What do you do when you sin repeatedly? What do you do when you see something about yourself that you decide to change, you give it your best effort, and you don’t change? What’s wrong with us?
- Jeremiah is a prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah who predicted the coming Babylonian invasion and exile.
- The book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order.
- Total Depravity does not mean that people are as wicked as we possibility could be.
- Total Depravity refers is the idea that sin effects our every aspect of our being. If I look inside myself to find something free from sin, I won’t find anything. See: Romans 3:9-18
- This passage does not give us a theological definition of Total Depravity. Rather in gives us 3 metaphors each of which refers to the heart.
- For Jews of Jeremiah’s day, “heart” referred to the entire internal life of a person: intellectual, emotional and spiritual combined.
Metaphor 1: Stone tablet engraved with an iron stylus
- Our hearts are described as a hard stone tablet engraved with a diamond-tipped stylus.
- Sin is permanently engraved on these hearts of stone.
- Sin is pictured as choice we repeatedly make against God; an inescapable, inevitable part of our lives apart from God.
Metaphor 2: The tree contrasted with the bush
- Sin is pictured as your orientation toward God (turned toward him or away from him).
- The bush (turned away from God) lives in a salt desert, barely scraping by.
- The tree (turned toward God) lives by a lush green stream and survives the drought.
Metaphor 3: The desperately sick heart
- Sin is pictured as a virus that has spread throughout our hearts.
- Rather than outward behavior, sin is pictured as a state we are in that we cannot fix ourselves.
- Yet the Lord knows our hearts (verse 10) and intends to do something about it. (Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33)
What’s wrong with us?
What’s wrong with us? Total depravity.
1) Sin is the basic condition of our hearts. Sin is who and what we are at our core.
2) Sin is relational. Sin has to do with your relationship with God.
3) Sin makes us blind to real life and blessings.
4) Sin as a disease and we are infected.
What’s the solution? Trusting in the blood of Christ to secure your forgiveness and redemption and the work of the Holy Spirit to give you a heart transplant.
Quotes from Richard Sibbes, The Tender Heart
In his sermon on the text of 2 Chronicles 34 where God answers King Josiah because his heart is tender, Richard Sibbes writes:
“It is not enough to have the heart broken. A pot may be broken in pieces and be good for nothing. And so may a heart be through terrors, sense of judgment and still not be like wax, pliable. The heart must be, not broken, melting. Tenderness of heart is brought about by an understanding of the tenderness and love that is in Christ. A soft heart is made soft by the blood of Christ.”
He refers to a mythical metal called adamant that can only be melted when immersed in blood.
“Many say that adamant cannot be fire melted but only by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no but I’m sure nothing will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ, the passion of our blessed Savior. When a man considers the love that God has shown in sending his son — doing such great things as he has done, giving of Christ to satisfy his justice, setting us free from hell, Satan, death, — the consideration of all this with the persuasion that we have an interest in this melts the heart and makes it become tender.”
He’s says that sin is a coldness and hardness of heart. Our heart can be so hard and so cold that it doesn’t recognize the weight of sin engraved on it. It might be dutiful but not delighting in God. But the work of the gospel is to warm and soften our hearts toward God. So he writes:
“As when things are cold we bring them to the fire to heat and melt, so bring we our cold hearts to the fire of the love of Christ. Consider we our sins against Christ and Christ’s love towards us. Dwell on this! Think what great love Christ has showed unto us. How little we deserved and this will make our hearts to melt and be as pliable as wax before the sun. If thou wilt have this tender and melting heart, be always under the sunshine of the gospel.”
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Series: Questions Jeremiah Answered
Resources: Jeremiah Resources
Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.