“……God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5
Recently I heard a church leader at a church I attended quote the scripture Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” I didn’t think much of it at the time… it’s not a scripture I quote over myself so I let it go in one ear and out the other so to speak. Then I heard a couple of people in the same church begin parroting that same scripture. When I heard it for the 3rd time later that week during a prayer meeting, I thought to myself “my heart is not deceitful and desperately wicked” and Holy Spirit spoke Romans 5:5 to my heart… “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Jeremiah 17:9 in a few translations says our hearts are wicked beyond cure or incurable! Sometimes we quote things out of context from the Old Testament… without the revelation of the blood of Jesus and what His death, burial and resurrection purchased for us. We forget to put on our Jesus glasses while we read the Old Testament. This keeps us sin conscious instead of son conscious….. or righteousness conscious. And it heaps condemnation upon us. And condemnation is a life killer!
So let’s look at Jeremiah 17:9 in context.
Jeremiah 17 is talking about a people who had turned away from God and had fallen into idolatry. Verse 4 says that God will make them a slave to their enemies. And verse 5 says “cursed is he who trusts in man and makes mere flesh his strength, and turns his thoughts from the Lord.”
In Deuteronomy 28 being a slave to our enemies is listed under the curse of the Law. Galatians 3:13 tells us that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law… being made a curse for us. So, Jeremiah 17:9 can’t possibly apply to us.
Also, Hebrews 10:22 says that our hearts have been made clean from an evil conscience. Yes, at one time men thought that their hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked… but Jesus cleansed our hearts from that distorted way of thinking about ourselves!
Instead of confessing Jeremiah 17:9 over ourselves, let’s look at a few verses about our hearts. And let’s start confessing these things instead…..
- our hearts are pure as a result of being born again (and Peter says we were born again through the resurrection of Jesus! )
- our hearts are full of good treasure (Luke 6:45)
- our hearts have rivers of living water flowing from them (John 7:38-39)
- our hearts have been cleansed (Acts 15:9)
- our hearts are filled with the love of God (Romans 5:5)
- our hearts listen… we have hearing hearts (Rom 6:17)
- God’s light shines in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6)
- the Spirit of God’s Son dwells in our hearts (Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:17)
- our hearts are guarded by the peace of God (Philippians 4:7)
- our hearts have God’s laws written on them (Hebrews 8:10)
- our hearts have been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22)
- our hearts are continually strengthened by grace (Hebrews 13:9)
Ezekiel 36:26–27 is a prophetic promise of God giving us a NEW heart… and Jesus fulfilled that prophecy for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. The word new in this verse is chadash, meaning renewed, restored, rebuilt.
Back in chapter 13, Jeremiah said this……….
- The Hebrew doesn’t say “neither can you!” It doesn’t even say “may you also do good.”
- The word translated may is yakol meaning to be able; to have power! It’s an imperfect verb – a present or future tense.
- In other words, you have power! You are able!! Continually, and NOW! That is not only positive and full of hope but it EMPOWERS! You have the power and the ability to do good!
- Good is tov and means functions the way God designed you to function. You have the power, you are able to be ALL that God designed you to be and to do ALL that He designed you to do.
You have the power and the ability to function in your original design… image and likeness of God! This verse says that our skin, our make up… OUR NATURE is GOOD! And like the Ethiopian and the leopard we could never change that! Mankind’s nature has never been evil but we were taught and learned evil. 1 Peter 1:18: knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct RECEIVED BY TRADITION from your fathers. Evil was a learned behavior NOT inherent!! Men thought their hearts were wicked or evil, because it was a belief that had been passed down generation to generation.