If you took a coyote and said, “I’m going to transfer you from your native kingdom into a chicken coop”, that would probably not go well for the chickens unless the coyote’s heart was changed first.
We all had a coyote nature to kill, steal and destroy before we came to Christ. Martin Luther called this the bondage of the will. Our will was bound up to do evil. We could try to do a few good things, but that alone was due to the common grace of God. If we did anything good while we were dead in our sins, it was because God’s grace shown upon us to let us do something good and loving to our spouse, children or friends.
Beyond that grace, though, we were bound to sin in total depravity. Not just our spirit but also our flesh, our very bodies, were bound up to do the will of the enemy.
But if we have come to Christ, then he has canceled the record of debt that stood against us by nailing it to the cross. We are made alive together with him who rose from the grave, and God is moving us into a new kingdom of grace, love and power. In the process of doing so, he has to make us a new person. Otherwise, when we come in, we’re going to be destructive to those we are in the kingdom of light with.
The Bible promises us that God is doing this work inside of us when it says, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26, ESV).
This is what we meditate on when we sing about the power of the cross. This is what we celebrate when we talk about Christ and his sacrifice. Let’s not forget it!