In-a-Word: Good Hearts are Repentant Hearts.

This is a written recap of our current glimpse into Scripture. It begins with the reading of Luke 8:11-15.

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:11-15).

To the make the effort, I think, is necessary to attempt to explain why I would hone in on one word, like: ‘good.’ Based on the Parable of the Sower, the Word of God is presented to each condition of soil (heart). Only one condition of soil (good soil) produces and cultivates a mature crop. Hence, it is critical to the life of the believer to grasp what Jesus intends to be understood by this parable.

In summation, I offer that Scripture affords only one explanation as to what Jesus means when he says: ‘honest and good heart.” That being: Good soil (heart) acknowledges and admits its bad (sinful) condition. Simply put: ‘good hearts’ are repentant hearts.

Scripture offers clear indicators as to what tenants make up a repentant heart. Here’s an overview.

The Repentant Heart:

Realizes sin is offensive to God

Submits to and surrenders in belief to Jesus, as Lord.

Out of a new-birthed desire for the honor of Jesus, now hates their sin and its affects.

The Gospel salvation is so free, that the poorest is not shut out; and so full, that the most burdened conscience may find relief from it. Yet the evil of sin is so displayed as to cause every pardoned sinner to abhor and dread it.” Matthew Henry

Realizes sin is against God, and destroys lives.

Rejoices in God’s mercy being afforded to personal encounter with sin.

That joy is then expressed through obedience.

Burdened for wicked to know salvation, not judgmental.

Compelled to proclaim the message of reconciliation - the Gospel - in every encounter/environment.

Understanding that good hearts are repentant hearts matters because Jesus says the result is a mature crop will be produced. So, does that mean we will behave in a better way or that there is new source residing and producing “good fruit” within us?

Where does “good” originate from within our lives?

The point here is that good soil has been produced by the Lord by way of our submission to the Lordship of Jesus. Thereby, the Holy Spirit, by way of conviction and counsel, breaks up the hard, fallowed ground of our hearts, allowing the Word of God to be implanted within us, securely. As we remain yielded to the authority of the Holy Spirit, the seed of Scripture produces good, mature and Gospel-flavored fruits through us.

Grasping this reality is critical because the word “good” is dangerously subjective and deceiving on so many levels.

What does “good” actually appear to be in our lives?

In human-nature, putting a face on the word “good” typically results in two over-arching evidences:

The absence of bad.

The presence of morality.

These definitions of “good” are rooted in behavior, not motive. The heart is always behind behavior; it houses our motive. However, our general understanding of a “good heart” is, one, that our hearts remain sheltered from bad things and, two, remain true to a socially-approved moral-code established by our peer group. However, these behaviorally-rooted definitions just really speak to our human-nature becoming agreeable to our human-environment. The more adaptable we become, the more self-gratification we produce, thereby resulting in the glory for good-works belonging to us.

Rather, in Luke 8, Jesus makes it clear that it is the Word of God implanted into our hearts that produces fruit. It’s not our fruit. We, like soil, are now in service to the seed, which does all of the work. Chambers says in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount:

“If our hearts are being changed by the Holy Spirit, we will not exhibit good human characteristics, but Divine characteristics in our human nature” - Chambers.

Any goodness that comes forth in our lives is the result of our hearts holding fast to the Word of God, allowing His active and living Word to mature within us, producing good, Gospel-flavored fruit.

*This blog is continued in the following post.