in short: how can the alienated person ever reach the stage of renewing their mind when it's the hard heart which causes the ignorance in the first place?
maybe it's because i wasn't following as lucidly as i should have been, so it took me a few moments to go from "so what?" to "oh yeah... that's a BIG problem! hmm... good question!"
i pondered the impasse awhile, before the solution dawned on me from way back in ezekiel 36:26, where God, as part of his promise to act for the sake of vindicating his holy name, promises Israel thus: "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."
a new heart of flesh to replace the old hardened heart of stone! and it's indeed the wonder of the mystery of the gospel, "that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (ephesians 3:6)
this thought and reminder of God's graciousness in dealing with humanity... in dealing with me... has been in my mind all weekend, and i was glad to be met in church with these words from our song of the month. oh what a beautiful saviour we have!
All my days I will sing this song of gladness,maranatha, hallelujah, amen!
Give my praise to the Fountain of delights;
For in my helplessness You heard my cry,
And waves of mercy poured down on my life.