Because people know something is wrong and they want to change, there is a never-ending parade of proposed ways to become a new person, get a new life, and find a new future. This longing is ultimately only found in God’s grace.
Regenerating grace is the powerful work of God in ill-deserving sinners that causes them to be born again with new hearts as new people with new desires that are God’s desires, thereby enabling a passionate life of holiness with a new destiny. In Jeremiah 32:38–41, God speaks of the regenerating gift of grace as the essence of the new covenant:
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
In the New Testament this regenerating grace of God is referred to in terms of being born again, meaning that in addition to the common grace gift of birth, we also need the special grace gift of new birth to be saved. For example, 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Regenerating grace is the source of all that it means to live as a Christian. As new creations with new hearts, we have new passions, new desires, and new purposes, which culminate in a passionate life of joy and good works. This is because, as we follow the desires of our new heart, we are also following the desires of God’s heart. At its deepest level, the new heart longs for the desires of God and rejoices in the freedom that comes in replacing old sinful longings with new holy longings that give God glory and give us joy. As Psalm 40:8 declares, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
What deep desires has God changed in your soul by His grace?