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Heart failure

December 2001 | by Peter Jeffery

The specialist in hospital told me that my heart was in a serious condition. How did he know? First of all, he was guided by the symptoms – pain, tightening of the chest, breathlessness and an inability to do ordinary things.

There is so much heart trouble today that many will recognise these symptoms, but thankfully most people do not suffer in this way.

But God says that we all have a serious ‘heart condition’. The problem is not with our physical hearts but with our human nature. The Bible spells out the symptoms: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’

Again we read: ‘For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander: These are what make a man unclean’.

Our sins are the evidence of our heart condition. Sin always brings pain. It appears to be enjoyable but always ends in unhappiness. Sin also brings breathlessness, an absence of spiritual life, the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Sin finally renders us unable to do the things we were created for – to love and serve God.

Do you have these symptoms?

If you were told by a heart specialist that you had a serious heart condition, you would be a fool to ignore it. What is your reaction to God’s diagnosis of your ‘heart’? Do you take it seriously? Are you anxious for a cure?

God shows us our heart. He knows the exact condition it is in. We may look OK on the surface. Morally and socially we may live lives that are acceptable to those around us – but how does God see us?

He often speaks of the heart of man in the Bible. There we read that the apostle Peter told a respectable man that his heart was not right in God’s sight. The same is true of us all.

Causes and remedies

Something always causes heart trouble. The specialist will cite things like smoking cigarettes, poor diet and lack of exercise as the main culprits. There are also causes for our spiritual heart problems. These are caused by sin, which is a rejection of God’s ways.

So what is the remedy for all this?

The consultant told me that the only answer was surgery. My problem was a blockage of the arteries. This had to be dealt with to allow the blood to do its job of taking oxygen to my heart. Therefore, I needed a bypass operation.

This involves the surgeon taking a vein from the leg and using it to bypass the blockage in the artery, thus allowing a full flow of life-giving blood.

This was the only answer to my heart problem. And the only answer to the spiritual need of all our hearts is for the blood of Jesus Christ to do its work of bringing forgiveness and life.

Our problem is sin. It pollutes the heart and makes us unacceptable to God. What Jesus did for us on the cross is the only thing that can make sinners clean in God’s sight.

Radical surgery

But Jesus came into the world to deal with sin. He did this once and for all when he died on the cross, by taking the punishment our sins deserved. He died in our place.

That is why the Bible speaks of ‘salvation through his blood’. Morality, religion and education are no remedy for our heart condition. The only answer acceptable to God is ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified’.

The greatest heart specialist, God himself, has diagnosed the condition of your heart.

It is serious. It is terminal. It is eternally fatal – There is only one solution. You need a new heart!

God does not do bypass operations. His surgery is much more radical. It is akin to a heart transplant operation.

New heart, new Spirit

According to the Bible, he takes away the stony heart – the one that is blocked, hard and unresponsive to God – and gives a new one! He says:

‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.

‘I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgements and do them’ (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

God will give this to you when you turn away from your sin and trust, with your whole being, in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Evangelistic