Some or the Jewish religious leaders came to Jesus and asked Him why His disciples transgressed the tradition of the elders and did not wash their hands before they ate. They were concerned that the disciples of Jesus had transgressed the traditions and thus they were defiled or unholy. Jesus responded in Matthew 15:10-11 “When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’” He continued to explain in verses 17-20 “’Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.’” Germs, dirt and other things can be on our hands and get into our mouths when we eat and potentially make us sick. But these do not make us unholy before God. The evil and sin that come from our hearts are what make us unholy before God.
We understand that the physical heart is perhaps the chief organ within the body. It pumps the blood to all parts of the body and is vital for physical life. By an easy transition, the word “heart” came to stand for an individual’s entire mental and moral activity or the inner person of an individual. Just as the physical heart can be healthy or diseased, even so the inner-person heart can be holy or morally corrupt.
Either good actions or sin can come out of your heart. Here is what Jesus taught. Matthew 12:34-35 “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” The source of sin is the heart.
A person’s heart dictates his actions. The natural way of a person’s heart is to be proud and self-seeking and to follow the desires of his sinful nature. That heart does not please God. In order to please God, each one of us must have a new heart. Each of us must obey from the heart the form of doctrine given to us. Romans 6:17-18 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” The gospel is the death burial and resurrection of Christ. In the same way we must die to our old sinful life, be buried in baptism and rise to walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” The result is a new heart that causes one to walk in this newness of life. Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The mind is the same as the heart. We are transformed because we have a new heart. Ezekiel 18:31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?”
What kind of heart should you have? You should have a heart that loves God with all your heart. Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” You should fervently love your fellow Christian with a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Your heart should have its treasure in heaven. Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” You should have a pure heart – not an impure heart that partly wants to please God and partly wants to satisfy its fleshly desires. Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These are a few characteristics of the heart you should have. What kind of heart do you have? Examine yourself.
If you see that your heart is not right, repent. Repentance basically means that one changes his heart. Simon, who had been a sorcerer, wanted to buy the gift of imparting spiritual gifts. Here is what Peter told him. Acts 8:20-23 “But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.” Simon needed to repent to change his heart. Do you need to repent?
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” My encouragement is to examine your heart and repent if there needs to be a change.