"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26(NASB)
Israel's heart had become rebellious, idolatrous, and hardened against God. Despite breaking the conditions of their first covenant with Him, the Lord, in His grace, promised to make a New Covenant with His people. This time it was to be an UN-conditional covenant. There were no legal requirements for Israel to carry out - no conditions that they could break. In His New Covenant with Israel, the Lord promised to give His people a new heart of flesh, instead of a heart of stone. God promised to give them a spirit of grace - through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of life and love.
The entire human race had become sodden in sin. Man's nature was infected with selfishness. The human heart was flooded with degenerate desires. The entire population was filled with pride and boastfulness. All humanity had a propensity towards arrogance, disobedience, ungratefulness, and godlessness. Every person - Jew and Gentile alike, was born dead in their sin and at enmity with God.
But the Lord in His grace, promised to give them a new heart in His New Covenant. He promised to purify their heart and cleanse their inner soul, through the spilt blood of a sinless Mediator. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you," was God's promise to His people, "and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh." Despite centuries of rebellion, God promised to remove men's rock-hard, heart of stone... and replace it with a heart that is sensitive to the Lord and responsive to His Word.
This wonderful promise to humanity was to come through the nation of Israel. Israel were the people with whom God made His covenant and Israel was to be the nation through Whom the Messiah would be born. The promise of the New Covenant was to be fulfilled in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ - such that all who trust in Him as their perfect, sinless, Kinsman Redeemer - Jew and Gentile alike, are beneficiaries of this gracious promise which includes a renewed heart and an enlightened mind - with godly understanding and right judgements - and this would come through the power of God's own Holy Spirit.
The cold, hard, impenetrable heart of the unregenerate man, with its self-centred passion and unyielding opinions, was to be renewed and replaced with a clean heart of flesh, in which the Holy Spirit of God Himself was to dwell. The eternal God of the universe was to dwell in the heart of the man who lives by faith and to reign there as King, in sovereign power. The human heart, which had become so infected with sin, was to be changed and cleansed, so that it could become a holy habitation for the Holy Spirit of God.
The Lord promised to sprinkle clean water on His people and cleanse them of all their filthiness and idolatry. He pledged to bring them back to the land, which He had promised to their forefathers. He pledged to multiply the fruit on the tree, the produce of the fields, and to fill their granaries to overflowing. He told them that one day they would recognise their faults, repent of their sins, and deeply regret their foolish ways. Moreover, He pledged that in that day, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your body of flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
This wonderful promise to the nation of Israel was cut at Calvary, and the wonderful promise to give His people a new heart and put a new spirit within is fulfilled in the life of ALL who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of their soul and the Mediator for their sins - Jew and Gentile alike.
The total fulfilment of this staggering prophecy and wonderful promise will be fully ratified and finally completed when the regathered, repentant, and regenerated nation of Israel, will unite their national voice to call on Christ for salvation - at the end of the tribulation period. On that day Israel, as a nation, will recognise the One Whom they pierced.. and weep for Him as one weeps for an only son.
But for those of us who have already trusted Him for our salvation, during this post-Cross dispensation of grace - we have already had our heart renewed and our consciences cleansed, through the eternal Spirit, Who has taken up permanent residence within our heart and soul.
Those of us who have already trusted Jesus as Saviour - Jew and Gentile alike, have been made ministers of this New and Better Covenant, because we believe in JESUS the Son of God and Son of Man, Who willingly offered Himself, without blemish to God - for our sake.
Heavenly Father, You are a good and gracious God, long-suffering and tender-hearted towards all Your children. Thank You for Your faithfulness towards Israel, Your chosen nation. Your never-failing promises to Your people is such a reassurance, for it demonstrates that Your gracious patience and loving-kindness towards Church-age believers is equally sure - for You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank You that I am part of the body of Christ and that You have told us the end from the beginning, and thank You that all Your promises are 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Christ Jesus my Saviour. Teach me Your ways and keep me from straying from the path of holiness. I praise and thank You that in Christ, I have a cleansed heart, and that by Your amazing grace I have the indwelling Holy Spirit of life, to guide me into all truth. I praise and glorify Your holy name, in and through my Saviour Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray. AMEN.