Living With a New Heart
Robert Wurtz II
And having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:21-22).
The writer to the Hebrews to this point has explained many great truths concerning the picture of the Old Covenant priesthood and how it relates to New Covenant life. Simply stated, the Wilderness Tabernacle and the Temple were illustrations of man in his relationship to God in the service of God. It is the kingdom of priests doing the service on earth under the authority and guidance of the throne of grace.
Picture the Wilderness Tabernacle and Temple as vertical and not horizontal. Imagine the High Priest ascending to Heaven through the vail on the Day of Atonement with the blood. For the priests, beginning at the entrance to the courtyard there was an altar where the fire of God burned continually. Next was the brazen laver that was lined with polished metal (like mirrors). It was at the laver where the priests were to wash before entering the Holy Place. The laver is of supreme importance because it represents the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit promised in Ezekiel (see Titus 3:5, Eph. 5:26).
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of 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 keep My judgments and do them” (Ezek. 36:25-27).
Ezekiel 36:25-27 is closely related to Jeremiah’s New Covenant promise (Jer. 31:31-34 cited in Heb 8:7-13; Heb 10:15-18). God has given to the regenerate a true heart that does by nature the principals of the Old Covenant law. The true heart is received in a crisis event and will require ongoing care and maintenance to maintain it as true. It can become defiled and hardened again if care is not taken.
In the same sense that receiving a new heart makes for a new tongue (for an explanation of this process see the previous blog post), receiving a new heart and maintaining that new heart will also keep our bodies cleansed. When the heart has changed the conduct of the tongue and body will be changed. It can be no other. The tongue and body are directly connected to the heart. If the heart is evil so will be the deeds of the tongue and body. The true heart (new heart) sets a totally different course for our life.
The true heart has been “sprinkled from an evil conscience freed from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). This is more than being purged of the sting of a transgressed conscience by the blood of Christ; it is the true heart that longs to live by every word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. It echoes the words of the Lord Jesus, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34 ESV). God has written his laws upon the true heart as anticipated by Jeremiah and referenced in Heb. 10:16.
It is in this state of a true heart that we can draw near unto God, Holy, undefiled, cleansed from the Sin of Adam, and eye to eye with God. The writer uses the present continuous tense for drawing near (see Heb. 4:16; Heb. 7:25; Heb. 11:6). Drawing near to the Throne of Grace is the means of direction, enabling for service, Holy living, and perseverance until His appearing. In public and in private we are called to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:21-22).
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