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Bible verses about Change of Heart
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 1:26-31   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were not created with the evil nature we see displayed in all of mankind. At the end of the sixth day of creation, God took pleasure in all He had made and pronounced it "very good," including Adam and Eve and the nature or the heart He placed in them. An evil heart cannot possibly be termed "very good." They were a blank slate, one might say, with a slight pull toward the self, but not with the strong, self-centered, touchy, and offensive heart that is communicated through contact with the world following birth.

Following Adam and Eve's creation, God placed them in Eden and instructed them on their responsibilities. He then purposefully allowed them to be exposed to and tested by Satan, who most definitely had a different set of beliefs, attitudes, purposes, and character than God. Without interference from God, they freely made the choice to subject themselves to the evil influence of that malevolent spirit. That event initiated the corruption of man's heart. Perhaps nowhere in all of Scripture is there a clearer example of the truth of I Corinthians 15:33: "Evil communications corrupt good manners."

Comparing our contact with Satan to Adam and Eve's, a sobering aspect is that God shows they were fully aware of Satan when he communicated with them. However, we realize that a spirit being can communicate with a human by transferring thoughts, and the person might never know it! He would assume the thoughts were completely generated within himself.

Following their encounter with the evil one, "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (Genesis 3:7). This indicates an immediate change in their attitudes and perspectives. It also implies a change of character from the way God had created them, as they had indeed willingly sinned, thus reinforcing the whole, degenerative process.

This began not only their personal corruption but also this present, evil world, as Paul calls it in Galatians 1:4. All it took was one contact with, communication from, and submission to that very evil source to effect a profound change from what they had been. The process did not stop with them, as Romans 5:12 confirms, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." Adam and Eve passed on the corrupt products of their encounter with Satan to their children, and each of us, in turn, has sinned as willingly as our first ancestors did.

When we are born, innocent of any sin of our own, we enter into a 6,000-year-old, ready-made world that is permeated with the spirit of Satan and his demons, as well as with the evil cultures they generated through a thoroughly deceived mankind. In consequence, unbeknownst to us, we face a double-barreled challenge to our innocence: from demons as well as from this world.

Six thousand years of human history exhibit that we very quickly absorb the course of the world around us and lose our innocence, becoming self-centered and deceived like everybody else (Revelation 12:9). The vast majority in this world is utterly unaware that they are in bondage to Satan - so unaware that most would scoff if told so. Even if informed through the preaching of the gospel, they do not fully grasp either the extent or the importance of these factors unless God draws them by opening their eyes spiritually (John 6:44-45).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Communication and Leaving Babylon (Part Three)


 

Exodus 6:5-8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God promises to bring them out of their bondage, and we understand this also applies to us in that He is bringing us out of spiritual bondage. In us, He is getting to the root of the problem.

The Old Covenant was weak through the flesh. We are no different from the Israelites; human nature has not changed, nor has Satan or the world. God certainly has not changed, nor His Spirit or His truth. All of these things being constant, the problem is still in us.

The solution has to be a change of mind by the pure Word of God. We learn from John 8:32 that truth shall make us free. We also find, in John 8:44-45, that Satan was a murderer and a liar from the beginning. He was the one who instigated the sins of Adam and Eve, and we can understand, then, that our bondage is directly tied into lies and deceit.

This is what we have to be broken free from. God never lies; His word is always true. We can rely on it, and if we use it, it keeps us free and protects us from falling back into the world once again.

Usually, God does not remove us from one geographical location to another when we are called. We have to come out of our own personal, spiritual bondage, regardless of our location, because that is the real problem. We physically remain where we are, but something else has to be added.

Life takes its values from its goals and purposes. Most people's purpose in life is merely physical, so the things that they pursue in life and the means that they use to accomplish their goals are what are bringing everyone into bondage. The goals are carnal, and the ways of reaching them are also carnal. They involve lying, murder, adultery, fornication, stealing, coveting, breaking the Sabbath, taking God's name in vain, or building statues to God. Breaking the Ten Commandments are involved, but it is much bigger than that.

