Bible Reading Blog — February 3, 2016

3 Feb

Today’s Readings — Numbers 10-12 & Mark 7:14-23

Paul says, “to the pure, all things are pure.” Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The people of Jesus’ day were obsessed with external purity. Of course the religious leaders were a part of this but the culture at large too was infected with this sense of outward purity, conforming to a standard of behavior to be socially acceptable.

Jesus blows this perspective apart when He speaks in Mark 7 about that which defiles. It is not something outside us, it is something within: our evil hearts.

Purity of heart is not natural to us. We are filled with the kinds of things Jesus mentioned here. Our natural bent outside of Christ is to yield ourselves to our inner passions and this leads to the general weakness of our lives.

The search for purity is like a schoolmaster that leads us to Christ, in whom alone is true purity. As our lives are taken up with His greatness, we are changed inwardly and this affects our outward actions. The end result often though is not conformity to socially acceptable standards but obscure, subtle, almost hidden differences which manifest over a whole life. Human beings are like trees that only really show their fruit after twenty or thirty years. You can see anger and sensuality diminished, but it will come not from the change of habits but from a change of heart, which most of the time God works out in His own way and in His own time.

 

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