February 11, 2024
- By Ed Powell
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"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts.... All these evil things come from within and defile the man." Mark 7:21-23
In our liberal society today, we find many theories, explanations, and excuses for man's behavior. Except for those who believe and accept God's Word as the revelation of God, the standard by which we conduct ourselves, and the reason for our sinful behavior and selfish ways, are only that man needs to have a more favorable environment. He simply needs to be better educated and should pull himself up by his own bootstraps. But the Bible says man is a "fallen creature," has a "sinful nature," is at enmity with God, and seeks to satisfy his corrupt nature by making SELF the center of his life.
In an address to the students at Asbury College, Dr. Peter Lord interrupted his message and asked one of the students to assist him. As the student stood beside him, he took a glass half filled with water and held it in his hand. He asked the student to grab his arm and violently shake it. Of course the water spilled out everywhere. Then he asked the students, "Why did that water spill out of the glass?" After they batted that around for a few minutes, they concluded that it spilled out of the glass because there was water in it.
He then proceeded to explain that sin and all manner of corrupt things "erupt" from our lives because they are "within the heart of man." We do not become angry with others because they irritate us; they simply are the "occasion" that provokes our anger. The anger is already within our hearts; it just comes out when the occasion presents itself. It's the same with rebellion, resentment, bitterness, and all manner of sins that displease God.
The only way we can control our behavior is to recognize our need and then go to the One who can rectify that need, Jesus Christ, who is able to make us a "new creation" by His transforming power (Ephesians 2:1-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Paul, addressing this need, said unto the Ephesian Christians, "Walk not as the Gentiles do." Who were they? They were the ones untouched by the Spirit of God, the non-believers. And how did they walk? What was their lifestyle? They walked in the vanity of their mind, in the futility of their own selfish desires, groping in despair, doing whatever pleased them, loving darkness rather than light. These are the characteristics of man "apart from God."
Read Romans 1 for a picture of man's downward spiral, the result of rejecting God and pleasing himself. When Satan sears man's conscience, sin has no bounds. Satan is in control and leads man into every kind of impurity. Man becomes insensitive to God, his heart is hardened, and he opens up his life to the invasion of Satan and all of his devouring ways. Where is hope?
Isaiah said, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he shall abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7). Christ died "for" us, that He might live "in" us, to produce His life "through us." Jesus said, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2024-02-11
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