“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
Even the most hardened of sinners can pride themselves on their own sense of morality. The guiltiest of consciences can be eased by some “good” position taken or some evil avoided. But nothing but repentance from the deep and dreadful failure to care what God thinks and wants will get someone on the right track. If we would be saved indeed we would be saved from a horribly selfish, lust bound heart that would rather go to hell than relinquish its “right” to please itself.
God is not caught up in the details of any person’s career in sin; He knows that an ax must be put to the root of the tree. A stony, calloused heart that is indifferent to Him and enflamed with desire for the fulfillment of our own pleasures must be extracted from our being. In its place a new a heart of flesh must be put, which is delicately sensitive to the wishes of the God we previously disregarded.
Until a man is ready to be delivered from his self-serving, sin loving, God despising heart, he is not ready to be saved. It surely is not a list of “do’s and don’t” that God cares about; it is the underlying heart that matters to Him. When God saves us He performs the greatest of all miracles: He takes away from us that old hardened heart and gives us a new sensitive heart, which cares more about pleasing Him than pleasing ourselves.