IS A CLEAN HEART DIFFERENT THAN THE NEW BIRTH?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
God's Spirit regenerated your spirit, made it alive and made it aware of God and aware of Jesus and His Spirit made your spirit new but your spirit still separates itself from God's Holy Spirit when it chooses. That's it. Your spirit is alive to God but when it chooses, it resists God's Holy Spirit and while it has that attitude to God's Holy Spirit, God's own Holy Spirit is a guest in your heart that is driven out and brought in, driven out and brought in.
No, you're still born of God. Your own spirit is still alive. But the Holy Spirit is not able to dwell in your heart because your heart is not clean and you have not allowed it to be made clean. So there's an inconstant Christian life, up and down, up and down, not a constant Christian life that comes from the indwelling Spirit of God.
I think many of us have had preached to us only the Old Covenant. Let me show you the Old Covenant and you'll know what I mean, it's the one preached by John the Baptist. Mark 1:4, and I think this will surprise you loved ones because this is the Old Covenant. This, don't forget was John the Baptist as a Jewish preacher preaching.
Mark 1:4, "John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins", that was it. That was the Old Covenant. Preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Now I wonder how many of us entered into that thinking that's the New Covenant. We repent to have our sins forgiven, that's it and the joy of being in Jesus is constantly thanking Him for forgiving us our sins. Well, the Jews knew that.
The people that were baptized by John the Baptist before Jesus ever died, they knew that. That's the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is a few verses down, Mark 1:8, John makes the distinction himself. He says, "I have baptized you with water but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit", that's the New Covenant. If you want to know what baptized is, it's 'immerse' -- not the water, we're not arguing about immersing in water or sprinkling -- the Greek word means 'Immersed in the Holy Spirit'. Immersed, totally immersed in the Holy Spirit -- with the result that took place you remember, in Cornelius's household where Peter says, "God gave the Holy Spirit to them as He did to us, made no distinction between them and us but cleansed their hearts by faith." By immersing completely in the Holy Spirit, the heart is cleansed by faith.
And yet you know that our society is full of all of us bleating away to each other that "your problem is guilt, your problem if guilt. You can have your sins forgiven." We know fine well this permissive society doesn't have a great guilt problem. This permissive society has one problem, "How do I do what I know I should do?" "How do I do what I know I should do, how can I live the way I know I should live?", and loved ones, the guilt problem was what the Old Covenant took care of. The New Covenant takes care of the clean heart. It cleanses your heart through the baptism of the Holy Spirit so that you have a center of motivations and attitudes that are pure like Jesus.