Monday, November 12, 2007

Our Deceitful Hearts

Matthew 15:18-20 "But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

The Pharisees have once again confronted Jesus. This time they are accusing His disciples of not keeping their traditions. In the minds of the Pharisees their traditions were superior to the Scriptures because they were the only reliable interruption of them. But Jesus points out that their traditions were actually contrary to God's law. In other words they had been so zealous for the law itself that they had missed the most important element; the law was given to draw them to God. They had embraced the law but not the God who gave it. Are we guilty of the same thing today? Do we place the teachings of our particular denomination above what the Bible says? Do we even question what our church is teaching us and compare it to the Scripture to make sure they agree?

Using this as an illustration Jesus shows us that what we put into our mouths is not what defiles us, and that not washing your hands before you eat is not what causes one to sin. He tells us that what we eat just passes through our body, but we need to be concerned with what is in our heart because that is what defiles us. Jesus has made this point before when He told us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Here He is telling us that the things that come out of the heart of man are evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. This list is not all inclusive, but He has made His point.

Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that "The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and desperately sick..." This is why we cannot clean ourselves up to please God; there is nothing good in us. We are desperately sick. In order to please God we need to have a new heart, and that is exactly what God promises to those who put their faith in Jesus. In Ezekiel 36:26 God says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." This is exactly what we need, because what is inside of us is defiled and no matter what we do we will never be able to please God on our own. That is why Jesus came.
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