Christ Preparing our Hearts 19

Be persuaded that your soul is far more valuable to you than the whole world and there are only two places (heaven and hell) that you will spend all eternity in.

You can count on it that it is very difficult to come to heaven, but the way to destruction is broad and easy. Take it to heart that you have a deceitful heart with you, a wicked devil close to you, and snares and hindrances around and before you.

In order for the heart to come to Christ and enter heaven, it must either do so by its own wisdom and power or that of Christ. The heart that is going to follow Christ must overcome various deceptions by itself or it must have Christ do that for it. If a person left on a journey on foot in the midst of a vast wilderness with a vast number of trails that kept branching off into other trails, that person would need a guide in order to make it through. Even more, if each fork in the trail or each time the trail branched off there was a person there trying to get you to go the wrong way, it would be even worse. In some ways that is how life in this world is. As the statement above says, the way to destruction is broad and easy, at least in one sense. On that trail there are numberless deceptions. Our own hearts, the devil, other people, and the deception of wickedness and sin are always there. Christ alone can prepare our heats and lead us to the other side safely.

While many think of themselves as making wise or non-wise choices, the fact of the matter is that sin deceives people. Choosing sin is not just a simple matter of making a bad choice, but sin itself is a deception. Romans 7:11 speaks of sin as “taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.” The verse is not talking about physical death, but more of in line with spiritual things. For the unbeliever each sin is an acting out of death or an adding to death in the sense of adding to the eternal judgment. But the point is that sin is a deception and sin and that it deceives people as it carries out its harm upon them and in them. Before a person can see through the deception of sin, that person must have someone who can show him or her the deception of sin. Christ alone can undeceive a person, so if Christ does not work to overcome the deception the person is left in the power of the deception of sin.

The Bible (in 2 Thessalonians 2:10) sets out the truth that wickedness has a great deception and it speaks of “all the deception of wickedness for those who perish.” We can ask why wickedness has such a deception, and the text says that it is “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” Those who do not love the truth are caught up with the deception of wickedness. Holiness, righteousness and truth go together, but so do wickedness, unrighteousness, and deception. The human heart is born dead in sins and trespasses and as such it is born in a state of deception. It is deceived about God, about itself, about truth, and about the nature of sin. As long as a human being is in the throes of being spiritually dead, it will always be deceived. The soul is utterly dependent upon Jesus Christ for life and holiness, and as such it is utterly dependent upon Christ to be delivered from deception. Men think that they can do it of their own wisdom and efforts, but that is simply another deception.

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Going along with the previous paragraph and how men and women are deceived as long as they are in their nature of sin, Titus 3:3 sets out how the unregenerate person lives. The person, even though s/he may be incredibly smart, is a foolish person who is disobedient to God and deceived. That person is deceived about what it means to be enslaved and as such is enslaved to his or her own lusts and pleasures. That person thinks of life in terms of self and as long as it pleases self that person thinks it is okay. S/he will judge all things by the harm or bad that it does to self or by his or her own moral standards of harm, which is to say that the person lives in malice and envy of others. That person lives a life of hate (as opposed to love of God and others) and is hated by others. That is the true state of sin. People are deceived about the nature of good and the nature of love and so as they live in what they think is good and what they think of as love that is nothing but a deception, so in reality they are enslaved to lusts and pleasures and they hate those around them and are hated by those around them. But of course they deny that, but that is a deception. Only the Lord Jesus can open their blinded eyes and prepare their hearts for eternity.

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