ESV - 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
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I would say that only faith in Christ (with the subsequent forgiveness of sin by God and -- especially -- the indwelling and regeneration by the Holy Spirit that results from such faith) can cause the "natural" human "heart" (that is, a person's will and thoughts) -- no matter how "good" they might be judged to be by earthly standards -- to be regarded from God's holy perspective as anything (as stated in Isaiah 64:6) other than "filthy rags" (which I understand was a reference to the material that a woman used at that time to absorb her monthly menstrual flow)..
Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. Psalm 36:1-4 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-4 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 All mankind is wicked. I am no better than the worst sinner. The only difference between me and anyone that is going to hell is that I've had my sins washed away by the blood of Jesus, because of the gift of faith given to me in grace. (Eph 2:8-10)
Good question! I think Jesus answers it here: Matthew 15:19 19: For out of the heart come evil thoughts-murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Mark 7:21-22 21: For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come-sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
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