Calvary Road Baptist Church

“SALVATION: A MATTER OF THE HEART” Part 7

Romans 10.10 

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome, he was writing to them as a well-known apostle of Jesus Christ whose reputation had preceded him. However, it is unlikely that he had personally met more than a few of them. Thus, this letter is written to those believers in Rome who know of him but do not know him.

The purpose of Paul’s letter is a very interesting and complex one. At one level, Paul is a missionary planning to remove his base of ministry operations from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Western Mediterranean, so he wrote to them to introduce himself more fully, to request from them his need for their prayers and financial support (he is, after all, a missionary), and to put in writing the basis for their agreement with him on important doctrinal matters. Paul knew there had to be doctrinal harmony for them to successfully partner in ministry. That understood, it was Paul’s careful explanation of his doctrinal position that has come to be our focus on his letter. What he originally meant to be a clarification of the doctrine of justification by faith set forth with a specificity the Romans had never seen before, but which they would quickly recognize as the most complete explanation of their beliefs on the matter they had ever before seen, has been used somewhat differently in the centuries since then.

I think Paul was not declaring to the Romans much that they did not already believe, but he did enlarge upon their understanding of the need for justification by faith, the nature of justification by faith, and the outworking of the Christian life by someone who was justified by faith in Christ. What I envision to have been new to the Roman Christians was what Paul wrote in chapters 9, 10, and 11, where he explained to them how the Jewish people fit into God’s plan of the ages. This was especially important to them in light of the Jewish believers, in the mostly Gentile Christian congregations in Rome.

This is part seven of a series of messages dealing with Romans 10.10: 

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” 

Of course, the Gospel, is clearly set forth by the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15.1-4: 

1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. 

The Romans know this and have already responded to the Gospel by trusting Christ. This series of messages, however, focuses on one aspect of trusting Christ, the operation of the heart in all this. The previous two sessions of our series were devoted to the human mind in action. We previously considered the many times a certain Greek word, homothumidon, is used in the Greek New Testament, to describe both good and bad conduct of those who were of one accord. Before that we considered the thinking of two wicked men, Cain and Esau, and how their minds were not focused on clear and rational thinking, which resulting in them committing sins that were wildly irrational and contrary to their own best interests.

I also brought forth the case of the Babylonian ruler named Nebuchadnezzer, who lived six centuries before Christ and who took the people of Judah into captivity after conquering them. It was when the Jews were in exile that God used His man Daniel to exert influence on that Gentile leader. A portion of his testimony is found in Daniel 5.20: 

“But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” 

Notice the connection between Nebuchadnezzer’s heart and his mind. Being lifted up in his heart, his mind hardened in pride. Thus, pride in his heart left his mind resistant to truth. That relation of one’s heart, the seat of the will, and one’s mind, the place were truth resides and is contemplated, is an important one.

We need to be open to the likelihood of that process explaining both the murder of Cain and the profaneness of Esau. Perhaps their hearts were lifted up, resulting in their minds being closed to taking in truth. Cain would not listen to God reasoning with him and Esau sought no one’s counsel before selling his birthright. Tragedy typically results when people’s minds are closed to the truth. In the case of both Cain and Esau, we are provided no evidence they sought wisdom from anyone older and wiser. Psalm 119.130 reads, 

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” 

If your mind is hardened in pride, if your mind is closed to the entrance of truth, if you are close-minded, poor decisions will be made and bad directions in life will be taken. This is especially the case with those who make important decisions without any serious consultation with those who are older, wiser, and more experienced.

We now move from a consideration of the mind to a consideration of the heart. Caution must be exercised to avoid thinking the mind and heart are completely separate entities, just because we can think of them separately and discuss them separately. Keep in mind what Daniel 5.20 says, 

“But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” 

Heart lifted and mind hardened. Distinguished in Scripture, certainly, but in no way disconnected from each other. 

