In verses 1-13 of this chapter, we find the Pharisees and scribes criticizing the Lord for allowing His disciples to eat bread with unwashed hands. According to their traditions, this would defile a man. We read part of the Lord’s response in verses 6-7 which says, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” These men were guilty of teaching the people their own traditions instead of instructing them in the doctrines of the Bible. The Lord goes on to point out to them how they had ignored or even changed the meaning of the Word to fit their accepted traditions.

So, the Lord calls His disciples to Himself and calls for their undivided attention. He then explains to them where true defilement comes from. It comes from within. Let’s read Mark 7:14-23, “And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” The Lord taught that any kind of food or drink taken with unwashed hands would not defile a man in a moral sense. It’s the things that come out of a man that will defile him. Matthew 15:11 says, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

These Pharisees and scribes were so concerned with the outward appearance that they failed to realize what true defilement was and where it came from. They devised traditions that they considered to betray a Godly character, when they were really living lives of disobedience to God’s Word. In Matthew 23:27 the Lord accused them saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” On the outside they looked clean and beautiful, but on the inside they were full of defilement.

Why is it that what comes out of us, or out of our mouths brings defilement to us? Matthew 12:34 tells us that, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” What we say reveals the condition of our hearts. We can try to keep up an appearance of godliness, even as the Pharisees and scribes did, but eventually our words will reveal our true character. While we may fool others, we cannot fool the Lord. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that, “…the LORD looketh on the heart.” The Lord knows what is in our hearts. He knows if our hearts are full of defilement or if they have been made clean by the blood of His dear Son. Dear friend, are you trying to merely give the appearance of being godly? The Lord knows. You cannot fool Him. Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and He will declare you to be, “clean every whit” as we read in John 13:10. (172.6)