< Mark 7:20-23 >
People Are Confused and Live under Their Own Illusions
First of all, I would like to ask you a question. How do you see yourself? Do you think you are good or bad? What do you think?
All people live under their own illusions. You may not be as bad as you think, nor quite as good as you think.
Who, then, do you think will lead a better life of faith? Will it be one who thinks of himself/herself as good? Or one who thinks of himself/herself as bad?
It is the latter. Let me ask you another question. Who is more likely to be redeemed—the one who has committed more sins or the one who has committed only a few sins? The one who admits that he/she has committed countless sins is more likely to be redeemed because the person accepts that he/she is a grave sinner. Such a person can better accept the Word of redemption prepared for him/her by Jesus.
When we really look at ourselves, it is evident that we are merely masses of sin. What are human beings? A person is only 'a seed of evildoers.' In Isaiah 59, it states that there are all kinds of iniquities in the hearts of people. Therefore, it is clear that people are masses of sin. However, if we define humankind as a mass of sin, many will disagree. But, defining a person as 'a seed of evildoers' is the correct definition. If we honestly look at ourselves, it is clearly obvious that we are evil beings. Those who are honest with themselves must arrive at this very same conclusion.
But, it seems that most people refuse to admit that they are indeed masses of sin. Many live comfortably because they do not consider themselves as sinners. Since we are evildoers, we have created a sinful civilization. If it were not true, we would be too ashamed to sin. However, many of us do not feel ashamed while committing sins.
Nevertheless, their consciences know. Everyone has a conscience that tells him/her, "It is shameful." Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees after they had sinned. Today, many sinners hide themselves behind our vile culture—our culture of sin. They hide themselves among their fellow sinners to avoid the judgment of God.
People are deceived by their own illusions. They think themselves to be more virtuous than others. So, when they hear about some bad news, they cry out in rage, "How can a person do such things? How can a man do that? How can a son do that to his own parents?" They themselves believe that they would not do such things.
Dear friends, it is so hard for you to know yourselves. In order to truly know ourselves, we must first receive the remission of sins. It takes a long time for us to obtain the correct knowledge on our human nature, and there are so many of us who will never find this out until the day they die.
Sometimes we come to encounter such people who really don't know themselves. Socrates said, "Know yourself." However, most of us do not know what is in our hearts: murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye….
One who doesn't know oneself has the venom of a serpent on his/her lips but speaks of goodness. The reason for this is because the person doesn't know that he/she was born as an inevitable sinner.
There are so many in this world who do not know their true natures. They have deceived themselves and end up living their lives completely wrapped up in their own deceptions. They do not understand that they are throwing themselves into hell because of their self–deceptions.
People Spill Sin Continuously All Their Lives
Let's look at Mark 7:21-23. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man." The hearts of people are filled with evil thoughts from the day they are conceived.
Let us just imagine that a person's heart is made of glass and filled to the brim with some filthy liquid, namely, our sins. What would happen if this person moved back and forth? The filthy liquid (sin) would of course spill everywhere. As the person moves about, sin would repeatedly spill all over the place.
We, who are but masses of sin, live out our lives just like that. We spill sin wherever we go. We will sin throughout our lives because we are masses of sin.
The problem is that we do not realize that we are masses of sin, or in other words, the seeds of sin. We are masses of sin and have sin in our hearts from the day of our births.
The masses of sin are ready to overflow. However, people do not believe that they are, in fact, inherently sinful. They think that others lead them into sin and therefore, they aren't the ones who are bad.
Even while committing sins, people think that the only requirement needed to wash themselves clean again is for sin to be expunged. They keep wiping up after themselves every time they sin, telling themselves that it is not their own faults. Just because we clean up after ourselves, does it mean that it's okay to keep on spilling? We would have to continually wipe up over and over again.
When a glass is full of sin, it will keep on spilling. There is no use in wiping up the outside. No matter how often we wipe the outside with our virtuous deeds, it is useless, as long as the glass full of sin.
We are born with so much sin that our hearts will never become empty; no matter how much sin we spill along the way. Therefore, we commit sins throughout our lives.
When someone does not realize that he/she is indeed just a mass of sin, he/she continues to hide his/her sinful nature. Sin is in the hearts of all people and it does not go away by wiping the surface clean. When we spill a little sin, we wipe it up with cloth and when we spill again, we wipe it up with a mop…a towel and then a rug…. We keep hoping that if we just keep wiping up the mess over and over again, it will be clean, but it simply spills again and again.
How long do you think this will go on? It goes on until the day a person dies. People act sinfully until their dying days. This is why we have to believe in Jesus to be redeemed. To be redeemed, we need to first know ourselves.
Let us say there are two men who can be compared to two glasses full of filthy liquid. Both glasses are full of sin. One looks at himself and says, "Oh, I am such a sinful person." Then, he gives up and goes to find someone who can help him.
But the other one thinks that he is not really evil. He cannot see the mass of sin within himself and thinks that he isn't so sinful. All his life, he keeps on wiping up the spills. He wipes up one side, and then the other side...quickly moving over to the other side….
There are so many who carefully live their lives, trying to have as little sin as possible to avoid spilling it over. But since they still have sin in their hearts, what good does it do? Being careful will not lead them any closer to Heaven. 'Being careful' puts them on the road to hell instead.
Dear friends, 'being careful' only leads to hell. We should take this lesson to heart. When people are careful, their sins may not spill over as much, but they are still sinners.
