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Home The Light Articles from 2010 Our Hearts and Our Minds

Our Hearts and Our Minds

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in Hebrews 10:16-17, the apostle 'aul applied prophecy from Jere­miah to the coming of the new cove­nant sanctified by the blood of Christ. He quoted, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." The apostle wanted no doubt that this prophecy pointed to the dispensation of Christ. This new covenant would bring for­giveness of sin to mankind through the sacrificial blood of Jesus.

One glorious difference in the old and new covenants is expressed in Hebrews 9:14. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Surely, we can understand the forgiving power of the new covenant.  Under the old covenant, God provided a way to allay the sins of the people year by year. But each year, the high priest had to return to offer sacrifices to keep these sins at bay. The guilt of the sin was before the people. Their indi­vidual and collective consciences con­tained the "dead works." Under the new covenant God promised, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteous­ness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12).

These verses point out the mercy and grace of God's forgiveness toward mankind. However, there are other phrases in this prophecy that are also applicable to us today. These phrases describe a "new" relationship between God and man. "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" (Hebrews 8:10). How was this different from the old covenant? To determine this, it serves us to think about the practice of the old covenant.

The old covenant (law) was literally delivered upon hard clay tablets, hence the "stony" hearts referred to below. The people often reacted to it as a law to be obeyed and performed. Often, the law was not performed from the "inside out" of people. To the contrary, it was a law of compulsory compliance. The heart and mind was not the moti­vator of obedience. The attitude was more like, "I've got to do it because the law says it." The mind was motivated to obey the ceremonies because they knew what the law said. The heart was motivated to perform the ceremonies because they had to obey the law. This was not acceptable to God. God prophesied the change in His people under the new covenant. "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" (Jeremiah 31:33). Under the new covenant, His people would worship Him with their minds and hearts as well as in ceremo­nial duties.

Ezekiel offered the same prophecy but added revealing detail about this precious relationship. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 it is recorded, "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. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." The old, hard, "stony" heart and mind of the old covenant would be replaced by a living heart of flesh and a new spirit of service to God.

To properly understand the implica­tions, we need to consider the termi­nology of the "mind" and the "heart." The mind is the thing that directs our purpose. It directs what we do and what we dwell on. The mind sets the direction of our course each day of our lives. The ideas, ideals, and principles within our mind direct us and send us where we go, determine what we do.

The heart is expressive of the things we desire to do. It keeps those things about which we are passionate. Those are the things we want to do. Why? Because, we are passionate about them. We often say, "I've got to do that." The desire is more than obedi­ence, compliance, or duty. It is a moti­vating desire to accomplish the task. In this case, it is the strong desire to do what pleases God. A simple example is as follows. Do we think "I have to go to church" out of obligation, or do we think "I am going to church" out of true desire to be there? Do I have to be there, or do I want to be there?  Returning to Ezekiel 36, we can understand that God is describing His people under the new covenant as having a new heart and new spirit (mind). The heart will be real, of warm living flesh not stony and insensitive to His way. It will contain the desire to do His will above all else that might be set before us. With this new heart our desire will be to God first above all else. Exercising God's way will be the fulfillment of our heart's desire. The opposite side of this description is the heart that is not sensitive to God's way. This is the heart that knows God's way but would prefer to be doing some­thing else. This heart desires to do something other than God's statutes. There may be half-hearted obedience. There may be belief in the new cove­nant. But, the heart is not in it.

The new spirit or new mind of God's people will be a mind that is motivated, guided, and directed by God's judgments and statutes. We will walk in them. That is, our mind will be guided by the Spirit of God. His words are in our mind. They are the rules by which we constantly operate our lives. With that spirit within us, we will walk in His ways and keep His statutes. With the new heart within us, we will desire to walk in God's ways. That will be our first and last desire. Once again, what is the opposite? It is a mind that is filled with things other than God's ways. It is a mind filled with worldly business. It directs us along the paths of worldliness and vanity only occa­sionally thinking of eternity and God's covenant with mankind through Jesus.

We must remember that God prophesied that "after those days, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." God tells us that His words will not return unto Him void. His words will perform what

He set them to do. Can we say that this description fits us? Do we have the new heart and the new mind that God prophesied would be in His people? We must if we wish Him to say of us, "I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."

Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great command­ment" (Matthew 22:37-38). Let us strive to develop and maintain the new minds and hearts that God said His people will possess. -P.O. Box 841, Princeton, TX 75407



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