Is Jeremiah 17:9 for Believers?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9

This is one of those verses I hear Christian people quote often as a warning to other believers, as a call to unbelievers, and as an excuse, at times, for their own behaviors.  The problem with such a broad and universal application is that is denies a crucial aspect of the Gospel.  Or does it? 

God’s new covenant with His people includes the idea of taking out our hearts of stone and giving us a heart of flesh.    Ezekiel 11:19,  Ezekiel 36:26 etc.  As a result and follow-up to giving us a heart of flesh, God says, “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.”  Paul the Apostle states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  2 Corinthians 5:17  That includes our hearts, doesn’t it? All of that is “Good News!”  All of that is “Gospel!”  David cries out to God to “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10  Was David’s prayer genuine?  Was it a genuine possibility?

The Bible identifies the heart as the center of man’s intellect (Matthew 13:15, 22), emotions (Acts 23:1), and volition (Hebrews 4:12).  If our hearts are the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked, then it affects our whole being negatively and that’s NOT very good news. 

Jesus says, in Matthew 13:15: “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”  Just one question:

Is Jeremiah 17:9 for believers?  Why or Why not?

For related posts see: 

Is The Law Written On Our Hearts or Not?

Was There Evangelism in the Old Testament?

We Lie to God When We say, “I Promise to do Better.”


0 thoughts on “Is Jeremiah 17:9 for Believers?

  1. L says:

    That old cold rock would reassert itself but for the Grace of God and the exercise of love.

  2. Halvard says:

    Yes. It is for us christians. We fail and fall every day. And we need forgiveness every day. The daily receiving of forgiveness from Christ is the road for a christian, not the fascade of false holiness.

  3. Philip says:

    No, it’s not for Believers. We’re new creatures, we have new hearts…

  4. Claudia Labrador says:

    I think this is in part the prophesy of Jeremiah, referring to the coming of a New Covenant, which includes regeneration in Christ. However, the prophesy/New Covenant does not negate that we still struggle with our flesh—ie. what Paul had to say about his own struggles.

    • GaryFPatton says:

      Good questions as always Miguel.

      I agree with Claudia that Jeremiah 17:9 was prophetic for all humankind as are the two passages in Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:26 which you mention above.

      Jeremiah 17:9 shouldn’t be used as an excuse by Jesus Followers because of the promises we have which you mention plus 1Corinthians 10:13, where the Greek used means both “temptation” and “trial”, I understand.

      David’s cry, I feel, was an answerable and legitimate prayer for him because the God-Head’s promise of a redeemed, regenerated, and replaced “heart”, which he may have seen, was still in the future.

      The people to whom Jesus was speaking in Matthew 13:15 were also ones who yet had a guarantee available because their and our Messiah had not redeemed humankind on his cross nor returned from His grave to empower His Followers by His Spirit.

      Blessings all!

      Gary in Toronto

  5. Carolyn says:

    Well, there is a heart and then there is a heart… which one are you talking about… Sometimes two very different words are translated as the same English word, and it can be confusing. So that Heart when the original word meant mind could be different than heart when the original word really meant emotions… so caution is needed when applying words more broadly than they were written.. hmmm…

  6. Kenneth Handwerker says:

    Good question. I believe although our heart is renewed and our mind is being renewed we still have a battle with the flesh until Yahushua comes for us and we see Him as He is and we will be like Him. So I would say the unbeliever’s heart is what is being talking about. However the believer must remember there is a battle between the flesh and the Spirit and the only way to overcome is by The Holy Spirit. If we live in the Spirit we must walk in the spirit and put off the old man and put on the new and walk in the newness of life and do the good works we were before ordained to and give honor to God our Father Abba, YHWH Elohim. Thank God for Jesus Christ,Yahushua Ha Mashiyach.

  7. David Woods says:

    It’s for humans.

    The previous verse, Jeremiah 17:8 gives us a better clue as to the meaning of verse 9–as does some of the verses YOU mentioned, and others in the Bible that speak of renewing our minds and hearts continuously.

    Our hearts must be paired with His in order to constantly remain watered and refreshed. If we were to uproot, and cut ourselves off from the “River of Life”, to unpair our heart with His, I do believe our deceitful hearts would lead us astray, as has been demonstrated by countless backsliddien humans throughout history.

  8. Kenneth Handwerker says:

    @ Carolyn, The heart being spoken about is the Hebrew word Leb לֵב which is that which represents “Learning House” and what comes out of the house is what has been learned and put in the house. Jesus spoke of the wicked and deceitful and the good in Mt 12:34 You offspring of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil (wicked)? For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse [r]flings forth evil things.

    And following up about the heart in Matthew 13:1-23 He describes the different conditions of the heart and those whose hearts waxed gross ( fat and dull) and what you could expect from such.

  9. Both surely. Maybe in overlapping but somewhat different ways. The ability of believers to think, say or do things which are either pure narcissism, or else totally misguided, off the wall, not based on facts, not originated by the Spirit – is still alive and well.

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