A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT
A New Heart and a New Spirit
Over the years of being a Christian and realizing more and more that we have nothing to do with our salvation, I have read many such scriptures, but by far, my favorite is Ezekiel 36:26-27.
Although it was a scripture for a particular people in a particular time, it also comes with a future promise for when the Holy Spirit is poured out among believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27
Here is the commentary from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-11 – The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Ezekiel 36:26.
Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal.
(my observations) Notice the commentator says the law of Christ. This is the very one an same law that was given to the children of Israel through Moses. Note, it was the law of the Jew to obey, not the Gentile, for no man can truly obey nor fulfill the law, that is why God fulfilled His own law in the flesh of man through the God-man, Jesus Christ the Son. Matthew 5:17-18 – Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. However, we are still not off scott free, for we are to obey the law in love, love for God and love for our neighbor, and that is fully dependent on God the Holy Spirit that dwells and gives each true believer to be a Christ following Christian. We also see the response of Christ Himself when He responds to the question meant to trip Him up when the lawyer asks Him (Christ) both “What must I do” to inherit eternal life and who is my neighbor. Luke 10:27 – And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Especially see Paul’s references to love in Romans 8:4, 13:8, 13:10
The commentator does a wonderful job when he says their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, but he also stops short of what that impression is. I can only assume since the prophet Ezekiel was preaching and admonishing a very hard-hearted, sinful, rebellious people (the children of Israel), Ezekiel is pointing out Israels sins against a Holy, Righteous, Judging God, whose wrath against sin has been storing up for many years. When we look in the context of modern day society, cannot the same be said of us who are the gentiles the Bible always speaks of? Imagine if you will if we only had half of a Bible, half a counsel of God, one where Israel had not yet rejected the Gospel of Salvation unto Christ and the law was to be kept. There would be no need of the Apostle Paul to write about the gentiles being grafted in in most of Romans the 11th chapter. Not only that, there would be no hope for you and I for eternity in heaven! Nothing but condemnation of hell for eternity! Romans 8:1-2 says “here is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” You and I would still be held accountable to the holding of the Ten Commandments each and every day. You and I would be held to obeying over 600 laws, animal sacrifices, going to the temple, etc. Christ came to fulfill all of those parts of the law, and we are set free in liberty to love Him for doing so, and to show love to our neighbors as well, by sharing the Gospel on what Christ has done for sinners. To show mercy to us who have been shown mercy, to be graceful to others as we have been shown grace.
These are the things the commentator sums up when he said And, which is conjoining the coming thought to the previous thought. This is a two part deal, one of which you cannot have part A without part B and vice versa. Our WHOLE dependence is upon the Lord. The Lord ALWAYS means a complete single in one person, yet three distinct persons each complementing one another in all things, and in all times. So it is the Holy Spirit, the person of God Himself, who is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (having unlimited power, able to do all things), and omnipresence (meaning God is and can be everywhere at the same time, AND is the only one who can).
This is summation and the culmination of the Gospel of Christ. The Word of God in law only is ineffective against stoney hard hearts, and is the very reason and purpose for the Gospel given, rich in grace and mercy. It is the Gospel that shows us the mirror of God’s law that we are completely and utterly incapable of keeping, and cannot save ourselves. The proud say their is no hell, no judgment, therefore I worry not and can save myself. Unfortunately, the will find out the truth and full counsel of God the hard way. It is only by the preaching of the Word of God in boldness and power that will go forth when we do so to glorify Him and whom He would save, and not anything we say or do. Even when we speak as I am now, it is in full dependence of God’s Word going forth. If it was not for me being saved, I would not care if others were, and sadly many who profess to be a Bible believing, born again, Holy Spirit filled, Christ following Christian, do exactly just that! They do not fully and completely love their neighbors as themselves. Sure, they may watch their house while the other is on vacation, borrow each others tools, stand at the fence-line talking about the recent big game or other worldly event, but they speak nothing of Christ or glorifying Him!
The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.
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