All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
January 31, 2011
A New Heart
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2010 by Merle E. Koepke
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In Ezekiel 36:26 it says, "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." This is a prophecy. It is prophesying of the New Covenant, which includes a new birth, born of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12,13; 3:5-7).
God had a plan for mankind right from the beginning. Before Adam was created, God had great plans for those who will believe His Word. Included in God's plans for mankind was "two creations" of mankind.
The first creation of mankind was Adam (in the flesh). The second creation of mankind is Christ (in the Spirit).
From the time of the first creation of mankind in the flesh until Jesus came and redeemed us from sin and death, no one could enter into the kingdom of God. Even though many people walked with God in the Old Testament times, they could not enter into "the kingdom of God" without first being born again (John 3:7).
There were many great men in the Old Testament times that God used to accomplish His will here on earth. Among those were such as Enoch, who walked with God and God took him to heaven (Gen. 5:22-24; Heb. 11:5). There was Abraham, who believed God and was called the father of all who live by faith (Rom. 4:11,16; Gal. 3:29). There was Moses, who led the Children of Israel out of bondage to the Egyptians into the wilderness where God taught them His ways and plans for mankind.
Moses was called one of the great prophets of the Old Testament times. Jesus became a prophet like unto Moses (Deu. 18:18). Following Moses, there were many other great prophets in the Old Testament times.
Then came Jesus, "a Man," born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Jesus was called the Son of God because God was His true Father and Mary was His mother. Jesus became the first human being in which God was His true Father.
Jesus was one with the Father from before the foundation of this world. In the beginning, Jesus was called "the Word of God." It tells us about Jesus as "the Word of God" in John 1:1-3, where it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...The same was in the beginning with God...All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Then "the Word of God" came into this world as "the Son of God" as it says in John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Even though Jesus was with the Father from the beginning of time, He was not "the Son of God" until He became born of the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit. As "the Word of God," Jesus was with the Father from the beginning (John 17:5; 1 John 5:7).
When the Word of God was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary (by the Holy Spirit), a Child was born who was called JESUS. By the birth of Jesus, He became the beginning of "a new creation of mankind." This new creation of mankind became man and God united together as "a new creature." (Never before in all of eternity was there "a man" united together with God).
It was by this uniting together of God and man that a new creation of mankind came into being. This new creation of mankind is called "Christ," meaning "the Anointed One." "Jesus Christ" is the Head of the Body of Christ which is made up of all who are "in Christ." (The word "Head" means, "the first one; the beginning").
All who are in the kingdom of God (also called the Kingdom of Heaven in the Gospel of Matthew), are born again into the family of God. The Kingdom of God did not reign here on earth before Jesus came into this world. The Kingdom of God was prophesied already in Daniel 2:44. But, it could not reign on earth until after Jesus became the firstborn from the dead. Jesus (the Son of Man), was put to death in the flesh and raised again from the dead by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18; Rom. 8:11). The name "JESUS," pertains to His humanity. The name "Christ," pertains to His Deity. As, JESUS, He defeated the Devil and therefore, God has exalted the Name of Jesus above every name (Phil. 2:6-10).
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He became the King of the Kingdom of God (Rev. 19:16). Jesus also became "the Head" of a new creation of mankind, called the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18).
Even though there were great prophets throughout the Old Testament times, Jesus said in Matthew 11:11, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Why is it that those who are the least in the kingdom of God are greater than John the Baptist? None of those in the Old Testament times were born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
God had chosen the Children of Israel as His children. God worked with them, and even took some of them to heaven. But, they were not joined "one Spirit with the LORD" (1 Cor. 6:17). God did not dwell in them as He did with Jesus. Therefore they were not new creatures in Christ Jesus.
To become a new creature in Christ Jesus a person must become born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is "the Seed" of the new birth as it says in 1 Peter 1:23, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit causing the new birth in the spirit, as Jesus said in John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." The first birth of mankind is in the flesh. The second birth of mankind is in the Spirit.
This was the beginning of a new creation of mankind, whereby God and man are united together in one. As we study the Scriptures with the help of the Holy Spirit to teach us, we will see God's plan for mankind from the foundation of the world.
