I’ve used it in this way, and so have you…
We pluck these words from their context:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
On either side of these 3 verses are ‘land.’ (Something very tangible, physical, and literal)
If the new heart, new spirit, cleanliness, and walking in his His ways are appropriated by us as active realities in this era, then why isn’t the rest of Ezekiel 36?
If we understand the prophetic promise verses 25-27 as ‘fulfilled,’ which most I know of you do, (Because I have seen you use it in evangelism and preaching), then how do you not account for a non-fulfillment of verses 24 and 28? if verses 24 and 28 are not fulfilled yet, then wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that 25-27 are not yet fulfilled either. If 25-27 ARE fulfilled in the ‘new covenant,’ ‘spiritually,’ then again, it would be reasonable to assume that verses 24 and 28 are also fulfilled spiritually.
We do have another choice. We can say that this ‘new covenant’ promise doesn’t apply to us at all we shouldn’t be usurping and co-opting it to suit our own ends. After all, God told them he wasn’t doing those things for their (our) sakes, but for the sake of His own name.
Caveat: I do believe that we ‘new-covenanters’ can arrive at cleanness, hearts inclined toward God, being led by the Spirit, and walking in God’s ways, WITHOUT hijacking Ezekiel 36:25-27.
I personally think that the new heart, new story, new life, concepts as found in Ezekiel are wonderfully impactful and fruitful, but I have to wonder whether or not we should be using those passages as we commonly do. A few questions:
1. Would you personally say that you have been cleansed, had a stone heart-ectomy, are led by the Spirit, and walk in his ways? If yes, would you also consider your state as the fulfilled promise made through Ezekiel
2. Do you think Ezekiel 36 is best interpreted literally or spiritually or mixed? If mixed, which are which? If literal, what is the land in verses 24 and 28?
3. If God said that He would ‘cause’ us to walk in His ways (A promise), and you’re not, how do you account for this? That is, if you appropriate these prophetic promises as your own.
Bonus Question 😛
Has Ezekiel 36 happened yet?