If the Pharisees raced to the mind while passing over the heart, twenty-first-century Christians tend toward the opposite. We tend to race to the heart, bypassing the mind. Yet, Jesus—and all of Scripture— calls us to glorify God with our minds as well as our hearts. However, due to our sin nature, obedience in this requires significant effort.
Christianity is a heart religion. In fact, the Bible refers to conversion as the “circumcision of the heart” (Rom. 2:29). As believers, we speak of inviting Jesus into our hearts. And, as more than one preacher has promised, “Jesus will give you a new heart for a new start.”
Additionally, one way we know the power of a sermon is its effect on the heart. At Pentecost, in Acts 2, after the apostle Peter delivered one of the most powerful sermons in church history, the crowd was “pierced to the heart” (Acts 2:37).
St. Augustine famously observed, “Thou hast made us for thyself, Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”1 That happens at conversion. Our hearts are satisfied, completely and eternally, through Christ. We then enjoy the inner peace we feel as we worship, pray, and draw near to God.
So, the gospel renews our heart, but it also renews our mind—and more so than most Christians realize. Like every other aspect of our lives, our minds are fallen, darkened by sin, and must be redeemed. The gospel does just that.