Category: H thru I


Diversity is, basically, variety. In recent times, the word diversity has taken on the specific connotation of “variety of people within a group”—the differences among the people being racial, cultural, gender-based, etc. Diversity was God’s idea. Even a cursory study of science reveals an amazing variety of plant and animal life. People, God’s final creation, are diverse, too. He did not create us as clones or robots. He created two different genders (Mark 10:6). The creation of male and female is diversity at its most basic—the sexes are very different, yet complementary.

Another act of God that created diversity occurred at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9). Humankind was clustered together, and God wanted them to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). To expedite their obedience, He confused their languages, making it impossible for them to work together. From there, humanity spread out across the earth, and people with the same language remained together. Over time, cultures, races, and regional dialects emerged and resulted in the diversity we now know.

Diversity is part of being human. God delights in the plethora of differences His human creatures possess. The book of Revelation describes the final gathering of God’s people from “every nation, tribe, and tongue” (Revelation 7:9). The angels and elders around God’s throne adore Jesus with the words “with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). So God enjoys the diversity within the human race. We are each created in His image for His pleasure and glory (Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16). He designed us the way we are and delights in His handiwork (Psalm 139:13–16).

However, in our modern culture, the focus on diversity can become its own god. Diversity itself is revered rather than the One who created that diversity. An emphasis on diversity tends to highlight our differences. God is more concerned with unity (Ephesians 4:3). Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” God is saying that our differences are not what should define the children of God. Those who belong to the Lord Jesus should first define themselves as God’s children. We must be willing to set diversity aside in favor of unity in spirit. Jesus’ passionate prayer in John 17 shows that His desire for His disciples was that “they may be one as you and I are one” (verse 22).

So, what does it mean to be “one”? When we are born again (John 3:3), we are created anew in Christ Jesus. Our fleshly differences become secondary to our new nature in Christ. We are unified around the centrality of God’s Word. We have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Regardless of racial, cultural, or gender differences, God’s children hold to His Word as their final authority on all matters, including cultural and social issues. Some try to use “diversity” as an excuse to justify immorality or homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9). While we all have different sin strongholds, we cannot allow unrepentant sin to continue under the guise of diversity. The diversity God created is good; sin can indeed be diverse, but God has nothing to do with it.

Human differences such as race, temperament, and culture are to be celebrated, tolerated, and incorporated in our goal of being “one” in Christ (John 17:20–23). However, when diversity is made into an idol, we become self-centered and divisive. When every difference is treated as sacred, selfishness rules and oneness is sacrificed in favor of individual preference. When we exalt our preferences over unity, we become demanding and proud, rather than selfless and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32; Philippians 2:4). John 17:23 encapsulates the desire of Jesus for all His children. In this last, long, recorded prayer before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” While we can and should appreciate the value of the various nuances of being human, our goal must always be to become more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).

new-image  Illegal immigration has become a volatile issue, especially in the U.S. Many have raised their voices passionately in their condemnation of illegal immigration, while others defend it just as fervently. The issues raised by the presence of illegal immigrants have generated heated debate among politicians, educators, co-workers, families, friends and most recently, a heated election. Sadly enough, the church has been drawn into the fray over illegal aliens as well, with Christians on both sides seeking to justify their positions based on their own personal beliefs.

So, what does the Bible say about those who enter a country illegally? What should be the Christian response to illegal aliens or illegal immigrants and toward those who condone illegal immigration? The first consideration is the law of the land. Those who illegally enter any country violate that nation’s laws as well as the laws of God. Believers are torn between showing compassion and mercy to the illegal aliens who seek help and not wanting to violate God’s word.

Sadly, we have brothers and sisters in Christ fighting over the issue of illegal immigration when the Bible is quite clear on what the Christian response should be: “The LORD detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness” (Proverbs 15:9; see also 28:5; Psalm 5:4–5). When we condone criminal activity, we no longer “shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15). The Bible makes it clear that those who violate laws are sinning, as are those who support or assist them in breaking the laws (Romans 13:1–7; 1 Peter 2:13–14; Titus 3:1–2). This principle applies to illegal immigrants and those who condone their continued violation of the law.

