28/4/11 2 Samuel 3; 1 Chronicles 12; Matthew 15
S: Matthew 15:18-20 But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.
O: Jesus had been challenged by the Pharisees for not observing Talmudic interpretations of the Mosaic Law about ceremonial ablutions before eating. This was not a matter of hygiene, but rather, of ceremonial religious interpretations.
A: Yes, we should wash our hands before we eat to prevent disease! J But observing the proper religious rituals without a true sanctified heart is pointless.
This is why even though I believe in the sacramental nature of baptism and Holy Communion, I also know that if you partake in the true baptism and the true Eucharist, but do not have a heart yielded to God, it does you no good.
That is why the Evangelicals who belittle these sacraments as merely symbolic have been nonetheless so much more spiritually blessed of God (at least, on average) than the Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants who do not “eat and drink without discerning the body” of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:29)
You may be taking the True Sacrament, but if your heart is not cleansed by the spiritual renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) then the sacrament will not benefit y ou.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were the most meticulous about following the Bible among the Jews. Yet see how many condemnations John the Baptist and Jesus heaped on them!
Let us be renewed in our minds, and cleansed in our hearts!
P: Father, renew my mind and keep my heart pure! I confess my sins to you and rely on Jesus’ cleansing blood to save me!