I have oft heard the expression “Well GOD knows my heart.” The thought usually means that sincerity is the crux of salvation. That if one’s heart is sincere GOD will save that person. Another expression is “I know in my heart that I am saved.”
I am a firm believer in the emotional side of religion. After all, it was Jesus Who said that GOD is a Spirit and those that worship Him must do so in spirit and truth (John 4:24). So the spirit or emotional side of worship is integral. But feeling like something is right does not by itself make it right.
Did not Jacob think in his heart that Joseph was dead? Did he not grieve for many years feeling as though his son was dead? But a reading of Genesis 37 – 50 reveals that Jacob’s feeling in his heart, his thinking that Joseph was dead, did not make it true.
Saul is another example. Saul persecuted GOD’S people prior to his conversion. And yet later he could say that he had lived in all good conscience to that day. (Acts 23:1)
GOD does know my heart! (1 Samuel 16:7) But I would like to consider another aspect of that. Consider this thought, that HE knows my heart and will save me because of that. That somehow because of the sincerity of my heart, GOD will save me. Could this mean that when I stand before HIM in judgment I could somehow be justified in my salvation? That I could say that because I was sincere that I am somehow owed salvation? That GOD is indebted to me somehow because I was sincere?
The scripture is clear that GOD wants everyone to be saved. (Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:4)
The scripture is equally clear that I am saved by grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:1-2, etc.)
How can these 2 thoughts both be true – that man is saved by grace and that the grace of GOD has appeared to everyone? Would this not mean that everyone will be saved? And yet Matthew 7:21 makes it clear that not everyone will be saved.
It is a simple matter that GOD’S grace is available to all. But there is the responsibility on the part of man to accept that grace.
The earlier reference to Ephesians makes it clear that man is saved by grace. The phrase by grace is a prepositional phrase describing how one is saved. But there is another prepositional phrase included, by faith. This carries equal weight in the matter. Man is saved by grace. Man is saved by faith. Both are necessary.
Faith is necessary. (Hebrews 11:6)
So are we full circle back to the idea of “believing in my heart?” We are unless we consider carefully how the bible defines faith. Faith is not just a feeling in one’s heart. It is grounded in truth. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of GOD. Faith must be more than a feeling but must be grounded in the words of scripture.
So then by faith, a knowledge of the truth, man must accept GOD’S grace. Man must live according to the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Will man be able to live perfectly? Absolutely not! Man will fall. (Romans 3:23) That is where the blood of Jesus comes in. 1 John 1:7-10 explains that the blood of Jesus continually keeps the faithful Christian cleansed of all sins. He can therefore stand justified in the sight of GOD.
When I stand before GOD the Father in judgment I will be glad that salvation is not something given to me because I deserve it. It will be only because of the grace of GOD that made available the blood of the Sinless Savior. But I do realize that to access that blood requires faith on my part. And I further realize that that faith is more that a feeling or emotion in my heart. It is that “feeling” but it is based on the words of truth found in the New Testament.
I thank GOD that I am saved by grace through faith!