Jesus came to redeem us from the consequences of the fall – Part 12
Above all, the heart is desperately evil and corrupt. Consequently, people turn to selfishness and evil, rather than to God’s way of righteousness. The corrupt human heart is beyond cure and cannot be changed by itself. The only remedy is to experience God’s grace, be born again through faith in Christ and receive a new heart – one that hates evil and delights in doing God’s will (Ezek 11:19-20; Mat 5:8).
What defiles a man (Mk 7:1-23)
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.23All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23)
In this passage “defile” (v. 20) means being defiled spiritually because of sins that come from the heart. The “heart” in Scripture is the totality of intellect, emotion, desire and volition. An impure heart will corrupt one’s thoughts, feelings, words and actions (Prov 4:23; Mat 12:34; 15:19). What is needed is a new, transformed heart, refashioned after the image of Christ (see Lk 6:45; see article on Regeneration already discussed)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)
A person’s heart (i.e., feelings, thinking, desires, values, will and decisions; (see article on The Heart) is attracted to the things that are most important to him or her. (1) If you treasure earthly things, then your heart will be enslaved to such things. (2) If God’s kingdom, heavenly things, His Word, His presence, His holiness and your relationship with Him are your treasure, then your heart will be drawn to the things of His kingdom and your life will be directed toward heaven, waiting for the return of your Lord (vv. 35-40).
What has God done about this defiled Heart?
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek 36:26-27)
God promised to restore Israel not only physical, but spiritually. To accomplish this, God would give them a new heart for following Him and put His Spirit within them (see 11:19, 20; Psalm 51:7-11) to transform them and empower them to do His will. Again, the new covenant was promised (16:61-63; 34:23-25), ultimately to be fulfilled in Christ. No matter how impure your life is right now, God offers you a fresh start. You can have your sins washed away, receive a new heart of God, and have His Spirit within you—if you accept God’s promise. Why try to patch up your old life, when you can have a new one?
“A new heart.” God promises to restore Israel not only physically, but also spiritually. This restoration involves giving them a new heart that is as tender as flesh, so that they will respond to God’s Word. Also, God will put His Holy Spirit within them (Ezek. 11:19-20; Ps 51:7-11). This work of God encompasses the new covenant established by Christ.
“My spirit within you” (v27). Apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for a person to have true life and to follow God’s ways. It is essential that we remain open to the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit. (See Old and New Covenants).
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