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The Upright Heart and the Sinful Heart
by Clifford Tate 
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Leviticus 26:13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright. (KJV)

The Lord Jesus Christ tells us that He will not withhold any good thing from those of us who walk or live uprightly. He (by His Grace) has brought us forth out of the bondage of sin to now be His servant for the rest of our days as pilgrims and aliens down here on this earth. He has purchased us with His blood and now we are His property. He owns us.

This means everything we are and have belongs to Him, we are not our own anymore. Therefore, it must be our glad and faithful duty to present our instruments (eyes, ears, hands, feet, mouth, thoughts, will, desires, ambitions, passions, houses, cars, clothes, etc.) to Him for His use. We must not question the owner what will He do with His own property.

This is a glorious truth and it is the only reason for the difference in the two hearts spoken of in our title. The upright heart is a heart filled with the truth and it now yearns and longs for integrity in the life.

The Word of God clearly spells out the works of the flesh (that mark the sinful heart). The Bible tells us that these works are evident, clearly seen by the individual committing them and all who may be a partaker with the person in those sins or a victim of those sins.

Would we consider a man or woman who continually lives their everyday life producing the works of the flesh a true Christian or follower of Christ? How could a heart filled with truth (the Lord Jesus Christ) constantly bring forth this bitter fruit?

Well, I believe the Word of God clearly tells us that such a person should never think that he/she would inherit the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus said in Leviticus that He broke the bands or yoke upon the children of Israel (what they were under in slavery in Egypt) and He made them to now be able to walk upright. This pictures for us spiritually what He has done for each of us right now by regeneration.

Ephesians 2:1 “And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins.” (Quick Amplified Bible)

Before our encounter with Him, our hearts, totally and completely bent over spiritually, aimed directly (as an arrow shot at a target) away from God and any concept, knowledge, or desire for Him and His ways. We were like a computer program that needed reworking in order that it might function, as it ought.

However, even the reworked computer program does not work to perfection at all times. There are moments when certain glitches or snags show up needing attention. Such is the heart of a true redeemed soul. The upright heart is a heart that has been fixed or repaired by the grace of God. The upright heart is not a sinless heart, but functional to the will of God.

God designed everyman to know and love Him with their entire heart. The Lord Jesus Christ told us as He walked on this earth as a man among us that the greatest of all the commandments was that we should love the Lord God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind.

Well, this is impossible for an unregenerate heart (a sinful heart) because the things accessed through the five (5) senses rule or control the person’s desires. The desire to love the Lord with everything in the soul comes from spiritual discernment not through intellectual stimulation or cognitive knowledge.

The carnal mind rebels against the spiritual things of God and actually loathes them. If the carnal mind and the sinful heart can never desire the things of God then the repair of said mind and heart must only be possible by an act of God independent of the person (still in the carnal state) doing anything. The rule of sin in the heart blocks the desire to know the Lord Jesus and cripples the will.

A healed heart has been unshackled from this crippling plight and now pours out its love and gratitude for receiving its freedom or emancipation. Those still in the carnal state ridicule and mock the upright in heart giving them so-called undesirable labels like bigot. Many look upon the upright in heart as religious nuts or fanatics.

Religion does not drive the new desires of the upright. It is only a fire of love and gratitude for the Savior that continually feeds moment by moment and day by day from the endless fountain of His Grace. Religion will only disappoint the heart of men and women. The Apostle Paul told us in Colossians Chapter 2 that legalistic religious rituals could not change a sinful heart to an upright heart.

Colossians 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (NKJV)

The flesh Paul refers to here is that of the corrupt human nature of man. Paul in this entire chapter (and his summary in this last verse) tells us clearly that every human heart requires the miracle (from God the Holy Spirit) of regeneration to change it from a sinful heart to one that is upright.

Suppose there were a murky, slimy, dirty pond where hundreds of turtles lived. Every turtle swam around his own little territory and lived the lives they were accustomed to living. Again, let us suppose some other creature comes to one of the turtles and says, “I can teach you how to fly, would you like to learn?”

Well, we can imagine that the turtle might be skeptical at first saying to himself, “This sounds simply ridicules, I'm a turtle how in the world would I ever be able to fly?” Although it sounds foolish to him, he with his mind first and then his will says yes to the offer. Suddenly the doubtful turtle is soaring through the sky round and round right over the pond; he used to relegate himself to all the time.

