The Heart of the Matter

Lancaster County, Pa. I love my home county.

Corn fields, Amish buggies, whoopie pies and spring-time manure…(inhales deeply)…it just wouldn’t be home without it.

Our community is known for it’s great work ethic, hand-made furniture, agriculture and religious sects. Would it be too strong to use the word cults? Not in the eyes of many.

We are completely free in Christ and growing in awareness of this reality but, many of our family have not yet received this liberty!

Black bumpers, Steel wheels, one suspender, straw hats, long beards and black clothes are not distinguishing marks of Christ but of man.

Please don’t hear me wrong, I am very grateful for the God-fearing heritage that I have (Anabaptist on both sides). My heart just burns with passion for our brethren to abide in the Truth with a Godly zeal. It’s from that holy desire that I intend to pick up the Sword of the Spirit and destroy some ancient lying strongholds. I believe that many other Lancaster County natives will be very familiar with the abuse of these following Scriptures and I want to declare to you that they are not true of you or anyone else who is “In Christ”.

 

Firstly, these are both Old Covenant passages and must be viewed accurately through the lens of the Gospel.

 

LIE #1 : “There is none righteous”~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

 

 

This passage was quoted once in the New Testament and that was in Romans 3, where Paul used it in the middle of a rant contrasting the previous Law and our Gospel! Read Romans 3:9-20 for yourself and admire how clearly Paul summed up his point for using many condemning O.T. verses in 3:19

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law..”

Paul’s point was to reveal how hopeless everyone under the Law was before Christ!

He follows this thought later in Rom.6:14 (and Gal.5:18) by boldly and clearly informing New Covenant believers that “sin will not rule over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace.”

We are not under even one commandment of the Law “For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

The O.C. Law gave us the knowledge of sin. However, it was unable to give righteousness and therefore was unable to give life. It did testify to the righteousness of God, which is Jesus. This Righteousness is clearly revealed in the Gospel and all who receive Jesus, (as their Righteousness) are a New Creation in Christ and have become the righteousness of God.

Not only are you now forever righteous but, you are even the righteousness of God! (2 Cor.5:21)

Jesus as our righteousness is one of my favorite topics and I could point to multiple verses in many of the books of the Bible that declare this truth but, you need to seek His righteousness for yourself. The Holy Spirit is guaranteed to convict (convince) you of righteousness and guide you into all Truth. (John 16:5-13)

 

 

LIE #2:“The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked” ~ Jeremiah 17:9

This lie may be just as big and evil. The New Testament clearly exhorts us many times to have a pure heart but, even that is not possible by our own efforts.

Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Paul said 5 the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim.1:5) He continued that thought by saying that people who strayed from teaching those things (Love from a pure heart!) were unfruitful, desiring to teach the Law even though they had no idea what they were talking about. (1 Tim.1:6,7)

Let’s not be one of those Christians.

Yes, the heart was deceitful and wicked but our High Priest Jesus has given us His Spirit and a new heart of flesh! This heart can be unbelieving and hardened which sears the conscience but, that’s not the Good News! The key to keeping our hearts pure is not based on what we do (that would be the fruit) but, it’s based on what Jesus did because He is our Root of Holiness!

Consider the Berean Literal Bible’s translation of Hebrews 10:22 ~ “we should draw near with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, our hearts having been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our body having been washed with pure water.”

This is the accurate use of the verb tenses because our hearts were (past tense) sprinkled clean by what Jesus did in God’s “True Heavenly Temple”. The Mennonite Information Center has a cool replica next to Tanger Outlets. But if I remember correctly, they focus on the physical aspects concerning the “shadow” and neglect the superior Spiritual reality that belongs to us! The Book of Hebrews articulates very clearly some of these powerful New Covenant realities that modern day Christianity has not completely understood…myself included.

One of the main things is the complete replacement of the Old Covenant system in it’s entirety with the New Living Way! Hebrews 10 ~

5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said…“You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We don’t sprinkle our hearts clean with Jesus blood in God’s Temple. We don’t sanctify ourselves and make ourselves holy.

Only the High Priest could enter once and for everyone into the Holiest Place…” (Heb.9:7)

We are all Priests because we all have One High Priest and that is Jesus, who was also the victorious Lamb. Are you noticing that this Gospel has made everything about Jesus? He sprinkled the Blood on our behalf! We don’t apply his blood, He did it for us! (One of the main points of Heb.9) His Blood declares us righteous and the “Breastplate of Righteousness” protects our heart from all condemnation! Even the “Spiritual Armor” is actually merely describing different aspects of who Jesus is too us. Each part of the Armor is simply a “piece” of the reality we already have because of Christ in us.

Everything we have is of God and it’s all for his glory!

29so that no man may boast before God. 30But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” ~ 1 Cor.1:29,30

It’s faith in Jesus as our Righteousness and our Sanctification that made us holy, keeps our heart clean and pure…and it’s by faith not by works.

We were born again and made righteous by faith. Now let’s be righteous and walk by faith.

 

 

 

 

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