'If the heart doesn’t change, we are not true Christians’

Wondering what Protestants think of these words by Pope Francis yesterday:

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass, Pope Francis said in his August 30 Sunday Angelus address that Jesus “emphasizes the primacy of the interior of the ‘heart.’”

“Exterior things are not what makes us holy or not holy, but rather the heart that expresses our intentions, our desires and the desire to do everything for love of God,” the Pope told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Exterior expressions are the consequence of what we have decided in the heart, and not the other way around,” he continued. “With exterior expressions, if the heart doesn’t change, we are not true Christians. The border between good and evil does not lie outside of us, but rather within us, in our conscience.”


Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever our beloved Pope said is the theme of our life. It is so wonderfully said.

By the following, I do not want to side-track or undermine our Pope’s words. They are very beautiful, short and profound.

In relation to this topic, that is of the referred “heart”:

When I was a child/teen, 25 years ago, I used to hear this verse in the Church.
The kingdom of heaven is in your heart. When I searched for this verse few years ago, I do not find the word “heart” in there.

If you now put this verse in the internet, you can see lots of articles popping up. Most of them are in the manner of trying to explain why it is not entirely in our heart. Most of them assume that we could go wrong with this verse. Well, may be.

There are two extremes to this context, I mean, in using this verse in one’s life. One is in the manner of supporting the (recent) ideology of self realization, God-less meditation/yoga/etc., as finding the kingdom of heaven. This extreme is the most dangerous one I believe. This sometimes makes even atheists to feel like they are good without God and our Lord Jesus Christ. This also lets many others, who think they do not need God to be good, and/or who thinks that Love is God, to feel that they are the correct ones in the manner of accusing Christ-ians wrong.

Another is supporting the ideology of totally outward living through not defending the word “heart” in this verse. I mean going more on the outside of oneself as well. Like it is only in a (specific) church or in a gathering where Christians are together or among 2 or more Christians, and NOT anywhere else.

I believe, both of the (extreme) interpretations are mostly used to defend their (current) way of life and most importantly to proudly continue in it, not welcoming progress and the conversion if needed any, and so ignoring everything else to favor their own way, and possibly also in judging and/or accusing others. May be there are few pure intentions too.

However I found an article online, by Ilaria Ramelli. It is interesting.

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come… Amen.

Thank you.


Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

I say “well said, and amen.” :slight_smile:

The only thing many of us would probably “object” too is farther down in the article;

Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, to give us a pure heart, free of all hypocrisy — that’s the adjective that Jesus used with the Pharisees: hypocrites, because they say one thing and do another. Free from all hypocrisy so that in this way we are able to live according to the spirit of the law and reach its goal, which is love.

Many would rather “ask the Lord to give us a pure heart”…



That is exactly what the Pope said. He merely added “through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin”, which only means that we should also ask her to pray for us to receive it. She had the purest heart of all human beings, other than Jesus. There is no other Christian that has ever lived that had a more pure heart than Mary, who completely devoted her entire life to the love and service of God. She is the perfect example of one who most perfectly did what the Pope is speaking about. She gave herself to God without any restraint, even though she might not have fully understood all that would happen to her, or to her Son, or why she was chosen for such an awesome task. She never hesitated, but offered herself willingly and completely. Luke 1: “[38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” This is the kind of love and dedication that we should all have for God, but very few of us really do. Instead, most of us tend to want what we want, when we want it. We hardly ever think about what God wants us to do. I think that’s what the Pope was telling us that we should all try to do more often. We should be more concerned about what’s really in our hearts, than what we only do for other people to see, so they might think we’re holy when we’re really not. That’s what the Pharisees did. They made themselves appear to be holy, while in their hearts they were far from it.

When I was a fundie, I always used to hear the question asked of the “unsaved”, “have you ever asked Jesus into your heart”? A concept missing from the Bible they insist on following.
The Pope’s words offer a clarification, at least indirectly, of this concept.

There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.


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