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 2:29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
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; Romans 10:11-13 Romans 10:11-13 [11] For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. [12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him. [13] For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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; 1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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] 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 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said 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:
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, quoted from Jeremiah 31:33 Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said 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.
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).

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 Exodus 20:1-17 [1] And God spoke all these words, saying, [2] I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. [3] You shall have no other gods before me. [4] You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. [7] You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. [8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [12] Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you. [13] You shall not kill. [14] You shall not commit adultery. [15] You shall not steal. [16] You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. [17] You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's.
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; Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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). 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 Hebrews 8:7-8 [7] For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. [8] For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
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). 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 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
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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 Hebrews 8:12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
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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 Ezekiel 36:26-27 [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. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
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).

The apostle Paul outlines this process in Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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: "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 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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; Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
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; Acts 8:37-38 Acts 8:37-38 [37] And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. [38] And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
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; Romans 6:3-7 Romans 6:3-7 [3] Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.
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).

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.

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