A high value in ancient Jewish culture was that of ceremonial “purity.” This came by separating from anything that would render a person unclean, such as avoiding physical contact with any substance or person that would contaminate their “cleanliness.” This is why Simon quips, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (Luke 7.39). For Simon and the Pharisees, if they touched something unclean they, then, became unclean.
But not according to Jesus: “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them” (Mark 7.15). Jesus said we’re clean or unclean based on what’s in our heart.
This is a great reminder. We often become consumed with keeping up an appearance of “cleanliness.” We attend church, speak proper Christian verbiage, and don’t post incriminating photos online. But Jesus points out that things like hatred, bitterness, lust, pride, and envy are the true culprits of contamination.
The starting point of cleansing from these impurities is confession and forgiveness. When we acknowledge our uncleanness before God, he promises he will be “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9b).
Take a moment today to examine your heart. If the Holy Spirit reveals an area out of line with what he desires, acknowledge it before him, accept his forgiveness, and consider how God wants you to respond in the future.