When I purchased my last car (a Mazda 6) there was a tense battle between my head and my heart. My heart wanted the luxury model with leather seats, sunroof, and Bose sound system. My head said the mid-range classic version was better economic value. In the end, my head won. The 6 is a great looking car and a pleasure to drive. However, every time I pull up to the lights next to a luxury Mazda 6, my heart beats… “that could have been you.”

The heart is a curious organ. Physically, we know that the heart is central to life and the pumping of blood throughout the body. However, in spiritual terms the heart is also home to our emotions and desires. While we cannot see our heart, its passions are visibly evident. Just take an inventory of how we spend our time, what we think about, read, watch, and eat. These actions give us an accurate picture of our heart.

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.  –Mark 7:21-23

At age 11, my head came to the realisation that I need to be redeemed from the penalty of my sins. I mentally realised that Jesus was the answer and accepted him as saviour and Lord immediately. As I was raised in a fairly sheltered Christian home, my heart also agreed. My head and heart both knew that I must repent of sins and that God would change my desires. However, my heart’s journey toward loving Jesus as Lord has been a much rockier journey than for my head.

As I grew through puberty at around 13, I began to experience new sexual desires. Once I began to earn money at 16, I found that my heart had to deal with greed for the first time. When I left home at 18, and without the protection of parents, I found that other people were offensive and vengeful. My heart struggled with forgiveness and bitterness. As I experienced career success, I was tempted with arrogance. So as a young adult (who had been saved for 10+ years), my heart found itself dealing with desires that did not seem to be part of the original 1987 repentance “deal.” The conflicting schizophrenia between what my head genuinely wanted and what my heart was tempted with, confronted me daily.

In its early stages, this dichotomy had me questioning my salvation. How much did I really mean it when I prayed the sinners pray? Am I really chosen by God if I struggle with sin more now, than before I was saved? These questioning times were not pleasant. However, I thank the Lord for revealing to me the present reality of the verse John 3:16. that whosoever believeth (in the ongoing sense) in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. My salvation is not based on how well I remember my sincerity 20 years ago. I simply need to ask my head and heart, what they believe now… today. This ongoing present tense of believing has helped dispel the lack of assurance doubts that the devil used against me.

So back to the issues of the heart. My heart must put Jesus on the throne of my life daily. While my head mentally repented many years ago, my heart needs to repent regularly. It is the reality of old nature, which will challenge us until we enter eternity. At one level, as I grow in Christ, it seems that I sin less often. However, at a different level, the older I get, I realise how much more of a sinner that I am. I can never tame my heart on my own, which is why I must pray with the psalmist David, to “change my heart, O God.”

I wish I could clean up my act on my own. I can’t. So reading Mark 7 keeps me humble. Mark 7:12-23 shows me that as my heart battles with each and every sin, I can rejoice so much more in the power of God’s grace and what he has saved me from. Prayer is so necessary to reconnect my heart with the truth and love that God has saved me to. The next time I face temptation at life’s traffic lights, my focus will be on the road that God has ahead for me.

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About Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@jasonharris.com.au.


  1. JANE 5 August, 2011 at 8:32 am - Reply

    “The ongoing present tense of believing” was key to my own assurance of salvation. This quote from Spurgeon in his “Sermons on Prayer” were a real turning point in my spiritual life:

    “ I will put a question to you. Do you believe yourself to be a sinner? ‘Aye,’ say you. But supposing I put that word “sinner” away: do you mean that you have broken God’s law, that you are a good-for-nothing offender against God’s government? Do you believe that you have in your heart, at any rate, broken all the commandments and that you deserve punishment accordingly? ‘Yes,’ say you, ‘I not only believe that but I feel it: it is a burden that I carry about with me daily.’ Now something more: do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ can put all this sin of yours away? Yes, you do believe that. Then, can you trust Him to save you? ‘Yes,’ you say, ‘I already do that.’ Well, my dear friend, if you really trust Jesus, it is certain you are saved, for you have the only evidence of salvation that is continual with any of us . . . Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”

  2. PJ 5 August, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    “I thank the Lord for revealing to me the ‘present reality’ of the verse John 3:16. that whosoever believeth (in the ongoing sense) in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Jeremy, thanks for the post. Just a question related to the quote – if there was a period when you weren’t believing, were you unsaved for that period or were you never truly saved in the beginning?

    I have wrestled with this issue a whole lot, not personally, but with friends who showed definite spiritual growth and fruit in the Christian life, but who now seem to have either rejected the faith or else are living in a completely ungodly manner. How do you understand such a situation?

