And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
When we think about ourselves, many of us tend to think we are basically good.
We don’t kill people, rob banks, or trip elderly folks at the grocery store. But when it comes down to it, there is a reason that hell is a real place where millions will suffer eternally separated from God, his goodness, and his presence.
In dealing with sin, God deals with the sinner because the problem isn’t all of the sin “out there”, but the sin “in here”.
He did this with Jesus on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), though Jesus himself had never sinned he did take our sin upon himself (Isaiah 53:11-12) and bore God’s wrath against sin, for “it was the will of the Lord to crush him” (Isaiah 53:10).
God also dealt in a like manner with rebellious Israelites in the Old Testament (Numbers 16:35), and even those who would lie to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (Acts 5). We are born defiled, sinning, and rebellious toward God.
In fact, Jesus taught that from our hearts comes every evil we see play out on this earth. Whether sins of commission (we do something we shouldn’t have) or sins of omission (where we didn’t do something we should have), we are guilty and dirty with sin from our infancy, skilled in deceit and pride.
How true then is Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Be humble today, remembering that we are not saved because of our piety or innate goodness, but because of Jesus’ imputed righteousness as we have been resurrected to new life.