Q. RE: Jeremiah 17:9-10. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Do we still face this? Or is this talking about after salvation?
A. The use of “reward” in this translation is very optimistic and in my opinion doesn’t convey the intent of the verse very well. The Hebrew word is most often translated “give to” or “deliver to”. (Think in terms of pay back.)
Remember, we’re talking about an incurably deceitful heart here. The motive of his heart is the standard by which God will judge all of man’s conduct and deeds. To me this means in examining our hearts and minds, He will find selfish or even evil motives behind just about all of our actions, no matter how good they might appear outwardly.
Those who’ve accepted Jesus as their Savior can rest easy knowing that He has borne what is due us for our conduct. Those who haven’t will bear it themselves.