God started with Adam, the beginning of mankind in the flesh. Adam was earthly, of this earth (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45-48). Then Jesus came into this world as "the Son of Man," and "the Son of God." Jesus was a man, born of Mary and the Holy Spirit. Being that the Holy Spirit caused Mary's conception, Jesus is truly "the Son of God." God was Jesus' true Father.
Jesus is called "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45). The word "Adam" meaning "mankind." Jesus became the beginning of a new creation of mankind. This is all explained in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48, where it says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit...Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual...The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven...As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly."
The first Adam was not spiritual, but natural (earthly of this earth). The last Adam was spiritual (a life-giving spirit from heaven above). In the first Adam we have earthly life. In Christ Jesus we have heavenly life. These are two different types of life. The first one is earthly (natural life). The second one is heavenly (spiritual life).
Being that Adam was earthly of this earth, mankind needed to become born again to receive "spiritual" eternal life in heaven. Man was created as "a living soul," with a body of flesh and bones and a spirit within him. God's plan for man never included "a new living soul." It did included a new heart, a new spirit, and a new spiritual body.
In the new birth we do not receive a new "living soul." But, we do receive a new heart, a new spirit, and a new spiritual body. We are still the same living soul, and God adopts us out of Adam into Christ (Rom. 8:9).
A New Heart
The word "heart," used many times in the Scriptures means, "the innermost part of our being." Our heart is not in our mind, and it is not in our spirit. Sometimes the word heart may be speaking of our physical heart in our physical body.
God looks at the heart, "the innermost part of our being," when He determines our intentions. Our soul, which is psychic, contains our mind and is subject to the spiritual realm by the thoughts that come into our mind. Our heart is established by what we believe, as a result of what we do about the thoughts that come to our mind.
If we submit our mind to the thoughts that come from God our heart will be established upon the Word of God. If we submit our mind to the thoughts that come from the Satanic realm our heart will be established upon the words of the enemy.
From the time that Adam and Eve submitted their thoughts to the words of the serpent the minds of mankind became corrupted by the Satanic realm. Man began to think like the Devil thinks.
The Devil's thoughts and God's thoughts are not the same. Therefore, the soul of man became corrupted by the thoughts of the Satanic realm. As mankind continued to receive thoughts that came from the Satanic realm their heart became hardened against the Word of God.
An example of the hardening of the heart of man can be clearly seen in Genesis 4:3-8. Cain would not listen to the LORD God concerning the thoughts that had come to his mind (Gen. 4:7). Cain received the thoughts that came from the Devil. Therefore his heart was established upon the thoughts of "the wicked One" (1 John 3:12).
In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." God does not look at the outward appearance of man. God looks at the heart of man.
God, knowing the hearts of men included "a new heart," in the new birth. This was spoken of in Ezekiel 36:26, saying, "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."
What is God talking about when He said He would "...take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh?" Sin had corrupted the hearts of mankind. Mankind preferred themselves before others. Mankind always looked upon their own desires and needs before they looked upon the desires and needs of others.
Look at the attitude of the hearts of Adam and Eve following their eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 3:12, Adam said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." In Genesis 3:13. Eve said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." By not looking at the needs of others first, man's heart was similar to that of Lucifer before he was cast out of heaven (Isa. 14:12-14).
God always looks at the needs of others before His own needs. God knew the need of mankind to be delivered and protected from the works of the Devil. In Genesis 3:14,15 the LORD God said to the serpent, "...Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life...And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Therefore, God sent "His Word," to redeem mankind from the works of the Devil (Psalm 107:20). Jesus came into this world as a Man, born of the Holy Spirit and a woman. Jesus' life came from God and His body came from a woman. In Hebrews 10:5-7 it says, "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me ..In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure...Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." "The Word of God" received a human body "born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary."
The Word of God became flesh, and took upon Himself all our sins, iniquities, infirmities, sickness, and diseases. God saw our need, and delivered us from all our destructions. This is the Gospel that needs to be preached to the whole world, that those who will believe in their heart will be saved.
All throughout the Old Testament times mankind in general was not willing to submit to God completely, and let God do His will in their lives. Over and over mankind always preferred themselves before others. Man always looked for ways to obtain for themselves what they desired first. Each one, went their own way.
In Romans 3:10-18 it says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one...There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God...They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one...Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips...Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness...Their feet are swift to shed blood...Destruction and misery are in their ways...And the way of peace have they not known...There is no fear of God before their eyes."
This was the condition of mankind from the time sin and death entered the human race. The hearts of people were selfish, and they did not love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Mankind loved themselves more than they loved God. Their heart was not right before God. They needed "a new heart," that would seek to please God and prefer others before themselves.
The born again experience needed to be more than just a religious operation. Unless a person's heart is changed, they will only become religious with an outward appearance of Godliness but lacking the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5).
In Jeremiah 31:33 it says, "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." In Hebrews 8:10, it says, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" In the new birth, God did not remove the corruption that was in our soul. But, God did give us "a new heart," whereby we could know the will of God, and do the will of God.
When a person is truly born again, there should be a change of the desires of their heart. In their heart there should be the desire to study the Word of God and seek those things which God desires for us (not the things of this world) (1 John 2:15-17). There should be a desire to do the will of God (not the will of the flesh) (Heb. 10:7,9). There should be a change in the way we think.
The day that I was born again there was a great change in my thoughts and desires. Before I was born again I was a church going religious person. I did a lot of church related activities. For a few years I taught Sunday School. Then I started becoming a member of the Church Council. When I moved from one city to another, I joined another church and became a member of the Church Council there.
Yet, I still had problems in my life that I could not overcome. One of the problems involved my attitude toward some people of other races. Where I was born and grew up, everyone I knew was white. They were from many different nationalities, but they were all white. This was normal, and everyone respected each other.
While in High School I went to Chicago on a High School Class trip and had a bad experience with an Afro-American. After that I really wanted to stay away from Chicago. After I graduated from High School I got acquainted with someone from Milwaukee. This individual lived most of his life in Milwaukee and talked a lot about how bad the Afro-Americans were.
I believed most of what that individual told me about Afro-Americans. Hearing a lot of bad reports about Afro-Americans established a wrong attitude in my heart. I did not hate Afro-Americans, but I tried to stay clear of them whenever possible. I did not want to get involved with them. There was even some fear of them that kept me from becoming friendly toward them.
Even though I was a regular Church going person, and did a lot of Church work, my attitude toward Afro-Americans was not according to the Scriptures. God loves everyone without respect of nationality. Christians should also love everyone without respect of nationality.
After moving to Milwaukee to live, I started to become friends with some Afro-Americans. But in my heart, there was still a problem and I did not respect all Afro-Americans.
When I received the LORD Jesus Christ into my life on a Thursday evening I had been attending the same Church system I attended for most of my life. Almost everyone belonging to that church at that time were white Americans.
The Sunday following the day I was born again I attended a Church of another denomination where there were many Afro-Americans attending. I felt such a love for the Afro-Americans that many of them became my best friends. It was as though it did not make any difference as to what color their skin was, I loved them just the same as I loved white Americans.
I began going to their homes to join in on Bible studies and prayer meetings. They loved me and I loved them. From that day forth, it never made any difference what color a persons skin was, I loved them and wanted to be friends with them. We spent many days and evenings praying and studying the Bible together.
The desires of my heart were changed the day I become born again. The thoughts and intents of my heart were no longer affected by different nationalities. They were people, and God loves all people. I could go into the houses of Afro-Americans, Chinese, Japanese, white Americans, whatsoever nationality they were and I loved the people. My heart was changed and I was no longer a respecter of persons.
Not only did my heart change as to different nationalities, but the desires of my heart changed. Before I was born again I wanted to own property and retire at the age of fifty-five. After I was born again all I want to do was to study the Scriptures day and night. All I desired was to learn all I could about God's will for my life. I wanted to live the rest of my life doing whatsoever God wanted me to do. I lost all desire for the material things of this world, and desired only to do the will of God in my life.
What is in our heart comes from what we like and dislike in our minds. The more we like something in our mind the greater that desire will be established in our heart. The more we dislike something in our mind our heart will be established upon our dislikes.
When Eve's thoughts agreed with the serpent, she desired to do what the serpent said, and she ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve's heart was established by the thoughts she received after listening to the serpent. Then Eve spoke to Adam and his heart was changed to desire the tree of knowledge of good and evil also. Therefore, Adam also took of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:17).
