Spiritual Heart Transplant
Dr. Victoria Moots
Part 1 of 2
Do you want a new heart? If you are born again you have a new heart. But how did you get that new heart, and why did you need it?
In Ezek. 36:26 God offers Israel a new heart, a spiritual heart transplant. “A new heart 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.” Israel’s heart had become hardened and turned to stone and away from God. They had spiritual heart failure.
I am going to compare this spiritual heart transplant to a physical heart transplant. Organ transplantation is one of the modern miracles of medicine that allows some people to have a continued life that they wouldn’t have otherwise. You must keep in mind that in order for a heart transplant to take place someone must die for that person. Therefore, the gift of a transplant is a true gift of life; likewise it is in the spiritual realm.
I am truly amazed at how medically accurate the Bible is. When a person receives a heart transplant it is because their old heart has become so diseased and weak for various reasons that medications or further surgical intervention will no longer benefit. In physical end-stage heart failure, the tissue of the heart becomes fibrosed or hardened such that it is no longer able to pump effectively. The book of Ezekiel accurately describes this as a “stony” heart.
What is end stage heart failure? In end-stage heart failure the heart is no longer able to keep up with the work load necessary to pump the blood to all the other organs and tissues of the body. Consequently, fluid backs up into the lungs resulting in congestion. Hence the term “congestive heart failure” or “CHF.” In early heart failure this can be controlled with medications and special pacemakers, but if it progresses these may no longer be effective.
What about in the spiritual? In Matt. 11:28 Jesus invited all who labored and were heavy laden to come unto him and he would give them rest. If we are working under the burden of the law and are not able to keep up with that work load, we will go into spiritual heart failure. We cannot do it; we cannot hold up under the heavy burden of the law. We find ourselves under the sentence of death since the law says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die” (Eze. 18:4). This includes all mankind for Rom. 3:23 declares, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Our hearts have failed! We are in end-stage heart failure and in need of a new heart.
In the physical the criteria to be eligible for a heart transplant is that because of a weak and failing heart you would be expected to die within six months without it. In other words you must have a diagnosis of impending death. Likewise in the spiritual you must recognize your need for new heart and be willing to do something about it.
God has evaluated man’s heart and found it to be incurably diseased in Jer. 17:9-10: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked [you have a bad heart]: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins.”
Only God, the true Heart Specialist, can know the heart. If you have a bad heart you go to a doctor who is a specialist to see if anything more can be done. You recognize your need and go to the one who can meet that need. Through a series of tests, the doctor is able to come up with the diagnosis and can then offer you a heart transplant. God has already done this for us and is able to meet our need.
Again, concerning the medical accuracy of the Bible, Jer. 17:10 says, “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins”. Do you know what the “reins” are? They are the kidneys! We get the term “renal” from this same root word. The kidneys were used in that day to describe the inner parts of our being, similar to the way in which we use the word heart today. It is no accident that God chose to use the kidney in conjunction with the heart instead of the liver or the bowel, for there is a direct medical association between the two organs. In the natural if a person is being evaluated for a heart transplant the kidneys must be evaluated also. The first major organ, besides the brain, that the heart pumps blood to is the kidney. As heart failure progresses the kidneys also begin to fail due to decreased blood flow. It is possible that you may also need a kidney transplant, as you must have adequate kidney function for a heart transplant. God was fully aware of that when he wrote the Book; it was not coincidental. This was written long before the text books were written!
God knows every little part of us. He knows our heart better than we know it. Our heart is “desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.” No matter how good a person we try to be or how much love we try to show, if we are doing it through our own ability, sooner or later we will break under the load. The anger will come out and we will get tired of doing good works and we will fail. The Scripture says, “Be not weary in well doing,” but we are going to get weary if we are trying to do it out of the goodness of our own heart, for there is no goodness in our own heart. We all have heart failure because we cannot do the things that we want to do.
The apostle Paul acknowledged that in Rom. 7:18-19 when he discovered that in his flesh, he was not able to do the good that he wanted to do. In desperation he cried out in v. 24: “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” He recognized that the old creation heart was not able to please God so he went to the Heart Specialist to “try his heart and reins.” He knew he was under the sentence of death as in II Cor. 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” It takes a new creation heart to please God.
This same problem applies to all of us. Paul’s physical life was in danger, but spiritually we are all under the sentence of death: “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” None of us would escape death for “all have sinned.” The wickedness of our heart has nothing to do with our upbringing or whether or not we were raised in a Christian home. It simply has to do with the fact that we are all sinners.
This isn’t intended to be a sermon about salvation or how to get saved. It is a message about how great the gift of God was to us. Sometimes we fail to recognize the magnitude of that gift of life and how great was his grace toward us.
To be continued in August issue.