14th February 2020

The Evil Within

“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Mark 7:21-23 (NIV)

Jesus defended his disciples against the accusation that their hands were ceremonially unclean. Jesus, of course, had no objection to the simple washing of hands before eating and to the hygienic precautions we use today to stop the spreading of disease, but he refused to sanction the authority of the religious leaders who regarded purification rituals as signs of righteousness. Jesus’ declaration that these were just “merely human rules” (Mark 7:7) would have shocked everyone, including his own disciples and the watching crowds of people.

Instead of being concerned about ritual purification and the traditions of men, believers should look to Jesus and to what he has to say. Christ said that what really defiles us is what we let into our hearts, not into our stomachs. For those listening, this would have been a whole new way of thinking. They knew that the body could be defiled by sickness and even by touch, but Jesus was discussing something far more important, which was that our thoughts, actions and behaviour can be adversely and sinfully affected by the thoughts we let into our mind and on which our emotions dwell.

The above list that details how evil comes “from within, out of a person’s heart” is reminiscent of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21. “But”, says Paul, “if you are led by the Spirit (of Jesus), you are not under the law…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:18, 22-23).

Thank you, Father, for the words of life that Jesus preached to us. Cleanse me please, from within, and help me produce the fruits of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and is the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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