Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Ezekiel 36:26-27 – “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. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Jeremiah says, the heart is wicked but Ezekiel says God will give us a brand new one. So Christians can stop talking as though their heart is wicked because the very nature of being a Christian means we have a brand new heart and God’s very own Spirit within to “cause” us to do what He has for us to do.

In the New Covenant God says, “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts…” (Jeremiah 31:33 & Hebrews 8:10)

Christ in you is the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27).
Christ is your life! (Colossians 3:4).
You are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The real you, the you God made you to be “in Christ” wants what your Father, God wants. When a Christian moves over into selfishness and even sin, they are operating as someone they’re not! This is what the Apostle Paul discovered when he said, “If I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me” (Romans 7:20). So we see that Paul, the real Paul, who he is in Christ, wants to do what’s right but can find no ability in himself to do it so he finally sees there is someone else that is the real source of his sin problem.

In Ephesians 2:2 we find out fallen man’s real trouble is that he is being operated by “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working “in” the sons of disobedience.” In John’s first letter he names this spirit the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). He tells us the people of the world or, those without Christ have a “he” in them and we, Christians, have The “He” in us. So there is always someone else living in us. No matter what, we are never just “I” as if operating independently. We are always in union with another!

Now we come to the reason for the Cross. Jesus was made like us in that He was a flesh being, a vessel/temple, for the Spirit to live in. We know that He did this without fail, or sin, therefore He was the exact image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15&19) and He went to the Cross to die the death of us sinners (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus, as a vessel, took the “spirit of error” into Him, and died. Death separates spirit from body, so when He died and was buried, the disobedient spirit, the spirit of error, came out of Him. We too by faith have been crucified, buried and raised with Him in order for the disobedient; “spirit of error” to come out of us too! You “were” an “idol temple” but now you are the “Temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Through our being co-crucified, buried and raised in Christ, we have been freed once and for all from the “spirit of error” the one operating in the sons of disobedience.

To summarize: through the Cross, God has removed your heart of stone, given you a new heart, given you God’s very own Holy Spirit in place of the spirit of error, forgiven you, made you righteous, transformed you from an idol temple into the temple of the Living God, made you into a brand new creature in Christ and restored to you the “hope of glory!”

The Heart Of The Matter

Photo by Tracey

The words to a Don Henley song that are so true say; “There are people in your life who’ve come and gone. They let you down and hurt your pride. Better to put it all behind you; life goes on, you keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you inside. I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the matter, but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter, but I think it’s about forgiveness.” Forgiveness is the very thing that saves us from sin and death. We asked God to forgive us of our sin, and He did at the cross on Calvary. After that we confess our sin, and there is a difference between asking for forgiveness and confessing.

I was talking to the ladies in jail tonight about how much of our sin is forgiven. The answer is; all of them. They asked, “Do you mean even the ones I haven’t committed yet?” In 2 Cor. 1:4 it says to comfort others with the comfort God gave to us. So, the comfort is not ours to keep. The forgiveness is not ours either, we forgive others as we have been forgiven. I know what it says in Matthew about if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you, but I am reminded that Jesus was born under the law. He was putting more law on them so they would understand they can’t obey the law. We are now under grace. Jesus came to fulfill the law and He does that when we ask Him to live His life in ours. We were crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God  who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

At Sylvia's
Photo by Tracey

A last Will and Testament only goes into effect when someone dies. We got the New Testament or covenant in Christ Jesus, but it was only after He died. So, while He was alive, He was still under the law. We have now been forgiven freely, although it was not free. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved so that we wouldn’t have to. That is love. If we love God as we love ourselves, then we wouldn’t steal from others, lie to them or anything else. We would love them and forgive them as we have been forgiven.

Cubbie and I had some time to talk tonight after learning about forgiveness. She never thought about it until tonight. Her brother was shot by a guy and is now in a wheel chair. Would she have it in her to forgive that guy? No, it’s only by the grace of God that we can forgive. That is how we forgive others with the forgiveness that was given to us. I love how she is depending more and more on God for everything that comes up in her life. She told me of how she has gotten a few offers of people to stay with after she gets out. None are good places to stay if she wants to stay clean. She expressed her faith in God that He will supply the place when it’s time. I am so proud of her. She is learning that the heart of the matter is forgiveness, love and trust in God.

Written by Tracey