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Heart redemption

By Jim Killebrew

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[June 21, 2014]  In the Bible the heart is the center of emotion and conscience. We are told in Proverbs 3:5 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” God has created us with a place that needs to be filled with His wisdom and understanding. People live their lives trying to stuff all sorts of things into that space that He has created for Himself. But our efforts to fill our hearts with “things” to bring happiness only leave us empty and looking for more. Even relationships not truly grounded in God’s love and purpose will leave us seeking more.

To find joy to fill that empty place is to Worship Him and yield to Him our heart of hearts to be filled with His love and His Spirit so that we may experience the wildest ride of our lives. Only by inviting His Spirit into ourselves will we be able to find true peace. Is there any room in the bio-science of brain function to fit this in?

I believe we have misplaced our dependence on God's provision for His Spirit. We may have forgotten that the presence of His Spirit brings power to operate in a way that only the Spirit can operate. That operation includes transcending the typical physical state of our existence. Paul seemed to understand that when he talked about life in the Spirit as opposed to life controlled by the sin nature each of us has. He implies something miraculous must occur to break that cycle of moving from the sin nature to the life in the Spirit. Just as we cannot save ourselves from the "law" or works within ourselves, we cannot grow (be sanctified) without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. To the Galatians Paul said, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." (5:16-17)

So to the point, perhaps part of that power from the Holy Spirit is to supply the brain with the right connections so that through our yielding to the Spirit it allows Him to continue on with the work of Jesus through the person who has given his life over to the work of Christ and His gift of the Holy Spirit.

I wonder if when God created Adam and then Eve, since He pronounced that creation as "Very Good" there was a relational component between the two of them and with God that was destroyed when sin entered the world. Of course that is true since even Paul in his Romans letter stated that even the "cosmos" was affected. To escape the effect of falling under the same curse that sin caused, God had to arrange for Jesus to be conceived rather than leave it up to Joseph. That destructive cycle of sin had to be broken, and of course it had to come from outside the "created" circle with direct intervention from the Creator. Hence, Jesus was both God and Man, and through His sacrifice was able to overcome even death and be resurrected to become that "new creature" with a relationship with God that He originally intended.

Now that does lend itself to the proposition that the "heart of emotion" in man co-joins in some way to the brain that links us to the Spirit in such a way as is possible only with our free choice of submission to Him. It is not a far leap to believe that the brain undergoes some sort of change with the touch of the Spirit of God and opens up channels of communication and relationship that had been previously impossible in the "sinful state" of being fallen. I wonder if the state of the human mind is not improved with the touch of the Spirit when a person willingly chooses to yield to the work that Jesus did on the cross and decides to invite Him into their life. At some point Jesus allows the Spirit of God to enter into that person and release power in a way that had never been experienced before. Perhaps a different way of thinking, a "child-like" faith, and a new life-style that is seen through the eyes of Jesus rather than the "world-view" thing.

Now, in our bodies we may not be able to see things as clearly because of our logic that is clouded by the sin nature or world-view simply cannot understand the ways of God. I think Job's arguments and human logic for cause and effect were quelled by God's answer to him in a series of "Where were you when I..." statements. As we begin that journey toward the Kingdom of Heaven by accepting Jesus and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He brings, perhaps our brain begins a metamorphosis of changing from a sin-stained brain to a "Life in the Spirit" brain. It gives us hope that our new bodies are being prepared even as we journey through this barren land.

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Now please do not misunderstand: I am not really wanting to identify directly with Calvinism regarding this proposition, especially the belief that mankind is unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. I do believe that sin has resulted in a different relationship than what was experienced between God, Adam and Eve. Remember in the Garden they had direct communion with God "in the cool of the day." That direct access to God was broken when Eve, then Adam chose to listen to the serpent rather than obey God. When God confronted them He initiated a "curse" that caused not only spiritual changes, but physiological changes as well. Even the ground began to produce thorns and the human mind became dark with anguish, despair, unforgiving and destructive even to the point of murder.

I think choice and free will remained relatively unchanged in regard to the human being's ability to make rational choices based on evidences of good and evil. To take that away from his crowning creation and initiate a "predestined" elect would have negated the necessity for the sacrifice of blood. I believe His predestined plan was redemption, atonement, justification, sanctification and, ultimately glorification. Then it remains the individual's free will choice to yield or not to the God of Israel. We see that choice in the life of Abraham and Job who likely lived at the same time. They believed God; made logical, cognitive and emotional choices in the face of many disbelievers. Before them even, we see Abel making the right choice to follow the will of God with the sacrifice. Indeed, we need only to look to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews to see a list of people who had not lost their ability of free will to make appropriate choices.

So if a person lives under his sin-nature as opposed to life in the Spirit, does his body as ruled by his brain experience joy and "Christ-like" characteristics as does a person yielded to Christ? I believe the answer to that is yes. It may be an empirical difference that can only be found under post-mortem studies, but the potential is there in the creation aspect for men and women to be "good" people and experience joy as they perceive joy, and never see a need to come to Christ. The difference is in the salvation. Without Christ there is no salvation, no matter how good you are! You know, "There is only one name under heaven whereby men might be saved..." Did Cain experience joy as he chose his offering and prepared it for a sacrifice to God? As he thought of how he was going to please God were there endorphins released that caused pleasure to well up within his heart? Perhaps his motive was to compete with his brother Abel and gain a better position in God's sight; but this too might have caused the same pleasure as he contemplated and completed the act.

I guess I might believe that the same sensations exist in both the saved and unsaved; but with varying degrees. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult for a person who believes he is a good person finds it so difficult to come to Christ; after all, from his perception, what is the need? To be redundant, of course, is to remind the readers that the "need" is for redemption.


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