And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. [Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NLT)]
Last July, an eight-year old boy became the world’s first double hand transplant recipient. It seems that nearly every part of the body can be transplanted—hands, corneas, kidneys, livers and bone marrow. Not only have faces been transplanted successfully but so have skulls and scalps. I remember how astonished the world was back in 1967 when Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant. The news that a surgeon had cut open someone’s chest, lifted out a diseased heart and successfully replaced it with a healthy one from a donor was astounding. Although the first heart transplant recipient lived only eighteen days, today’s recipients have an 80% chance of living at least two years and a 50% chance of surviving ten. Annually, over 3,500 heart transplants are done worldwide; about 2,000 of them occurring here in the U.S. Each year, thousands more would benefit from a heart transplant but there are simply not enough donor hearts available.
The medical journals, however, had it all wrong. Dr. Bernard didn’t perform the first heart transplant back in 1967—God’s been doing that radical procedure for thousands of years! He can replace our damaged hearts of stone, hearts unwilling to respond to him, with a new heart and spirit. Even better, after accepting a new heart from God, we have no need for immunosuppressive drugs—the new heart won’t be rejected. Better yet, unlike transplant candidates, we don’t have to be on a waiting list to get a new heart; all we have to do is repent! The best news is that we don’t have to wait for someone to die for our new heart; Jesus already did that for us! Getting a new heart in God’s hospital also yields a far better survival rate—no death, only eternal life.