Second, having previously made observations of the human mind in action, this morning we turn to observations of the human heart in action. We know for sure that there are times when groups of people are of one accord, which is to say that they are of one mind concerning an issue, concerning an opinion, or concerning a course of action. Throughout the New Testament we find evidence of this oneness of mind within the Christian community. However, not surprisingly, we also found such oneness of mind also in evidence from time to time among those who are stridently opposed to the Gospel. I will now consider the human heart. Remembering that the heart is the seat of the will, the place where decisions are made, let us take one verse at a time to see how men behave who decide in concert, with reference being made in Scripture to one heart, using the singular form of the Hebrew word for heart, as well as those verses in which people act in concert with the plural of the Hebrew word for heart used. I begin by reading those verses in the English Bible containing the phrase “their heart,” more than 50 in number, all the while recognizing in most of these verses the plural of the Hebrew word for heart is used despite the English translation being the word heart, singular: 

Genesis 42.28: “And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?” 

The Hebrew word here being plural, we see here the brothers of Joseph demonstrating a unity of response of their hearts. They are in trouble together. 

Joshua 5.1: “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.” 

Here we see a unanimity of the Amorites and Canaanites in defeat, “their heart melted.” In this verse the Hebrew word for heart is again plural. They are in trouble together. 

First Kings 2.4: “That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.” 

Here we see God calling for His people to be united in their hearts, again the word is plural, in their devotion to Him. 

First Kings 8.23: “And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart.” 

Solomon is here referring to a unity of their hearts, plural, before God. 

First Kings 8.48: “And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name.” 

Again, Solomon, referring to national and unanimous repentance by Israel, uses the plural of the word translated heart. 

First Kings 18.37: “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” 

These are the words of Elijah on Mount Carmel. Perhaps this is a definition God-sent of revival, when God turns people’s hearts (plural) back to Him. 

Second Kings 23.3: “And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.” 

This is in the context of the national revival that God sent when Josiah was the king of Judah, so it is no surprise the Hebrew word for heart is singular, though it has been translated as plural in English. 

First Chronicles 29.18: “O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.” 

These are the words of David in his old age when he presented Solomon as the new king, both instances of the word for heart in this verse being plural. 

Second Chronicles 6.38: “If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name.” 

These are the words of Solomon concerning the future return of the people to the land after they have been scattered by God for their sin, with the word heart and soul both being plural. Interestingly, despite the existence of the modern state of Israel, this prediction has not yet been fulfilled. 

Second Chronicles 15.12: “And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul. 

This is a commitment to do something, rather than a record of an actual occurrence. Thus, it is recognized that concerning some things people ought to be of one heart. Notice, also, that “all their heart” corresponds with “all their soul,” the word heart here being plural. 

Second Chronicles 15.15: “And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.” 

Under good King Asa, we see the people of Judah blessed of God after they had sworn with their hearts, plural, and sought Him with their whole desire, and in the very next verse the king removed his idolatrous mother from being queen. 

Job 8.10:  “Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?” 

Job’s friend, Bildad, is wrong about some things. However, he correctly recognizes that men can be agreed in their hearts, plural. 

Job 17.4:  “For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.” 

Job recognizes that God judges en mass those who are acting in concert with their hearts. 

Psalm 10.17: “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” 

Here we see that God sometimes responds to the humble by dealing collectively with their hearts. Notice that God prepares the hearts of the individuals within a group. Sometimes God treats individuals collectively. 

Psalm 78.8:  “And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” 

Here the psalmist laments a generation that seemed to unanimously, as though with a single heart, singular, reject God, and hopes their children do not do the same. 

Psalm 78.18: “And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.” 

The generation the psalmist is referring to are those Jews who perished in the wilderness, each of them tempting God in their hearts. 

Psalm 78.37: “For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.” 

Notice how that generation who wandered in the wilderness after refusing to enter the Promised Land with Joshua and Caleb were united in their hearts against God. 

