HOW DO YOU RECEIVE A CLEAN HEART?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
But the problem with so many of us is we don't realize that it's received by faith. We believe we receive our forgiveness of sins by faith and then you know what we do. You know what we do. We say, "All right, I received the forgiveness of sins by faith. I know I am on my way to heaven, now I've got to work on my unclean heart", isn't that right?
I mean how many of us believe that we can receive a clean heart by faith? We don't. We believe we work on an unclean heart by amateur psychology and group rationalization. That's it, and because we haven't experienced the miraculous deliverance from the unclean heart, the only way we can align ourselves with the Bible standards is by lowering those standards and so that's what we do. You know we fill each other's heads with the thoughts, "Anger is okay. You can't get over it. Let's face it. It's just human. Gossip is okay. Let's face it, you can't get over it, an odd unclean thought, it's human. You can't get over those things. A little slander, a little jealousy, you can't help it. Those are normal human feelings and you'll always have them." Isn't that the way we talk? So we excuse anger and we excuse gossip and we excuse sarcasm and we excuse slick asides to other people and gradually the whole life in Christ lowers and lowers and lowers.
Loved ones, you may say, "I believe what you say. I believe Acts 15:9. I believe that God can give the Holy Spirit to us and He can cleanse our hearts by faith. I believe that. I believe it's possible to live that way. Now, how am I going to move towards that? How am I going to move towards the full consecration that enables God to do this miracle in me?"
Loved ones, first of all call sin, sin. Call sin, sin. Stop looking at things that you do wrong or feelings that you have that are wrong and excusing them as shortcomings or as little weaknesses in your humanity or as little characteristics that occur because of your background. Stop that. Stop saying, "Oh well, I am a Swede you know and I am a bit incommunicative, not unloving, just incommunicative", stop saying that.
Stop saying, "Oh well, I have an artistic kind of temperament you know, and I am a little fiery, not angry, I am a little fiery at times", stop that. Say, "I am angry", that's sin. Unlovingness, that's sin. Stop saying, "Well, I am a student you know and I am a transient, not uncommitted. I am a transient, I am just transient", No, say you're uncommitted. Call it sin. Old marrieds, "Well, no, I am not ungenerous to God financially, I am just prudent at this time of my life." No, no, just call it sin.
Young marrieds, "I am not ungenerous but we just have to get the necessities you know, get ourselves together", no, no, call that sin. Call sin, sin. That's the first thing. Call sin, sin. You can afford to do it because there's a cure for it and a remedy for it. You only have to pretend if there's no remedy. If there's no remedy but the amateur psychology and the mutual reinforcement groups then you have to avoid calling it sin, but call sin, sin, that's the first thing. Be real about the things in your life that are sin. And see secondly that sin cannot be justified. You can't justify sin.
But see very clearly loved ones that the normal Christian life is defined in two verses in scripture, one is in James, "Whoever knows what is right to do and does not do it, for him it is sin." So if you know something is wrong and you don't do it, that's sin, conscious sin not unconscious sin, that's still sin but conscious sin is what God is concerned about. That's what you have control of and First John 3:9, "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin." You don't commit sin if you're born of God.
Loved ones, hold to that, hold to that. Don't justify sin. Keep calling it sin. Why? Because the door to full consecration is continual repentance, that's it. That's why the Beattitude says, "Blessed are they that mourn," -- mourn for their sin -- "for they shall be comforted." The door to full consecration is continual repentance. In other words it's not, "Well, I am the way you said I am, I am in that situation and I know it'll be a miracle so I'll wait for the miracle", no, no, the way into the miracle, the way into the place of full consecration where the Holy Spirit can cleanse your heart by faith is by continual honest repentance day-by-day-by-day.