Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Ezekiel
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
The Book of Ezekiel is a wild ride of spiritual imagery written in 571BC, and was written to announce judgment upon the southern kingdom of Judah to allow them one more opportunity to repent. It also foretells of the coming deliverance of God’s people from captivity in Babylon, and speaks of the new life – the true and permanent spiritual transformation that will occur to those who come to faith in the Lord.
Both the Old and New Testament make it very clear that fallen man is separated from the Lord God, and not only separated, but spiritually dead with a rock hard, rebellious heart towards the Lord. It’s not that mankind wants to be right with God, but just doesn’t have the ability – fallen man rails against the Lord God in the most deviant and hateful manner. Oh, you may not be sacrificing animals to the devil and publicly writing hate mail to and about Jesus on the Internet, but as Jesus said it Himself in Matthew 12:30, “If you aren’t for Me, you’re against Me”.
So, fallen man not only needs to be forgiven; not only be put in right standing with the Holy Lord God, and doesn’t just need a nice make over to make himself look presentable before the Lord. Fallen man needs a complete do over – a spiritual transformation – a death to the old and the birth (rebirth – born again) of something new and righteous and holy that will make the former sinner perfectly qualified to be in the Lord’s presence forever. What fallen man needs is a new heart – and that new heart only comes from having the Spirit of Christ living within the redeemed child of God, which is the very thing that Ezekiel speaks of in today’s verses.
Here are today’s verses once again: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
Notice that it doesn’t say that we are the ones who have to muster up the strength, or work hard, or be good, or make some wise decision, or promise to follow through with our New Year’s Resolutions in order to get a new heart and new spirit. We see here that it is the Lord who will give (grace, undeserved favor/kindness/generosity) us this new life. Some folks like to say, “The Lord gives you a wrapped gift of forgiveness and eternal life, and you have to open it in order to enjoy the benefits. If you leave it wrapped and unopened, then you won’t be saved”. But Ezekiel prophetically tells us here that the Lord will PUT A NEW SPIRIT IN US. There’s nothing here that tells us that the gift of forgiveness and eternal life is ultimately something that we decide. Dead men don’t ask to have life brought into them. Someone from the outside has to put life into them.
Christians love to quote 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ (born again by His Spirit and placed in Christ), the new creation (new heart, new spirit) has come (arrived): The old (dead spirit, old man, old nature, unregenerate self, Adamic nature) is gone (done away with, crucified, eradicated), the new is here!” But remember: context, context, context! What are the next five words in verse eighteen? Don’t bother to look it up until later – I’ll tell you: “All this is from God…”.
All ‘what’ is from God? The ‘all this’ is the spiritual transformation that comes from God’s grace. The doing away of the old sinful nature; the arrival of Christ’s Spirit within us; and even the eternal decree to choose us to be His child in the first place was done by the Lord before the foundation of the earth was laid (Ephesians 1:4).
And this is exactly what today’s verses from Ezekiel predicted over five hundred years before the Messiah – the Savior – the Lord – Jesus Christ arrived. HE will remove our heart of stone (old sinful nature – our spirit that was alive to the devil and the world, but dead to God because it wasn’t Christ’s life – since Christ IS life), and HE will replace it with Christ’s heart – life – Spirit. The ‘heart of flesh’ that we are given is not to be confused with the ‘flesh’ (our as-of-yet unredeemed mind and body) that Paul speaks of, but rather ‘flesh’ here speaks of a ‘living heart – Christ’s heart’ – as opposed to the spiritually dead heart of stone that we are all born with.
And Ezekiel takes it a step further by not only telling us about this ‘new heart’ that we will be given by the Lord, but the Lord speaks through Ezekiel to make it even clearer: “And I will put My Spirit in you”. He couldn’t have made it any clearer, just as the New Testament tells us repeatedly:
Romans 8:9 – You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:11 – And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
So, thanks be to our sovereign Lord God, who in His incomprehensible wisdom and perfect love chose – according to His good purposes and pleasure – to crucify my old heart and spirit – and give me a new heart and His Spirit – through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Do you have His heart and Spirit? If He’s calling you – even this very moment as you read this – then realize that He’s called you – and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved.