An excerpt from J.C. Ryle:
The heart is the spring of true holiness and steady continuance in well doing.
“True Christians are holy, because their hearts are renewed. They obey from the heart. They do the will of God from the heart. Weak, and feeble, and imperfect as all their doings are — they please God, because they are done from a loving heart. He who commended the widow’s mite more than all the offerings of the wealthy Jews — regards quality far more than quantity. What He likes to see is, a thing done from an honest and good heart. There is no real holiness without a right heart.
Reader, the things I am saying may sound strange. Perhaps they run counter to all your notions. Perhaps you have thought that if a man’s religion is correct outwardly — he must be one with whom God is well pleased. You are completely mistaken! You are rejecting the whole tenor of Bible teaching. Outward correctness, without a right heart — is neither more nor less than Phariseeism! The outward things of Christianity — baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Church-membership, alms-giving, and the like — will never take any man’s soul to Heaven, unless his heart is right. There must be inward things, as well as outward — and it is on the inward things, that God’s eyes are chiefly fixed.”