For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
— Matthew 15:19 —
Genis M. | Albania
These words from the lips of Jesus are wise and penetrating. He exposes false teaching while supplying the exact truth necessary for the moment. The religious leaders taught that a person was unacceptable to God if he did not keep Jewish traditions. Jesus taught, however, that a person is unacceptable to God due to the corruption of his own heart. It is a profound indictment of all humanity. We continue to struggle this side of heaven because sin remains in our flesh. It is not what goes into man but rather what comes out of him that defiles him. We are not guilty before God because we fail to follow certain religious rituals; instead, we are guilty before God because our hearts are corrupt, the proof of which is seen in what comes out of them. Jesus’ point is that we do not need external rituals to be clean. We need new hearts. This is exactly what was promised by God in Ezekiel 36:26—“I will give you a new heart.” And it is exactly what Jesus accomplishes for us by His death on the cross. For the believer, there is a new birth, a new heart, and a complete cleansing by Jesus’ blood (1 John 1:7; 2 Cor. 5:17). We continue to struggle this side of heaven because sin remains in our flesh. But sin no longer reigns in our hearts. We are no longer enslaved to evil thoughts, anger, lust, lies, envy, or gossip. So let us take full advantage of this wonderful gift and cultivate in our hearts an abundance of good treasure and good fruit (Luke 6:45).