A New Heart

Posted Dec 30, 2012 by Corey McCain in Everlasting Gospel Hits: 3,733

This study is a continuation of “Did Adam receive the New Covenant experience?” In the previous study we concluded that Adam and his offspring could be born again, that is born of the Spirit. Why does humanity need to enter into the New Covenant experience?

Humanity’s Problem

Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

It’s very simple and that is, when the Law of God is written on a person’s heart, they have been born again. The person has received a new heart and through the indwelling Spirit he now has power to obey God. Unless this happens obedience to God is impossible. We know this because this is what God tells us about our heart:

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

We also see what happens when our heart is not right with God:

Psalm 78:35-38 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

The human heart is corrupt by nature and simply will not nor can it obey God. Notice how Ellen White explains this:

"Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts....The people did not realize the sinfulness of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for them to keep God’s law; and they readily entered into covenant with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own righteousness, they declared, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Exodus 24:7.”…

The terms of the “old covenant” were, Obey and live: . . . The “new covenant” was established upon “better promises”—the promise of forgiveness of sins and of the grace of God to renew the heart and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law.”(E. G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 371, 372.)

This is the only way a human being can be obedient to God. A passage that is related to the New Covenant experience of being born again is:

Eze 36:24-28 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.26 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.27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

When a person receives a “new heart” from the indwelling “new Spirit” he has been born again and now has the ability to keep God’s “statutes and judgments” or in a greater sense His Law. The above passages on the New Covenant are future prophecies but does this mean that this “new heart” experience wasn’t available at the time these prophecies were given? We will look into the scriptures of the Old Testament to see if this new birth experience was available to God’s people.

Perfect Heart

1 Chron 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

As we saw in Jeremiah 17:9 the human heart that God searches is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”. How then is Solomon ever supposed to serve God with a “perfect heart”?

1 Chron 29:18-19 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

Here we see David praying to God asking Him to give his son Solomon a “perfect heart” so that he can keep God’s commandments. Without God doing this work on Solomon’s heart there would be no way for him to obey God.

Table of the Heart

Below we see what Solomon says is needed:

Pro 3:1-4 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Where else do we see this idea of the Law being written on the table of the heart?

2Co 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Paul obviously knew this concept as he was a devout student of the Old Testament Scriptures. Here are a couple of more quotes from Solomon on this:

Pro 4:19-23 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Pro 7:1-3 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Law in the Heart

Earlier in the New Covenant prophecy we saw God say “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts”. Now let’s take a look at what the Psalmist says:

Psalm 37:29-31 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

Here we see that the Law of God is in the heart of the righteous. This happens when a person is having the New Covenant experience. Here is another:

Isa 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

Can you imagine if you were a Jew living in the time before Christ having these scriptures for hundreds of years yet God’s word written above wasn’t available to you? I believe it’s clear that a person in the day of Ezekiel’s promise or this one in Isaiah fully understood that he could receive this experience from God at that very time.

In this next Psalm we can see how important it is for God to write His law on a person’s heart:

Psalm 66:18-19 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.

If the Law of God is in a person’s heart he will not commit iniquity. If a person regards iniquity in his heart God will not hear the person’s prayers. We can see how crucial the new birth experience is for humanity living in all ages. This is because the wages of sin is death and humanity must be saved from the condition which causes us to sin. We notice this understanding below:

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

This is why it is said “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” God’s word needs to be transferred from ink and written on a person’s heart. If we don’t allow the Spirit to do this work we will certainly sin against God. God’s Law must be in our heart:

Deut 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

Job 22:22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

Frontlets between thine eyes

In Deuteronomy we see another text that shows us that we need a “new heart” before we can keep God’s Law.

Deut 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

God obviously understood that the human heart in its corrupt nature could not obey Him. He must do something for humanity in order to save them from sin and give them the power to keep His commandments. The first and great commandment is:

Deut 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

In the Gospels we see this same passage quoted. Now we must ask if this scripture is the same in both the Old and New Testament. Would there be a different method in how this can be accomplished? Of course not because the problem has always been the human heart and the fix has always been God’s indwelling Spirit giving a person a “new heart”. Humanity has always needed God’s word to be in their heart. We see this as the passage of Deut 6 continues:

Deut 6:6-8 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Here we see the idea of God’s word needing to be in the heart as “frontlets between thine eyes”. We see this same thought in chapter 11 of Deuteronomy:

Deut 11:18-19 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

God knew the only way for His people to obey His law is if He gave them a new heart and had it bound as “frontlets between their eyes”. All of this is “born again” language.

Circumcision of the Heart

We often here of the Jews being circumcised in the flesh while people think circumcision of the heart is something that happened after Jesus came but is this true? Notice what God’s people were told below:

Deut 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

We see this again in Jeremiah:

Jer 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

The corrupt human heart needed to be circumcised and we see below that God certainly knew this:

Deut 30:6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Notice how Paul recognizes this same teaching from Deuteronomy:

Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

We can clearly see that this circumcision of the heart concept existed way before Christ came. Anyone who has had their heart circumcised has been born of the Spirit.

David’s New Heart

Psalm 51:10-13 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Here we see David asking God for a “clean heart and a renewed spirit” along with the ability to have “sinners converted”.  Ellen White has these things to say about David’s prayer:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee."  {PUR, July 20, 1905 par. 1}

"This is one of the most earnest and contrite prayers on record, and the Lord's response is, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."  {PUR, July 20, 1905 par. 2} 

God’s response to David was to give him a “new heart and a new Spirit” which is the new birth. We see this understanding below written by Ellen White:

 “Those who are truly converted are born again. "A new heart also will I give you," God says. Provision is made by God himself for every soul that turns to the Lord, to receive his immediate co-operation.” {RH, March 22, 1898 par. 22} 

In 1 kings 14:7-8 we see that David’s prayer must have been answered:

“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;”

Now going back to Deuteronomy 30:6 about the circumcised heart we see this truth from the inspiration of Ellen White:

We need homes that are surrounded by a sanctified atmosphere. Unconverted families are Satan's strongest allies. The members of them work counter to God. Some parents are harsh, denunciatory, overbearing, while others are careless and overindulgent, letting their children follow the course of disobedience until they do very wicked things, and are a spectacle of shame to angels and to men. Such parents need to feel the converting power of God. By giving way to anger, and by selfish indifference, they unfit their children for this world and the next. How long will the Lord bear with this kind of work? He calls for a decided change in the home school. Let fathers and mothers repent of their neglect. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 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. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." "The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."  {RH, January 12, 1911 par. 11}

We can see that the concept of a “new heart and new Spirit” is the same as God “circumcising the heart”. All these terms are “born again” language which is also the New Covenant experience. We have thus seen that the “new heart” experience was available well before Christ came which is a new birth conversion. In another study we will see the difference between the time of the Jews and the time after Pentecost as this seems to perplex people into denying the new birth before this point.