Changing Hearts and Minds

Changing Hearts and Minds

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For without changes to the human heart, we would soon revert to the evils of today rather than sustaining the beautiful world tomorrow.

"'For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel [and eventually with all people—Romans 2:29; Romans 10:11-13; 1 Timothy 2:4] after those days,' says the Lord: 'I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people'" (Hebrews 8:10, quoted from Jeremiah 31:33).

The problems of the world can ultimately be traced back to breaking God's eternal law of love. He has revealed that law in the Bible through the Ten Commandments, the first four of which show how to love God the way He wants to be loved, and the last six show how to love our neighbor as ourselves (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:37-40). These principles are explained and expanded throughout the Bible in every word of God.

But even the people to whom God revealed these laws did not keep them. As Hebrews records, the fault with the first covenant was "with them," not with the perfect laws (Hebrews 8:7-8). When Israel agreed to obey God's laws, He told Moses wistfully, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29).

Breaking those eternal laws required the death penalty. God's gracious plan included the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay that penalty in our place, so that the perfectly just and righteous God could also be perfectly merciful.

Because Christ willingly took our place, He said, "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

A heart transplant

But God's graciousness doesn't end there. He also made it possible for us to have a new heart—one capable of living His way of love, obeying His laws.

"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" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

The apostle Paul outlines this process in Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

The Bible describes this process as including repentance—not only seeing the need for forgiveness and conversion, but also deeply, humbly seeking God's mercy and fully committing to a life of change. It includes belief in God and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice to pay our penalty for sin.

This is followed by baptism, symbolizing burying the old person. Then comes the gift of God's Holy Spirit that makes it possible for us to truly become like God (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 8:37-38; Romans 6:3-7).

The many scriptures on this vital subject are amplified in the helpful free study aids Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion and The Road to Eternal Life.