“I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” — Ezekiel 36:27
Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, God’s prophet Ezekiel addressed the exiles of Israel with promises of change and improvement. The Lord would replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. The giving of God’s Spirit would move the people to live obediently, careful to do things God’s way. The gift of God’s Spirit would lead to repentance.
Four hundred years ago, church leaders gathered at the Synod of Dort to describe the Holy Spirit’s work in our conversion, from being dead in sin to being alive in Christ. Their words echo the passage we have read in Ezekiel today. “The regenerating Spirit,” they wrote, “... penetrates into the inmost being, opens the closed heart, softens the hard heart... God activates and strengthens the will so that, like a good tree, it may be enabled to produce the fruits of good deeds.”
The Spirit of God helps people to discern and understand the truth of the good news of salvation. The closed, hardened heart of stone becomes a heart of flesh. And even though “in this life believers cannot fully understand the way this work occurs,” we can be assured that by God’s grace we do believe with our hearts and love our Savior.
Is God’s promise alive and well in your heart?
Lord, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, guiding us to follow your ways, to your praise and glory. In the name of Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen.