I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you…. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sin stinks! Sin might be fun in the moment, but actually it hurts us and our neighbors. Sin is like a beast ready to pounce and consume you (Genesis 4:7). Sin is foolishness. According to the book of Proverbs, it can only produce death.
Jesus doesn’t only want to rescue you from God’s wrath and eternal condemnation. He wants to save you from sin itself. Jesus was crucified and raised so that you might “live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness” (Small Catechism: Second Article of the Creed). Jesus gives you the Holy Spirit, who gives you a new heart that desires to obey God. Through the Gospel, the Spirit delivers the forgiveness of sins and produces good works.
Having made you a child of God, the Spirit creates in you a desire to listen to your Father and obey His instructions. Having taught you the crucified Christ’s love for you, the Spirit causes you to love Jesus and desire to imitate Him.
Now this obedience does not save you. Jesus saves you. However, that very Gospel that gives you free forgiveness and life also gives you a desire to serve the Lord. So you go to the Law, not to find a means to save yourself, but for guidance and instruction.
While the Spirit does create new desires within us, sin is still present in your heart. So serving the Lord will take effort on your part and you will fail a lot. That’s why you constantly need forgiveness. That’s why we don’t rely on such efforts at obedience to maintain or improve our relationship with God.
Sin is still present in our hearts for now. On the Last Day, the Spirit will complete His work. He will purge the remnant of sin from you. In the new creation sin won’t be able to hurt you ever again. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Create in me a new heart, Lord, That gladly I obey Your Word. Let what You will be my desire, And with new life my soul inspire. (Renew Me, O Eternal Light, LSB 704:3)