SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)

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Chapter 36

25, 26 (John 3:3-7). The Sign of a New Heart—[Ezekiel 36:26 quoted.] ... The youth especially stumble over this phrase, “a new heart.” They do not know what it means. They look for a special change to take place in their feelings. This they term conversion. Over this error thousands have stumbled to ruin, not understanding the expression, “Ye must be born again.” 4BC 1164.8

Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling, they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long, and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come, their house is swept away.... 4BC 1164.9

When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?—a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride (The Youth's Instructor, September 26, 1901). 4BC 1164.10

26 (Psalm 51:10). How the New Heart Is Kept—One of the most earnest prayers recorded in the Word of God is that of David when he plead, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” God's response to such a prayer is, A new heart will I give you. This is a work that no finite man can do. Men and women are to begin at the beginning, seeking God most earnestly for a true Christian experience. They are to feel the creative power of the Holy Spirit. They are to receive the new heart, that is kept soft and tender by the grace of heaven. The selfish spirit is to be cleansed from the soul. They are to labor earnestly and with humility of heart, each one looking to Jesus for guidance and encouragement. Then the building, fitly framed together, will grow into a holy temple in the Lord (Letter 224, 1907). 4BC 1165.1