The human heart is very precious. It represents a lot of images: love, passion, life, commitment, etc. But moreover, in the Bible, it is central to the idea of the wholeness (shalom) of a person. A heart pertains to the entirety of a human’s life—mind, heart, and soul. Not always, but truly.
This human heart when dug deeper bears the sinful nature of humanity. Indeed, it is “deceitful above all things and desperately sick” (Jer. 17:9). What does humanity need in order to have a better condition of the heart? Just like any heart problem, diagnosed as fallen, sinful, and corrupt (Rom. 3:10, 23, Eph. 2:1), it needs surgery; more than that actually, it needs a transplant. A renewal of heart.
This renewal of the heart is called the circumcision of the heart (Deut. 30:6; Romans 2:29). It is taking away the impurities of the heart and making it brand new. Indeed, the promise of a new heart was given to the new covenant people. God said that He will give them a “new heart.” Further, He “will remove…their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26).
A renewed—or regenerated heart—is the promise of God for His children to be able to live righteously, freely in His grace, and enjoy the life He has given to them. Through Christ’s righteousness, humans became righteous—injected (imputed) with His purity, holiness and clothed with His grace and mercy (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:27).
God promised that He will preserve His children. Part of this promise is the operation of the renewal of the heart (Jeremiah 24:7). Indeed, it will only possible through God’s Spirit (Ezk. 36:27). The renewal of the heart is inseparable from the indwelling of the Spirit. And as Christians, the promise of the indwelling of the Spirit is given to His children alone (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:14-17).
Finally, both the new covenant promise and the mediation of the indwelling of the Spirit are made possible in the incarnational work of Jesus Christ—the fulfillment of the new covenant (Philippians 2:5-11; John 14:6; Eph. 1:1-12; Luke 22:20).
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