Cognitive v. Existential Truth

I heard Tim Keller summarize some teaching by Jonathon Edwards regarding the work of a preacher. Keller said that Edwards stressed the need to help people 'take the truth they know and apply it to their hearts.' This is a matter of helping people experience existentially what they know cognitively.

Take for example the cross. I know cognitively that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and that I am completely forgiven in him. But I do not experience this truth existentially in my heart. I am not moved by his sacrifice. I beat myself up day after day for my sins, instead of living in the knowledge that my sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Take for another example money. I know that Jesus teaches his followers to be generous and to help the poor. But when it comes to how I actually live, this cognitive truth has not displaced the selfishness in my heart. So I am not transformed, simply informed.