Impurity Comes from Within

Key Verse: “From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a man.”
—Mark 7:21-23, Revised Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
Mark 7:1-23

WHEREVER OUR LORD went the scribes and Pharisees followed him, trying to find some fault that they might accuse him. They saw some of the disciples eating with unwashed hands. There was a tradition of the elders always to wash hands before eating. When they went to the market they washed their hands. Also there was the tradition of washing of cups, pots, brazen vessels, and even the tables. However, looking into the Law there was nothing regarding the washing of hands, or of any instrument before eating; these were, as Jesus said, the “commandments of men.”—Mark 7:7

Speaking of those who demanded these ceremonial washings we read, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Prov. 30:12) The Jewish leaders were of this kind, pure in their own eyes while condemning others. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”—II Cor. 10:12,13, New International Version

It is written, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) With this we find that the thoughts are the seeds of the deeds. Jesus went on to describe all the evils that come out of the heart of man. These evils would be appalling were it not for the antidote given in the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul said we are to develop the fruits and graces of the Spirit, which are, “peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”—Gal. 5:22,23

Jesus gathered all the people around him and gave them the lesson. He said, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” (Mark 7:15) The disciples came to Jesus asking him an answer regarding the parable. They should have understood, but did not. Our Lord said, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (vs. 16) Jesus then said, “Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught? … That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.”—vss. 18-20

The lesson becomes clear—hear the instruction of the Lord and act upon it. Self-righteousness has no place in the life of Christians. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23) Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees, by their traditions they make “the word of God of none effect.” (vs. 13) Jesus then went on to describe all the evils that can come out from man, as they are listed in the words of our key verse. These will corrupt him if not seen and corrected. Such evils are from Satan, who is the Father and instigator of the evil thoughts of man.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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