People often ask if a physical heart transplant will change a person’s personality. You’ll have to look elsewhere for that answer. Recently, we watched a show about a man who was a hired killer for a mob family. He was ruthless; so much so, that people said that he had no heart. After being in a car accident, this man would have died without a heart transplant. Because his boss was so powerful, he got the transplant quickly, but later he found out that the heart came from a young man who was known for his good deeds: serving at a soup kitchen and helping the homeless. After the heart transplant, the hired killer truly had a change of heart, nearly dying for the innocent witnesses whom he had relocated to a hidden location but now was ordered to kill by the mob family. For him, knowing the goodness of the donor profoundly impacted his life. Nice story.
While thinking about the plot, I couldn’t help thinking about our spiritual heart transplants and the parallels between the physical and spiritual.
- Physical death is imminent without a heart transplant. People die every day waiting for a new heart, but to receive a new one, someone must die. For a born-again believer to receive a “new heart,” Someone had to die as well; and without a spiritual “new heart,” eternal death is imminent. In fact, before salvation, we are “dead in our trespasses.”
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1
- The life of a heart transplant recipient is forever changed. Perhaps they were homebound, on oxygen, or in a wheelchair. But after the transplant, they literally receive a new life, and the change is evident to anyone who knew them before the operation. As believers, we too walk in “newness of life,” and the change is so real that acquaintances may ask, “What happened to you? You’ve changed!”
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
- Knowing our Donor—His goodness, inconceivable love for us, His amazing power and grace—should have a great impact on our lives.
The heart is an essential organ—you can’t live without a heart. Spiritually, we cannot live without a “new heart” in Christ; however, salvation is even more than that. As much as a new physical heart enables a person to live, a new spiritual heart means that what was NOT there before now rules and reigns in our lives: the Holy Spirit! The lives we lived before salvation are, or should be, completely different from the lives we live with Christ. In fact, the change should be as amazingly obvious as the difference between a live and dead person! Like the song says:
There’s been a great GREAT change CHANGE since I’ve been born again.
New life in Christ. As much as a person can understand that he would have died without the physical heart transplant, we must realize that the same is true for us without a new heart. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Have you gotten a new lease on life? OR does your life look more like a zombie—the walking dead?
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.