“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26
The Israelites were “profaning the name” of Jehovah in the land where they were captives. But this could not be permitted to continue. For the sake of His own divine name, God worked a great miracle in their heart, and this miracle would be manifest for all to see.
In New Testament times, it was called the new birth. First, God would work an entire change of thought and feeling within their hearts, removing their strong stubbornness and replacing it with childlike responsiveness. Second, He would lead them to live in purity and uprightness and bring glory to His holy name. Third, He would restore them to the old relationship, which they had forfeited by their sin; they again should be his people, and He would be their God, dwelling among them and ruling over them in peace and righteousness.
As we consider the question, “Have you received a new heart?”, let us look at these three points.
First, we look at inward renewal (verse 26). Instead of the “stony heart” is the “heart of flesh;” instead of a brutish disregard of divine claims, is the “new heart.” The new spirit is openness of mind and a willingness that leads to an eagerness to learn of God. There also is responsiveness of feeling when He speaks, a tenderness of conscience under the spoken truth of Christ. Humility takes the place of pride; a sense of past sin and of present unworthiness; the inward conviction that God has not been remembered, reverenced, served, trusted, as he should have been; and that life has been stained. A spirit of true penitence and shame, in a voice not loud but deep, says within the soul, “I have sinned.” The heart turns away from selfishness and worldliness toward Christ, whom it receives gladly and fully as the savior of the soul and ruler of the life.
Then the new heart will produce outward righteousness. “I will cause you to walk in my statutes,” etc. (Ezekiel 36:27). The Lord Jesus, who is our example, could say, “I delight to do thy will ... thy law is within my heart.” And when the new spirit or the new heart is within us, our outward life will change. We obey God’s word because we honor him. We keep the commandments of Christ because we love Him (John 14:15, 21, 23). If the spirit of God be in us, we shall bring forth the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, etc (Galatians 5:22-23).
Then, we will have a right relationship with God. Second Corinthians 6:17-18 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
A new heart brings inward renewal, outward holiness and total happiness to the one who has experienced it.
Bradeen is pastor of House of Prayer Christian Church and Bible Seminary and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.