and the soul realm, which consists of the mind, knowledge, reflection, memory, conscience, emotions, senses.
The heart is deceitful (aqob ) sly, insidious, dishonest, unprincipled, two-faced, crafty, scheming, sneaky, crooked, treacherous, above all things, or in other words more deceitful than anything that exists.
The heart is desperately wicked. (anash), It is sick, incurable, weak, frail. Who can know it? No one can perceive distinguish, admit, acknowledge, confess, experience, be wise about, be aware of, observe, the heart of a person.
God looks at the heart of a person and not just the outward things such as acts, deeds, accomplishments, or external appearances.
This is why the Bible says that unless a person is born again or born from above, they cannot see the kingdom of God. The heart that is unregenerate is wicked before God; filled with wrong motives and all manner of evil that is opposed to God and his kingdom. Even the good that the unsaved person does is filled with Satan’s nature because of the fall of Adam. Filled with hypocrisy, lying, deceit, crafty excuses and wrong motives!
God must give a person a new heart. What exactly does this mean? It does not mean a heart that is automatically perfect. What it means is that the inner man or spirit must be reconnected to God so that it is no longer under the control of the evil one but is now God’s dwelling place. When we become born again, the Holy Spirit comes in our heart to do his work; by readjusting our thinking, change emotional responses, give a clean conscience due to his forgiveness, and change our motives from self centeredness to God centeredness.
Without being reconciled to God, we cannot know God and nor do we even want to know him. This is because God‘s ways are not our ways. The unsaved person hates (is in enmity with) God and his kingdom. The unsaved along with their father, the devil, fight against God’s kingdom. They hate his laws and his way of doing things! In fact, just like the devil, the unsaved think that they have the answers to all life’s problems and don’t need any God over them! They are in a rebellion against God just as Satan is in rebellion against God.
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat [is] an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps [is] under their lips”; “Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet [are] swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery [are] in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10
An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: [There] [is] no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity [and] when he hates. The words of his mouth [are] wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise [and] to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way [that] [is] not good; He does not abhor evil.” Psalm 36:1
When we confess that we are sinners, what we are doing is agreeing with God about the state of our soul and heart condition. (This usually happens by coming to the end of us and our ability in our own efforts has failed.) Then when we ask for forgiveness of sins based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf, he forgives us. But it does not stop there. God reconciles us to himself (like before the fall) and makes us born from above; which means that our hearts become filled with the Holy Spirit and he is ready to do his work in each of us, according to his ways, and his will. What is this work you ask? It is to conform and transform us, into the image of his Son. This work starts on earth and continues on even into eternity!
Just so you know, this world is boot camp for eternity! God is preparing us for our heavenly calling which he ordained before the foundation of the world as stated in scriptures. Getting back to our topic on the heart, the Bible says, that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. What this means is that whatever we do that is not centered on trust, reliance, and yielding to God, is of the flesh or evil heart and therefore is sin. If any motive is self centered instead of God centered IT IS SIN!! It does not matter how good it may look on the outside because God knows our true motives.
This is why scriptures tell us to do everything for God’s glory! As long as we are in to something for ourselves rather than for God, then we are operating in the old man and his evil nature. The unsaved do not have the capability to do anything for God as they are self centered. This is why religions have sacrificial rites and practice chastising the flesh, in order to be, what they consider moral or godly. The unsaved know that they are not right with God instinctively! God’s moral code is written in their heart, but they are unable to perform what God requires for his acceptance in their own ability. They are pretty good at faking it though! They don’t stop to consider however, that God knows every motive of their heart.
This is why a person must be born again to be saved. Trusting in our own ability or good deeds will not give eternal life, because of the evil of the unregenerate heart. We don’t even know or recognize the evil of our own heart!
God wants to give you a new heart, which means God wants to own your heart, restoring you to a pre-fall condition.
Scriptures tell us that none are good. Not angels because some of them fell or even Adam and Eve because they fell by temptation. NO ONE IS GOOD AND PERFECT OR EVER WILL BE BUT GOD!! However, what can happen is that the perfect one can make his abode in you and transform you and lead you to walk in his ways! When you have the faith of God imparted to you, then you can live a yielded life, (not perfect) in which you are pleasing God.
“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” Rom. 8:7-8
Every day we must put off the flesh, as Christians. In other words, we must not operate in the natural man who is led by the senses, and carnal mind. We need to think like God, by filling our minds with God’s word, and by prayer, being led by his Holy Spirit in all that we do. The Bible tells us to examine our selves to see if we are in the faith. This applies to the Christian as well as a religious non saved person.
What are our motives? Ask God to show you. What does God want us to do in the situation instead of reacting in the old nature? Are we mortifying the deeds of the body by the Holy Spirit who dwells in our heart or acting in the flesh? Are we surrendering to the Holy Spirit to do his work or are we being self sacrificing to honor the pride of our flesh?
Our true heart must always be exposed in the light of God’s truth (his word and the Holy Spirit) and then crucified to Christ. This means we need to die to self and be filled with him. In this way, we have the faith which pleases God in all that we do!
Remember, it is Jesus Christ who must live through us and his ways which must be yielded to, not our own. This is because the heart is very, very, deceitful. We cannot even know in our own understanding just how wicked that our heart really is! Only God can give you the discernment to recognize your true motives.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20