Thinking Rightly of Our Sinfulness

24 Jun

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled? (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. – Mark 7:14-23

Richard Mellick, in his commentary on Colossians writes: “The cause of our sinfulness is not our evil deeds; [rather] our evil deeds come from our sinfulness.”

Observations:

1. It’s so easy to fall back into the mindset that “I am sinful because I do bad things” when, in actuality, it should be “I do bad things because I am sinful.”

2. The former mindset, namely, the “I am sinful because I do bad things” causes me to repent only at the surface-level. That is, because I think that the main problem is my sinful behavior (and not my heart), my response is merely to modify my behavior and manage my behavioral sins.

3. The latter mindset, however, namely that “I do bad things because I am sinful” forces me to repent at a deeper level. That is, when I “do bad things,” I recognize that the issue is with my heart, and therefore, I stand firm in my standing with Christ and not “shift from the hope of the gospel that I heard” (Col. 1:23). Then, I proceed to, “by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body.”

4. On an unrelated note, this is yet another reason to have confidence in the Word of God. That is, this teaching by Jesus is so absolutely counter-intuitive.

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