  3. Jeremy 5 August, 2011 at 11:12 am - Reply

    PJ Let me respond two-fold to your questions:

    Firstly, in relation to my spiritual journey. I was born into sin and needed to come to a point of redemption. Now as I grew up in a Christian home, I always accepted that Jesus was my Saviour. However, I came to make that my own in 1987. I believe that is when I was regenerated by God’s grace. However, making Jesus Lord of my life have been a journey that occurred at that point – is still occurring, and will continue to occur until eternity.

    Secondly, in relation to the theology of ‘Once Saved Always Saved’, I don’t buy it in its absolute form. We need to let Scripture determine our beliefs. Hebrews 6:4-12 tells us that people will depart the faith. However, I also believe that we are ‘kept by the power of God – 1 Peter 1:5. We must keep both of these in tension, but recognise both a true.

  4. stan 5 August, 2011 at 4:08 pm - Reply


    “in relation to the theology of ‘Once Saved Always Saved’, I don’t buy it in its ABSOLUTE FORM”

    So which form do you buy into? I didn’t know there was more than one form!

  5. Jeremy 5 August, 2011 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    We are sort of getting away from the content of the post, but you ask a good question.

    We often think of salvation as only the moment of regeneration. While regeneration is part of salvation, the moment of salvation is more than that. (e.g consider this)

    1. We were saved before time began (when God chose us)
    2. We were saved on a cross in 30AD outside of Jerusalem
    3. We were saved when we accepted Christ as Saviour
    4. We are being saved (sanctification)
    5. We will be saved as we endure to the end.

    The Once Saved Always Saved idea in its absolute form generally focuses only on point 3.

    In my post, I spoke about head knowledge (point 3), but also heart allegiance (point 4). None of us will fully understand the mystery of salvation this side of eternity, I just revel in the grace of God that holds it all together.

  6. stan 6 August, 2011 at 9:49 am - Reply

    @ Jeremy,

    So are you saying (point 5) that a born again believer who does NOT endure to the end will not be saved ie have eternal life?

  7. Bren 6 August, 2011 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Jeremy says:

    “In its early stages, this dichomtocmy had me questioning my salvation. ‘How much did I really mean it when I prayed the sinners pray?’ ‘Am I really chosen by God if I struggle with sin more now, than before I was saved?’”

    This lack of assurance is common among Calvinists. Their salvation is dependent on them happening to be one of the chosen few “elect” that God predestined from eternity past. They can only be sure of salvation if they are sure that they are one of the elect, and there is no real way to know for sure that you are one of the elect.

    The Calvinist cannot say, “I’m saved because I’ve believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour,” because the Calvinist is not saved through faith. According to his theology, God saves the Calvinist arbitrarily, against his will, and after that, God gives him faith.

    The Calvinist has no free will of his own; he cannot choose to believe on Christ, he just has to hope that he is one of the lucky ones that God has forced to believe in Christ. But did God really give him faith, or is his faith “in vain”, mere wishful thinking, while the whole time he is actually one of the majority that God has foreordained to eternal torment from eternity past, without a chance to be saved?

    The only indication the Calvinist has that he might be saved is his own good works. If he is one of the elect that God chose to be saved, then hopefully God will make him perform some good works, and that will prove to him that he is indeed saved. The problem is that none of us, not even best Calvinist, is perfect, and therefore his assurance of salvation will always be plagued by doubt.

    R.T. Kendall in ‘Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649’ commented that “nearly all of the Puritan divines went through great doubt and despair on their deathbeds as they realized their lives did not give perfect evidence that they were elect.”

    The Bible believer can take comfort and assurance from a verse like John 3:16, knowing that “whosoever believeth” hath everlasting life, and having believed in the Son, he has everlasting life.

    On the other hand, the Calvinist reads the same verse but sees “the elect” instead of “whosoever”, and so the basis of his salvation rests not on his belief, but on whether he happens to be part of “the elect”.

    The Calvinist doctrine of “Perseverance of the Saints” has nothing in common with the Biblical doctrine of Eteranl Security. The Bible believer knows he is saved because through faith in Christ, God has justified Him, and the Word of God promises that this work cannot be undone. (Jn 10:28). His salvation is dependent on the keeping power of God.

    The poor Calvinist, however, has no such assurance. His salvation is dependent on whether or not God has chosen him, and he can find assurance only in his “perseverance” – his own efforts and performance.

    Well, you can have your Augustine and Calvin, with your doubts about election, I’ll have the word of God and “know that I have eternal life.” (Jn 5:13)

  8. Bren 6 August, 2011 at 10:21 am - Reply

    That should have been “1 Jn 5:13” at the end, not “Jn 5:13”.

  9. stan 6 August, 2011 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    @ Jeremy,

    “Well, you can have your Augustine and Calvin, with your doubts about election, I’ll have the word of God and “know that I have eternal life.”

