Monday, August 12, 2013

Salvation is an inside job

Mark 7:1-23

Sometimes a used car salesman will clean up the outside of a car to distract potential buyers from engine problems. Likewise, the religious establishment of Jesus' day thought their rituals made them acceptable to God. Jesus told them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight." (Luke 16:15)

Religious groups can fixate on surface issues the Bible says nothing about: playing cards, dancing, movies, etc. They confuse keeping rules with holiness and godliness.

Surface issues reflect a reliance on culture over Christ. Some churches battles begin because of cultural bias rather than spiritual conviction. They continue from each person's desire to be right. They involve music styles, proper use of space, which Bible to use, etc.

Jesus teaches us to understand spirituality as an internal rather than an external matter. We are not saved from the outside in. It is not money, politics, the right diet, nor dressing a certain way. We must look to the “heart” as the source of righteousness not how well we follow man-made rules. He said, “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” (Mark 7:15)

Jesus lists the evil intentions that flow from the human heart. It’s a catalog of evil: sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, slander, arrogance and folly. Jesus is saying that every human heart is a fertile breeding ground for evil.

Even if pornography weren’t a $10 billion a year industry there would be sexual immorality. Pornography isn't the cause, it’s a symptom of what’s inside the human heart. Even without violent video games, people would still be drawn to acts of hatred and violence.

Sometimes Christians believe that programs & laws are the answer but Jesus is saying that sin isn't created by our environment. It hides within each human heart. The prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful and sick beyond cure; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

We must take an inside-out approach to sin. Unless the human heart undergoes a radical transformation, all the outward efforts and legislation won’t be enough. The human heart is where the change needs to begin and only Jesus Christ can transform the human heart.

Turn away from culture, politics, power plays, games, personal vendettas & feuds turn to Jesus who said “I am the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

1 comment:

Diana Curtis said...

That makes lot of sense because sin is all around us, but now it is seen more out in the open. Just because we have never seen it in the past doesn't mean that things have gotten worse. People hearts cannot be changed if they are only looking for only temporary happiness. I always hear that things are getting worse and I started to think maybe it has, but I found out that if you rely on what others do or do not do; then you will always be disappointed. Now I try to stay focus on what I do or don't do in accordance to the word of God. It makes life so much easier. :)