Does the Bible ever take you by surprise? God’s Word never ceases to amaze me.
As a student of the Bible for many years, I delight in the fact that there is still something new for me each time I open it up and dig in. Recently, a connection was made for me in regard to a prophecy God gave to Ezekiel. The writer of Hebrews refers to it as well.
One day, God will return His people to Israel….all of them. Now, this has happened many times throughout the course of history. However, there will come the day that is prophesied by Ezekiel. And here is what I love about this prophecy: each of us under the new covenant received this the moment we became followers of Christ Jesus.
Do I have your attention now?
God took from us a heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11:19-20).
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 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. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28).
God gives Ezekiel a vision of what it will look like when Israel is restored. And this same promise is extended to you and I as Christ followers. He will cleanse us from our former lives as sinners. God gives you a new heart and puts a new spirit in you. You now have a heart of flesh. That old heart of stone that weighed you down and kept you in the pit is gone.
The writer of Hebrews expresses this same concept in both Hebrews 8 and 10 in that Jesus died on the cross to redeem us and set us free from sin.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
“This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10:14-16).
With Moses, God chiseled His laws in stone. It didn’t take. God knew it was a heart problem. With His Son, He chose put His laws in our hearts and write them on our minds giving us His Holy Spirit to motivate us and guide us to live out our salvation through this process called sanctification.
Wow, friends, incredibly our Jesus gave us a whole heart. One of flesh that is moldable in His hands and one that will last forever. Praise Him forevermore! His love never fails!
Father God, You never cease to amaze me with the beauty of the promises in Your Word. I pray for Israel and for Your redemptive plan for Your chosen people. May we all look expectantly with hope for Jesus’s return. In His Name, I pray. Amen.