December 2, 2021
Scripture: And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20 ESV
Observation: A ray of hope shines into the remnant of God’s people amid Ezekiel’s prophecies of gloom and doom for reprobate Israel. These words of comfort foreshadow the New Covenant when our hearts (conscience minds) know God’s laws (Jeremiah 31:31-34). They point us to the supernatural birth of our spirits, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus (John 3:1-15), and the unifying work of the Holy Spirit (“one heart”), where we are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).
Takeaway: But what does a “heart of flesh” mean? It is a heart tender toward God and his ways of righteous living. Initiated by God through the death of his Son (justification), the Holy Spirit regenerates us by convincing us of the truth of the Gospel. As such, our once hardened hearts now desire to please the One who has overwhelmed us with his love. The Holy Spirit then begins the work of sanctification (transforming us into the likeness of Christ) by teaching us how to “walk in God’s statutes” (follow them). Hence, our once rigid beliefs and desires become malleable dispositions of mind and will, seeking a deeper understanding of God’s love and grace in Christ. More love leads to more obedience; more obedience leads to more love. This circular dynamic is the lifeblood of our hearts of flesh.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving us hearts of flesh. Would you please deepen in us a growing awareness of your love for us that we might cooperate with your Holy Spirit in loving and obeying you with gladness and singleness of heart through Christ our Lord? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling