Hearts Strengthened by Grace- Hebrews 13:9

Hebrews 13:9 tells us that “It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace, not ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them”. What does it mean to have our “hearts strengthened” and how does it happen? We will examine this verse (and several others) to get an idea of just what this refers to and how it takes place in the life of a believer. We will begin by looking at what our hearts are strengthened by, and we find here that it is by “grace”. Grace here is contrasted with “ceremonial foods” and it is in this contrast that we find what grace refers to here. The term ceremonial foods is used here as one example of an entire category of things, used to represent religious ritual and ceremony. It is contrasted with grace (the person of Jesus Christ), which here represents not religious ritual but relationship, our hearts are strengthened not by religious activity but by a growing intimacy with the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who strengthens our hearts, and He does so as we grow closer to Him. So Jesus is the one who strengthens our hearts, and it is for our “good”. The word good here is not agathos (the usual NT word for good), but kalon, which means “that which is useful or profitable”, this process is not just philosophically and spiritually good, but “practically” good, useful in our lives and to our profit, for our benefit. What is profitable is to have our hearts strengthened. The word translated strengthened here is bebaioo, literally “to make firm, stable, steadfast”. It is used here as a present passive infinitive. The use of the present tense here means that it is a continual process, and the passive voice means that the strengthening is being done to us by someone else, and so we find here that Jesus is continually at work strengthening our hearts, that are hearts are continually being made more stable and steadfast. So a strong heart is a stable one, and Jesus is the one who does the stabilizing. So what then is He stabilizing, what does the Bible mean by the word “heart”? The word heart, in the Bible, is leb in Hebrew and kardia in Greek, and it basically refers to the innermost part of anything. The term heart in the Bible is not primarily used literally but metaphorically, and does not refer primarily to the muscle in our chest which pumps blood, but is used to refer to the “core” of a person, to the innermost part of our being. The heart is the “wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23), it is the source of our living. In the Bible, it tells us that we desire with our hearts, that we feel with our hearts, that we think with our hearts, and that we choose with our hearts. The heart is the source (wellspring) of our desires, emotions, thoughts and choices. The heart is what causes us to desire what we desire, feel what we feel, think how we think and choose (do) what we choose (do), and what we learn in this verse is that it is to our profit (benefit) to have all of these stabilized through a growing intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though this is something Jesus does to us, He does not do so without our “cooperation”, relationships are a two way street. There are ways (which are not religious rituals but relationship builders) through which Jesus works to strengthen our hearts, and we must partake of them in order for this stabilizing to become a reality in our lives. Our next three posts will examine each aspect of the “heart”(affective, cognitive and volitional) in order to show from Scripture the means by which Jesus stabilizes each aspect of our hearts, and how we can go about “cooperating” with Him in this process, which is to both our temporal and eternal benefit, for our good.

No Comments Biblical Psychology  //  Epistles  //  Growing In Grace  //  Transformation

Comments are closed.

Pure Spiritual Milk

SEO Copy... Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse nunc turpis, cursus et interdum sed, lobortis vitae nunc. Integer placerat tellus odio, non sodales arcu fermentum id. Mauris vitae eleifend leo, et rhoncus odio. Ut et arcu eu ex tempus ultricies eu vel lorem. Curabitur eu consectetur neque. Suspendisse volutpat nibh urna, sit amet aliquet augue imperdiet in. Etiam eget felis pellentesque, dapibus dolor ut, sodales justo. Mauris eu arcu lectus. Suspendisse odio ex, dignissim sit amet ornare eget, elementum at odio.