#DailyDevotion We Need A New Heart And God Will Give It
Mark 7 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.”
What defiles a man? What makes him common and profane? Jesus says the thoughts that proceed from the unregenerate human heart. The Father has called us to be perfect as he is perfect and holy as he is holy. The sins Jesus lists take away from the perfection and holiness God the Father has called us to in Christ Jesus. Instead of a royal priesthood they make us look like the rest of the rabble of fallen humanity when we follow the desires of the fallen heart. We note that St. Paul has a very similar list, 1Co 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It may be noted with the exception of the last three sins, the sinful behaviors or all in the plural whereas the last three are in the singular. They are in the plural because we commit these sins against numerous people. The last three are sins directly against God. Slander should probably be translated blasphemy and foolishness perhaps as egotism. In all, Jesus is telling us what he spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament, Gen 8:21 “for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” This should have been realized by the Israelites in the commandments to not covet. Coveting, desire is where all sins start. James says, Jas 1:14-15 “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
So we need a new heart and a new spirit to be holy and perfect before God. We cry out with David, Psa 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This new heart and spirit casts itself upon the mercies and grace of God found in Christ Jesus. While we may stumble and fall due to the weakness of our flesh that wars against the new heart and spirit we are not cast out if we confess our sins and repent. Jesus says, Joh 13:10 “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” We have been bathed in the waters of baptism. We have been cleansed by Jesus. But as we walk about in the world we will get dirty from the sins we commit. We cleanse our feet by the confession of our sins, by receiving absolution and by faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper. Yet we continue unrepentant in those sins as St. Paul has said, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In that case we have chosen to take a different side.
But now that Jesus has given us a new heart and a new spirit, we will bear the fruit of that Spirit: Gal 5:22-23 “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control.” If we don’t see these in our lives then we repent. We crucify the flesh with the condemnation of the law and even more so, we believe we are forgiven freely by God for the sake of Christ Jesus who lived and died for us, granting us his eternal life and Spirit.
Merciful Father, you gave us the cleansing of the heart we need in Holy Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Grant us such faith to follow the dictates of the Spirit and reject the ways of the fallen flesh that we may give glory unto you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.