Friday, April 12, 2024

The Vision (4.12.24): God is greater than our heart


Image: North Garden, Virginia Landscape, painting, John Borden Evans, on display at the Petite MarieBette Café & Bakery, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 3:18-24.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things (1 John 3:20).

John raises in this verse a teaching that is meant to be applied to the Christian with an especially sensitive conscience. What if I am a believer and I desire to do what is right in God’s sight, but I am still plagued by nagging worries, not thinking I have done enough for Christ in gratitude for salvation or perhaps thinking that what I have done has been for my own glory and not the glory of God, so that my heart (that center of my emotions, passions, thoughts, and reflections) is condemning me?

John the apostle’s response is truly something amazing. He says, “God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things.” God is greater than the hyper-critical judgements of even our own hearts. He is omniscient. He knows all things. He knows your true motives and desires. He also remembers that you are but dust and that you have remaining corruptions within you. He knows that neither your salvation nor your final sanctification, in the end, depend upon you and your fitness, your ability, or your works, but it depends upon him alone.

This reminded me of a statement I recently saw on twitter attributed to Dr. Jim Renihan, “You can’t sin away God’s love.”

It also reminded me of a saying of Dr. Joel Beeke, “God has never torn up the birth certificate of any of his children.”

In Romans 8 Paul says that nothing, “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39). And John says, “God is greater than our heart.”

This is actually a quite dangerous statement, because it could be abused to promote “anti-nomianism” or lawlessness, the idea that how you live does not matter. But it could also be rightly used to give comfort and assurance to the Christian with an overly sensitive conscience. Your falling short of God’s glory and your self-condemnation cannot separate you from the love of God in Christ, because God himself is greater than your heart.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

1 comment:

Phil Brown said...

I listened to this sermon the other day and found great help from it. Thank you for sharing your ministry to Christ Reformed Baptist Church with the rest of us.