clean or unclean…?

Mark 7:9-23

 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.  For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’  and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ”

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.  “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?  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.)

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

 “…You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition…”. We so often confuse the natural with the spiritual.  Jesus points that out here.  Who holds sway, who has importance in our lives, who dictates our behavior, our thoughts and subsequently our feelings?  Mankind’s tradition or God’s law? 

“… try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ”  Sin makes us unclean before God.  The disobedience that rises from the self inside us.  The concept of ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ is a spiritual one.  Man’s tradition would want us to believe there is something we can do to make ourselves spiritually clean.  Spiritual cleanliness comes only from within, a clean heart, cleansed by the blood of Christ as put forth by the scripture, God’ Word.  Food or washing hands has nothing to do with our thoughts and actions.  To be clean we need to be immersed in God’s Word placing it within our hearts and minds and allowing it to drive our actions and thoughts.  To be clean we need to follow the commands given by God, looking to Him, accepting His Son’s sacrifice.

 Don’t muddy the concept of ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ as it is given to describe mankind before their Creator.  That is a clean and unclean that cannot be impacted by outside, natural actions.  Washing the body removes exterior dirt and one appears clean but the words coming from the mouth can remove that impression.  “It is what comes from inside that defiles you...” We want the spirit to be clean, the heart of who we are.  That cleansing comes from the Word of God.  There we learn the truths and principles that when in place demonstrate a clean heart.”… you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. ”  We don’t want to be guilty of nullifying the Word of God by replacing it with tradition. We will keep the Word of God active and alive within us and we will be ‘clean’.

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