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?
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