Psalm 95.10: “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” 

In yet another psalm God refers to their collective guilt resulting from each individual erring in his heart. These people had cast their lots with each other and so they lived out their lives in collective rebellion and unanimous opposition to the plan and purpose of God for their lives. 

Psalm 105.25: “He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.” 

This speaks of God turning the hearts of the Egyptians to hate the children of Israel. This reminds me of Proverbs 21.1, though it is not only the king whose heart is turned by the LORD: 

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” 

Psalm 107.12: “Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.” 

Once again, reference to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings, referring to their individual hearts. 

Psalm 119.70: “Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.” 

He the psalmist describes the hearts of the lost as being as fat as grease, referring to the spiritual insensitivity of ungodly individuals. 

Psalm 140.2: “Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.” 

Every lost person’s heart functions as every other lost person’s heart functions. They all, without exception, imagine mischiefs, scheming of things to do what God objects to. 

Proverbs 24.2: “For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” 

This verse says essentially the same thing. Their hearts, plural, express their will in their speech. 

Ecclesiastes 3.11: “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” 

It seems that this verse speaks to God enabling human beings to appreciate and grasp in their hearts the glory and significance of this world we live in. 

Ecclesiastes 9.3: “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” 

Using the singular of heart here, each person’s heart is full of evil, the result being that madness is in their hearts. 

Isaiah 6.10: “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” 

This is another of the few places the singular of the Hebrew word for heart is found, with judgment pronounced on all the lost referred to here who are of one heart. 

Isaiah 29.13: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” 

An entire people have wrongly acted toward God as if they were one, the word for heart here being singular. 

Jeremiah 5.24: “Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” 

The plural of the Hebrew word for heart is used in this verse.

Do you now recognize that decisions made against God, decisions to rebel against Him, decisions to refuse His entreaties, are typically not made in isolation? Rather, they are collective decisions made by groups of people whose hearts, the seats of their wills, are acting in concert. Though the thinking is individual thinking and the decision making is also individual on the part of those who reject God’s will for their lives, they band together after the fashion described in Psalm 2.1-2: 

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed 

Jeremiah 13.10: “This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.” 

The word heart again is plural, providing more evidence to support what we have found. 

Jeremiah 14.14: “Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” 

People not only engage in group think, but also heart response. Here it is deceit of the hearts, the decision made by each one being the same, the hearts of a group of people. 

Jeremiah 17.1: “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars.” 

The pen of iron, the point of a diamond, and their individual hearts likened to a table. The emphasis here is permanency. No mere decision to renovate or reform one’s life will be sufficient to deal with this sin problem. Hearts are beyond such help. 

Lamentations 2.18: “Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.” 

Lamentations was written by Jeremiah during the final destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the cruel Babylonians, amidst horrible suffering by the Jewish people. This is likely referring to those who manned the walls to defend the city against the attackers. Each individual’s heart cried rivers of tears unto the Lord. 

Ezekiel 14.3: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” 

The LORD’s indictment is that each elder sitting before Ezekiel had set up an idol in his heart and placed the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face. Why, God asks, should I listen to what they ask? 

Ezekiel 20.16: “Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.” 

Same thing as the previous verse. All are together deciding in each of their hearts against God. 

Ezekiel 21.15: “I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.” 

God’s actions are designed to see their rebellion against Him miserably fail, to see each person’s heart faint. He does not encourage their stubborn rebellion against Him. 

Ezekiel 33.31:  “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” 

Mouths are not consistent with hearts. Their hearts pursue something other than God. 

Hosea 4.8: “They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.” 

The Hebrew word for heart is not found in this verse, the translators doing some interpreting here. 

Hosea 7.6: “For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.” 

Ovens are not used at night, though they would continue to smolder until the embers were stirred in the morning for baking. In like manner, the hearts of the wicked are ready to do wrong. In this respect, each individual sinner is like every other sinner. 

Hosea 7.14: “And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.” 

There is none that seeketh after God. Here the Hebrew word for heart is plural. 

