Lesson 13 | Sabbath, 28 September 2019
“Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the Word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the Word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God’s witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 407.
1. What amazing promises did the Lord give to His people many years ago? What special work of purification has been promised since then?
Ezekiel 36:24, 25 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Jeremiah 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
“The Lord says, ‘Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.’ ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.’… Jeremiah 3:13; Ezekiel 36:25.
“But we must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 158.
“If the world is to be convinced of sin as transgressors of God’s law, the agency must be the Holy Spirit working through human instrumentalities. The church needs now to shake off her deathlike slumber; for the Lord is waiting to bless His people who will recognize the blessing when it comes, and diffuse it in clear, strong rays of light. ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean….’ Ezekiel 36:25, 26.” –Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 340.
A new heart
2. What do we know about the human heart in its natural condition? Nevertheless, what does the Lord promise?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
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.
“One of the most earnest prayers recorded in the Word of God is that of David when he pleaded, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God.’ Psalm 51:10. God’s response to such a prayer is, A new heart will I give you. This is a work that no finite man can do. Men and women are to begin at the beginning, seeking God most earnestly for a true Christian experience. They are to feel the creative power of the Holy Spirit. They are to receive the new heart, that is kept soft and tender by the grace of heaven. The selfish spirit is to be cleansed from the soul. They are to labor earnestly and with humility of heart, each one looking to Jesus for guidance and encouragement. Then the building, fitly framed together, will grow into a holy temple in the Lord.” –Our High Calling, p. 159.
3. Besides a new heart, what does the Lord promise to put within His people? What does the presence of the Holy Spirit accomplish in one who pleads for grace, salvation, and an obedient heart?
Ezekiel 36:27; 11:19, 20 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…. 11:19And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
“When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God’s heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 407.
4. Through the prophet Jeremiah, what other special promises did the Lord give to His people? Why was He not satisfied with the results of the covenant that He made with Israel at Mount Sinai?
Jeremiah 31:31, 32 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord.
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
“The ‘new covenant’ was established upon … the promise of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, and bring it into harmony with the principles of God’s law….
“The atoning sacrifice is full and sufficient. It is the new covenant, sealed with His blood, which was shed for many for the remission of sins. This Christ declared at the Last Supper. In this cup there is to those who drink in faith, peace-making, soul-cleansing efficacy. It is the balm of Gilead, which God has provided to restore health and soundness to the sin-stricken soul.” –The Faith I Live by, pp. 78, 301.
The law written in heart and mind
5. Under the new covenant, instead of abolishing the law, as many believe, where will the Lord write it? What does this mean?
Jeremiah 31:33 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.
Hebrews 8:10 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.
“When the law of God is written in the heart it will be exhibited in a pure and holy life. The commandments of God are no dead letter. They are spirit and life, bringing the imaginations and even the thoughts into subjection to the will of Christ. The heart in which they are written will be kept with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. All who love Jesus and keep the commandments will seek to avoid the very appearance of evil; not because they are constrained thus to do, but because they are copying a pure model, and feel averse to everything contrary to the law written in their hearts. They will not feel self-sufficient, but their trust will be in God, who alone is able to keep them from sin and impurity. The atmosphere surrounding them is pure; they will not corrupt their own souls or the souls of others. It is their pleasure to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God.” –This Day with God, p. 146.
6. What wonderful knowledge does one receive by having the Holy Spirit in him and the divine law written in his heart and mind?
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
“The blessings of the new covenant are grounded purely on mercy in forgiving unrighteousness and sins. The Lord specifies, I will do thus and thus unto all who turn to Me, forsaking the evil and choosing the good. ‘I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ Hebrews 8:12. All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance.
“Has God, in showing mercy to the sinner, ceased to be just? Has He dishonored His holy law, and will He henceforth pass over the violation of it? God is true. He changes not. The conditions of salvation are ever the same.” –That I May Know Him, p. 299.
A people who belong to the Lord
7. When one has a new heart and a new spirit, what effect will that have on his attitude toward and obedience to the law of the Lord? With whom will he be connected?
Ezekiel 11:19, 20 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
“The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’ Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. And when among men He said, ‘The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.’ John 8:29.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 372.
For additional study
“Where there is not only a belief in God’s Word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith–faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. And the heart that in its unrenewed state is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, now delights in its holy precepts, exclaiming with the psalmist, ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97. And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, ‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:1.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 137.
“The words ‘A new heart will I give you,’ mean ‘A new mind will I give you.’ This change of heart is always attended by a clear conception of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. The clearness of our view of truth will be proportionate to our understanding of the Word of God. A person who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he or she had reached a higher grade of intelligence.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 351.