God Knows Your Heart, Do You?October 26, 2023
In Christianity today, it is a prevailing teaching that just believing in Christ will allow you to receive salvation. Many churches quote Bible verses in an attempt to justify this teaching, but the more you read the Bible, the less that point of view makes sense. They try to justify not having to perform any actions by saying, “God knows what is in my heart.” If we were to make that same argument, we would first need to answer many more questions, such as, “Why doesn’t God just save those who He knows will be saved” and “Why did God give us so many books in the Bible instead of just telling us to believe in Him?” We must also ask the question, “Then why does God test people when He knows what is in their hearts?”
Scripture contains many examples of God’s people going through hardship and suffering to find out God was testing them. One of the most famous scenes is in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
We cannot ignore the words in Deuteronomy that invalidate the very argument that people need only to believe in Christ for salvation. Why does the above passage say God tested the Israelites to know what was in their heart? There is not a single Christian who would argue that God doesn’t know what is in everyone’s hearts. This insinuates that it is not for God to know, but for us to know ourselves. This passage even suggests that more is necessary to know if we believe in God truly. This passage from Deuteronomy, paired with other verses, shows that more is required.
Jesus spent time with his disciples following His resurrection before ascending to Heaven. One famous scene shows Jesus asking Peter whether he loved him, doing so even three times.
John 21:15-17 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Just as Christians today argue that God knows what is in their hearts, not requiring anything more for salvation, Peter himself exclaimed to Jesus, “Lord, you know all things” in response to being questioned. Jesus then tasked him, even three times, to take care of the children of God. The notion that Christians can receive salvation without having to do anything for it other than believing in Christ defies everything written in Scripture. Unless you take the few verses indiscriminately quoted by proponents of this belief, with John 3:16 being at the top of the list, the Bible does not support this argument. We know everything in the Bible is to teach us. Therefore, we, too, must understand that He requires more than just believing in Him, though God knows your heart. Apostle John leaves no room for interpretation, capturing Jesus’ words on the night of the Passover.
John 14:15; 26 If you love me, keep my commands… Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Through Jesus’ words, we can now see the meaning of those given in Deuteronomy 8:2 and that keeping God’s commands demonstrates what is in our hearts. Simply put, God tested whether the Israelites in the desert truly loved Him. To put it more plainly, those who do not follow Jesus’ teachings do not love Him, and nobody can receive salvation if they do not love Christ. We must share this truth with the people of the world to lead all of God’s children to salvation, teaching them the true meaning of the phrase “God knows your heart.”