There is no advantage in giving cold statistics.
It makes no difference either just what the cause of all this increase in the number of heart ailments, heart attacks and deaths due to them is. Whether it is because of our way of life, our soft living, our sheltered life, or whether it is due to the fact that men live longer than in years gone by, and the wear and tear on this ever-active muscular organ makes itself evident because man lives to a ripe old age. Maybe others who died of other diseases at earlier ages, if they had been spared from these by antibiotics and new found surgical methods, would have died of some heart trouble later on anyway. I say it makes little difference as far as the fact is concerned that it is our number one killer.
If we knew just what the cause is, we might possible find a way to eliminate it in many cases, and no another disease would become killer number one. We are not to be careless about such matters. We may not tempt the Lord our God, Jesus told the devil in the wilderness. And when means are at hand to give us cure and care, we must make use of them. We must take the very best care of our bodies that we can. They too are a gift of God over which we are called to be stewards.
Man is concerned about the fact that heart trouble is on the increase. A little twinge of pain in his chest and he considers very seriously the matter of having an examination. Doctors and medical organizations urge you to have a complete physical at least once a year. It is simply considered to be a MUST for a man over forty years of age.
And after all is said and done, even were man able to cure these heart troubles, control the cholesterol in the blood, find ways to eliminate the fatty deposits already choking up the arteries and have blood pressure always completely under control, another disease is sure to appear to baffle man; and by means of a disease in an entirely different part of his body his heart is caused to stop beating. God is not mocked. The curse is not going to be conquered by science and invention, by medicine and surgery. Only the cross is the cure, for it removes the guilt of sin and thus destroys the wages of sin, the effects and fruits of sin. We are not going to get away from death by what men discover and perform. The test tube will not show us the way out of this life which is nothing but a continual death and into a more abundant life. Already we have dreadful and pathetic deformities in new born babes because of what came out of the test tube and seemed to be such a boon to agitated mankind. Horrible mutations are predicted to countless numbers of unborn babes, if atomic radiation—which also came out of the test tube—is increased but a little bit. Doctors who are heart specialists die of heart troubles. Authorities on the “cure” and prevention of cancer are given a few weeks to live before their malignant tumor brings the last beat of their hearts to come and be a matter of history. Diseases once “licked” by penicillin and sulpha drugs bounce back with more power and danger. Disease germs appear which cannot be subdued by antibiotics which formerly were used to destroy them. No, God is not mocked and Christ still is The Way because He is The Truth and The Life. The Lamb of God still takes away the sins of the world, and no disease or death today is taken away in any other way than through the blood of the cross. We are not becoming just a little bit closer to being “like God” by our inventions, discoveries, educational systems and research. We are just as far away from Him now as Adam was in Paradise before Satan whispered the devilish lie in his ear that he could become like unto God. No, we are farther away from God than we were at that time. For we lost all that good content out of the image of God. We lost all our righteousness and holiness, all our true knowledge and fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom. Instead of becoming like unto God, we became like unto the devil. And it may be said too that we look like the devil. Spiritually we certainly do! And it is only by the grace of God that we have the promise of being made partakers of the Divine nature, that is, to be clothed once again with God’s righteousness and holiness, to have true knowledge and wisdom.
Really it makes no difference how a man dies and what the cause of the stopping of his heart is. If he does not die of one disease, it will be another. If it is not a disease it is through violence and injury of one sort or another. Or even if he simply is “lived-out” and his body is literally worn out, really what difference does it make HOW we came to that stilling of our hearts? The main fact is that the heart beats no more, and we are dead.
Heart disease: It is the human race’s ONLY killer!
Adam, as the head and representative of the whole human race had heart trouble. And his heart stopped beating! It never began to beat again! We all died in him! His heart stopped beating with the love of God; and he really had heart trouble! The love of God, that coursed through his arteries and veins and moved all his being in praise and service of the living God as being pumped by that heart, poured out of that heart in one mighty gush—all of it—when his heart was pierced by the arrow of Satan’s lie. Man died!
O, let us not deny that! Scripture is too plain about that. Let us not say that man by nature was spiritually sick and weak, partially paralyzed but yet with enough of a spiritual pulse in his arteries and veins that he can still will to be saved. His pulse is not weak. His pulse is gone, for he has no love of God coursing through his arteries and veins. He has heart trouble of the worst sort. His heart has stopped beating with the love of God. Paul says to the church at Ephesus that we are DEAD in trespasses and sins. Jesus says that we have to receive life out of heaven before we can even see the kingdom of God. For He said to Nicodemus that except a man be born again—literally born from above—he cannot see the kingdom. Paul says to the church at Rome that the carnal mind-and that is your and my mind by our natural birth—is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, and indeed CANNOT BE subject to that law. And God said to Adam, did He not that in the DAY that he ate of that tree he would die?
Physical death did not overtake Adam for another nine hundred and thirty years. It comes much quicker to you and me. And after Adam there was a man, named Methuselah, who lived even longer: nine hundred and sixty nine years! Another thirty one years and he would have lived to be a thousand years old! But Adam died that day. He died spiritually that day, in fact he died the very moment that the shaft of the arrow of the lie of Satan pierced his heart and that love of God gushed out in its entirety. Spiritually Adam became dead. And by that we do not mean that he could do nothing spiritually. It is true that dead men perform no work. And that is absolute! They are not even able to desire to be made alive. Lazarus did not ask Jesus to raise him. His sisters had to do that for him. And Jesus did not first ask Lazarus whether he wanted to come back to this life, He called Him by the irresistible power of His Divine Nature. He called life into him as He called unto him. But the desire did not originate in that dead body of Lazarus. Truly dead men perform no work, not even of hearing or seeing or thinking or willing. But when we speak of spiritual death we do not mean that there is NO spiritual activity at all. Were that the case our spiritual lot would not be tragic. We can do no spiritual good but we are active continually in spiritual evil. That man died spiritually the day—the moment—that he ate of the forbidden fruit means that he is absolutely incapable of doing anything spiritually good until God regenerates him with the life from out of heaven. His heart has stopped beating with the love of God. He has none of it in his veins again until regeneration.
Does that heart trouble concern you at all?
Well,—you have to be spiritually alive to be troubled by it. Except a man be born again he cannot even see that there is such a thing as spiritual death.
But there surely is such a calamity as spiritual death. There is such a disease as spiritual heart trouble so that a man’s heart beats only with the hatred of God and sends that hatred into every fiber of his being to lead him into all kinds of wickedness. According to Scripture the heart of man is the spiritual-ethical center of his being. Scripture does not mean that fleshly, muscular organ that pumps blood throughout your body. But there is a beautiful similarity to be noted between that physical organ and the spiritual heart. Your whole being is connected to that heart, and all the being depends upon that heart. If it does not send a flow of life giving blood to one cell, that cell will die. All must stand in a living and continual contact with that heart. No less true is it that the heart of man—as Scripture speaks of it—is the center of man’s life from an ethical-moral point of view. Out of it are all the issues of life. It sends spiritual impulses to every muscle, cell and fiber. Solomon says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. And since the heart of man is filled with spiritual poison—he hates God and the poison of Satan’s lie is still there—it pumps that hateful poison into every thought and desire, every act and ambition, every faculty and ability. No wonder Paul and the psalmist both say that there is none that doeth good, no not one!
Heart trouble: That is man’s whole trouble.
All our griefs and woes, all our diseases and miseries, all death and the grave are due to the heart failure of man in Paradise, when his heart failed to beat any longer with the love of God. Now we have a heart with a definite murmur. It rebels against God and all that pertains to Him and His kingdom. It is a heart as hard as stone. It is cold. It hates God. This must be changed, or there is no hope for us. We need a new heart. We need a pure heart. For the pure in heart shall see God. Indeed we get down to the heart of the matter when we lay our linger on the heart of man as that which caused us all our trouble and as that which must be restored to its former function. The cross is the basis and can be the basis because the Son of God in our flesh had no heart trouble and performed a work of perfect love while suffering our punishment. But salvation in us requires a new heart. And God promises that too in Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put in you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.”
Then when this physical heart finally is stilled through one disease or another, by one cause or another, the sinful heart is likewise stopped to beat no more with that hatred against the living God. God has taken it away. We will have no heart trouble thereafter. But we shall see God. They who walk in His fear look forward to that day. They long for the day when their spiritual heart gives them no more trouble but throbs only with the love of God.