Vol.XX No.XII Pg.1
February 1984

With All My Heart

Robert F. Turner

For twenty years this page has promoted better attitudes — not because we felt attitude alone could suffice, but because acceptable obedience can proceed only from an acceptable heart.

We believe God treats man as capable of doing right, and on this basis justly condemns man when he sins (Rom. 1:18-3:23). We believe God, in mercy, gave His Son to die in man's behalf — making salvation by grace (3:24-26). We believe this redemption is freely given for all, but is applied only to the true believer — having faith which works by love (Jn. 3:16; Gal. 5:6). But absolute perfection is no more found in followers of the New Covenant than in followers of the Old (Phil. 3:12-f; Rom. 7:18-f). The very best man does is "try," "press," "will" to do God's will. This may be summed up in saying he can "give himself" to God, trusting in His mercy (Matt. 16:24). And GOD must be the final judge, looking into the very heart of man (Rom. 2:16; Heb. 4:13-16; 2 Cor. 5:10).

God has ever desired a circumcised heart (Deut. 10:16; Rom. 2:28-29). So called "obedience" which promoted self-satisfaction solely in the doing has always been an abomination in the sight of God (1 Sam. 15:22; Mic. 6:6-8). Though we did all things commanded we are to say, "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Lu. 17:10). Our hope, hence our trust, must remain in God. His law must be written upon hearts — hearts wanting to serve Him, trying to do so. Only those who have so given themselves have the right to comfort in Christ (Heb. 8:10-f). When "it" (the heart, mind) turns to the Lord, the blessings in Christ are available and not before then (2 Cor. 4:13-f).

Paul served God with his spirit in the gospel (Rom. 1:9), with his mind served the law of God (7:25). This does not negate the need for overt action — but is the only way we can have assurance of forgiveness when we fail. A rebellious heart will prevent prayers of confession and pleas for mercy from reaching God (Isa. 59: 1-8).

So we have pled for pure hearts — knowing (with tremblings) the best and perhaps only way to teach purity is to live purely before God and man.