Lesson 1: Ongoing Heart Change
Ezekiel 36 was written about the Israelite nation, referencing a time when God would do a miraculous work in their hearts and lives. This work would include bringing them in to occupy the promised land, cleansing them from their sin, changing their thinking, giving them a (spiritual) heart transplant, putting His Spirit in them, and helping them obey Him.
This text also has an application for our own lives because, through Jesus, all of God’s promises are “yes” to us (2 Corinthians 1:20). This dramatic change in heart and life is what God does for all of us who believe.
For us, the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36 begins at the cross of Jesus Christ and concludes at Jesus’ second coming, at the culmination of all things. Notice how the cross initiates the fulfillment of the passage:
At the cross, Jesus took your sin on Himself, thereby removing your guilt and cleansing you from sin. “He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
At the cross, Jesus changes our thinking, as we see what our sin did to Him. We no longer laugh about being overweight or make light of it, as we see that the gratification of our flesh caused the crucifixion of our Lord. Looking at the cross brings about a transformation in us as we renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2).
At the cross, Jesus removes our hearts of stone (dead hearts) and gives us hearts of flesh, hearts alive to God. The cross shows you that God truly does love you and that He made a way to accept you and welcome you to Himself in love. The cross reveals the heart of God, a heart that would rather die for you than to live without you. The cross circumcises our hearts by cutting away our dead and stony heart, our entire self ruled by the flesh. “A person is a Jew only if he is a Jew inside; true circumcision is done in the heart by the Spirit, not by the written law. Such a person gets praise from God rather than from people” (Romans 2:29).
At the cross, Jesus exhaled His love for you one final time! He breathed out His last breath that you might breathe in new life, and He gave up His Spirit so that through believing, you can receive His Spirit and the help He provides. “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46 NIV).
Question 6. Please pick one of the above four truths that happened at the cross, consider it, and state what it means to you personally:
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We appreciate Monica's comments on this question: "The heart of God that would rather die for me than live without me. Wow. What other reason would I ever want to live than to do the will of God. Look at how much He loves me. And His way is simple. His way is light. It is not a burden but releases burdens. He would rather die than live without me. I never want a second of my life to be without Him either. I want others to recognize God's love."