The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)
Disclaimer: This is not directed toward any one individual, specifically. I’m presenting what I believe and I’m not a know-it-all or trying to shove anything down anyone’s throat. If the reader still believes that everyone’s heart is desperately wicked after reading this then I implore that person to teach me where I am at fault. After all, iron sharpens iron and I do not want to believe a lie.
This is a title to a short article as found on the Internet: Are we still desperately wicked in our hearts after we become Christians? The first sentence in this article begins by saying, “Yes, we are still wicked in our hearts even after we become Christians.” (URL: https://carm.org/are-christians-still-wicked)
The following Old Testament and New Testament scriptures quickly come to mind, showing that there is a definite disagreement between this doctrine and what the Bible has to say:
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 27:19: “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Also, Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45
The human heart is is likened to soil in the Bible. “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) Just as soil grows whatever a planter decides to sow in it, so the human heart will produce whatever a person chooses to plant in it, whether spiritual or fleshly. This explains Jesus’ declaration that a good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart and the evil man brings bad things out of the evil in his heart. If this is so, how do we explain Jeremiah 17:9? Simple, this verse refers specifically to the stubborn hearts of the people of Judah of that time and place, not to every human heart throughout history. This is supported by Jeremiah 16:12, 17:1 and 18:12, all of which verify the context of 17:9
Jeremiah 16:12 – And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
Jeremiah 17:1 – The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
Jeremiah 18:12 – And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
In Jeremiah 17:10 it says, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Question: Why search the heart if it’s always “desperately wicked”? Answer: Because whatever we allow in our hearts becomes who we are. The heart can be desperately wicked, it can be not so wicked, it can be fairly descent or it can be good. It just depends upon what an individual Christian allows in his (or her) heart.
Above all else, we, as Christians, must guard our hearts as the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 says it this way : “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” If we’re to keep our hearts with all diligence–thus saith the LORD–then He would be telling us something that we cannot do if we cannot know our heart and if it was so desperately wicked. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jeremiah 17:7) Can we trust in the LORD and see Him as our hope if our heart is “desperately wicked”?
Believing that we cannot be freed from a desperately wicked heart will fit in with other teachings that will keep us from spiritual growth. We will always be in need of the pastor who teaches and preaches that there is no hope of becoming an overcomer in this life. Besides, “Once we’re saved, truly saved, then we have no worries; we’re going to heaven, no matter what.” That is the Once-Saved-Always-Saved doctrine.
In general, this doctrine has never made common sense to me. Am I spiritually blind? I think not but there are those who know me that would say that I am but I’ve been informed that believing one way or the other about this O.S.A.S. teaching does not put my salvation in jeopardy. There is one truth concerning this–not two. I had rather believe, and I do, that salvation can be lost because it makes me more aware of my spiritual growth, which makes me a lot more attentive to my daily walk with Jesus Christ.
One scripture I hear most defending the Unconditional Eternal Security (Once Saved Always Saved) teaching is John 10:28 which says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” I cannot hardly make myself believe that the lifting of this verse out of context is okay because the verse before says, “My sheep hear (not heard) my voice, and I know them, and they follow (present tense–a continuing act) me. In other words, as long as a child of God is hearing and following the Shepherd, Jesus Christ, then, no man can pluck him out of His hand. (Yes, of course, The O.S.A.S. doctrine would probably respond by explaining that verse 27 is showing that God “causes” His children to “hear” and to “follow”. Of course He does but not to the point He takes away the free will of those who were planted but withered away and died–SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH GIVING HEED TO SEDUCING SPIRITS. 1Timothy 4:1 – KJV.) Salvation is always conditional for all believers in Jesus Christ.
The “Desperately Wicked” teaching and the O.S.A.S. doctrine go hand-in-hand to cause the Christian to always be complacent with sin in his life. This goes along simultaneously with other false interpretations of scripture allowing and even promoting greater mediocrity and complacency.
We are not to remain as little children; we are to become young men and spiritual fathers -1John 2:12-14. Wouldn’t you agree that the pastor is to grow his congregation to where they no longer need him for their walk with the Lord and if he doesn’t, it is because either he isn’t aware of this part of his calling and/or cannot teach and preach that which he doesn’t posses himself, which results in a congregational manifestation of spiritual little children?
Speaking of little children, “A preacher not reaching the children is a farmer going out of business.” 1
Once again, I have been reminded:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Now I know that you know my heart on this matter. What’s your heart’s understanding?
Updated (Debi Pearl quote added) November 4th, 2019