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Our Heart's Intention

August 26, 2019
By Martin Luther

The LORD said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth."

GENESIS 8:21

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Our Heart's Intention

Careful note must be taken of this passage, since it clearly shows that the nature of man is corrupt. This knowledge of our corrupt nature is necessary above all else; without it the mercy and grace of God cannot be properly understood. . .. Even though these inclinations can be corrected or restrained to some extent by discipline, they cannot be removed from the heart entirely, as their traces prove after we have grown up. The crude little verse is true: "In his old age the angelic child behaves like Satan." God indeed incites some men to natural drives that are good; but this happens beyond nature, as when Cyrus is incited to restore the worship of God and to preserve the Church (Ezra 1:2). These actions do not belong to human nature; for where God is with His Spirit, there is no longer the imagination of the human heart but the imagination of God. There God dwells through the Word and the Spirit of God. Of such things Moses is not speaking in this passage; he is speaking solely of men who lack the Holy Spirit. These are evil even when they are at their best.

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