From the time of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, man's heart was continually evil. Man needed a new heart that would love God and desire to do the will of God. To accomplish that, it was necessary that God would give man a new heart and put His desires in their heart. This God does do for everyone who is truly born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Psalm 37:3,4 says, "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed...Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." When we trust in the LORD with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength God will put His desires in our heart.
God said in Ezekiel 36:26, "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." When a person receives Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior there should be a change in the attitude of their heart.
God cannot lie. Therefore, we should see the results and the changes in our lives when we are born again into the family of God. As Children of God, there should be a difference between what we were and what we have become through the new birth.
Repentance & Forgiveness
In 1 John 2:3-6 it says, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments...He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him...But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him...He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
By what it says in 1 John 2:3-6 we know if we are truly born again into the Body of Christ. Many believe they are truly born again, but there is no evidence of a change in their lives. If they are truly born again there should be a change in the way they live.
Christians are still in this world. Satan is still "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan operates through the minds of Christians just as he operates through the minds of those who are not born again.
There are many ways that Satan uses to defeat Christians in their lives. The Bible talks about the works of the enemy in the minds of Christians. Many times Christians get caught in the snare of the Devil. The Devil deceives many Christians by getting them into his snare (1 Tim. 3:7, 6:9, 2 Tim. 2:26).
If Christians find themselves walking in the ways of the world and not in love one toward another, what should they do? Whenever we find anything in our lives that causes a hindrance to our faith, we should repent. Repent means, "turn away and stay away from those things that are not the will of God."
Jesus said in Luke 24:47, "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." This repentance is just as much for Christians as it is for those who are not Christians. Christians need to repent of anything that is not of God.
God does not love Christians more than He loves the world. The Blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the whole world (1 John 2:2). The difference between a Christian and someone who is not born again is that Christians have a covenant with God. Those who are not truly born again Christians do not have a covenant with God. In Ephesians 2:12 it says, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." The world does not have a covenant with God. Without a covenant with God, the world is without hope. Even though the Blood of Jesus was shed for the whole world, it is only effective for those who come to God and receive by grace, that which Jesus did for mankind in His death and resurrection.
When a person is born again, they enter into a covenant with God. Ephesians 2:13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Therefore, Christians have a covenant with God in Christ Jesus.
In Luke 22:20 it says, "Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (NKJV). Our covenant is sealed with the Blood of Jesus Christ. This New Covenant only includes those who are born again.
Repentance and forgiveness of sins are a part of the New Covenant. If we repent we will be forgiven. Once we are forgiven, the sins we repented of are not remembered anymore. Without repentance there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness Christians are no different from those of the world who do not know God.
A Christian can be lost (Luke 15:24). A Christian can be dead, while they are still living in the flesh (1 Tim. 5:6).
How do we obtain repentance and forgiveness? James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." First we must submit to God. We cannot continue to submit to sin and expect God to deliver us.
Our covenant is only effective when we submit to God. If we continue to submit to sin, God cannot help us. That is what the New Covenant is all about. When we have a need that we cannot obtain on our own strength or ability, we can call upon or "Covenant Partner" (which is the LORD God). When we call upon the LORD with a sincere heart, He will answer.
Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Saved means, "delivered and/or protected." When Christians call upon the LORD they will be set free of whatsoever is hindering them.
The Book of Romans is written to Christians, not to the world or those who are not in covenant with God. Christians need to be saved from the works of the devil. Therefore, if Christians will do what they are told in Luke 22:47, Romans 10:13, and James 4:7 they will be set free. The Devil will flee and the LORD will save them from whatsoever they need to be saved from.
This will work in every area of our lives. No matter what the Devil tries, we can be delivered and/or protected. We have a covenant with God in Christ Jesus. Our Covenant with God is an everlasting covenant sealed with the Blood of Jesus (Heb. 13:20). God will not break His Covenant.
It is very important that Christians understand why they needed "a new heart." Then understand how to keep their heart right with God. In Psalm 4:23 it says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." In Psalm 66:18 it says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
For more information on this subject, get all of the parts to this series of Mini-Books. Also get the Mini-Books, "A New Creature," and "Truth will set you FREE." These Mini-Books can be downloaded from our Web sits on the Internet You may download as many free books as you desire. Go to: