Political comics and cartoonists are having a field day with the double entendre of the ultra-conservative VP’s heart transplant: cartoonists picture him in the recovery room with a “change of heart”—transformed into a liberal Democrat! Of course a “new heart” doesn't mean a “change of heart.” But wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy. But isn’t that God's promise through Ezekiel? “I will give you a new heart... I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (36:26).
Just as the doctors had to remove Cheney's disease ridden heart before replacing it with a new one, God does heart surgery on us, removing the things that make us sick before doing a new thing in our lives. Getting a new heart is a one-time operation but a change of heart is an ongoing procedure.
There's a fascinating spiritual analogy here. Humans have an immune system which protects the body against foreign invasions, i.e., infections. When the immune system perceives the new heart to be 'foreign' matter, it rejects it. Thus, a recipient of a new heart must take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life. Similarly, even though we have received a new heart, a change of heart will be resisted by a fleshly instinct to fight it (Gal. 5:17). The antidote to a “flesh” takeover is a daily heart examination by the Word of God (Ps. 26:2; 119:9, 67). And even after your new heart results in a change of heart, you will need to watch over it with all diligence.” (Prov. 4:23).