Peter’s reference to “those who do wrong” in 1 Peter 2:14 refers to lawbreakers. These are to be punished by the governing authorities. In Romans 13 Paul says that the government is in the best position to judge wrongdoers and find solutions to the problem of lawlessness. Government has the divine authority to deal with illegal immigrants who refuse to comply with the laws of the land. Now, the government authorities may or may not exercise their legal and divine right to enforce the laws, but that doesn’t change the fact that the church should not knowingly support illegal activity. To aid and abet illegal aliens—people who cross borders illegally—is sin. Regardless of emotional appeals and mitigating circumstances, the initial act of coming into a country illegally is sin.

At the same time, as Christians, we have to separate our attitude toward the act of entering the country illegally from our attitude toward illegal immigrants themselves. Illegal aliens are individuals for whom Jesus died. The first obligation of a Christian is to express Christlikeness in all our thoughts, words, and deeds (Romans 8:29). There is no room for hatred toward illegal aliens who seek work, refuge from danger and persecution, or a better life for themselves and their families. Christian compassion must be shown toward those who would risk their lives in a dangerous attempt to cross a border. Acts of hatred or violence toward illegal immigrants are never to be tolerated by those who name the name of Christ.

 Note: We wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). We also believe that the United States should have a more compassionate and merciful immigration policy. However, that is not the question at hand. The question at hand concerns illegal immigration—whether it is wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws.

Romans 13:1–7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Illegal immigration is a sin.

Illegal immigration is definitely a controversial issue in the United States (and some other countries) today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory—thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, Romans 13:1–7 does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God’s Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.

Are the immigration laws of the United States unfair or unjust? Some think so, but that is not the issue. All developed countries in the world have immigration laws, some more strict than the USA’s, and some less strict, and all have to deal with illegal immigration. There is nothing in the Bible to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. Romans 13:1–7 also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, or even something more severe, it is within the rights of the government to determine.

Illegal immigration is a complex issue. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping poverty. These are good goals and motivations. However, it is not biblical to violate a law to achieve a “good.” Caring for the poor, orphans, and widows is something the Bible commands us to do (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 2:2–15). However, the biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law in doing so. Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.

What is the biblical solution to illegal immigration? Simple—don’t do it; obey the laws. If disobedience is not a biblical option, what can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13–16).

The Bible has quite a lot to say about hope. Biblical hope has as its foundation faith in God. The word hope in English often conveys doubt. For instance, “I hope it will not rain tomorrow.” In addition, the word hope is often followed by the word so. This is the answer that some may give when asked if they think that they will go to heaven when they die. They say, “I hope so.” However, that is not the meaning of the words usually translated “hope” in the Bible.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word batah and its cognates has the meaning of confidence, security, and being without care; therefore, the concept of doubt is not part of this word. We find that meaning in Job 6:20; Psalm 16:9; Psalm 22:9; and Ecclesiastes 9:4. In most instances in the New Testament, the word hope is the Greek elpis/elpizo. Again, there is no doubt attached to this word. Therefore, biblical hope is a confident expectation or assurance based upon a sure foundation for which we wait with joy and full confidence. In other words, “There is no doubt about it!”

One of the verses in which we find the word hope is Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This verse at the beginning of the faith chapter (Hebrews 11) carries with it all of the confidence that comes with knowing for sure, with no question, what we have been promised by God in His Word. Our faith is confident assurance, for it is founded upon the Rock of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the actions of the heroes of the faith recorded in Hebrews 11 were made possible because they had this faith based in their confident assurance or hope in God. As believers, we are also called to give an answer for that hope that is within us to any who would ask (1 Peter 3:15).

Therefore, biblical hope is a reality and not a feeling. Biblical hope carries no doubt. Biblical hope is a sure foundation upon which we base our lives, believing that God always keeps His promises. Hope or confident assurance can be ours when we trust the words, “He who believes on Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47, NKJV). Accepting that gift of eternal life means our hope is no longer filled with doubt but, rather, has at its sure foundation the whole of God’s Word, the entirety of God’s character, and the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Bible is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is active in our world. The book of Acts, which sometimes goes by the longer title of “The Acts of the Apostles,” could just as accurately be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.” After the apostolic age, there have been some changes—the Spirit does not inspire further Scripture, for example—but He continues to do His work in the world.

First, the Holy Spirit does many things in the lives of believers. He is the believers’ Helper (John 14:26). He indwells believers and seals them until the day of redemption—this indicates that the Holy Spirit’s presence in the believer is irreversible. He guards and guarantees the salvation of the ones He indwells (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The Holy Spirit assists believers in prayer (Jude 1:20) and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26–27).

The Holy Spirit regenerates and renews the believer (Titus 3:5). At the moment of salvation, the Spirit baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ (Romans 6:3). Believers receive the new birth by the power of the Spirit (John 3:5–8). The Spirit comforts believers with fellowship and joy as they go through a hostile world (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Spirit, in His mighty power, fills believers with “all joy and peace” as they trust the Lord, causing believers to “overflow with hope” (Romans 15:13).

Sanctification is another work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The Spirit sets Himself against the desires of the flesh and leads the believer into righteousness (Galatians 5:16–18). The works of the flesh become less evident, and the fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident (Galatians 5:19–26). Believers are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), which means they are to yield themselves to the Spirit’s full control.

The Holy Spirit is also a gift-giver. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them” (1 Corinthians 12:4). The spiritual gifts that believers possess are given by the Holy Spirit as He determines in His wisdom (verse 11)

The Holy Spirit also does work among unbelievers. Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8, ESV). The Spirit testifies of Christ (John 15:26), pointing people to the Lord. Currently, the Holy Spirit is also restraining sin and combatting “the secret power of lawlessness” in the world. This action keeps the rise of the Antichrist at bay (2 Thessalonians 2:6–10).

The Holy Spirit has one other important role, and that is to give believers wisdom by which we can understand God. “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11). Since we have been given the amazing gift of God’s Spirit inside ourselves, we can comprehend the thoughts of God, as revealed in the Scripture. The Spirit helps us understand. This is wisdom from God, rather than wisdom from man. No amount of human knowledge can ever replace the Holy Spirit’s teaching (1 Corinthians 2:12–13).

The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “deposit,” “seal,” and “earnest” in the hearts of Christians (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people, His claim on us as His very own. The Greek word translated “earnest” in these passages is arrhabōn which means “a pledge,” that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest. The gift of the Spirit to believers is a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ has promised us and secured for us at the cross. It is because the Spirit has sealed us that we are assured of our salvation. No one can break the seal of God.

The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a “first installment” to assure us that our full inheritance as children of God will be delivered. The Holy Spirit is given to us to confirm to us that we belong to God who grants to us His Spirit as a gift, just as grace and faith are gifts (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through the gift of the Spirit, God renews and sanctifies us. He produces in our hearts those feelings, hopes, and desires which are evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are regarded as His adopted children, that our hope is genuine, and that our redemption and salvation are sure in the same way that a seal guarantees a will or an agreement. God grants to us His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that we are His forever and shall be saved in the last day. The proof of the Spirit’s presence is His operations on the heart which produce repentance, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), conformity to God’s commands and will, a passion for prayer and praise, and love for His people. These things are the evidences that the Holy Spirit has renewed the heart and that the Christian is sealed for the day of redemption.

So it is through the Holy Spirit and His teachings and guiding power that we are sealed and confirmed until the day of redemption, complete and free from the corruption of sin and the grave. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live joyfully, confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories.

(Revelation 9:1-12)

“Bottomless pit” is one word in the Greek of the New Testament and is literally the “abyss,” which means “bottomless, unbounded, the pit, or the immeasurable depth.” Roman mythology featured a similar place called Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and, especially, as the abode of demons. The bottomless pit of Revelation 9:1-12 holds a unique type of demon. It is also the home of the beast who makes war against the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-8). At the beginning of the millennial kingdom, the bottomless pit is the place where Satan is bound (Revelation 20:1-3). At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released and promptly leads an unsuccessful revolt against God (Revelation 20:7-10).