In Christianity, its great goal causes a person to set the very highest of standards. The goal is the Kingdom of God. No goal has higher standards. It takes a pure word to keep one strengthened to accomplish this goal.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Exodus 12:19   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

There are seven days of Unleavened Bread but only one day of Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, and Atonement. God knows that we tend to change slowly. He gives us seven days each year to concentrate on our duty to rid our lives of sin. Those acts that are God's responsibility - the sacrifice of one for all sin, the sending of His Spirit, the resurrection of the dead, or the binding of Satan - He can accomplish in one day. The part that involves mankind's participation - overcoming sin - requires more time and attention. The Days of Unleavened Bread represent a period of judgment when man is required to overcome. To us, overcoming a deep-seated sin can seem to take an eternity! The obvious lesson is that we must draw much nearer to the Source of the power to overcome.

Staff
Holy Days: Unleavened Bread


 

Numbers 22:26-27   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Again, the donkey proves herself wiser than Balaam.

God frequently does this: First, He gets us in a wide place and allows us to make our decisions. It soon becomes apparent which direction we are going, which path we are taking. Then God begins to narrow the way, especially if He sees us going in the wrong direction. He catches us in a place where we can turn around and gives us an opportunity to make a right decision. If we do not do what He wants us to do, He will go a little further down the path—a little bit later in our life—to catch us in a place where the answer is obvious, and we can do nothing except stop, and say, "God help me! I've gone the wrong way, and I need You to open the path for me."

He does this to Balaam. He gets him to the point where there is only plunging on to destruction on one hand, and on the other, stopping and retracing his steps to where he can head in the right direction.

This is the point where Balaam is in these two verses. The donkey simply lies down, as that is all she can do. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." The donkey is the "prudent man" here, and blind Balaam is "the simple." He is so without any spiritual acumen that he is just like a foolish simpleton. He cannot see wisdom; he cannot make a wise choice. However, the dumb donkey can!

As a last resort, God takes matters one more step. He is always full of mercy, willing to give us that one more chance to make the right choice. But now He has to do something drastic!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Balaam and the End-Time Church (Part 2)


 

Deuteronomy 5:29   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A changed heart comes only from the presence of God's Spirit, and there was no provision in the Old Covenant for receiving God's Spirit. Because it is a process, there is a sequence to salvation. God calls and leads to repentance. The person begins to have faith in God and to become aware of sin, so he repents of sin. Now he is in a position to receive the Holy Spirit. He becomes baptized and has hands laid on him to receive the Holy Spirit. He has begun the process that will lead to salvation. None of these provisions were part of the Old Covenant.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)


 

Deuteronomy 10:16   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Two parties are necessary to circumcise the foreskin of our heart. In Deuteronomy 10:16, God tells us to "circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer." Here, He commands us to do the circumcising. Compare this to Deuteronomy 30:6, where God says He will perform the circumcision: "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart." These two passages do not contradict. God cannot create perfect, righteous character—that is the character of the new man—unilaterally. We build that character as we labor with God, cooperatively working with him over, generally, an extended period of time. That is what the Latinate word collaborate means, to "labor with."

Charles Whitaker
Choosing the New Man (Part Two)


 

1 Kings 8:35-37   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God works with people using situations and illustrations that most affect them. He wants a change of heart and direction to occur in their lives. However, as the Bible's pages reveal, His chosen people are too often hardhearted and disregard the most pointed of trials to continue in their own ways.

Staff
The Garden of God


 

Proverbs 16:9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A man's external actions have their genesis within him, in his heart. We often hear laments from those who want to improve their health or to lose some weight. Yet, for a person's health to change for the better, he must begin by preparing himself and building strong convictions from within. How a person thinks, combined with what he thinks about, produces the conditions and the activities we see externally.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Five)


 

Hosea 14:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God says that Israel "shall grow like the lily." Israel, representing all of mankind, uses the Holy Spirit to grow. The lily is one of nature's most productive plants. According to Pliny the Elder, the first-century Roman scholar and author of the seminal work, Natural History, the lily bulb of his time and locale could produce as many as fifty additional bulbs. The exact species of lily to which he refers is not known, but it was probably native to the region and common enough to be known by the average person.

Having been buried in the ground all winter long, a bulb receives the spring dew and quickly shoots straight up, topped by a lovely bloom. Christ claimed the lilies of the field were every bit as glorious as Solomon's robes (Matthew 6:28-29). Now recall the early days of conversion. God's Holy Spirit began to open our minds and our growth was swift, and the result was a beautiful change of heart and the flowering of godly conduct.

