“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
To decipher the lies about the human spiritual heart, let’s first define schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia struggle with debilitating consistency in their thinking. In their minds, they argue with themselves all day long. They can never come to a solid agreement about certain subjects because of a mental condition which causes severe two-time talk. The church of today is plagued with spiritual schizophrenia. I’ll explain how, but first, let’s jump over to something Jesus said in Mark 3:25:
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Jesus said this when He was describing a demon-possessed man in which He just removed a demon from. He removed the demon, so there was no longer a battle going on inside him. But Jesus was also referring to Himself as He defended Himself against the religious people! The Pharisees were accusing Jesus of also being demon-possessed. He replied by basically saying “If I’m demon-possessed then why am I driving out demons from people?”
He was saying, “You can’t be on both sides, you have to pick one.” So for the Christians who are claiming we have a good heart and a bad heart, this makes no sense at all. It’s called double-talk and it’s rampant in our churches. It keeps the gospel unclear, our churches cliquey, and allows self-centered people to compare their “low” level of sin to other’s “high” level–as if God grades us on a curve. He does not!
God requires perfection (see Matthew 5:48). For this reason, He gives all who believe in Jesus, perfect hearts. We can only receive our perfect hearts by way of allowing God to kill our old hearts–our old spirits (see Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6-7). Only then will He give us new hearts, new spirits! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17). This happens from the moment we first believe! (See John 1:12, 3:16). The modern-day legalists confuse this amazing truth by way of two main things:
- Mixing Old Covenant Scripture in with New Covenant Scripture. Before Jesus came and went, yes, all of humanity had wicked hearts–and unbelievers still do. David and the prophets talked about how deceitful the human heart is (see Psalm 109:2, Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 36:26)–so did Moses in the book of Genesis, “For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (see Genesis 8:21). Our hearts are naturally wicked because of our original forefather, Adam. When he sinned for the first time, we inherited sinful hearts (See Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21). But now, on this side of the Cross, we get a new heart, one that is perfect like Christ. Just like it was unfair that we inherited sinful hearts from Adam, it’s also unfair that we received perfect hearts from Jesus. The Old Covenant is now obsolete for believers in Christ because we have new hearts. For those who don’t understand this, they will mix some of those Old Covenant verses about deceitful hearts in with the New. This creates a flabbergasting quasi-gospel. It creates a house divided against itself which Christ warned against.
- Calling Christians sinners. Christians are not sinners, we were sinners. Do we still commit sins? Yes, but we are not sinners in any way. Our identity has changed completely and our actions and attitudes are catching up! Because of our new hearts–our new identity in Christ–choosing to act on sin will never feel right, permanently. We now want what God wants and we can’t get away from that. Sure, our flesh might get a quick thrill from sin, but the Holy Spirit always guides us away from sin, reminding us of who we are inside (see Galatians 5). Because of this, no matter how much we choose to act on sin, or how often, God in us steadily reveals the truth about us. “Matt, that won’t work for you. Stop doing it. You weren’t made for that.” So the best thing to do is just don’t sin! But when we sin, turn from it once again, and do not call yourself a sinner! YOU ARE A SAINT! There is not a single New Covenant Scripture which states a Christian is a sinner. Not one time does any apostle call a believer in Christ a person with a wicked heart. Therefore, believer, anytime you read a verse referring to sin, or sinful actions and attitudes, that is not describing you. It’s describing non-believers, it’s describing how a Christian used to be before becoming a Christian, or it’s describing a Christian who has forgotten about their one-time spiritual cleansing (see Hebrews 10:10, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Peter 1:9).
For number one, a grace-confused person will shout at me, “How can you say the Old Covenant is obsolete?! Are you suggesting we should just throw it out?!”
Friend, I’m not saying the Old Covenant is obsolete, the Bible is:
“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete” (see Hebrews 8:13)
When something has become obsolete it’s because it’s now useless–something better has replaced it. What Jesus did at the Cross created something better than attempting to follow 613 laws and commands from Moses. The Old Covenant law and commands don’t stop at just ten, and nobody could follow them perfectly even though they promised to! (See Exodus 19:8, Romans 3:20, 4:15, Galatians 2:16, 3:11). The first Promise Keepers convention was a bust! The Law is an all or nothing proposition! (See James 2:10, Galatians 3:10). Therefore, a mediator brought in a New Covenant. One that is much, much better:
“Christ is the mediator of a new covenant” (see Hebrews 9:15)
So no, don’t throw away the Old Covenant, leave it exactly where it is! It’s beautiful, it’s perfect, it’s right and true! But it’s obsolete. For Christians, it’s like a museum. The only use it has is to teach us the history of our New Covenant. It explains Creation, the Fall, the Patriarchs, Israel, the Judges and Prophets; it has Psalms and Proverbs which are full of wisdom. But more than anything, it teaches us the lineage of our Savior and what He has taken care of for us! Leave it, read it, know it–but keep it in context! It does not apply to us because of our faith in Jesus Christ!
As for the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant–which includes the Ten Commandments–it also is of no use for any believer in Christ because our spirits are already righteous (Romans 7:4, Galatians 2:19, 1 Timothy 1:9). That sentence will upset a lot of legalistic demonic spirits, but I don’t care, it’s the truth.
We Christians live by a new way of morals, ethics, right from wrong, and freedom, and we get these things from…God’s own Spirit living in our hearts! God’s own Spirit leading us, counseling us, discipling us, and keeping us free! Check it out!
“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the Law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6)
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (See John 16:13)
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
The yoke of slavery Paul is referring to in Galatians 5 is the Jewish laws and commandments. If you read the full chapter and the two before it, you’ll see.
Now, I want to be perfectly clear about something: the Old Covenant is still alive and well today, but we believers are dead to it. The Law is still useful, but only for unbelievers in Christ. And it’s only useful to them because it reveals how much of a complete failure they are when it comes to godly perfection. That’s what it did for us, and that’s what it still does, for them.
Even the people who have never heard of the Law still have God’s “perfection requirements” written on their consciences, so they too are without excuse (see Romans 1:20, 2:15). As a result, the Law and man’s conscience are both meant to funnel non-believers into God’s grace through faith in Jesus’ perfection. Many people who claim to live by the Law can’t even name the top ten, let alone all 613. This proves it’s not knowing Law which makes us guilty, but instead, being born into sin, in our hearts.
Attempting to follow the Law for righteousness with God is the same as attempting to summit an impossible-to-climb mountain. The smart people give up at the bottom! For the Christian, the mountain is still there, we respect it, but we’ve said, “Whoa! No way am I even trying that! I give up! I’ll take grace!” Paul tells Timothy this fact:
“We know that the Law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the Law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers” (see 1 Timothy 1:8-9)
Who are the righteous? WE ARE! Who are the lawbreakers?! The people who attempt to follow the Law! We Christians are righteous because of our faith in Jesus not in attempting to follow 613 rules! Just look!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“You also died to the Law through the body of Christ” (see Romans 7:4)
“For through the Law I died to the Law so that I might live for God.” (Galatians 2:19)
This next one is my favorite!
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the Law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
And here’s the proof of our spiritual perfection! Here’s the proof of our hearts being heaven-ready and good!
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22)
Do you see what has made us righteous, holy, without blemish, and free from accusation?…Jesus’ body! Jesus’ blood! Yes, it’s strange, but God has a blood-based economy. He doesn’t forgive us by asking for forgiveness, but only by faith in Jesus’ perfect blood! The words “ask for forgiveness” are not in the Bible! ONLY BLOOD CAN FORGIVE! The apostles knew this fact–they were Jewish! That’s why they didn’t write it in their epistles!
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (see Hebrews 9:22). The Law required blood to be spilled by animals once a year at the Day of Atonement for the forgiveness of the Jews’ sins–for the past year. That animal blood didn’t remove their sins, but instead, reminded them of their sins (see Hebrews 10:3). It atoned for their sins, covered up, or “paid for” their sins, but did not remove them (see Hebrews 10:4).
But even still, when they walked out of the temple, after the priest would lay hands on the carcass transferring their sin to that animal (see Hebrews 6:2), that Jewish person knew they were good to go until next year! That blood brought them relief for their sin!
What I think is funny is that the Jews got an entire year of forgiveness, yet, the modern-day church thinks we need to get forgiveness daily. If that were the case, I’d rather be an Old Testament Jew!
On this side of the Cross, we’ve got an even better deal than a year of forgiveness–we get a lifetime of it! Further, Jesus doesn’t atone for our sins, or cover them up–HE BANISHES THEM FOREVER! God chooses to not even remember our sins any longer! This is why you don’t have a wicked heart!
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
Oh, but it doesn’t end there! Jesus’ blood being shed also caused His death. Death brings in new covenants, new agreements, new inheritances! Just think about it, if you have a rich grandpa and you know you’re written into his will, when will you get your inheritance? When he kicks the bucket, and not a moment before!
Therefore, Jesus’ blood not only forgave us, but His death from that bloodshed brought in the New Covenant between God and mankind! Do you see it?! FRIEND! THIS IS SO AWESOME! WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THIS?!
“Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22)
The new, better covenant is between the Father and the Son! It’s their oath to one another! We are simply the beneficiaries to that contract! We got the inheritance when Jesus died!
