“18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 By this we know that we are of the truth and will convince our heart before him, 20 that if our heart condemns us, that God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Dear friends, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God, 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what is pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 And the one who keeps his commandments resides in him, and he in him. And by this we know that he resides in us: by the Spirit whom he has given to us.” (1John 3)
I have a new heart. God’s Spirit resides in me. How can that be? I still sin. I still lust and covet. I’m still selfish and greedy. How can I have Jesus’ heart. How can I have the Spirit within me?
To which I ask, would you know you sin, lust, covet without Jesus’ heart beating within you? Would you see your blood-red selfishness and greed without it being splashed all over the clean, white linen of the Spirit?
God is paradox to wee lil’ beasties like thee and me. We can no more comprehend His bigness with our feeble littleness than a slobbery mutt can grasp his master’s calculus. F’rinstance, God is completely outside of time. It has no bearing on what He does anymore than the color wheel affects the painter’s breakfast or music theory affects the maestro’s laundering of soiled undergarments. They are merely tools and parameters they use when they are working in a particular field. The painter uses color but is not governed by it. The maestro creates with the nine notes but they do his will, not he theirs. God made time to govern His creation but the Creator is not beholden to the created.
“8 Remember this and pluck up courage!
Call to mind, you transgressors!
9 Remember the former things from a long time ago,
for I am God and there is none besides me,
God and there is none like me,
10 who from the beginning declares the end,
and from before, things that have not been done,
who says, ‘My plan shall stand,’
and, ‘I will accomplish all my wishes,’” (Is 46)
The minute God conceives of a thing, it is as good as done. When God dreamt up Adam, he saw Adam’s last descendant too. He didn’t know all of humanity instantly, because “instantly” would imply there was a limitation of time on Him. He simply knew us, each of us, right down to the teensiest quark. Probably even teensier than that. Quarks are only as small as we can imagine. And as He knew you, He knew His plans for you. He saw His Son give His life for you. He put His Spirit in you, even before Adam was formed from dust. It. Was. Finished.
This is why you can be cleansed from sins you haven’t committed yet. This is why the heart in you aches from not being like Jesus …yet. The kingdom is already and not yet for God is, was and is yet to come. He is in all things, all places, all times. This is how you can come to Him, repent and gain a new heart and yet you cannot come to Him and repent unless He has given You a new heart. This is why Zeke can quote God saying, “I will give to them one heart, and a new spirit I will give in their inner parts. And I will remove their heart of stone from their body, and I will give to them a heart of flesh,” in chapter eleven and yet quote him saying, “31 Throw away from yourselves all of your transgressions that you committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and new spirit,” in chapter eighteen. They are not mutually exclusive; they are complimentary in a paradoxical reality we cannot yet imagine. This is our future. A time outside of time! When both can be true at once! We participate with Him and we cannot do anything to save ourselves. We are actively passive participant slaves. We have everything to do with the nothing we can accomplish. Clear it up any?
Is your heart moved towards Jesus? Does your heart move you to love? Then fear not and ask for whatever that heart desires! For it is doing the work of Jesus in the world. Does something in you ache when you don’t love? Does your conscience prick you with your sin? Then do not resist. Repent. Rejoice! This means the Spirit is working. Come to Him, fall on him and be broken and I promise, no, that would be worthless, He promises to do the heavy lifting…
“4 Even to your old age I am he;
even to your advanced age I myself will support you.
I myself have made you,
and I myself will carry you,
and I myself will support you,
and I will save you.” (Is 46)
Sorta takes the pressure off, don’t it?