- such that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5)
- deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9)
- corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3)
- the source of evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, and slander (Matthew 15:18-20)
(See also: Genesis 8:21; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; Romans 1:21, 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10)
What you and I need is a new heart. What Christians have, for millenia, called regeneration, and what Jesus called, being born anew (or born from above, or born again). From a new heart flows love, obedience, generosity, forgiveness, and peace. This transformed life is characterized by what St. Paul called the fruit of the Spirit.
But here's the catch: in this life the transformation of heart and mind and soul and body is not complete. We are reckoned (logizomai: imputed) righteous through faith in Jesus, and while our hearts are regenerate, there is still the sinful nature present. Thus for the faithful Christian, being born again is not the end of the battle against the selfish corruption of the heart, but rather the beginning!
This is where our liturgy speaks. It understands the corrupt heart and the power of God to forgive and justify. Those who wrote our prayers understood that the Christian life is first and foremost one of repentance, because it is in repenting that we are kept honest about our own shortcomings, weaknesses, and sin, and also kept focused on the completed work of Jesus Christ for our salvation. Remember, Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost, he came for the sinner not the righteous, for the sick, not the healthy.