I will take my text from these two verses, and by God’s help, I hope to expound on them.
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 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.
We, as unregenerate sinners, had a stony heart that was truly unable to love God, let alone come to Him. We, being born sinners, had a barrier that seperated us from God, and it was sin. Now, Adam caused us to be born sinners in that we were “conceived in sin and shapened in iniquity(Psa. 51:5). It was in this we obtained that sin nature that was passed down from our first father, Adam. We were born with a stony heart which is inclined to sin. We, left in this fallen state, with this stony heart, were at emnity with our Creator. Furthermore, in this state of willful rebellion, we had no desire to approach Him for salvation. We, at an early age, exhibited this sinful nature when we would lie to get ourselves out of trouble, take something that wasn’t ours, would pass the blame onto another child when something went wrong, etc. We were expressing something that was already there. It’s like a peach tree. From the time it first sprouts out of the ground, it’s a preach tree. Eventhough it had not the appearance of a peach tree, neither exhibited the characteristics of a peach tree, in that it didn’t bring forth any peaches, or fruit, it was still a peach tree. Same way with us as infants. Eventhough we, at an early infantile age, may not have exhibited that sinful nature which was passed down from Adam, it was still there. When the time came, we expressed that that was within us. We began producing the fruits of that sinful nature which dwelt within us from the very beginning of our lives. Nothing we could do would ever change this. We also revelled in this sinful state. We loved sin, we loved to please ourselves more than our Creator. We had no desire to come to Him because we loved ourselves way too much to ever do that. This is where the heart transplant comes in.
God comes to us and crushes our stony heart and sweeps out the pieces(speaking figuratively here). He then places a fleshly heart within us, a fleshly heart that can love. Jesus spoke the parable of the sower who went forth and sowed seed. When the seed landed upon the stony ground, it failed to take up root, and was scorched and withered away due to the fact it could not take up root in that ground. The seed was the word of God, and that stony ground represented the heart of those who were still in their sins. But the seed which was planted in the good ground, took up root and brought forth fruit. The seed was just as good on the stony ground as it was in the good ground. However, the stony ground wasn’t receptive to the seed, whereas the good ground was. It takes God to plow the stony heart and make it able to receive that seed within it where it can take up root and bring forth fruit. You can find this in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8.
Then there was a certain man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. He was one of the most ruthless men that I can read of in the bible. He was consenting to the death of Stephen, one of the 7 Deacons(Acts 7) and was persecuting the church. He was on his way to Damascus with papers in his hands, to put into prison all those who were calling upon the name of Jesus Christ(Acts 9). On the way there, he was surrounded by a bright light that caused him to be thrown off his horse. To make a long story short, God had changed this man’s heart and caused him to write 13 of the books contained in the New Testament. While he was Saul of Tarsus, he was a vile man. Yet, he thought, through his own ignorance, he was doing God’s will. That is the way that a majority of sinners are nowadays. Regardless of their lifestyles, they believe there is no way a loving God would ever cast them into hell because they do good deeds. Look at the celebrities and all the good they do. There are gay people who would give you the shirts off their backs, feed you if you was hungry, be the best of neighbors to you. Yet, they do not realize their sinful lifestyle will cause them to be cast headlong into hell. Their hardened heart will not allow them to see this. Now, they are not going to hell because they are homosexual, mind you, but rather, because they are sinners. There are heterosexual sinners that die every day, who abhor the thoughts of the gay lifestyle and them getting married(another subject altogether), and yet, because they died as unrepentented sinners, they are going to hell. Well, I kinda got off on a tangent there, but it does go along with the subject, I suppose.
Getting back to Apostle Paul for a moment. After he had went to Ananias to get his sight back, he then began to proclaim the name of Jesus, the very name that he was persecuting people over previously. Only God could ever do a work so great as this. This goes for you and I as well. If God doesn’t act upon a sinner man’s stony heart, that sinner will never have the desire to call upon Him. Man is by nature, a fallen creature, with not the will, nor faculties to recover himself from the fallen state that he is in(this is one of the Articles of Faith in the Old Regular Baptists, by the way). In this fallen nature, we are the children of disobedience, the children of wrath(Ephesians 5:6). Apostle Paul was a man who had a zeal for God like noneother. He was willing to have his head cutoff to defend His cause. In fact, according to history, Emperor Nero had him decapitated around AD 67.
So in closing, it takes God to take the initiative in the salvation of a sinner. It takes God to first take tha stony heart out, and put in that fleshly heart of love. This would be considered regenration. At the same time, God deals to him the measure of faith that justifies him. Here He breaks the “yoke of bondage” that satans has upon him. By justfying him, He has set him loose from satan, whereby he can then come to God. God then sanctifies him by setting him apart to do His work via the gospel. God gives him the gift of repentance(Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Romans 2:4, 2 Timothy 2:25), and in this gift of repentance, a Godly sorrow is set up(2 Corinthians 7:10), causing him to grieve that he has sinned against a righteous, holy, just, and merciful God. God gives him the gift of salvation, that most glorious gift, whereby he will rejoice, knowing that He has saved his soul, and caused him to rejoice, shouting praises unto Him, telling others what great things He has done for him. Then the final gift is glorification when He comes to take us home. He calls our names and we come forth from the ground with that new body, that sinless, glorified body, likened unto Jesus’ most glorious body. When our soul and body is reunited as one, in a sinless state, where we can rejoice in the presence of God around His great throne.