Fits of Piety and Heart Attacks

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17And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18And 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, 19since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”   Mark 7:17-23

We get keyed up about the wrong things; in a fit of piety we move the furniture and try to clean up our lives.

Jesus highlights our misdirected piety.

Instead of attending to the real problem of purity, our piety (effort at holiness) often attacks the wrong thing.

Humanly motivated piety attacks substances. The hope is that by limiting the substances coming into the body then a person will be righteous.

The central concern of piety must be the heart. For its what comes out of my heart that slimes me and others. Jesus gave some examples of what He sees there in the heart:

evil thoughts
sexual immorality
theft
murder
adultery
coveting
wickedness
deceit
sensuality
envy
slander
pride
foolishness

A quick look at this list clarifies my need for a priest, a physician for my heart. I need someone who can attack my heart and change my life.

But who has the priestly power to cleanse me from impurity?

Who is qualified to radically transform the heart?

Who has knowledge of the secret designs of my heart?

Jesus Christ, the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Lamb of God, who comes to take away the sin of the world.

The Holy Spirit motivates a different piety.

This pursuit of holiness is now a pursuit of the Holy One of God, Jesus Christ.

11But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance… Hebrews 9:11-15

 

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