“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the 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 wash with unwashed hands defiles not a man.”

Matthew 15:18-20

Until we realize the depths of our depravity we cannot know the depths of His Grace.

Jeremiah once said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).  Do we really believe this?  Or, do we believe it only applies to someone else?

When Jesus spoke today’s Manna He knew there were many in His audience (then and now) who’d think He was talking about someone else.  Such is always the case with a “deceitful and desperately wicked heart”—for it always envisions itself as better than that. . .more innocent and refined. . .a cut above the rest. . .purer in intentions and passions than the average, run-of-the-mill person who darkens the church door on Sunday.

But, every heart—your heart, my heart, ‘ole Joe’s heart, Uncle Bill’s heart, Grandma Susan’s heart, etc.—is guilty of all of those above-mentioned sins.  Look at them again:  “Evil thoughts… murders. . .adulteries. . .fornications. . .thefts. . .false witness. . .blasphemies.”

“But, I’ve never murdered anyone!” cries one.

“And I’ve certainly never committed adultery or had premarital sex, much less robbed a bank, lied under oath on a witness stand or taken God’s Name in vain.”

Is that so?

Maybe you ought to read that part about “coming forth from the heart” again.

Who of us hasn’t thought ill or harbored suspicions about someone else or inwardly written the obituary of someone who’s hurt us before he/she died?  Or, who of us hasn’t fantasized about an illicit relationship with someone, read a risqué romantic novel or looked at the wrong things on television or the internet?  Or, who hasn’t cheated on a test, kept the change when the clerk gave us 20 cents too much in return or maligned another’s character through gossip?

Let’s face it:  We’re all guilty.  Guilty as sin.  Like stinking, filthy, dirty rags before Him (Is. 64:6).  And, no amount of good works, acts of sacrifice, benevolent deeds, charitable contributions, etc., can cleanse us from that guilt.

Only Jesus’ Blood can do that.

And, only He can change a heart so depraved and defiled.

Only Jesus.

Until we realize how utterly wretched we are, we’ll never feel our need of Him or His transforming, condescending Grace.  But, when we come to Him in brokenhearted repentance, He will gather us into His loving arms, forgive us, wash away our guilt and give us a brand-new start (II Cor. 5:17; Ps. 51:10, 17; Joel 2:25-26).  Thank you, Lord, for such Mercy and Grace.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 11, 2009

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