Hosea 10.2:  “Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.” 

This is the Old Testament version of James 1.8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” The ungodly want to serve God and mammon, but that is of course impossible. Nevertheless, that is what they all want to be able to do. In that hearts are each divided. 

Hosea 13.6: “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.” 

Shameful ingratitude. God blessed them, they then became proud, and then promptly forgot God. That is the way it always is with the unsaved. They are of one heart. 

Hosea 13.8: “I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.” 

They are united in their hearts to do wrong, so God will punish them as one. 

Zephaniah 1.12: “And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.” 

Is this not a wonderful example of the united hearts of the unsaved? They have all said the same thing in their hearts, that God will do nothing, neither good nor evil against them. 

Zechariah 10.7:  “And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.” 

This may be the first good reference to “their heart,” a prediction when those of Ephraim, in each of their hearts, will someday rejoice. 

Zechariah 12.5:  “And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.” 

I think this will be fulfilled at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, making this the second time in the Old Testament when we see the hearts of many people in a good light. 

Matthew 13.15:   “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” 

Here the Lord Jesus explains why He chose to speak in parables, so most people would not understand. The heart is the seat of will, and these people have yielded their responsibility to exercise control over their own decisions by simply going with the flow and casting their lots with everyone else, the Greek kardia here being singular. Fine. Refuse to take individual responsibility and the Savior will treat you like He treats them. He made sure they simply did not understand. 

Matthew 15.8:  “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” 

Just like in the Old Testament, with the singular kardia once more. 

Mark 6.52:   “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” 

1This speaks of the disciples. It was our Lord’s disciples who did not consider the miracle of the loaves. It was our Lord’s disciples who were of a single heart, with that heart being hardened. They had yielded personal responsibility for their decision-making and the result was all of them were of one heart that was hardened. 

Mark 7.6:  “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” 

Our Lord is speaking to the scribes and Pharisees at this point, using the singular kardia. 

Luke 9.47:  “And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him.” 

The context of this verse is Christ’s disciples arguing who should be the greatest. Once again, they have yielded up their personal responsibility to make good decisions and have collectively made a wrong decision, though in this case the plural, kardias, is used. 

John 12.40: "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” 

Taken from Isaiah, we see here that the tendency of the unsaved to act with one heart, singular, against Christ and the Gospel was not confined to the Old Testament, but is a pattern with all lost people. 

Acts 2.37: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 

On the Day of Pentecost, of the thousands present to hear Peter’s great sermon indicting them for Christ’s crucifixion, God sovereignly pricked three thousand in their heart, singular. This usually happens one sinner at a time, but Pentecost was no ordinary event. It was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God and the beginning of a great moving of the Spirit. One characteristic of revival may be that whereas men typically are of one heart against God, in revival God so moves that men are of one heart in allegiance to God. 

Acts 28.27: “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” 

Yet another reference to men’s heart, singular, united in opposition to God from the Old Testament. 

Second Corinthians 3.15: “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.” 

Paul speaks here of the judicial blindness of the Jewish people. They reacted of one heart, so God judges them of one heart. 

Ephesians 4.18: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” 

We have seen a number of passages in which the heart of the Jewish people is referred to. Here the Apostle Paul makes reference to the singular heart of the vast multitudes of Gentiles in the same fashion. Thus, it is clear that those who think they arrive at and embrace their own decisions about spiritual matters are only fooling themselves, reflecting that singleness of heart that results in so many who are lost rejecting the Gospel. 

Hebrews 3.10: “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” 

Once again, a reference to the children of Israel who refused God’s direction and spent the rest of their lives wandering in the wilderness because of the error of their heart, singular, meeting their deaths before their survivors entered the Promised Land. 

Is it not abundantly clear that people are prone to becoming collective in their decision making? Have we not seen a great deal of evidence that men will band together and take comfort in their combined opposition to the plan and purpose of God? This is also frequently seen with unsaved married couples, where they choose to stand together with solidarity in their opposition to God and the Gospel, ignoring the fact that marriage is temporary and their eternal destinies after they die are forever.

