We watched a strange film the other night. It was about a young woman who had a heart transplant. Ever since the transplant she didn’t feel herself. ‘Herself’ being an angry, promiscuous, very selfish person. She has toxic family relationships, so no real place to call home, a broken career, friendships she destroys, and a job she hates with a person who she keeps letting down, and who is increasingly frustrated with her.
Out of the blue, she meets a stranger who makes her feel ‘safe’ and who helps her to live a different kind of life. He suggests she tries to be kind, which leads to the healing of old family wounds. She also turns her talents to helping the homeless. As time goes on as this illusive stranger comes and goes, she finally realises that this is the man who died in an accident, and whose heart she received as a transplant. It is his heart that is now keeping her alive. Yes I know! It’s quite a freaky thought, and not remotely possible in the real world, but as I pondered it I realised that this could be a very good picture, helping us to understand our ‘new life in Christ’.
When she is talking about the transplant she says, rather bitterly, “They took my old heart and threw it away. And now I don’t feel myself.” The man who died and effectively gave her his heart, then reappears and helps her to live with this new heart. So Jesus died in our place, and when we gave our lives to Him, we died to our old self- it was ‘taken away’, and He gave us a new life, His life! Sometimes it feels uncomfortable and we want to revert to our old and familiar ways, but we now carry His heart in this world, and need to live as He would.
Jesus gave His life that we might be born again, and become a new creation! But that is not all. In order to help us to understand, and live out of our new life, He sent the Holy Spirit to come along side and help us to make the right choices, to be kind and loving, patient and faithful, good like Jesus. He indwells us in order that we should live as Jesus would, not because we are trying hard to follow His rules, but because we have a new heart, His heart now firmly planted deep within us.
This is why we can be confident and have absolute faith that He is not trying to improve the old, but He has given us a completely new heart which now enables us to live a completely new life. This is why we can ‘put off the old and put on the new.’ It’s a choice, we have a new nature and we no longer have to live according to our old ways and habits. So here are some scriptures to confirm us in these truths starting with an Old Testament promise of the New Covenant to come:-
‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’ Ezekiel 36:26,27.
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Galatians 2:20.
‘We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him……….. In the same way count yourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in Jesus Christ……do not let sin reign in your body….. but rather offer yourself to God, as those who have been bought from death to life…….as instruments of righteousness’ Romans 6:4-13.
‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17.
‘Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its creator’. Colossians 3:8,9
‘You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which being corrupted by its sinful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’ Ephesians 4:22.
Today as I thank God for my completely ‘new life’ in Christ, it will help me to ‘live by faith’ out of that new life. Thanking God for this ‘heart transplant’ will keep me from trying to be a better person in my own strength, and it will help me to draw hour by hour on His new life within.