Monday, May 14, 2007

Motion Detector

…circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.
(Romans 2:29 – ESV)

This Bible condemns ritualism and going through the motions. You can be coming to church, you could have been baptized, you could be taking communion, involved in projects, giving regularly, doing the Bible reading plan, and more. You can be doing all this and God still not have your heart (Ezekiel 33:31). None of these outward things are bad, they are good, we are supposed to do these things, but these things are not what saves us, these things are not what give us a right standing with God, these things are not what secure the blessings of God on our life, what God wants is your HEART!

In the Old Testament, the law and the sacrificial system pointed to Christ. There were those who were doing that and they didn’t really believe in what they were doing, they were going through the motions. Salvation has always been about the circumcision of the heart, which is performed by God (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6 / Jeremiah 4:4).

Holiness starts in the heart not in the hands. When you try and do the Law without the Spirit all you are doing is the external ritual, a set of do’s and don’ts. In Matthew 5 Christ points out the fallacy of this thinking, and James 2:10 echoes this. Without the Spirit we either reject the Law of God out of hand, or we change it into something we can manage. In either case we lose, and the Law condemns us: you can become a transgressor of the Law by rejecting it or by trying to keep it in your own strength. Paul calls the Law minus the Spirit "letter" (2 Corinthians 3:6).

So the point is that a person is a true part of God's redeemed people if he fulfills the Law, that is, if his heart is circumcised by the Spirit to love God. That's what Paul is talking about here, and you don't have to be a natural-born Jew for it to happen to you. God circumcises our heart to love the Lord, writing the Law of God on our heart (Jeremiah 31:33), freeing us from our need for the praise of man. All of this is what Christ obtained for us when He shed His blood to seal the new covenant (Luke 20:22 / Hebrews 13:20).

Christianity is a heart religion. It isn’t “if you give Him your hands He will move your heart” it is that if you give Him your heart He will move your hands. We can summarize Romans chapter two using the sermon titles we gave when teaching through this chapter, to put it all in perspective for you. Others may be worthy of judgment, but so are you, we have the ultimate issue before us, and there are no secrets before God, so don’t fool yourself, because the key to holiness is the heart not the hands. However, we have seen repeatedly that Man left to himself can never climb his way out of his own heart. So the answer to the ultimate issue doesn’t lie within us, but within God.

That is the gospel, that God has done what is necessary for us to be in right standing with Him, all we need to do is to give Him our heart. No one can examine another man's heart or even his own heart infallibly, but where the Spirit of God lives, there will be evidence of it. You can’t change your own heart but you can have a change of heart. Is God tugging at your heart today? Or are you just going through the motions?

8 comments:

donsands said...

"Salvation has always been about the circumcision of the heart,"

Amen. Excellent teaching.

David understood this, way before the Cross.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices".

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 28:7; 51:10

donsands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It isn’t “if you give Him your hands He will move your heart” it is that if you give Him your heart He will move your hands.
Too many of us get this wrong and I think that's what causes the boom and bust mentality. We think if we do enough for God then the yucky stuff will just fall away. It's a daily thing right? Giving our heart to God.

Even So... said...

He gives us a new heart, and then we yield it back to Him...amen...we also need to have Him break up the crusty shell that we get when we start becoming hard hearted...

Even So... said...

With regard to sanctification, going in slow motion is better than just going through the motions...slow and steady is how God does it, otherwise it usually is just us putting on boots or high heels to look like we've grown, but eventually those come off, and we see that we have short changed ourselves....

Unknown said...

Couldn't make trackback work, but wanted to let you know I enjoyed this post and linked to it today.

Even So... said...

Thanks...nice to see you, and I'll go over to your place today too...

Even So... said...

Nice site, I am linking it to my sidebar blogroll...