As well, have we not also seen that on occasion even Christ’s disciples forfeited their responsibilities to make right decisions, and instead banded together to adopt at least a bad attitude if not make a bad decision? Thus, we see that this is a human tendency that results in people being drawn into individuals surrendering decision-making responsibility that they should not surrender. Following someone who is doing God’s will is wonderful, but break from the group if your soul’s salvation is at stake. Why so? Because eternity is a long time to be wrong.

It is to be granted that there are times when God deals with a group, challenges a group, and even supernaturally moves a group, such as He did on the Day of Pentecost. However, such times are admittedly rare. In most cases, God’s desire is for an individual to not yield in such a way to anyone else, or to a larger group that is headed in the wrong direction and is not demonstrating loyalty to God and the Gospel.

Now do you begin to appreciate why, since the Bible teaches us that with the heart man believes unto righteousness, it might have been with wisdom that Christians who gathered for worship centuries ago had well-established practices for seating? Parents should give serious thought to who their children sit with, since we see a strong pattern in the Bible of the hearts of people typically acting in concert with each other and not making decisions as individuals concerned for their long term best interests.

Is it always a good idea for someone who is lost but concerned about his eternal and undying soul to always sit next to someone who is also lost but not so concerned about his soul’s condition? Is it always best for spouses to always sit together? Yes, if one is a strongly committed Christian who will wonderfully influence the other. Can it not sometimes be beneficial for someone who is lost to sit somewhere that provides a bit of space from others, so issues of personal salvation during Gospel preaching without distractions from unsaved friends can be considered, no matter how subtle those distractions might be?

We have seen in our consideration of people’s minds the great tendency toward group think or mob mentality. Sometimes the group think is good. However, group think or mob mentality is typically not beneficial unless there is a strong influence from someone who is godly. The same is true of the heart, which I will remind you again is the seat of the will. However, since the heart is slower to respond to influences, it is likely the heart is also more slowly and more subtly influenced.

Regardless of what people assume to be the case, I am persuaded, and I am showing you Biblical evidence to support my persuasion, that people are not so quick to assume personal responsibility for responding to the Gospel as they think they are, or as they claim to be. Not only are human beings likely to engage in group think in their thoughts, but more subtly people are likely to make decisions of the heart jointly with others, even when they do not recognize their tendency to do so.

Allow me to illustrate with one example of a mother and her sixteen year-old son attending a service here some fifteen or so years ago. They arrived early. Mom selected a place to sit before anyone else arrived, and her son, with whom I had a very cordial relationship, proceeded to sit with his mom, in which way he was effectively hiding behind his mom. When I suggested to him that he sit where I knew boys his age would sit, with his mother agreeing, he almost started crying. Why did he react that way? He wanted to hide behind his mother by sitting next to his mother. He did not want to sit away from her where he would be on his own, so to speak, and positioned to deal with a Gospel message by himself.

It is not God’s will for you or me or anyone to rely on anyone else to influence you to respond to the challenge of the Gospel. God’s plan is to deal with me using His Word, and not for me to rely upon group think or a group heart decision concerning what I should do. The same is true concerning you. It does no one any good whatsoever to respond to the Gospel and claim to want to be saved because someone else has done that. When it comes to your reconciliation to God through faith in Christ, it is a matter of you and only you responding to Jesus Christ. And your proper response is to believe with your heart unto righteousness.

I know that not everyone is comfortable with the implications of what I say. Let me say that I am comfortable with you considering what I have said, and arriving at a conclusion later. That said, God very typically isolates individual sinners to deal with them about spiritual matters. We see examples throughout the Bible. Not to say that God always deals with someone who is physically alone. Sometimes God works on an individual in the middle of a large crowd. Even so there is an isolation that takes place so that the sinner is, in a spiritual sense, all alone with his consideration of Christ and the Gospel.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

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