The bottomless pit may be associated with a place called Tartarus. This Greek word is translated as “hell” and is used only once in Scripture, in 2 Peter 2:4. It refers to the place where “angels who sinned” are reserved in chains of darkness for judgment. The NIV says these angels in Tartarus are held in “gloomy dungeons.” These same angels are also mentioned in Jude 6 as the angels who “abandoned their own home” (cf. Genesis 6:2).

If Tartarus is the same as the Abyss, then the inhabitants of the bottomless pit are the same angels who sinned and left their first habitation. God uses the bottomless pit as a holding place for the most evil of angels, including Satan himself and those who tried and failed before the Flood to thwart God’s plan to bring the Seed of the woman into the world (Genesis 3:15). The inhabitants of the Abyss are released for a very short time during the last three and a half years of the tribulation to fulfill God’s purpose, namely, to torment the wicked (Revelation 9:5). These prisoners of the bottomless pit hate humanity and seek to destroy them, but God controls their terror and limits their power.

While some believe that the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are referring to different things, it is clear that both phrases are referring to the same thing. The phrase “kingdom of God” occurs 68 times in 10 different New Testament books, while “kingdom of heaven” occurs only 32 times, and only in the Gospel of Matthew. Based on Matthew’s exclusive use of the phrase and the Jewish nature of his Gospel, some interpreters have concluded that Matthew was writing concerning the millennial kingdom while the other New Testament authors were referring to the universal kingdom. However, a closer study of the use of the phrase reveals that this interpretation is in error.

For example, speaking to the rich young ruler, Christ uses “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” interchangeably. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 19:23). In the very next verse, Christ proclaims, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (verse 24). Jesus makes no distinction between the two terms but seems to consider them synonymous.

Mark and Luke used “kingdom of God” where Matthew used “kingdom of heaven” frequently in parallel accounts of the same parable Compare Matthew 11:11-12 with Luke 7:28; Matthew 13:11with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10; Matthew 13:24 with Mark 4:26; Matthew 13:31 with Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18; Matthew 13:33 with Luke 13:20; Matthew 18:3 with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16; and Matthew 22:2 with Luke 13:29. In each instance, Matthew used the phrase “kingdom of heaven” while Mark and/or Luke used “kingdom of God.” Clearly, the two phrases refer to the same thing.

The Bible speaks often of the heart. The word heart can mean different things depending upon the context. Most often, the heart refers to the soul of a human being that controls the will and emotions. The heart is the “inner man” (2 Corinthians 4:16). The prophet Ezekiel makes several references a “new heart” (e.g., Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26). An oft-quoted verse is Ezekiel 11:19 where God says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” So what does this mean?

In Ezekiel 11, God is addressing His people, the Israelites, promising to one day restore them to the land and to a right relationship with Himself. God promises to gather the Hebrews from the nations where they had been scattered (Ezekiel 11:17) and give them a new, undivided heart (verse 19). The result of their receiving a new heart will be obedience to God’s commands: “Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God” (verse 20). This prophecy will be fulfilled in the millennium, when Jesus the Messiah rules from Zion and Israel has been restored to faith (Romans 11:26).

Someone whom God has given a new heart behaves differently. Saul is an example of this in 1 Samuel 10:1 and 9. God had chosen Saul to be the first king of Israel. Saul was a nobody, but God chose him anyway and sent the prophet Samuel to anoint him king. “Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?’” Samuel made several predictions to prove to Saul that God had sent him, and verse 9 says, “As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.” The new heart God gave Saul transformed him from an average nobody to the king of Israel. Not only was his status changed, but his entire outlook was transformed by the power of God.

