A New Heart
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” –Ezekiel 36:26
You will notice…God does not promise to us that he will improve our nature, that he will mend our broken hearts. No, the promise is that he will give us new hearts and right spirits. Human nature is too far gone ever to be mended. It is not ahouse that is a little out of repair, with here and there a slate blown from the roof, and here and there a piece of plaster borken down from the ceiling. No, it is rotten throughout, the very foundations have been sapped; there is not a single timber in it which has not been eaten by the worm, from its uppermost roof to its lowest foundation; there is no soundness in it; it is all rottenness and ready to fall. God doth not attempt to men; he does not shore up the walls, and re-paint the door; he does not garnish and beautify, but he determines that the old house shall be entirely swept away., and that he will build a new one. It is too far gone, I say, to be mended. If it were only a little out of repair, it might be mended. If only a wheel or two of that great thing called ‘manhood’ were out of repair, then he who made man might put the whole to rights; he might put a new cog where it had been broken off, and another wheel where it had gone to ruin and the machine might work anew. But no, the whole of it is out of repair; there is not one lever which is not broken; not one axle which is not disturbed; not on of the wheels which act upon the others. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot, to the crown of the head, it is all wounds and bruises and putrifying sores. The Lord, thereforce, does not attempt the repairing of this thing; but he says, ‘I will give you a new heart, and a right spirit will I put within you; I will take away the heart of stone, I will not try to soften it, I will let it be as stony as ever it was, but I will take it away, and I will give you a new heart, and it shall be a heart of flesh.’
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The New Heart,” New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 4, 378.
The various forms of expression are employed in the Scriptures, to denote the change of heart; and they signify it with various shades of meaning. It is taking away the heart of stone, and giving a heart of flesh (Ezek. 26:26); giving a new heart (Ezek. 18:31); putting the law in the heart (Heb. 8:10); quickening or making alive (John 6:63; Eph. 2:1; Rom. 6:11,13); a resurrection from the dead; an illumination (Heb. 10:32); a conversion, or turning back to God (Matt. 13:3; Ps. 25:16; Isa. 59:20). So great is the change produced, that the subject of it is called a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), as if proceeding, like Adam, directly from the creating hand of God; and he is said to be renewed (Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2; Tit. 3:5), as being restored to the image of God, in which man was originally formed. With reference to the mode in which the descendants of Adam come into the world, the change is denominated regeneration (Tit. 3:5); and the subjects of it are said to be born again (John 3:3,7; 1 Pet. 1:23).
–John L. Dagg, A Manual of Theology, 277-78.
“Mere outward reformation differs as much from regeneration as white-washing an old rotten house differs from pulling it down and building a new one in its place.”
–Augustus M. Toplady
“Men by their own free will cannot turn to God until he first change their stony hearts into hearts of flesh.”
“Unless God changes a person’s heart, nothing lasting will be achieved.”
“The change of a sinner’s heart is as great a miracle as any Jesus Christ wrought on earth.”
Concerning regeneration and conversion: “At the outset of a discussion of these two subjects we are met by the question, whether they are not one and the same thing. They are unquestionably so intimately associated that it is difficult to separate them and point out the distinctions between them. The Scriptures connect the two under the one idea of the new birth, and teach that not only is regeneration an absolute essential in each conversion, but that in every intelligent responsible soul conversion invariably accompanies regeneration. It is not strange, therefore that they are often confounded. Yet, after all, the Scriptures also teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning towards God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.”
–James P. Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, 373-74.