Ezekiel's prophecy is of the institution of the New Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:33). The new man is the New Covenant man! What is it, exactly, that makes the new man new? Two things: his new heart and the new spirit within him, God's Holy Spirit, which enables him to walk in God's ways. Ezekiel's reference to "a new heart" parallels Paul's command for a renewed mind in Ephesians 4:24. Moreover, both Ezekiel and Paul (in Ephesians 5) make use of the walking metaphor. Did Paul have Ezekiel 36 in mind when he wrote his letter to the Ephesian church? Probably! The similarities are remarkable.
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)
The keeping of the law is directly connected to this new Spirit—God's Spirit! In II Corinthians 3:3, He clarifies this even further.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)
This prophecy refers to the Millennium and beyond, when Satan will be bound and thus rendered ineffective in spreading his evil attitudes. At that time, God will repair the damage—first done in the Garden of Eden and in every human heart since—by replacing man's human nature with His Spirit. He will work to change man's heart from a hard, unyielding one to a soft, humble one that will be eager to hear and obey God.
Notice that Ezekiel prophesies that God's Spirit will cause people to walk in His statutes and to keep His judgments. God's Spirit provides both motivation and strength to do what is good and right. We do God's work—believing, obeying, overcoming, growing, producing fruit—not by our power and abilities but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). It is readily, freely, abundantly available to those who have believed, been baptized, and received the earnest of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.
But, as we have seen, that is not the end of the matter. We must continue to request God's presence in us, our daily Bread of Life, by His Spirit. We must ask, seek, and knock, constantly pursuing God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). If we do this, He promises to add "all these things," our daily needs.
Jesus tells His disciples just before His arrest, "I am the vine, you are the branches: He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). If we request His presence in us each day and obey Him in faith, we will, by His power, produce astonishing spiritual growth.
Ask and It Will Be Given
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Ezekiel 36:26: