Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cleaning Up Pollution - January 26, 2014

Mark 7:5;14-23(New Living Translation)
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

There has always been an argument in society about what causes are person to be bad. How does a seemingly innocent baby grow up to be good or bad? Some will say it is because of the way a person has been brought up; they state that their environment had everything to do with it. On the other side there are those who say that the person was born that way; they can't help how they are because that is just the way they are because it is in our nature.

In a sense Jesus jumped into this argument when faced with criticism from the religious leaders of the day. It was believed that all Jews should follow the tradition on ritual cleansing before they ate to make sure that they would not be affected by what they ate. Although the command by God was instituted in ancient day for health reasons, the Pharisees believed that if one did not follow the traditions and did not wash oneself that you were sinful, or bad.

Jesus made it clear that thanks to our natural man, we are born with a heart susceptible to sin already. No matter how much we try to be careful about what we take in the body, it is not what we eat, or see, or read, etc. that causes us to be a sinner, or bad. It is what is in our heart already that pollutes us; in other words everyone is born with the propensity to be sinful. Our environment or what we touch might influence us, but we are the one who decides to follow after bad or good.

That is why without Christ we stand condemned and polluted already, but the great thing about belief in Jesus Christ is that if we will accept His death on the cross to pay for our "pollution", we have the opportunity to clean up our hearts. That is when the Holy Spirit takes residence within us, and cleans us up. God then sees us as clean an pure and pollution-free as He sees His Son Jesus.

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