This post continues on from the post on March 10 about the heart. In its most simple expression, the heart is the seat of our conscious living, and includes our mind, our will, our emotions, and our conscience. Indeed, the heart is the seat of our relationship with our God.
As we saw in that previous post, the human heart is without exception broken, deceitful and sick (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Made to be the seat of the God-life in us, the heart through our rebelliousness toward our God has become what it is now. The self-life, not the life of our God, is the dominant feature of the human heart. We are by nature live by the flesh and self-will, and not godliness. Our God described the hearts of the people as hearts of stone – hardened against the Lord, hardened into a self-serving and rebellious lifestyle. The hardness of the human heart has no human remedy.
In Ezekiel 36, the prophet gives us a message about our God’s plans for restoring our hearts. “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.“
When we look at the promises of our God here, we see how great His plan for our restoration truly is.
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is described in the Bible as washing us and purifying us. Water is used often to denote the work of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Ezekiel, in his vision of the restoration of the Kingdom of God on earth (chapter 40), speaks of the river flowing out from the New Jerusalem. As it flows out it does not disperse, but grows ever deeper. This is a symbol of the abundant influence of the Holy Spirit. By His Spirit our God will cleanse and purify us, and sanctify us for His purposes.
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Our God intends to remove and replace our stony, rebellious heart. Our self-ruined, sin-bent mind, will, and emotions are no longer our necessary experience. The Lord will remove these from us and will give to us a new heart, a new mind, will, and emotions that are purified and made clean in Him.
Here is the “heart of the matter” in our new covenant relationship with our God. This new heart – the new mind, will, and emotions – are none other than the mind of Christ, the will of Christ, and the pure emotions of Christ lived in us. As we cooperate with our God in becoming emptied of our self-life, we experience the new heart and life our God has in store for us. He has already given that new heart to those who have committed to a life yielded to Him, and the Holy Spirit makes it so in us as we continue in that yielding daily.
“I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.” This is the fruit of the life of God in us. It is a life characterized by holiness to the Lord, the fulfillment of His promises, and being sprinkled clean by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. It is the very heart of Christ – His mind, His will, and His emotions – lived in place of our own by the Holy Spirit of Christ in us.
Here is the secret of living a holy and godly life every day – when we are yielded fully to the life of Christ in us, the Holy Spirit will live the life of Christ in and through us. And when the life of Christ is lived in us in place of our own living, we will not live disobediently to the will of the Father.
How do we cooperate with the Lord in living out of His heart and life in us? Check out the next post in this series, “New Heart, New Life.”