The human heart was created to mirror God’s own heart (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). We were designed to love Him, love righteousness, and walk in harmony with God and others (Micah 6:8). But part of God’s design of the human heart is free will. That free will carries with it the opportunity to abuse it, as did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:11). God desires that we choose to love and serve Him. When we stubbornly refuse to follow God, our hearts, which were designed to communicate with God, are hardened. God compares rebellious hearts to stone (Zechariah 7:12). A heart of stone finds it impossible to repent, to love God, or to please Him (Romans 8:8). The hearts of sinful humanity are so hardened that we cannot even seek God on our own (Romans 3:11), and that’s why Jesus said no one can come to Him unless the Father first draws him (John 6:44). We desperately need new hearts, for we are unable on our own to soften our hard hearts. A change of heart toward God requires a supernatural transformation. Jesus called it being “born again” (John 3:3).

When we are born again, God performs a heart transplant, as it were. He gives us a new heart. The power of the Holy Spirit changes our hearts from sin-focused to God-focused. We do not become perfect (1 John 1:8); we still have our sinful flesh and the freedom to choose whether or not to obey it. However, when Jesus died for us on the cross, He broke the power of sin that controls us (Romans 6:10). Receiving Him as our Savior gives us access to God and His power—a power to transform our hearts from sin-hardened to Christ-softened. When we were separated from God with hardened hearts, we found it impossible to please Him. We tended toward selfishness, rebellion, and sin. With new hearts we are declared righteous before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Holy Spirit gives us a desire to please God that was foreign to us in our hardened state. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that we “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” God’s desire for every human being is that we become like His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:29). We can become like Jesus only when we allow God to rid us of our old, hardened hearts and give us new hearts.

There are many calls to “follow your heart” in movies, novels, slogans, blogs, and memes. Related pieces of advice are “trust yourself” and “follow your instincts.” A corollary dictum is “your heart will never lead you astray.” The problem is that none of these quips are biblically supportable.

Rather than trust our hearts, we are to commit our hearts to God: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). This passage gives an explicit command not to trust ourselves. And it gives the promise of guidance to those who choose to follow the Lord.

For anything to provide proper direction it must be based on objective truth. That is to say that whatever is consulted for guidance must reach a conclusion based on objective truth and not subjective, emotional inference. The Bible teaches that man is to follow God. God declares, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7). God has perfect knowledge of everything (1 John 3:20), a trait often called omniscience. God’s knowledge is not limited in any way. God is aware of all events that have ever transpired, are currently occurring, and will ever happen (Isaiah 46:9–10). God’s knowledge goes beyond mere events and extends to thoughts and intentions (John 2:25; Acts 1:24). It is not all this knowledge, however, that makes God a perfectly reliable source of guidance. God is also aware of every possibility, every eventuality, every imaginable outcome of any series of events (Matthew 11:21). That ability, combined with God’s goodness, enables God to give the best possible direction for people to follow.

God says this about the unregenerate heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This passage makes clear two reasons why no one should bind himself to following his heart when making decisions. First, there is nothing more deceitful in all of creation than the heart of man because of his inherited sin nature. If we follow our heart, we follow an untrustworthy guide.

We are, in fact, blinded to our own heart’s deceitful nature. As the prophet asks, “Who can understand it?” When we rely on ourselves for wisdom, we end up unable to tell right from wrong. The hit song of 1977, “You Light Up My Life,” contains these unfortunate words: “It can’t be wrong / When it feels so right.” Determining right from wrong based on “feelings” is a dangerous (and unbiblical) way to live.

Second, Jeremiah 17:9 teaches that the heart is desperately sick. There is no way to fix the heart. Rather, man needs a new heart. That is why, when a person comes to faith in Christ, he is made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus does not fix the heart; instead, He replaces it with a new one.

But that does not mean that we can rely on our hearts after we come to faith in Christ. Even as believers, we are encouraged to follow God’s will over our own desires. The Bible teaches that “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17).

We have an omniscient, benevolent Lord who promises to give us wisdom (James 1:5); we have His inspired, inerrant Word written down for us (2 Timothy 3:16). Why would we turn our backs on God and His eternal promises in order to pursue the whimsical impulses of the heart?