The Gift of a New Heart

I’m thankful that my family tree doesn’t have a history of heart disease. I was reminded of this recently when I found myself in the Emergency Room of our local hospital, hooked up to an EKG machine.

It all started with a slight pain in my left chest and arm that became more noticeable in the evenings until one afternoon the pain doubled. When I complained to Linda and our daughter Laura (who is an R.N.), they urged me to get it checked out–Pronto ! I thought the pain felt like a pulled muscle, but I couldn’t remember which incident(s) would have caused it. In spite of my reluctance I came to admit that a visit to the hospital seemed to be the right thing to do…

When the front desk heard me mention “chest pain,” it was less than five minutes until the nurse led me to the E.R., got me wired up and started the heart attack precautionary measures. After three hours of laying there, giving blood, getting a chest x-ray, and getting monitored for pulse and blood pressure, the doctor reported good news: there was no evidence of a heart attack or indication of heart trouble. I gave thanks for the good report and was released!

During my hours in the E.R. I became much more aware of the importance of the heart. An encyclopedia explains, “The heart begins beating within three months of conception [recent research says 6 weeks] and may continue for 100 years or more. During an average lifetime of 74 years, the heart beats more than 2.5 billion times. Each minute, it beats about 72 times and pumps about 5 liters (about 5 qt) of blood, almost all of the body’s blood supply. During exercise, this pumping action automatically increases three- or fourfold, in response to the tissues’ demand for increased oxygen.”[1]

It amazes me that the secular medical profession can learn so much about the design, function, complexity, and life of the body and not give explicit credit to our Creator. By contrast, King David exclaimed,

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14).

When was the last time you worshiped God for how He has made you?

As marvelous as our human body is, there is more to life than our “earth suit.”[2] The Bible gives us a unique revelation of our inner life: soul and spirit. We continually rely on and use our faculties of mind, will, and emotions (the soul) as we interact with life and relationships. As men and women made in God’s image (Who is Spirit), we also have spiritual faculties above the animal kingdom. You have the faculties of intuition (an ability to discern spiritual truth), conscience (the ability to discern morality), and communion (the capacity to relate to spiritual beings, especially God).[3]

The faculties of the human spirit are dead toward God and greatly impaired when we are born into this world. We inherited this “heart disease” from our first parents who broke the Edenic covenant at the dawn of history and lost their spiritual life and innocence (Genesis 2,3; Rom. 5:12).[4] That’s why each of us are in need of a spiritual “rebirth” by God to restore our relationship with Him; through salvation God becomes not only our Creator, but our Redeemer. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). This new life comes by confessing our self-centered, unspiritual, disobedient life and receiving Jesus as personal Savior: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5,6).

On that E.R. bed I was reflecting (in my spiritual heart) on the Gospel of John, chapter 1. These verses were impressed on me, especially in light of the Christmas season:

“In the beginning was the Word [the Son], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,3,14).

Just think: the Maker of human life clothed himself with human nature to be qualified to reveal God’s nature to humankind (Heb. 1:1-3). The Eternal One condescended to incarnate Himself in baby Jesus; He had a beating heart from the Virgin Birth that would eventually be pierced. He shed sinless blood on the Cross so that sinful people could escape the just, eternal penalty of sin and enter into a saving, loving relationship with God!

Jesus came as the “Last Adam” to cancel the tragic consequences of the fall of the first Adam. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all [believers] shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

T his Jesus will give each person a “new heart” when he/she confesses his/her need and receives Him as Savior and Lord. John’s Gospel says in the same context, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own [the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:10-12). The name “Jesus” is a form of the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “God [Yahweh] Saves.” Is He your Savior?

As He established the New Covenant through His ultimate sacrifice, the promise of a “new heart” for God’s people could be fulfilled (Matt. 26:28). “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26, 27).

A new heart is surely a greater gift than any other you could get! With this new heart, let’s gratefully sing the Christmas carols in praise of our eternal King.

[1] Human Heart, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.

[2] Bill Gillham has made “Earth suit” a popular term for the mortal body. The apostle compared it to a tent that we live in (2 Cor. 5:1-5; 2 Pet. 1:14). By the way, with all the media attention for the TV program about weight loss contests, The Biggest Loser, viewers get a message that ignores the most important kind of “makeover.” See The Ultimate Makeover booklet by Dr. Lewis Gregory at

[3] For a more detailed look at the spiritual “heart,” see Grace Note, The Believer’s New Heart. Time for a commercial: see also my book, Man as Spirit Soul, and Body: A Study of Biblical Psychology.

[4] Although the term “covenant” is not used in the Genesis narrative, the elements are there. God later said through the prophet, “But like men [literally Adam] they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me” (Hosea 6:7).

This article is copyrighted by John B. Woodward, 2009.