Heart surgery was God’s idea long before mankind ever dreamed of the concept.
Long before doctors were able to successfully open a human chest cavity and work on the heart, God had already said that He would do that for us.
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Here we find reference to a religious idea of a physical process—that of circumcision.
We know that circumcision is a physical surgery performed for religious reasons on a male baby.
However, there are instances where the surgery was performed on adult males. Just before the nation of Israel was to enter the Promised land, all the males had to be circumcised.
This had not been done during the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness.
Abraham was circumcised when he was 99 years old. His first son, Ishmael was circumcised when he was 13 years old.
Simeon and Levi defended their sister Dinah against Hamor and all the Hivites by requiring them to be circumcised.
They tricked them by telling them that if they would submit to the rite, they could all be friends and share the land together.
On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob,
Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers,
took their swords and came against the city
while it felt secure and killed all the males.
Physical circumcision is a very painful procedure, but especially so for adult males.
The Brothers used this against their enemies to trick them, and then killed them in their weakness.
However, the spiritual circumcision of which the Bible speaks in numerous places is not painful.
This promise which we see in Deut. 30:6 should give us pause to consider some of the things we believe about salvation and how we avail ourselves of it.
Notice that the Israelites were told the reason for the spiritual circumcision—the circumcision of the heart.
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul,
that you may live.
Is it possible that God may have understood something here that humans didn’t—maybe still don’t?
We try to tell people that they should give up their destructive lifestyle and love God.
However, we find that seldom works.
People are not able to give up their way of life, and we blame it on addictive behavior or their rebellion against God.
Could it be more likely that they need heart surgery?
After centuries of failing to meet the Lord’s conditions, Ezekiel tells the Israelites that God is going to help them to obey.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
This was spoken while they were in Babylonian captivity for failing to obey the Lord regarding the Sabbath.
Notice that the promise is again that God would do what man was incapable of doing—a heart transplant.
Evangelical Christianity has focused on the necessity of people who do not know the Lord to change their ways and make a decision for Jesus.
However, we are shown in more than one place that this is simply not possible.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God,
for it does not submit to God’s law;
indeed, it cannot.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God,
for they are folly to him,
and he is not able to understand them
because they are spiritually discerned.
Each of these verses tell us plainly that a person who does not have the Spirit of God, who has not been born again, regenerated or saved cannot possibly understand the things of God.
If it is God’s requirement that these people must realize on their own that they have offended a holy God and repent of their sins, then somewhere we have an impossible situation.
There is a contradiction of concepts here.
Before I take you to more verses showing God’s design for us, let me try to dispel a couple of false concepts.
There is no place in the Bible where we get the idea that Jesus is our personal savior.
There is no place in the Bible where we are told to accept Jesus.
There is no place in the Bible where we are told to make a decision for Jesus.
There is no place in the Bible where we are told that we have offended a holy God, and if we do not say that we are sorry, He will send us to Hell forever.
These are all man-made concepts that are derived from a faulty logic applied to various verses of scripture.
What we ARE told, however, is that mankind is simply not able of his own free will to do any of those things—as we have seen in these last two verses.
Let’s look at one more before we begin to see what God has done.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
I will do here what I said was done by others. I will apply some logic.
If we are dead as Paul writes, what can we do?
What can we do to make ourselves alive?
Can we resurrect or resuscitate our selves?
Can we make a decision for life?
Obviously, the answer is no.
How, then, can we possibly obey any command to believe on Jesus?
We cannot do that until there is a change in our heartbeat.
And it is God who makes that change.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—
by grace you have been saved
This verse gives us an explanation of who did what to whom for our salvation.
We were dead, but God made us live.
That life is with Christ and that is explained as being saved.
Some will still insist that we must have faith in order to be saved, and that is true.
However, even the faith to be saved is not within our power, so God gives us that also.
For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God,
Both the grace and the faith are the gift of God.
There is nothing of our own effort involved in any of this.
We cannot claim that we are smarter, better, more aware or anything else in relation to our being in the kingdom of God.
It is all—every single bit of it—by the design and work of God.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.
Jesus plainly states here that if the Father does not make the first move, no one can simply decide to follow Jesus.
There are many verses which reveal this fact of God’s initiative going before any move on a person’s part.
I want to show you just some of these verses.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies
of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth,
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
who were born,
not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man,
but of God.
So then it depends not on human will or exertion,
but on God,
who has mercy.
For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,
so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
There are many more than these few which I have shown you, and they all say the same thing—a human cannot approach God out of his own desire.
God must first initiate the relationship.
I will remind you once again of how the apostle Paul was brought into the things of God.
For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;
Paul was on a full-tilt boogie to wipe out the Church of Jesus, even though he had been called to serve the Lord before he was born.
In the fulness of time, God revealed Jesus to him.
In the fulness of time, God revealed Himself to you and you began to take notice.
When the full revelation of this truth hits you, and you realize that you had nothing to do with your being loved by God, you will experience a humbling followed by a sense of awe, followed by a deep questioning—