The Heart of the Wicked is Worthless
William Nicholson, 1862
“The heart of the wicked is of little worth.” Proverbs 10:20
There are different degrees of wickedness. Some are naturally kind, benevolent, and affable — but all are depraved in heart, notwithstanding their natural superiority to others.
And such people whom the Spirit has caused to know the plague of their own hearts, have conceded the fact that the heart, while unrenewed, is of little worth, having in it little substantial good towards God or man. Solomon was an accurate observer, a profound philosopher, and his language must be regarded as correct.
The heart of the wicked is of little worth:
1. The heart of the wicked is depraved. The heart was made pure; it was made in the image of God. “God made mankind upright, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”
The heart has been marred by sin. The fountain of moral action has become filthy, and the streams which it sends forth are filthy also. The heart is . . .
a broken instrument;
a ruined machine;
a desert soul — that yields no revenue of praise and glory to God!
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time!” Genesis 6:5. “Every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood!” Genesis 8:21.
Man’s affections defiled,
his mind is darkened,
his conscience is seared,
his language corrupt,
his will is stubborn.
“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
2. The heart of the wicked is a rebellious heart. The heart has not only forsaken God, but resisted him, defied him, and trampled on the righteous laws of Heaven! The heart of man is most decidedly opposed and hostile to the will of God. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be!” Romans 8:7. All disobedience and transgression flow from the heart.
3. The heart of the wicked is the source not only of ordinary evil, but of the foulest crimes! There can be no bounds set to the heart so little worth, except by the grace of God. In spite of moral training, religious example, education, parental inculcation — the depraved heart, of so little worth, has prompted the most tragic and diabolical deeds. Witness all the . . .
What is the heart of a covetous man worth? The heart of a miser — the heart of a drunkard — the heart of a debauchee — the heart of a gambler, etc.
4. The heart of the wicked is deceitful. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9.
It deceives the owner! Things evil, it calls good. Things dangerous, it represents as safe or harmless. It is as deceitful as Satan himself, who presents the golden bait, and hides the hook! It is full of craftiness, cunning, fraud, and hypocrisy.
It deceives others! One is a greater adept in wickedness than another, and he deceives the unwary, the weak, the ignorant. It is of little worth. Who values a deceitful man?
5. The heart of the wicked is capable of perpetrating deeds it seems to deprecate. As in the case of Hazael, “But what is your servant — a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” 2 Kings 8:13. And in the case of Peter, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will!” Matthew 26:33
The denouncers of evil have often through the deceitfulness of the heart, fallen into the same evils they have denounced!
6. The heart of the wicked is insensible, hard, and sometimes cruel, and inhuman. Afflictions, affecting dispensations, death, judgment, eternity affect it little — it is so hard and insensible. And it is cruel and inhuman. “Without natural affection.” What atrocious acts has it committed! A heart productive of so much misery can be little worth.
7. The heart of the wicked is worthless, when compared with the heart renewed by the Spirit. The heart of the Christian produces good. They are the light, the enlighteners of the world. All the noble institutions designed to ameliorate the condition of man, have been established by Christians. Where are the benevolent institutions founded by the wicked, the infidel, the atheist, etc., whose hearts are little worth?
8. The heart of the wicked rejects the Divine Remedy provided to make it valuable. “The heart of the wicked is fully set in them to do evil.” “You will not come unto me that you might have life.”
9. The heart of the wicked will be found worthless at the day of judgment. “Then He will say to those on his left: Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!” Matthew 25:41
Then they will appear as “reprobates,” as “castaways.” “Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord has rejected them.” Jeremiah 6:30. It will then appear that “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” Romans 1:28. They will be “the tares” then, Matthew 13:40; the “chaff” to be burned with fire! “Burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire!” Matthew 3:12
1. What a mercy it is that the Gospel still invites the wicked to be saved! “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon!” Isaiah 55:7
2. They are deceived, who trust in the goodness of their hearts. Without regeneration it is but little worth.
3. Pray for enlightening and sanctifying grace. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me!” Psalm 51:10