We sucked at being promise keepers–the Jews did any way–but everyone else would have too. So because they couldn’t keep their end of the deal–obeying 613 contingencies–God created a new deal and then swore by Himself at the Cross through Jesus’ perfect blood! (See Hebrews 6:13). He then took it a step further and included the Gentiles! That’s us! (Galatians 3:14, 3:28, Romans 3:29).
C’MON SOMEBODY! THIS IS BROTHER-HUGGIN’, KNEE-SLAPPIN’, GOOD NEWS!
God swore by Himself because He couldn’t find anyone greater to swear by! The Father and Son are one! (John 14:11). The New Covenant is based on a promise between God and God! It’s not based on a promise between us and God because our promises are jacked up! We lie! God can’t lie!
IS THIS NOT THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER?! I’ll answer that, “Yeah! Yeah it flipping is!”
Why did He do this? Because God never changes. It’s the same God, but a new Covenant. By way of this New Covenant from an unchangeable Father and Son, God showed us how much He truly loves us. He solved our sin problem, once and for all. He wanted to be sure we had an immovable anchor for our souls:
“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (See Hebrews 6:17-19)
What does this have to do with our hearts? Everything. The New Covenant is God making His home in our hearts, permanently. This can only happen after we get new hearts. Our hearts are our spirits. Sure, we can use that word to describe “all that we are” but our hearts are our core. Our hearts are the real us.
Friend, the Old Covenant prophets longed for the day God would finally make His home in our hearts. Back then, God came and went based on righteous behavior and faith, but He never infused Himself with anyone’s spirit! Now He does! How? Why?…JESUS!
It was Jesus who finally gave us the opportunity to have our old sinful spirits done away with for good. The New Covenant is you dying–your heart–and you coming back to life at the same time with a new heart while still in this body on planet earth (see Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Our agreement with God is no longer based on behavior and attitudes. Every incorrect behavior and attitude required death, and Jesus died (see Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:22, 10:10). The Cross actually worked!
If you believe this, you get a new heart! This new heart is not wicked or deceitful! God cannot live in wicked or deceitful places!
You are not at battle with a good side of you and a bad side of you! YOU ARE COMPLETE! You’ve been supernaturally reborn! (See John 3:7, 1 John 3:9, 5:4). Be sure and know that you will keep your perfect heart as long as Jesus lives! (see Hebrews 7:25). Even better, God is committed to you forever because of your one-time moment of faith in Jesus:
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
The Father will never disown Jesus. They both live in you based on the New Covenant. They are committed to each other, and to us. Our commitment to them is an absolute joke. If this Covenant was about us, each time we sin, blood must be shed and a death must occur. It’s not about us. We are receivers and reflectors of God’s love. We are branches, He is the vine. Our only job is to simply relax and be our new selves.
Do we sill commit sins? Yeah, but Jesus isn’t dying over and over again up in heaven each time we do. He finished it. One final sacrifice. (See John 19:30, Hebrews 10:10). By way of that last offering, He has made our spirits perfect forever! (See Hebrews 10:14). Christian, you don’t have a wicked spirit! You don’t have a wicked heart! Never say that! Never believe that! Trust yourself! Trust God too! After all, you want exactly what He wants!
So today, my friends, know this: Christians don’t have wicked hearts. We are not at battle with ourselves. We can trust our hearts because we have new hearts, and because Jesus lives with us in our hearts (see Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19, John 14:23). As for the unbeliever? Yes, following their heart would be a bad choice, but not for us. Are we learning more about our hearts each day? Yeah! Are we growing in the knowledge of God’s grace? Sure! Do we have old, stinking thinking which is constantly being renewed by our heart? Absolutely! (See Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6, 4:8). But as for our core, our heart, our spirit, we have been made perfect forever because of the Cross. Trust yourself, Christian. Your heart is good.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for my new heart! Thank you for making your home IN my heart. Thank you for the promise you made with Jesus to give me my new heart–and to never leave me! This happened when I was just a boy, but because of false teaching, I didn’t realize what you had done. It makes so much sense to me now! As I look back, I can see that you’ve been guiding me for nearly all of my life! You’ve impressed upon my soul who you are, and who I am! Thank you! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been taught they have two natures, reveal to them that’s not true. Sure, we have unrenewed parts of our minds, but we are complete in you. Teach them that the power of sin is still real on planet earth–and so are demonic forces. But because of our faith in Jesus, both have been defeated! We can trust ourselves! Your Word says we’ve become obedient from the heart, not from old Jewish law! Your Word says we’ve been crucified with Christ, buried, and raised as new creations! It says we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness! Jesus said He came to give us life, and life abundantly! INSTILL THESE TRUTHS IN OUR MINDS! We already know them in our hearts, but help us to know them in our heads! Help us to be confident as we live out this New Covenant of your grace! We are so grateful! In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!