Day 70: A New Heart - A New Spirit: Deuteronomy 19-21; Galatians 3
A New Heart - A New Spirit
Is there anything in all of Scripture as disturbing as what we’ve read today in the book of Deuteronomy? I’m not sure there is. In these passages we see the curse of sin and the depths of darkness that our world was plunged into by our rebellion against God. Yet, in Galatians we see that, in that darkness, there is a picture, a shadow, of the Promise. And that shadow is of a Tree - a tree of cursing - a tree where the guilty are executed - a tree the curse of sin was nailed to.
The brokenness we see in Deuteronomy - the war, the idolatry, the slaughter, the slavery - this, in no way, reflects the heart of God. This is a reflection of the heart of man. Our reading in Galatians proves to us that God was not condoning such atrocities. Rather, God had to concede to the reality of the darkness of the human heart. God was, in fact, conspiring to bring an end to this evil by offering Christ as THE atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world, for my own sin, for the darkness in my own heart.
Christ was hung on Calvary’s tree so that I might never be. And Paul’s admonition to all those who trust in Christ is to keep on trusting Jesus and never foolishly believe that somehow we can justify ourselves by going back to an old system that was only about concession to the hardness of our heart. It was never about making that heart new. It never had the power to make that heart new.
Paul reminds us that there was never forgiveness in that old path. There was never new life in that old tragic system. Paul wants us to hold tightly to the Cross and the Gospel. It is offered to us, not on the basis of the law but on the basis of God’s grace and the love of God, as seen clearly on that cross, in the face of Christ Jesus. In him we see the heart, love, grace, and mercy offered to sinners like me and you. In Jesus we see God reconciling the world to himself so that we might be set free.
May we never be foolish enough to think that somehow it can be done in any other way - that somehow in our heart there is a way to be made right with God. The way of new life is not found in our heart - it’s found in His. That is a gift.
Live in the power of the new heart that’s been offered to you today.
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezek 36:26 NLT)
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