Mark 7:18-23 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, itcannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

It is not my intention to be a bearer of bad news this morning. God’s mercies are new every morning, and for that, we can be grateful. But sometimes, the beauty of the gospel shines brighter and more glorious when contrasted with the evil of sin that lurks within. Jesus taught the religious elite of the day that defilement is not a matter of neglected hygiene or ritual washing of the hands, but a matter of sin within our hearts. The washing of hands may indeed remove germs, but it can do nothing to cleanse our hearts from the evil of sin that lurks within. Our unregenerate hearts are the source of all sin. Jesus said that from within my heart proceeds the very things that defile, not only myself but others. This evil lurks within the heart of every human being on this planet. No exceptions. 

As Christians, there is a tendency to think that this principle of sin is eradicated once we are born again. Not true. The power of sin has been broken, but the unregenerate flesh and its defiling and corrupting influence remains until we are clothed with our new bodies. Whenever these holiness-defiling sins manifest themselves in your life, go immediately to the cross and be thankful for our glorious Redeemer, Who bore the penalty of every single occurrence of those sins. Whenever you are tempted by these godliness-defiling sins, Romans 6 tells us that the deciding factor in whether you give in or resist rests in your hands. Jesus, The Only Perfect One, has won the war against sin for us. But the battle with sin and the evil that lurks within is one that will last as long as we are breathing on earth. When you fail, look to the cross, confess, and receive that promised cleansing (1 John 1:8-10). Be strong in the grace and truth of the gospel today, beloved. One day, these former days of fighting with sin and our flesh will be over.