Heart Transplant


I have a friend who was born with a heart defect. His life has been filled with hospital visits and surgeries and medicine. In recent days, things have turned for the worst. He is now on the heart transplant list. In order to live, he needs a new heart. He is in the hospital now and won’t be coming home unless he receives a new heart.

It has been interesting to pray for my friend, because a new heart will only come through the death of another. He needs a new heart to live. But this heart can only come when another dies. So how do you pray? Do you pray for someone else to die so that my friend can live?

This is a great picture of the gospel. We all are born with bad hearts. We need new hearts. But a new heart can only come through the death of another. The good news is this: Jesus died to give us a new heart. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). The death of Jesus gave us a new heart with new desires.

This is what the prophesy of Ezekiel foretold. “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” (Ezekiel 36:26). We all need new hearts.


Heart Transplant


In 1967 a South African grocer named Lewis Washkansky was dying from chronic heart disease. When a 25 year-old woman died in a car accident, he became the first human being to receive a heart transplant. He died 18 days later from pneumonia as the anti-rejection drugs left him susceptible to sickness.

After a decade of anti-rejection drug research, heart transplants were more successful, with many patients living for up to five years with their new hearts. Today, the prognosis for a heart transplant is for an average of fifteen years of extended life. As successful as this operation has become (3,500 annually worldwide), the greatest difficulty is the availability of donors. There are far more people who need hearts than there are hearts to give.

Would the truth be known, each of have a heart disease—not our physical hearts, but our spiritual hearts. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus said that the heart is the source of sin, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

We all need a spiritual heart transformation. The good news is that God is a spiritual heart surgeon. He promised the people of Israel, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). Rather than taking a spiritual heart from another, God creates anew. Jesus likened this to a “new birth” (John 3:3). Paul called it “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

He will give a new heart to those who seek it.

Deprived or Depraved?

When it comes to thinking about our sin, there are really two options.

The first is to think of our sin being externally caused. In other words, we sin because of what others have (or haven’t) done to us. We have been deprived of the love we needed. Or we have been deprived of a supporting environment. Instead, we have found ourselves in a sinful environment. Our sin is an imitation of the sin around us.

There is some truth to this. When you gather around sinners, you will be tempted to sin with them (Proverbs 1:10). But, environment isn’t the driving factor in our sin. Rather, environment helps to bring out what’s already within us.

The second way to think about our sun is to look within. Fundamentally, we sin because of something within us. In other words, we sin because we are depraved beings. Our environment will induce our sinful hearts to do what they want to do. We are depraved beings, not deprived beings.  Jesus said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man” (Mark 7:20).

This is why we need our hearts transformed, rather than mere moral improvement. Our hearts are bad. We are depraved. This is why the New Covenant included promises like the following: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from 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 be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).