No scientific achievement has attracted more interest in our day than the transplanting of a human heart. No doubt in future years we will see persons walking around whose blood is sent coursing through their bodies by the heart of another person. Probably such transplants will always be rare, however, for the right combination of donor and recipient will always be hard to achieve, technical problems will always be great, and the body’s tendency to reject foreign tissue will continue.

Not surprisingly, recent interest has centered on the physical aspects of this remarkable operation. If we shift our thoughts to the spiritual condition of the human heart (the mind, soul, and spirit, the entire emotional nature), we are confronted with truths of eternal import that God has revealed.

The Bible gives us the diagnosis of mankind’s condition, and it is depressing. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus tells us the symptoms of this condition: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19).

If we are willing to face up to the truth, we know that these evil things lurk within our own hearts. The crime, violence, discord, and sorrow of life are the result of depravity in the human heart.

The divine laboratory is uncomfortably clear in its diagnosis. “I the LORD search the mind and try the heart” (Jer. 17:10a). This gives no comfort to those who would like to hide their condition from him.

God’s procedures are different from man’s. “The LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

One of man’s greatest follies is trying to cover up his sins in God’s presence. “Would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart” (Ps. 44:21). This offers little comfort to the hypocrite. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart” (Prov. 21:2).

Many laboratory procedures call for the evaluation of findings according to a norm. This is also true in the divine laboratory. We read Jesus’ words, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

One of the functions of the Bible is to enable us to experience God’s diagnostic methods in relation to our own hearts. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12, 13). Frightening? To those who reject the diagnosis, yes. But for those who accept the cure, it brings joy and peace!

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Looking down the ages, the Apostle John tells us of God’s ultimate revelation: “All the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve” (Rev. 2:23).

The unregenerate heart is the sindominated heart, continuing in its waywardness. “As for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will requite their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 11:21).

The Bible makes clear the condition of the unregenerate heart, and at the same time it tells plainly how cure can be effected. Let’s be objective and honest about it. The disease is spiritual; it goes down to the depths of man’s rebellion against God. Therefore, the cure is supernatural—a work of God, a work of transformation.

What Christ offers is not a healed heart but a new heart. His work is one of creation, not medication. David sensed this when he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). Paul speaks of it also: “… put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10). Our Lord tells us “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

What is involved is a divine operation in which the Physician not only does the work but also supplies the transplant. He promises, “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit in them; I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19).

For those who refuse the operation there is no comfort: “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD, so turn, and live” (Ezek. 18:30–32).

This creation of a new heart is a work of the Holy Spirit; “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). We are told by Paul that “real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal” (Rom. 2:29b). He further says: “Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22–24).

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As the human body tends to reject tissue from another person, so we by nature are set to reject a new heart in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who gives the enabling power. The Apostle Paul says, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God”; and then he goes on to show why many reject God and the things of the Spirit: “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:12, 14).

This rejection process can be mutual; for ultimately we may be rejected by God: “By your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5).

This offer of a new heart comes from the grace and mercy of a loving God. He offers us everything; all we need do is accept. All that is necessary is that we realize our sinfulness, confess it, and repent of it, with faith in the One who carries out the work of regeneration.

A new heart. Every person in the world needs one—and can have one.

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