“Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die…I don’t want you to die,” says the Sovereign LORD. “Turn back and live!” Eze. 18:31, 32. NLT
Let’s first consider that everyone will die. For the souls of the followers of Christ, that death is but for a moment. For the unbeliever / sinner, death is eternal and excruciatingly conscious – unless they get a new heart.
Yet, the majority of those exposed to the gospel choose death. Why? The answer is simple. They put more value upon their worldly obsessions (sins). We can’t do anything for those who won’t come to Christ; but, let’s make the case for those that may…
Obviously, the above scripture is not talking about upgrading your blood-pumping organ. You only get one of those. God is referring to going after a new ‘spiritual’ heart.
The Spiritual heart is the fountain of spiritual life, it is that deep-seated, but voluntary preference of the mind… Charles G. Finney
The scripture says that it is possible for you to get one; but it does not come from changing anything corporeal about yourself. It comes from learning the gospel, accepting Jesus as your Savior, and then living in obedience to God’s word.
So, it is made manifest in the character and behavior of the believer, as he or she strives for godliness in the present, as well as maintaining a focus on things eternal – all the while, bringing God glory. It is something, that, to the best of our ability, we are responsible for doing, through a continuing series of free-will decisions.
With the help of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we are doing our best to evolve from self-centeredness to selflessness, living for a joyful life that is the fruit of our submitting to God’s will.
This is not to say that our journey is not without labor. Through Adam’s sin, (when he turned his back on God and rebelled – defiling his spiritual heart), our hearts were corrupted:
“For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slander.” Mt. 15:19 CSB
Thus predisposing our need for conversion, and the continual nurturing of it. All the while, we must remain aware of the duplicitous nature of the devil, who is always telling us that it’s okay to abandon our path, or at least indulge in ‘little deviances.’ The pursuit of these indiscretions returns our heart to its original corrupt condition.
We will slip, but we are so blessed with a loving and forgiving God. When we approach Christ in earnest confession and repentance, our spiritual heart will be restored. Moreover, we are divinely strengthened, in order to persevere after the renewal:
The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. Ps. 19:7 NLT
Yes, by staying in God’s word – be it in personal study, listening to the Holy Spirit, or listening in church, as well in leaning on the Holy Spirit, our troubles will be minimized:
…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Jas. 1:14 ESV
“Get up and pray, so that you will not give into temptation.” Lk. 22:46 NLT
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Cor. 10:13 NASB
If you remain in trouble, then you’ve chosen a different master. However, a far better case can be made for doing the right thing, because your life will not be crippled with the ravages of sin. In addition, the scripture clearly tells us that we have the God-given strength to exercise our will to do so.
Therein lies the divine formula: The salvation and strength of God + the obedient strengthened will of the believer, with right action = spiritual deliverance through a new heart.
Willful, rebellious sinners cling to that corrupted Adam-inherited heart, nurturing it through their own set of free-will choices – which will, (without intervention), lead to their eternal demise.
That should motivate believers to try to lavish the gospel, in word and deed, to as many potential children of God as possible, for the sake of helping them grab hold of their new hearts.
And that new heart, is buried inside of them, waiting to be set free:
It was of HIs own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself – sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes]. Jas.1:18 AMP
God will never make a sinner turn from his or her sins. They must be in a place to understand what a right relationship with Him can bring, as well as the horror of refusing it. He wants to love all of us, but we first have to open our arms to receive it. Then, reconciliation can begin, as the work of the Holy Spirit commences.
A rebel cannot feign ignorance. He or she knows when they are sinning; that knowledge is innate:
“My Spirit which is upon you [writing the law of God on the heart], and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth…,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” Is. 59:21 AMP
The Holy Spirit convicts them, children of God or not. He wants to draw them home. As we saw in the opening scripture, God doesn’t want anyone to perish.
Why would anyone choose death? Perhaps, even though they know they sin, they don’t know that it leads to death. Maybe they’ve been discouraged by the devil, as he tries to divert their eyes from the light. Finally, they may just prefer the flesh. Regardless, they are choosing death.
That is not what we do. Thank God for His grace. I think we should tell them that it’s time for a new heart:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life…” Dt. 30:19
Goodnight and God bless.