He now has found a completely new world open up to him simply because he heard an offer and was obedient to receive the gift offered. Now picture the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ opening up a completely new world to a person with a sinful heart. A world full of love, joy, peace, and self-control suddenly floods the heart.

Sin is a slave driver and master that never ever is satisfied. You can never indulge sin longer, harder, or deeper to satisfy its appetite. The sinful heart continually wants to feed on more sin. It is like a bottomless pit or an erupting volcano.

I remember watching a movie once that showed a man who contracted Emphysema because of his long life of smoking. The character in the film, shown in the hospital (after having a hole cut in his throat (trachea) that he might be able to breath and talk. Yet this character despite the addiction to smoking about to take his life, he still smoked his cigarettes through the hole in his throat.

I understand that this was a movie depicting fictional characters, but I am positive that this same behavior played out in this world everyday destroys the lives of real people. This is the demand of sin on a heart not made upright by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The anointing from the Spirit of God breaks the yoke of bondage. He turns a sinful heart into an upright heart.

Isaiah 10:27 It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil. (NKJV)

Here the prophet Isaiah is speaking of the oppressed children of Israel by the Assyrian people, but this speaks to us today in the spiritual sense that the cruel oppressor is sin, darkness, and the devil. The anointing oil refers to the Holy Spirit as He destroys the devil, darkness, and sins oppression in the heart that has been now made upright before God the Father by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The ownership of the heart is what determines its desires. A sinful heart is still under the oppressive tyrant or dictator the devil and his lust and desires does that heart want to do. On the other hand, an upright heart bought with the precious blood of Christ desires to see the luscious fruits of the Holy Spirit be made visible. One heart has no restraints where as the other is under restraint. The sinful heart is always loaded down with guilt (condemning itself) on top of the enslavement and bondage it is under because of non-regeneration.

Romans 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened (dimmed) so that they cannot see, and make them bend their back [stooping beneath their burden] forever. (Quick Amplified Bible)

The sinful heart will never receive its emancipation papers until it cries out to the Lord Jesus Christ for deliverance. He stands at the door of every heart knocking seeking entrance. He only stands knocking waiting for us to open the door of our hearts to Him. He will never break down the door (as does the thief, the devil). The devil is the enslaver, but Christ is the liberator (See the entire 107th Psalm).

Isaiah 38:17 Behold, it was for my peace that I had intense bitterness; but You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Quick Amplified Bible)

This is what the liberator of souls does for each one that surrenders to Him. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) had these touching words to say about King Hezekiah and him really knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, “Hezekiah had been a religious man, had maintained the Temple Services, had enjoyed the close friendship of Isaiah, yet it was in none of these things that he had met God face to face.

However, when he turned his face to the wall, and poured out his soul-anguish, He touched God, knew Him after a fresh fashion, and heard Him speak, and saw Him work. Only through sickness, loneliness, and the pressure of overwhelming sorrow, do some men rightly learn to live, and discover that unseen and most real world, where the life of the spirit unfolds to God as a flower in spring.

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. AMEN.”

Isaiah 63:1 Who is this Who comes from Edom, with crimson-stained garments from Bozrah [in Edom]? This One Who is glorious in His apparel, striding triumphantly in the greatness of His might? It is I, [the One] Who speaks in righteousness [proclaiming vindication], mighty to save! (Quick Amplified Bible)

F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) had these words to say of this verse of Scripture from the Prophet Isaiah, “Clearly, then, He is no enemy, but an Ally, and much more! The word save suggests that there is no reason for fear, but every reason to hope. Notice the special aspect of Jesus Christ, which appears in this scene. It is not Jesus on the Cross, but in His Resurrection and Ascension glory. He it is who stands Sentry between us and the power of the flesh, for which Edom stands. He is not simply the Forgiver of Sin, but the Conqueror over all Sin. He is more than a Conqueror for Himself--He is responsible for all who trust Him.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Captain of Salvation, who discernest the malevolence and working of evil spirits against my soul, deliver me, I entreat Thee, amid the manifold temptations and trials by which I am beset, make a way for me to escape, succour me by Thy mighty power, and cause me to become more than a conqueror. AMEN.