Yet, the lily is not a complete metaphor for a Christian. Because its roots are shallow, a lily is easily pulled up. So God adds that we should lengthen our roots "as [the cedars of] Lebanon." Mentioned throughout the Bible, cedars of Lebanon are stately, evergreen, slow-growing, long branched, durable, and sweet-smelling trees. They are, by themselves, a good comparison to a Christian.

Smith's Bible Dictionary, written well over a hundred years ago, mentions a specimen living on Mount Lebanon that was 70 feet tall, 63 feet in circumference, and thought to be 2,000 years old! One writer said that the roots of these cedars could go as far down into the ground as the tree was tall—a foundation not easily destroyed. Nevertheless, these mammoth trees start as little seedlings, easily plucked up or eaten by grazing animals. If they survive long enough to gain some size, then, through the years they endure storms, drought, and countless environmental concerns. Each year, pushing their roots deeper and deeper into the soil, they build strength, constantly gaining a more solid footing. Such should occur in a Christian's life.

Mike Ford
Be There!


 

Matthew 9:8   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The people were stunned, moved to glorify God, filled with fear, and confounded. It is no surprise that the witnesses to the miracle were amazed at the astounding healing. Each of the three gospel writers uses a different Greek word to express a variation of a state of awe. Nevertheless, considering the great impact this miracle had on observers, most of them were not moved to have faith in God. Though filled with awe at His mighty works, they were not convinced or converted. Faith is not produced through sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Miracles and physical proof do not instill faith. God must call a person, opening his mind to His truth (John 6:44). Today, people tend to think that sensationalism will convert sinners, designing their religious presentations to impress people and increase followers by physical rather than spiritual quality.

In addition, the people were moved to glorify God in their limited way (Matthew 9:8). Yet, their reaction to the healing did not cause a change of heart in them.

Luke writes that they were all "filled with fear" (Luke 5:26). It can be terrifying to be near the power of Almighty God. Paul states, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). Realizing his own sinfulness in the presence of the perfection and might of God, Peter knelt in fear at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Again, however, most of the witnesses to the paralytic's healing refused to overcome their sins and change their lives.

James notes that even the demons believe and tremble before God (James 2:19), yet they, of course, have never been converted. This principle should enlighten us about the professed religion of others. Being filled with awe, glorifying God, or experiencing fear are not enough in themselves; they are merely beginnings of understanding and wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).

Some witnesses to this miracle said, "We never saw anything like this!" (Mark 2:12). Others exclaimed, "We have seen strange things today!" (Luke 5:26). They were confounded. The miracle they witnessed was one of a kind, different from anything they had ever seen before. No other "gods" compare with our God the Father and Jesus Christ!

In Luke's account, the word "strange" is the Greek word from which the English word "paradox" derives. It suggests true things that are contrary to all common sense and ordinary experience. The things of God are beyond the understanding of mere human beings. In this miracle, we see the incomprehensible sovereignty and glory of God in His comfort and healing of the sick through His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part Two)


 

Luke 13:3-5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Repent means "to think differently after." It signifies a change of mind strong enough to produce both regret and change of conduct. Marvin R. Vincent defines it as, "Such a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets alike virtuous change of life and practice" (Word Studies of the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 23). The only way that we will change our minds is when we allow ourselves to believe something different from what we formerly believed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Separation and At-One-Ment


 

John 3:5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Because this is said as an explanation of Jesus' initial statement, being "born of water and the Spirit" is the same as being "born again" or "born from above." In that sense, as used here by Jesus, both "water" and "spirit" are spiritual entities.

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that Jesus' mention of water refers to baptism. However, as a figure, the part water plays is more complex than is commonly assigned in this context. Consider this: From righteous Abel on, all have been and are being saved by the same process encompassed by the grace of God. All must be called by God, all must repent and receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, and all must be given God's Spirit. Note, however, that there is no mention in Scripture of any of the saints who lived before John the Baptist being baptized. This includes those who were under the Old Covenant. If all are to receive salvation by the same means, why does the Bible fail to show any of them being baptized?

It is more likely that the "water" and "spirit" Jesus refers to are those mentioned in Ezekiel 36:25-27:

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 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.

