A Right State of the Heart
Acts 8:20-24
But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.…

I. BY A MAN'S HEART WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND HIS PREVAILING VIEWS, DISPOSITIONS, AND DESIRES. When these are such, as his situation requires, then his heart is right in the sight of God. "Now man by sin has lost God's favour and ruined his soul. But by grace he is placed in such a situation that he may recover God's favour and save his soul. The offers of salvation are made to him. When therefore he accepts this offer, when his prevailing views, dispositions, and desires are such as, in this situation, they ought to be, then his heart is right in the sight of God.


1. It is deeply humbled before God on account of its sinfulness. God sees that all men are great sinners, that sin is a dreadful evil. When a man, then, esteems himself to be a little sinner, or perhaps hardly a sinner at all; when he endeavours to excuse, or even to justify whatever he has done amiss, it must be clear that his heart cannot be right before God. In order to be right he must think of sin as God thinks of it, and feel his own depravity.

2. It thankfully believes in Christ for the pardon of his sins. God, who is rich in mercy, is not willing that sinners should die eternally. He hath, therefore, provided for them a way of salvation. So long, then, as a man rejects God's offers of pardon and continues at enmity with his Maker, how is it possible that his heart can be right in the sight of God? It never can be right till he obey the gospel, and comply with the terms of it. And these terms are "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

3. It longs after holiness. God is holy and would have all men to be holy. How is it possible, then, for the heart to be right in His sight, if it does not love what He loves, and desire to be what He is?

III. THE NECESSITY OF ITS BEING SO. Till a man's heart be thus right in the sight of God —

1. He can have no interest in the promises of the gospel. Call to mind what these promises are, as well as the persons to whom they are given. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," etc. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins, shall find mercy." "This is the promise which God hath given us, even eternal life," etc. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." "Sin shall not have dominion over you," etc. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness," etc. Now, how is it possible for a man to have any share or lot in the matter, whose heart is not right in the sight of God?

2. He cannot perform the duties of religion. This is not merely to go through the forms of religious worship. This a man may do irrespective of the state of his heart. To perform the duties of religion is to perform them in a spiritual manner, with a penitent, a believing, and an holy frame of mind. But how can this be done by those who are unhumbled in heart, who have no living faith in Christ, nor any real desire after holiness?

3. He cannot taste the pleasures of religion. Consider what they are. They spring from a sense of pardon; from God's love shed abroad in the heart; from communion with Him. Now what can the man unhumbled, unbelieving, and unholy, know of these?

4. He can have no meetness for the enjoyment of heavenly happiness in the life to come. The things which constitute the happiness of the saints in light are that they see and serve God. They are with Christ, they behold His glory, and sing His praises. But to the unhumbled, the unbelieving, and the unholy, heaven then would not be heaven. They have no taste nor meetness for it, and consequently they have no part nor lot in the matter.

(E. Cooper.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

WEB: But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

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