Summary: Is there a great need for us to have a "new heart"? Just how can we have it?
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).
Referring to His second coming, Jesus Christ said: “Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:22-23.)
What is wrong with those who prophesy in His name, who drive out demons and perform many miracles?
If we will just look at the outward performance, we can say they deserve even to be rewarded, not to be driven away. But Jesus Christ rejected them! For “the Lord looks at the heart.”
Our good appearance or performance alone will not impress the Holy and Almighty God. He “looks at the heart.” And what is His assessment of the heart of man?
We read in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
In the American Standard Version, we read: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” And in the New King James Version, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
According to God’s Word, the heart -- “the inner self that thinks, feels, and decides” (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers) – thus, it refers to man himself, as we read in Proverbs 27:19, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man – is deceitful. And deceitful above all things and “beyond cure,” “exceedingly corrupt,” or “desperately wicked.”
We also read in Psalms 64:6, “Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning.” The Everyday Bible paraphrases, “The mind of human beings is hard to understand.”
And though there are those who try to explain the feeling and will or the heart of man, God “…alone know(s) the hearts of all the sons of men” (1 Kings 8:39, NKJV).
If our heart is deceitful, beyond cure, corrupt, or wicked, then truly “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)!
We can prophesy, drive out demons “in the name of Jesus,” or perform many miracles – even choose or decide to believe Jesus – but if our heart is not cured, “our righteous acts are like filthy rags” in God’s sight.
That’s why we read in Jeremiah 4:14, “O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?”
Also, we read Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”
And the prophet Ezekiel wrote, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 18:31.)
There are those who believe that their hearts are not so corrupt and they can choose to wash their heart, circumcise their hearts, or get a new heart.
But I prefer to believe Deuteronomy 30:6, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
Also Ezekiel 36:25-26, wherein God says: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
It is NOT our own human will why we are able to have the new heart. It’s the Will of the Creator.
As God will give us the new heart or the heart of flesh, we will have that new way of thinking and feeling – the new heart will reflect the new man. Paul wrote the Christians in Ephesus:
“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you PUT ON THE NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:17-24).