|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:25-38 Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God's grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavour to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.
Verses 26, 27. - A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. The third step in the progress of sanctifying Jehovah's Name (comp. Ezekiel 11:19, where a similar promise is made, and Ezekiel 18:31, where the new heart is represented as a thing Israel must make for herself). This antinomy frequently occurs in Scripture, which never shrinks from holding man responsible for the production of that, as e.g. faith, for which he is incompetent without the help of Divine grace. Besides the cleansing of her guilt and her restitution in consequence to Jehovah's favor, Israel is promised such an inward renovation of her moral and spiritual disposition as to secure that she shall in future adhere to the worship and service of Jehovah. This change is described in a fourfold way.
(1) Negatively, as a removal of the old, stony, unsusceptible heart, which had remained impervious to all appeals and insertsible to all higher feelings (Zechariah 7:12).
(2) Positively, as a new heart and a new spirit, called elsewhere "one heart" and "a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 11:19; Jeremiah 32:39), "a heart to know God" (Jeremiah 24:7).
(3) Causally, its existence being traced to the indwelling of God's Spirit, who writes God's Law upon the new heart, and inclines it to a life of obedience thereto (Jeremiah 31:33).
(4) Practically, by its manifestation, walking in God's statutes and keeping God s judgments (Ezekiel 11:20). The account here furnished of the moral and spiritual change proposed to be inwrought on Israel cot-responds exactly with that given in the New Testament of the regeneration of the individual soul (John 3:3-8; Romans 8:2, 5, 9; Galatians 5:22; Titus 3:5, 6; 1 Peter 1:22).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you,.... A "new heart" and a "new spirit" are one and the same; that is, a renewed one; renewed by the Spirit and grace of God; in which a new principle of life is put; new light is infused; a new will, filled with new purposes and resolutions; where new affections are placed, and new desires are formed; and where there are new delights and joys, as well as new sorrows and troubles; the same which in the New Testament is called the "new man", and the new creature, Ephesians 4:24. The Targum paraphrases it,
"a heart fearing, and a spirit fearing;''
where the true fear of God is, a truly gracious heart; and which is purely the gift of God, and is the fruit of his rich grace, abundant mercy, and great love:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh; the Targum is,
"and I will break the heart of the wicked, which is hard as a stone;''
this is a heart hardened by sin, and confirmed in it; destitute of spiritual life and motion; senseless and stupid, stubborn and inflexible; on which no impressions are made; and which remains hard and impenitent: now this is in "the flesh", in corrupt nature; and this hardness of heart is natural to men; and all who have it are after the flesh, or are carnal; and it requires omnipotence to remove it; it cannot be taken out by men of themselves: nor by ministers of the word; nor by the bare mercies and judgments of God; but by the powerful and efficacious grace of God; giving repentance unto life; working faith in the soul, to look to a crucified Christ; and shedding abroad the love of God in the heart, which softens and melts it; all which is done by the Spirit, and frequently by means of the word. This is interpreted, in the Talmud (n), of the evil imagination, or corruption of nature; and is one of the names of it, a stone; and it refers, it is said (o), to the time or world to come, the days of the Messiah:
and I will give you an heart of flesh; a heart sensible of sin and danger; a penitent one, soft and tender, through the love and fear of God; a spiritual and sanctified heart; submissive to the will of God; flexible and obsequious to the commands of Christ; on which impressions are made by the grace of God; where the laws of God are written, the Gospel of Christ is put; where Christ himself is formed; where are the fear of God, faith, hope, and love, and every other grace.
(n) T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1.((o) Debarim Rabba, fol. 242. 2. & Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 3. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. new heart—mind and will.
spirit—motive and principle of action.
stony heart—unimpressible in serious things; like the "stony ground" (Mt 13:5, 20), unfit for receiving the good seed so as to bring forth fruit.
heart of flesh—not "carnal" in opposition to "spiritual"; but impressible and docile, fit for receiving the good seed. In Eze 18:31 they are commanded, "Make you a new heart, and a new spirit." Here God says, "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Thus the responsibility of man, and the sovereign grace of God, are shown to be coexistent. Man cannot make himself a new heart unless God gives it (Php 2:12, 13).
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