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Parable Of The Soils Study #9: “Circumcision of the Heart” – Part 2

If The Spirit Had to Plow Up Our Hearts, Why Didn’t Jesus Tell Us?

By Richard Allen – November 27, 2023

The answer to my question above: “If the Spirit had to plow up (i.e. change) our hearts, why didn’t Jesus tell us?” Truth is, He did tell us! “And the Father has also been telling men throughout the whole Old Testament period that our hearts and minds Had to Spiritually Change! It may not be apparent to some, but mankind’s desperate need for a new heart, a new mind and a new will had been demonstrated throughout the Old Testament. Totally ruined by Sin, it was God’s plan that He would one day do a Spiritual Work “in us,” and not just proclaim another set of Laws or Rituals “outside of us” that would enable us to: “Love Him with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength.” In fact, our underlying need and God’s purpose to restore us was the “dark backdrop” behind each of the 39 books of the Old Testament.

To resolve this need, God made a special covenant with Abraham, giving him the “Promise” to satisfy man’s desperate need by sending a Savior, who alone could do what no man in the flesh could ever do on his own: Please God and perfectly obey Him. It was the Savior whom God sent to satisfy His Law and fulfill the Promise, accomplishing eternal redemption through Jesus Christ! Apart from understanding that it was God’s Plowing up the Soil which allowed the Word of this Promised Savior to flourish and grow, The Parable of the Soils makes no sense at all. And to teach that some men and women have “good and honest hearts” which allows them to hear and respond to the message of the kingdom, implies that God’s Salvation message is just His ratifying human “works,” that some of us are good people without the Work of His Spirit bringing us to Faith in God!

I can’t say this too strongly. The reason the New Covenant is far superior and more gracious than the Old Covenant, really comes down to the “work of the Holy Spirit” in accomplishing in us what we could never do on our own. Not wanting to sound facetious, if the New Covenant is just another: “Do this and live” arrangement with God, then we are still in our sins. For some, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” is the New Testament version of “Do this and live.” But that is the problem, we can’t Believe, Obey, Flee to Christ or Do Anything to secure our Salvation! You might as well give me another set of Laws or Commandments that I am powerless to perform with my fallen flesh and mind. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” is NOT just another work or command that I cannot perform in the flesh! That’s why Jesus told Nicodemus that “You must be born again” (John 3:3). Yet God calls us to “Repent and Believe the Gospel” knowing that with the outward call made by a Preacher, Evangelist or Tract, God the Holy Spirit will also provide: “The Effectual Call.” According to: “Got Questions,” an online website with sound Biblical answers:

The term effectual call, as related to salvation, comes from Chapter X of the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith. The effectual call is understood as God’s sovereign drawing of a sinner to salvation. The effectual call to a sinner so overwhelms his natural inclination to rebel that he willingly places faith in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul refers to the effectual call when he writes, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). The necessity of the effectual call is emphasized in Jesus’ words, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44).

The Age of the Spirit

Last week we reviewed Jeremiah’s foretelling of a time when God would Circumcise the foreskin of his Children’s hearts, making them New Creatures in Christ. He was also foretelling the Age of the Spirit! And remember, we’re dealing with two perspectives in the New Testament, the earthly-human perspective and the Divine. The definition of a Parable is: “An earthly story with a heavenly meaning,” so, from an earthly perspective, as the Sower went forth to sow his seed, he saw differing responses from the Soils that the Seed encountered. Any farmer in Jesus’ day would have clearly understood, only the Soil where there had been preparation, would bear fruit. But from the Divine perspective, there was something else going on. That’s why Jesus’ disciples came to Him in private to question Him about why He was speaking to the masses in parables. The Parable of the Soils wasn’t given to unbelievers to understand. Yet, any man in that agrarian economy would have fully understood the mechanics of planting seed in The Parable of the Soils. They had all seen similar Sowers going forth with their seed, some falling on the Hardened Cart-Path, and other seed falling on Rocky or Thorn Infested Soil. Even good soil, if left untended, would bake hard in the Middle-East sun. That’s the very definition of the Fallow Ground Jeremiah spoke of.

But as Jesus began to speak of the Divine side of The Parable of the Soils to His disciples, it becomes clear there is more going on than appears to the naked eye. In fact, as Jesus begins to reveal the deeper truths that only His Disciples, that is “those with ears to hear and eyes to see” were given to understand, almost immediately He tells them the following: When anyone doesn’t understand the Word of the Kingdom, it’s just like the Seed falling on “Hard and Fallow Ground.” And when the Word finds no receptivity, the Birds, representing Satan, come and take the Word away from their hearts. It’s clear from these words there is another battle going on in the Spiritual Realm.He later tells His Disciples that the “thorns” are “persecution because of the Word,” which clearly means it comes from the world, which like Satan, opposes the Word. So, it should not surprise us that Jesus doesn’t fully explain the Holy Spirit’s work as He applies the “Plow of Regeneration” to break up the hearts of fallen men and turn them into “hearts of flesh!” The New Covenant is built completely on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. That’s what makes the New Covenant far superior. Again, here’s how the writer to the Hebrews compares the two Covenants:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:8-10).

This passage from the Book of Hebrews foretells exactly what the Parable of the Soils leaves Unsaid. The writer to the Hebrews quotes the very prophet, Jeremiah from Chapter 31, where “God would put His laws into the minds of His children and write them on their hearts.” This is the same Jeremiah who prophesied in Chapter 4 that God would “Break up the Fallow Ground of His Children’s hearts, Circumcising the foreskin of their hearts and Making them New Creatures in Christ.” Just as physical circumcision branded Old Covenant Jews as a “physically different people,” separated and holy unto God, Spiritual Circumcision (i.e., the New Birth) would “brand” God’s New Covenant People as “spiritually different people, separated and holy unto the Lord.” And it’s this “spiritual difference” that is evident in all those who faithfully bear fruit unto God in their lives, “thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20). Luke 8:15 says that the “good soil that receives the Seed” is a heart which brings forth fruit with patience. Learn the explains the fruitful experience of Born-Again Christians this way:

“The Lord's interpretation incorporates another wonderful truth concerning patience. He likens patience to planting a seed and waiting for the fruit of that seed to develop and grow. Of course, the growth and maturation process takes time. A farmer going into the field every day to look for growth shows a lack of patience and wisdom. This truth equally applies to the Christian life; growing in the Lord takes time. Expecting maturity overnight is both unwise and unfruitful. A newly born-again Christian certainly cannot expect to bear the fruit of an established believer in a short period of time. In fact, the Lord promises that fruit will be brought forth only with patience. Consider the truth taught concerning the husbandman who ‘waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it’ (James 5:7). We must all patiently wait for the seeds of life to develop into fruit in the Lord's time.”

In a Regenerate Heart, Faith working by Love brings forth fruit unto God. It’s all that God has ever wanted from His Children. For those who are honest about their “pilgrimage to, and belief in Christ,” they will gladly note that it is “All of The Lord!” The Parable of the Soils witnesses the Lord Himself as the Sower of the Message of the Kingdom. And true to what we’ve learned, wherever Jesus went He preached the Good News. Some hardened their hearts and ignored Jesus’ message. Others were excited because of the New Rabbi and His Preaching – He was different than their Teachers of the Law, and He preached a message of Hope. But soon their excitement wore off, and their devotion to Him waned and died. And others still heard the message and wanted to respond, but when their families threatened to shun them, or they were to be put out of the synagogue, or even because they were busy with their fields, families and busy lives – no real lasting change was produced in them. It’s still the same today. In our next Blog on The Parable of the Soils, we’ll examine how this parable works out in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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