December 15, 2004
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
The U.S. government’s intelligence community was sent reeling early in 2001 when veteran FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested and charged with spying for Russia. Hanssen’s years of counterintelligence work had given him access to a wide range of classified information about U.S. counterintelligence operations. FBI agents arrested him after watching him leave a package of classified documents at a Virginia park for pickup by Russian agents.
The story also sent shock waves among those who thought they knew Robert Hanssen. One neighbor said of the accused spy’s family, “They go to church every Sunday—if that means anything—loading all six kids into the van.”
The case of Robert Hanssen illustrates how hard it is for us to know what is in a person’s heart. We can fool ourselves and other people about the true condition of our hearts, but we cannot escape the penetrating gaze of God. His Word says that He has looked directly into the depths of the human heart, and the news is not good. All of us in our natural condition are separated from God without hope because the disease of sin corrupts our hearts.
Why are people born with diseased hearts, spiritually speaking, and what can be done about it? How bad off is the human race in the eyes of God, and what does it take to solve the problem? You may be thinking that sin and salvation are basic, ABC-type doctrines that most Christians already know and believe, and you’re probably right. If you didn’t believe what the Bible teaches about human sin and our need for salvation, you most likely would not be reading this.
But even if this matter is clear in your own mind and heart, the chances are good that it’s not at all clear to your neighbor, the person next to you at work, or even all of your family members. People are incredibly confused about the nature of sin and what it takes to get to heaven. We need to know what we believe for our own well-being and to help point the people around us to Jesus Christ.
NOTHING IS TEMPORARY ABOUT SALVATION—
IT CAN CURE A DISEASED HEART AND GIVE ETERNAL LIFE.