According to the Word of God, man’s heart is by nature like a stone; but God, through his grace, removes the stony heart and gives a heart of flesh. It is this prodigy of love, this miracle of grace, which is to engage our attention to-night. I trust we shall speak now, not of something that has happened to others only, but of a great wonder which has been wrought in ourselves. I trust we shall talk experimentally, and hear personally, and feel that we have an interest in these splendid deeds of divine love.
You may smite right and left with death, with judgment, with mercy, with privileges, with tears, with entreaties, with threatenings, and it will not break; nay, even the fires of hell, do not melt man’s heart, for the damned in hell grow more hard by their agonies, and they hate God, and blaspheme him all the more because of the suffering they endure. Only Omnipotence itself, I say, can ever soften this hard heart of man.
I shall not stay longer upon this very painful subject; but if you feel that your hearts are hard, may your prayer go up to God, “Lord, melt my heart. None but a bath of blood divine can take the flint away; but do it Lord, and thou shalt have the praise.”
What is meant by a heart of flesh? It means a heart that can feel on account of sin—a heart that can bleed when the arrows of God stick fast in it; it means a heart that can yield when the gospel makes its attacks—a heart that can be impressed when the seal of God’s word comes upon it; it means a heart that is warm, for life is warm—a heart that can think, a heart that can aspire, a heart that can love—putting all in one—a heart of flesh means that new heart and right spirit which God giveth to the regenerate.
As well might a man seek to obtain quiet rest on a pillow stuffed with thorns, as the tender conscience get any peace while a man in sinning.
Hard hearts care nothing for God’s commandment; hearts of flesh wish to be obedient to every statute.
If the heart of flesh could have its way, it would never sin, it would be as perfect as its Father who is in heaven, and it would keep God’s command without flaw of omission or of commission. Have you, dear friends, such a heart of flesh as this?
Great sins are little to the stony heart, little sins are great to the heart of flesh—if little sins there be
Has God taken away the heart of stone, and has he given you the heart of flesh. Dear friend, you cannot change your own heart. Your outward works will not change it; you may rub as long as ever you like outside of a bottle, but you could not turn ditch-water into wine; you may polish the exterior of your lantern, but it will not give you light until the candle burns within. The gardener may prune a crab tree, but all the pruning in the world won’t turn it into an apricot; so you may attend to all the moralities in the world, but these won’t change your heart. Polish your shilling, but it will not change into gold; nor will your heart alter its own nature. What, then, is to be done? Christ is the great heart changer. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be be saved.” The Holy Spirit gives faith, and then through faith the nature is renewed. What sayest thou, sinner? Dost thou believe that Christ is able to save thee? Oh, trust him then to save thee, and if thou doest that thou art saved; thy nature is renewed, and the work of sanctification which shall begin to-night, shall go on until it shall come to its perfection, and thou, borne on angel’s wings to heaven, “glad the summons to obey,” shalt enter into felicity and holiness, and be redeemed with the saints in white, made spotless through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon