(Matthew 18:3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
(Matthew 18:6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
When looking at the Christian church today I can't help but remember our Lord's rebuke of the Pharisees when He called them hypocrites and instructed them to clean the inside of their cups because they did "indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Mat 23:27-28).
It is written in scriptures that the thing which has been, will again be and that which has been done, will be done again because there is no new thing under the sun (Ecc 1:9).
The reality of this truth is made evidant by the obvious pharisaical spirit which has infiltrated and permeated the church for it is this self same spirit of which Jesus was speaking of the Pharisees. It is a spirit of pride, self-righteousness and arrogance. And the cause also remains the same. Ignorance in the word of truth!
You see brothers, sisters and friends, pride came before the fall in the garden which was in Eden and it is so now. It was arrogance that caused Lucifer to rebel against God and to tempt Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. It was self-righteousness and pride which caused Adam to blame the woman and God himself for his part in the fall after he was discovered hiding from the presence of the Lord amidst the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).
What then made Adam and Eve righteous in the sight of God before the fall?
They were as little children!
They did not know right from wrong. They did not know good from evil. And this because they had trusted God and not eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
After the fall and subsequent spiritual death of Adam and Eve, man became human (Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man") and with this knowledge came responsibility and accountability for his/her actions.
When you are raising up your child and he or she does something wrong you correct them gently because they are only children and do not know any better. When they do the same thing again, after being instructed otherwise, the discipline you meet out is more severe because they are without excuse.
But children, being born into the world through sinful flesh and being flesh, have an internal issue of sin within them albeit they appear to be so cute and innocent.
Let me ask you this question:
When your child does something wrong, that you never warned them about, why do they lie about it?
Did God teach Adam to make an apron out of fig leaves to hide his nakedness? Did God teach Adam to hide among the trees in the garden? Did God teach Adam to lay blame on others and not accept responsibility for his actions?
Of Course Not!
You see there is something within the nature of the fallen man that causes us to do things that are not of God. Even more so there are things within the flesh, even the soul of man, which leads him/her into outright rebellion against God!
Again, has your child ever done anything in rebellion against you? Do then not test and challenge your wisdom and or authority? Did you teach them to do these things?
I Hope Not!
Yet these things are there. They are present within the nature of every human being born into this world after the fall of man and is so onto this very day. It's not even really a matter of choice. The flesh has no recourse but to succumb to the desires of the flesh because the soul has no desire to do otherwise!
Do you remember what your life was like before you were saved? Do you remember doing all manner of sin with little to no conviction even though you knew it was wrong?
That is because we were all soul-ish beings and because our flesh, that is to say our bodies, only do what our souls will them to do. No one "forces" us to do anything. The things that we do, the things that we say, even that which we think, are all a matter of the will which is a part of our soul's nature.
Subsequently where goes the soul so goes the body. Therefore the first thing that we must do is to transform the inner man (the soul). True change begins on the inside not the outside!
The Heart Transplant
(Ezekiel 11:17) Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
(Ezekiel 11:18) And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
(Ezekiel 11:19) And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
(Ezekiel 11:20) That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
This is the circumcision of the New Covenant!
Our Father God puts a new spirit within us (being born again of spirit) and removes our heart of stone. That old heart which feels no remorse for our sins. And He gives us a heart of flesh that we may walk in His statutes and keep His ordinances and do them.
Now there is something of great importance to make note of here, not only for these verses of scriptures but for the entirety of your study of scriptures.
God does this thing so that we will "keep" and "do" them!
To "Keep" in the Hebrew, שׁמר - shâmar, means to hedge about, that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to.
In the Greek the word "keep" has the same general meaning however there are other forms of this word with different shades of meaning but most always to guard from suffering loss or injury.
To "do" on the other hand, עשׂה - ‛âśâh in the Hebrew, a primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application accomplish, advance.
In other words God is telling us that our hearts have been changed so that we can have the ability to guard, to protect from suffering loss or injury, to keep true or from pollution or distortion His statutes and or dances and them to accomplish or advance those statutes and ordinances.
Now the importance of this precept can not be overstated!
It is of the utmost importance!
That is why it is repeated again, expanded and clarified, in Ezekiel 26:
(Ezekiel 36:24) For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
(Ezekiel 36:25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
(Ezekiel 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
(Ezekiel 36:28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
(Ezekiel 36:29) I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
(Ezekiel 36:30) And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
(Ezekiel 36:31) Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
(Ezekiel 36:32) Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
What are these additions and what do they mean?
The most important addition and clarification here is that God answers the question WHY?
Does He do these things for us for our benefit?
No! He does it for His glory!
He does all of the above so that we will remember our evil ways and our doing things that were not good so that we would be ashamed and confounded for our ways and "loath ourselves in our own sight"!
You see the whole purpose of the ordinances and statutes of God (the law) was to bring man to the end of himself. To bring us to the understanding of who and what we were, and are without Him, and that we could neither "keep" or "do" them in and of ourselves. That our iniquities (lawlessness) was an abomination in His site.
Now Watch This!
v.27 - I will put my Spirit within you
Not only did God remove our heart of stone, replace it with a heart of flesh, He also has written His laws within our hearts:
(2 Corinthians 3:3) Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
And He has put His Spirit within us, the Holy Spirit, The Comforter, The Spirit of truth, who among other things, will teach us all things, guide us onto all truth, bring to mind all that our Lord Jesus has spoken, show us things to come and most importantly of all He will testify of Christ!
v.27 continued - and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
God says that He will "cause" us to walk in His statutes, "keep" His judgments, and "do" them. What was added here is the word cause. And you already know the Hebrew word used here. It is the same word from which "do" is translated. (עשׂה - ‛âśâh). In other words God is telling us that He will do it all for us through His indwelling Holy Spirit because we, nor those who came before us, with the exception of our Lord Jesus, can't keep His laws according to His standard which is perfection!
v.25 - Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you
This is water baptism onto repentance, the baptism of John, which was a type and shadow of that which was to come and is later replaced by the baptism, pouring out and filling, of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of our Lord Christ Jesus so that we can enter into the kingdom of God!
(Matthew 3:11) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
(John 3:5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
(John 3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
What was Jesus first miracle?
He changed water into wine!
He changed the baptism of John (water) into the baptism of the Holy Spirit (new wine)!
Do you remember when, on the day of Pentecost, the apostles received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues?
What did those mocking them accuse them of?
(Acts 2:13) Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Naturally they were being sarcastic but little did these people know how right they actually were!
In Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5 our Lord is recorded as saying:
No man puts new wine into old bottles (vessels) or the bottles will break, and that the new wine must be put into new bottles (new vessels) to preserve both the new wine and the vessels.
The Holy Spirit is the new wine (I will put MY Spirit within you) and we, the spiritually born again believers (I will put a new spirit within you) are the new bottles (vessels) in which the Holy Spirit dwells (resides).
Therefore all of the things which God has done within us has been done for His glory, that He might be seen through us in our walking and doing His statutes and ordinances, which He causes us to do through the power of the new wine, the Holy Spirit!
Now here is the proverbial rub:
This change, this salvation, this transformation, does not happen from the outside in, it begins from the inside out!
And we have no part in any of this. God has done it all for us. He has cleansed us with clean water, He has removed the heart of stone from our flesh, He has put a new spirit within us, He has placed His Spirit within us, He keeps His statutes and ordinances in our hearts by writing them within the fleshy tables of our new heart, He causes us to walk in His statutes and He causes us to do His ordinances!
What then is our part in this work which God has begun in us?
(1 Corinthians 1:4) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
(1 Corinthians 1:5) That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
(1 Corinthians 1:6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
(1 Corinthians 1:7) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1 Corinthians 1:8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank God ALWAYS for the grace which has been given onto us by Jesus Christ because IN EVERYTHING we are enriched by Him in all utterance and knowledge, that we come behind in no gift (of the Holy Spirit) that we might be blameless in the day of the Lord! Glory to God!
What does it mean to be "blameless"?
(Luke 1:5) There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist), of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth (the mother of John the Baptist).
(Luke 1:6) And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Now to be blameless, within the context of this verse, means to be beyond reproach regarding the commandments (statutes - moral laws) and ordinances (ceremonial laws) of the Lord. it does not mean to be sinless it means to be blameless!
What these verses are telling us is that the parents of John the Baptist kept the law. That when they did sin (transgressed the law - fall short of the mark that is the standard of God's holiness) they made the appropriate atonement sacrifice as required by the ceremonial law. Not sinless, blameless!
The question here is; are we, the born again believers, the new creations (new vessels filled with the new wine), the first fruits of the new vine (Christ), made "righteous" and "blameless" through the workings of the law, as Zacharias and Elisabeth were, or are we made so through the atonement sacrifice of our Lord Jesus (The Lamb of God)?
You see every single part of our salvation has been done for us! Everything!
The Holy Spirit of God (the new wine) is dwelling within us (the new vessels) and subsequently Jesus (The Lamb of God) and the Father (who did the work of creation) dwell within us, and God proclaimed that He will cause us to walk in His statutes and to keep and do His ordinances!
What is left to do?
Get out of His Way!
(John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
You see albeit that we have been made spiritually perfect in every way and we have been made, through no efforts of our own, the righteousness of Christ, our flesh has in no way profited (ὠφελέω - ōpheleō - benefited, been made useful) onto God. Neither have our soul's profited.
Salvation is a completed work but it is only the first step in our transformation into the image and likeness of God. In order for this to manifest in our lives we must have a change of mind, we must renew our mind, that our soul will come into alignment with our perfected spirit (the spirit of man), so that our body (flesh or desires of the flesh) will be yoked (brought into the control) with our transformed soul so that our words and acts will glorify our Father God.