2003-03-25 - Northumberland
Ezekiel 11:19 And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.
We might all wish to move to Northumberland in England. I am not sure of the exact date, but I know it was before 1650, that Machell Vivan lived. He died at 110 years of age. However, at age 70 he was almost blind, bald, and toothless. When he died at age 110 it is reported that he could read the smallest print, had grown a full head of hair, and had recovered several of his teeth. He is also said to have fathered five children after he was 80 years old. In the same shire in England the countess of Desmond, who is known to have been alive in 1589, is said to have lost all her teeth three times and each time recovered a full set. She is also said to have lived to 140 years of age.
These stories are interesting and I have no reason to believe that they are not true. However, they seem impossible to be true so we must wonder if there might be some exaggeration in them. We can still reflect on them and seek to be reminded of some Christian truths through them. Namely, I think of the truth of our regeneration in Christ. Regeneration signifies newness. For the Christian it means new birth, or new life. Regeneration is seen as the action of the Holy Spirit upon the one who is being given new life through the salvation offered in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5).
In the verse we started with from Ezekiel regeneration is spoken of in a manner that compares it to taking our heart of stone and changing it to a heart of flesh. That is a good description of what takes place in salvation as we experience a new birth. The classic passage on this topic is John 3:1-9 where Christ says to Nicodemus that unless one is born again there can be no experience of the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). The result of the new birth is that we have now have a righteous nature.
The question of the day, however, is are we living up to our new life? Do we live as if we are regenerated? It is an important question. If we do not live as if we have new life it is the prime evidence that we don't have new life. If there has been no change in our life through our new birth in Christ, it may be that we have fooled ourselves into thinking that all is well between us and God. I am sure you know these are ultimate questions, but they must be asked and I encourage you to take some time and do some heart searching to make sure these changes are real with you.
Soli Deo Gloria,