Common to Evangelical circles today is the notion that “God knows my heart” is good news. The logic goes something like this: I haven’t measured up today, but I’m only human and God knows that. I mean, as long as I am trying…God will meet me half way. After all, He knows my heart and He knows I love Him.” Such rationale often comes from popular Christian authors, specifically John Eldredge.
This is, of course, extremely unbiblical. God does know your heart, to be sure, but this is not even close to being good news. Jeremiah 17:9 is a great refutation of this, one that Eldredge himself has attempted to refute, arguing that when someone becomes Christian that he has a new heart, a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone.
Nice sentiment, but again, unbiblical. One need only read Romans 1-9 to realize that while we are justified before God, we are still inclined toward evil. If Paul had lost his will to sin (“having a new heart,” in Eldredge’s argument), then Romans 7 makes no sense unless you say that Romans 7 is Paul before Christ invaded his life and that Romans 8 is the aftermath of his Damascus Road Encounter. This, of course, ignores the context of Romans 7 completely, so since this post is not about Eldredge’s heretical ideas nor about the Apostle Paul’s argument in the greater part of the Roman epistle, I’ll simply leave all of this here as a prefatory comment.
So why bring all of this up? As a worship leader, I’m always on the look-out for excellent songs and hymns. I have found one by John Newton in Book 3 of his Olney Hymns. Hymn #41 addresses my remaining sinfulness and the glorious truth of my righteousness being found in Christ rather than in myself.
One glance of Yours, eternal Lord
Pierces all nature through
Nor heaven nor earth nor hell afford
A shelter from Your view!
The mighty whole, each smaller part
At once before You lies
And every thought of every heart
Is open to Your eyes.
Though greatly from myself concealed
You see my inward frame
To You I always stand revealed
Exactly as I am
Since, therefore, I can hardly bear
What in myself I see
How vile and black must I appear
Most Holy, God, to Thee!
But since my Savior stands between
In garments dyed in blood
‘Tis He instead of me, is seen
When I approach to God
Thus, though a sinner I am safe
He pleads before the throne
‘Tis life and death in my behalf
And calls my sins His own
What wondrous love, what mysteries
In this appointment shine!
My breaches of the law are His
And His obedience mine.
I find a great deal of comfort in the fact that Christ has borne all my sins…not simply died for them, but died and gives me His perfect obedience to wear as a garment. We can often sing of this in some of our churches (“Dressed in His righteousness alone/Faultless to stand before the throne”), but how often do we teach these things to each other and to our children? All too seldom, I’m afraid.
So why on this blog? Why now? Because, Christian brother or sister, without an understanding of Christ’s righteousness being counted as your own, you will either carry the weight of your sin and it will crush you, or you will convince yourself that you are living up to the law and you will strive in your own power…and that is unbelief.
Christ died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.
I just bought a book by John Eldredge, Wild at Heart. Maybe we’ll have to discuss when I finish. I admit I DO take comfort in the fact that God knows my heart. Not because he sees perfect righteousness there, but because he can see what man cannot see (1 Sam 16:7). I think that’s part of what makes him a fair and capable judge.
Jeff S. said:
Thanks for your reflections, brother. Always good.
This post is awesome.
Thanks for explaining some of the remaining phrases of modern Christendom that don’t quite line up with what the Bible’s been telling me.
(Remember when you were talking about God choosing us, and I said something about “accepting Christ into our hearts” because that’s what I’d heard so much? That’s what this reminds me of.)
Also, are you going to arrange this song so we can sing it, or what?
@fairlyentertaining: I think I might be working on that. 😉
your blog has been so refreshing to read. thanks for posting. glad i could stumble upon it. god bless