    Glad to hear you are basing your eternal security on the word of God (KJB of course).

  10. Jeremy 6 August, 2011 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    The purpose of this article was to share openly on the importance of a heart that longs for God. Somehow, I think the last few comments long for conflict.

    Bren, I think you read more into the comment than was there. In regards to how you use the label Calvinist, read my previous blog. If you knew me, you would know that I don’t define myself as a Calvinist.

    Stan. You poor attitude is continuing from the last blog. Stay on topic and add to the conversation.

    To answer your previous question about point 5: Enduring to the end is part of salvation. The parable of the sower, shows that some ground will receive the Word, sprout, and then be choked by the cares of this world.

  11. Jason Harris 6 August, 2011 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    @Bren, You’ve set up a straw man in your characterisation of Calvinism. Which is not even relevant to the post.

    Additionally, you said “the basis of [the Calvinist’s] salvation rests not on his belief…” All I can say is “Amen!” My “belief” has no power to save me. It is only Christ who can rescue me from the condemnation of my sin. My faith is not in my faith, but in the atoning, propitiating, redeeming, sanctifying work of Jesus Christ at the cross.

    @Jeremy, Thanks for the post.

  12. Jason Harris 6 August, 2011 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I’ve deleted one comment and will delete without warning any additional comments that fail to follow the simple commenting guidelines or make personal attacks.

  13. Bren 6 August, 2011 at 11:50 pm - Reply


    When did I say that salvation is through “faith in my faith” or “belief in my belief”? Did somebody say “straw man”?

    I stated that the object of the believer’s faith is in Christ, not in self. The Bible clearly states that a sinner is saved by Christ though faith. Try Romans 5:1 if you don’t believe me.

    And what do you mean when you say “my faith”? You’re some lousy Calvinist if you think it is YOUR faith! Your theology says that God saved you against your will and then made you believe in Jesus. That aint YOUR faith. Sounds like you think you had some part in you getting saved! Tsk Tsk! Better go back and read Institutes!

  14. Bren 6 August, 2011 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    @ Jeremy

    “5. We will be saved as we endure to the end.”

    The end of what?

  15. Kez 7 August, 2011 at 12:17 am - Reply

    @ Jeremy, I think your post is really good. Thanks for sharing it. =)

  16. Jason Harris 7 August, 2011 at 12:20 am - Reply

    @Bren, Why are you assuming I’m a Calvinist? That’s the second time you’ve made such an assumption in just this thread.

    When did you say salvation is through faith in your faith? That’s another assumption. I didn’t say you said it.

    To suggest that a Calvinist believes he cannot have faith is another straw man. Typically, a Calvinist believes that his faith is a gift from God. That something is a gift does not preclude someone from saying it is his.

    Bren, that’s three fallacies in one simple response. That is really a problem because fallacies break down reasonable discussion. Can we work on this?

  17. Steve 7 August, 2011 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Assurance of salvation is such an important topic for Christians to understand, so much so that I think it is impossible to live the Christian life as it should be lived unless one has assurance in the right object.
    Jeremy’s post is helpful in looking at it from a different angle, which I have not considered before, and will be helpful whether one is a Calvinist or an Arminian, and any shade in between.
    By the way, in the parable of the sower, I think the seed that is choked by weeds illustrates a Christian who is saved and then backslides and lives a carnal life. He is still saved but probably doesn’t have assurance.

  18. Jeremy Crooks 7 August, 2011 at 9:28 am - Reply

    This is a humourous, if not sadly accurate, look at how the salvation of church kids often plays out.

  19. Steve 8 August, 2011 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Great link Jeremy. I think many church youngsters just don’t understand salvation, I know I didn’t until years after I trusted Christ. Maybe it’s just a matter of growth, maturity, and getting an understanding of what grace really means. For me, the penny dropped when someone showed me that my trust was in Christ and in His word which gave me total assurance, and not in my good behaviour.

    Maybe some church kid’s never get told what I got told?

  20. Matt 9 August, 2011 at 7:55 am - Reply

    @Jeremy, excellent post. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your stuff. I have to say that I also agree with you. Nobody is perfect. Nobody can say that he or she has it all together. But this is the confidence that I cling to. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
    I keep in mind that firstly, it’s by God’s grace that I am where I am. Secondly, in my heart “dwells no good thing”. Thirdly, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts does not cause me to live soberly or righteously. Fourthly, sanctification causes me to be excited about the coming of Jesus Christ as I deny the before-mentioned things. And finally, I know I am a child of God because I am zealous to do good works for God out of a humble heart with a servant’s attitude.
    Again, thanks so much for your post. That’s just my 2 cents worth.

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