In this prophecy, Ezekiel indicates a cleansing from spiritual filth and a change of heart, from which spring obedience to God's commands. As the prophecy clearly says, both the water and the Spirit are from God above and precipitate the cleansing and birth that Jesus teaches in John 3. God says He will "sprinkle clean water," but as we know, that does not indicate the waters of baptism, since true Christian baptism is an immersion. Notice what John the Baptist says in John 1:33: "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'" This suggests that a baptism of the Holy Spirit is also needed, which Acts 19:1-6 confirms.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Born Again or Begotten? (Part Two)


 

John 4:19-24   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this episode, the woman represents the unconverted person who is confronted by Jesus' truth. She is informed of changes she must make if she is to follow Christ. If a person truly wants to change once he realizes that all his life he has been sincerely ignorant regarding God and his values, the newly converted individual must seek to make whatever changes are necessary. Jesus shows her God expects this.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment


 

Romans 8:7-9   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

How does God's Spirit help us to overcome? Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Because of their disobedience, an attitude, a spirit, of sin and rebellion entered into them and separated them from God. That spirit is enmity against God (Romans 8:7-9). It is a poison, a spiritual disease, that contaminates each individual as he adjusts to a sin-filled world and makes the same poor choices that Adam and Eve made.

However, once God calls a person, if he allows God to humble him, then upon repentance, he is prepared for the indwelling of God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the antidote for the noxious, evil spirit of sin that humanity has followed since the Garden of Eden. Our carnal spirit, mimicking the attitudes of Satan, is prideful and self-serving, but God's pure and powerful Spirit can heal us and make it possible for us to keep God's laws by dissolving our proud, selfish nature. Once this process has begun, we can then begin to bear the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Yet, we cannot take the indwelling of God's Spirit for granted. When David sinned with Bathsheba and conspired in the death of Uriah the Hittite, he drifted from God for several months at least, for it was not until around the time that the baby was born that the prophet Nathan shocked the king into awareness of what he had done (II Samuel 12:14-15). In his psalm of repentance, he cries, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:10-11; emphasis ours throughout). He realized that by his neglect of seeking God daily, he had been dangerously close to losing all contact with God. Thus, he asks God to renew His Spirit within him and not take it away.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul also speaks of renewing God's Spirit in us. He writes in II Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." Speaking of the "new man" again in Ephesians 4, he instructs the brethren, ". . . put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and . . . put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness" (verses 22-24).

Clearly, God wants us to be in contact with Him every day by His Spirit.

Daryl White
Ask and It Will Be Given


 

Romans 8:29   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The purpose for our admittance into God's presence is that "we be conformed to the image of His Son." When first justified by Christ's blood and admitted into God's presence, we stand before Him, but we are not yet in His Son's image. At this point, the work has only begun; Christ's righteousness is only legally imputed to us. That righteousness is indeed real, but it is not yet inscribed or engraved into our character to become part of our very being. We stand free, clear, and accepted, but we do not have the same nature, mind, or character as the Son.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Eight): Conclusion (Part One)


 

Romans 8:29   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ was born first, and He will be followed by many others, who will be His brothers. If we to be conformed to His image, how can we be anything except what Jesus Christ is—especially when we consider the New Testament emphasis for us to change to be as He is! Does Paul not say that we are to grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13)? This more than implies a period of spiritual growth or maturity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)


 

Galatians 6:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any great importance in terms of conversion, the way of God. What is important is that there is a new creation. This verse, then, is really neither for nor against circumcision. It is only saying that what matters is whether a person has been divinely transformed into a morally new and different person. In that, there is great spiritual benefit, a new creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost and the Holy Spirit


 

Galatians 6:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The ritual itself does not change a person's heart, as it has no power to do so. However, what really avails, what is really important, is "a new creature," that is, a new creation: a person who is then born of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)


 

Hebrews 1:10-12   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verses contain a vivid contrast to Ecclesiastes 1. In nature, everything is undergoing constant change from one generation to another. In contrast, God changes not; He is permanent.

Though Solomon reaches the despairing conclusion that the crooked cannot be made straight, God is saying to His children, on the other hand, that now is the time to effect positive, worthwhile changes with His help. These changes will eventually become a permanent part of our personality because the great Creator is working within us.

We find ourselves, then, in a situation where life appears to be vain and absurd, but for the Christian it is not. God has designed things so that we, being able to see the contrast, consciously make the choices in our lives to move toward the permanent and eternal, effecting the changes we need to make in our character to be carried through the grave.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 1)


 

2 Peter 2:20-22   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

No matter how clean we are on the outside, if the inside, the nature, the heart, remains unchanged, or if we resort again to habitual sin, we will return to what we came from and once more be filthy both inside and out.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beatitudes, Part 6: The Pure in Heart


 

 




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