Chapter 36 – This is a chapter that truly displays God’s merciful nature and His restoration power. Verses 25-27 really captured my attention.
I like how the NLT puts it, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
I like a commentary I was reading in the NLT on this verse it says, “Sin makes hearts hard and stony. When we do something wrong, we feel guilty because our heart is sensitive to sin. However, if we don’t confess our sin to God and change our behavior, the next time we sin, we won’t feel as guilty as the first time. Eventually, our heart will become hardened, and we will feel little or no guilt about our sin. That kind of living leads to a life closed to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. When you are tempted to play down the seriousness of a sin and ignore the Holy Spirit’s conviction, stop immediately and ask God to forgive you. Doing this will help your heart remain sensitive to His leading.”
It’s like a callus. A callus is an area of skin that becomes thick and hard due to repeated friction or irritation. It is less sensitive to touch. When we sin, our hearts experience friction from our spiritual and fleshly natures clashing. Sin, like a splinter, also causes irritation as it penetrates our heart. If we don’t deal with the sin through repentance and turning away from it, we are on our way to a hardened heart. The next time we sin, there will be repeated friction and irritation. The result will be a hardened, callused heart that is not sensitive to the leading of the Spirit.
But God offers us hope through His salvation. I’m so thankful for His saving grace! To me, this passage is a foreshadow of the plan of salvation for today: repentance, baptism in Jesus name, and being filled with His Holy Spirit. Repentance is simply acknowledging our sins, saying sorry for what we’ve done wrong, and turning away from sin, which then makes us receptive to His Spirit (verse 26). Then baptism in the wonderful name of Jesus, will cleanse us from all of our sins, just as God describes in verse 25. Finally, God offers to fill us with His Holy Spirit just like in verse 27! We have a way to fight off sin and defend our hearts, but furthermore, we have the hope of salvation!