We ask not, O Father, for health or life. We make an offering to Thee of all our days. Thou hast counted them. We would know nothing more. All we ask is to die rather than live unfaithful to Thee. Living or dying we would be Thine. AMEN.”

What a glorious description we have here from a past servant of our Lord and Savior. The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has already conquered sin, death, and hell should cause each one of us to shout Hallelujah, as we are made more upright in our hearts day by day through the washing of water with His Word. We cannot allow our lives to reflect the attitudes, desires, and practices we once were prisoners to when we knew not the sweet touch of His grace upon our souls.

The children of Israel after having tasted the goodness and witnessed the majesty, splendor, and power of the Lord griped, murmured, and complained looking back longingly at the filthy land of Egypt. They wanted to go back to their enslavement and did not trust the Lord to provide something far better.

It is our responsibility not to allow our hearts to look back to those days of sinful enslavement. On the contrary, we should look forward to the high calling we now have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must never allow pride to rise up within us knowing that the uprightness of our hearts comes only from what we have received of Him. The Holy Spirit has inclined our hearts to love Him with great passion.

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) said, “To be a disciple is to be a devoted love-slave of the Lord Jesus. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not devoted to Jesus Christ. No man on earth has this passionate love to the Lord Jesus unless the Holy Ghost has imparted it to him.”

Here we find another way of marking the difference between the upright heart and the sinful heart. The upright heart is a love-slave of Christ as described by brother Chambers. Whereas, the sinful heart is too also a love-slave, but a love-slave of sin and all the corresponding corruption that proceeds forth from such a union.

Revelation 22:15 [But] without are the dogs and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity [the lewd, adulterers] and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating). (Quick Amplified Bible)

This verse sums it all up for us. One heart loves the Lord Jesus Christ and the other heart loves all that is false and opposed to Him. This is certain because Christ said, “I am the truth, and I came to bear witness of the truth.”

The Apostle Paul put it in the same context but using different language when he said, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The sinful heart is a condemned heart and it craves the things that will bring pleasure to the flesh continually. When we actually draw it down to the simplest form, we find that the difference in the two hearts boils down to truth and error. It cannot get any simpler than that. Finally, we close with the following piercing verse of Scripture and a warning from another brother of the past Charles Spurgeon.

Genesis 8:9 But the dove found no resting-place on which to roost, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were [yet] on the face of the whole land. So he put forth his hand and drew her to him into the ark. (Quick Amplified Bible)

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) had this to say of the verse of Scripture Genesis 8:9, “Reader, can you find rest apart from the ark, Christ Jesus? Then be assured that your religion is vain. Are you satisfied with anything short of a conscious knowledge of your union and interest in Christ? Then woe unto you.

If you profess to be a Christian, yet find full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is false. If your soul can stretch herself at rest, and find the bed long enough, and the coverlet broad enough to cover her in the chambers of sin, then you are a hypocrite, and far enough from any right thoughts of Christ or perception of his preciousness.

But if, on the other hand, you feel that if you could indulge in sin without punishment, yet it (sin) would be a punishment of itself; and that if you could have the whole world, and abide in it for ever, it (the whole world) would be quite enough misery not to be parted from it; for your God-your God-is what your soul craves after; then be of good courage, thou art a child of God.

With all thy sins and imperfections, take this to thy comfort: if thy soul has no rest in sin, thou are not as the sinner is! If thou art still crying after and craving after something better, Christ has not forgotten thee, for thou hast not quite forgotten Him. The believer cannot do without his Lord; words are inadequate to express his thoughts of Him.

We cannot live on the sands of the wilderness, we want the manna which drops from on high; our skin bottles of creature confidence cannot yield us a drop of moisture, but we drink of the rock which follows us, and that rock is Christ.

When you feed on Him your soul can sing, "He hath satisfied my mouth with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's," but if you have Him not, your bursting wine vat and well-filled barn can give you no sort of satisfaction: rather lament over them in the words of wisdom, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!"

"When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own;
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart;
Then, Lord, shall I fully know-
Not till then-how much I owe."

Sincerely in Christ,

Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul (not yet published; coming soon)

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