“I felt my heart strangely warmed…I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Those were the words of John Wesley after hearing someone read Martin Luther’s preface to Romans at Aldersgate Street. John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, had a similar experience after reading Luther’s commentary on Galatians. The Word of God is powerful, and it alone can change our hearts.
Throughout church history, several well-known men struggled with knowing if they were saved or not, but once their heart was warmed, to use Wesley’s words, they knew. Luther himself was lecturing in seminary before being converted; this is obviously not what we would desire today. Still, it shows why men like Luther, Wesley, Whitefield, and Bunyan emphasized the work of the Spirit so much in their preaching.
We know the Scripture says the heart is deceitful above all things1, which is why it also says God removes a stony heart and gives us a heart of flesh2. When the gospel goes forth and penetrates our hearts, we realize the depth and darkness of our sin, and the grace of God leads us to repentance. That grace changes our hearts, and after our hearts are changed, we must protect them.
Proverbs 4:23 LSB “Guard your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Psalm 119:10-11 LSB “With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me stray from Your commandments.11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”
The more attention we place on the Word, the more guarded our hearts will be against sin. David’s sin with Bathsheba began with his disobedience not to be in battle with his troops. The Amplified of Psalm 119: 10 says, “Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience].”
As believers, we should not be ignorant of what the Word of God teaches. The children of Israel were commanded to keep the Word before them and teach it to their children3. If you struggle with the assurance of salvation, read the Scriptures, they will either warm your heart or convict you of your sin. If you are not truly saved, the Holy Spirit will let you know through conviction. Many people attend church or pray a prayer but never truly repent of sin and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you’ve never done that, you can do it today. Acknowledge your sin before the Lord, ask for forgiveness, and surrender to the Lord Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 says if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.
Let the Scriptures continually soften your heart, change you, and keep you from the enemy’s path. Psalm 119:105 says the Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; walk in that light today and every day.
- Jeremiah 17:9
- Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26, 2 Corinthians 3:3
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9