What is in the heart of humanity? Sin? Immorality? Yes! Evil thoughts? Yes! Is there theft? Yes! Arrogance? Yes!
We cannot help but admit to the fact that we are masses of sin, especially when we see ourselves act sinfully and wickedly, without being taught to do so.
It may not be as evident when we are young. But how is it, as we get older? As we go to high school, college, and so on, we come to realize that all that we have inside us is sin. Is this not true? Honestly speaking, it is impossible to hide our sinful natures. Correct? We cannot help but to spill sin. We then regret, "I shouldn't do this." However, we find it impossible to truly change. Why is that so? Because each of us is born as a mass of sin.
We do not become clean simply by being careful. What we need to know is that we are born as masses of sin in order to be completely redeemed. Only sinners who gratefully accept the redemption prepared by Jesus can be saved,
Those who think, "I haven't done much wrong or sinned very much," do not believe that Jesus took away all their sins and that they are destined for hell. We have to know that each of us has this mass of sin within us because we were all born with it.
If one thought, "I have not done much wrong if only I could be redeemed for this little sin," then would he/she be free of sin afterwards? This can never be the case.
One who can be redeemed knows that he/she is a mass of sin. He/she truly believes that Jesus took away all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River and that He paid the wages of sins when He died for us.
Whether we are redeemed or not, we all are prone to live in an illusion. We are masses of sin. That is what we are. We can only be redeemed when we believe that Jesus took away all our sins.
God Didn't Redeem Those Who Have 'a Bit of Sin'
God doesn't redeem those with only 'a bit of sin.' God does not even glance at those who say, "God, I have only a little bit of sin." The ones He shows pity for are those who say, "God, I am a mass of sin. I am going to hell. Please save me." The complete sinners who say, "God, I would be saved if only You saved me. I cannot pray for repentance anymore because I know I cannot help but to repeatedly sin. Please save me."
God saves those who depend on Him completely. I myself tried to offer daily prayers of repentance too, but prayers of repentance never freed me from sin. So, I knelt down before God and prayed, "God, please take pity on me and save me from all my sins." The ones who pray like this will be saved. They come to believe in the redemption of God and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. They will be saved.
God only delivers those who know themselves to be masses of sin, a brood of evildoers. The ones who say, "I have only committed this tiny sin. Please forgive me for it," are still sinners and God cannot save them. God only saves those who admit to themselves that they are complete masses of sin.
In Isaiah 59:1-2, it is written, "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."
Because we are born as masses of sin, God cannot look upon us fondly. It is not because His hand is shortened, His ear is heavy, or that He cannot hear us asking for His forgiveness.
God tells us, "Your iniquities have separated you from Me; and your sins have hidden My face from you, so that I will not hear." Because we have so much sin in our hearts, we cannot enter Heaven, even if the doors are wide open.
If we, who are but masses of sin, asked for forgiveness every time we sinned, God would have to repeatedly kill His Son. God does not want to do this. He says, "Do not come to Me everyday with your sins. I sent you My Son to redeem you from all your sins. All you have to do is understand how He took away your sins and accept that it is the truth. Then, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to be saved. This is the greatest love I have given you, my creations."
This is what He tells us. "Believe in My Son and receive the remission of your sins. I, your God, sent My own Son to atone for all your sins and iniquities. Believe in My Son and be saved."
Those who do not know themselves to be masses of sin ask His forgiveness for their every little sin. They go before Him without knowing the terrible weight of their sins and just pray, "Please forgive this tiny bit of sin. I will never do it again."
They also try to deceive Him with such prayers. We do not commit sin just once, but do so continually until we die. We would have to keep asking for forgiveness until the very last day of our lives, because we cannot stop sinning and our flesh serves the law of sin until we die.
Being forgiven for one little sin cannot solve the problem of sin because we commit countless sins every day. So, the only way we can be free of sin is by passing all our sins onto Jesus.
The Bible enumerates the sins of human beings: "For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; he who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace" (Isaiah 59:3-8).
People's fingers are defiled with iniquity and all they do throughout their lives is sinful. Everything they do is evil. And our tongues 'have spoken lies.' All the things that come out of our mouths are lies.
"When a devil speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources" (John 8:44). Those who are not born again like to say, "I am telling you the truth…. I am really telling you. What I am saying is the truth…." However, everything that they say is nevertheless a lie. It is as it is written. "When a devil speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources."
People put their trust in empty words and speak lies. People conceive evils and bring forth iniquities. They hatch vipers' eggs and weave spiders' webs. God says, "He who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out." He says that there are vipers' eggs in your heart. Vipers' eggs! There is evil in your heart. That's why we have to be redeemed by believing in the gospel of the water and the blood.
Whenever I begin to talk about God, there are those who say, "Oh, dear! Please don't talk to me about God. Every time I try to do something, sin spills out of me. It just floods out. I can't even take a step without spilling sin all over the place. I can't help it. I am too full of sin. I am quite hopeless. So don't even talk to me about the holy God."
This person knows for sure that he/she is just a mass of sin, but does not know that God has saved him/her completely through the gospel of His love. Only those who know themselves to be masses of sin can be saved.
In fact, everyone is like that. Everyone continuously spills sin everywhere he/she goes. Sin just overflows because all people are masses of sin. The only way for us to be saved from such an existence is through the power of God. Is it not simply amazing? Those who spill sin whenever they are upset, happy, or even comfortable can be saved only through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save us.
He has completely blotted out all your sins. Admit that you are a mass of sin and be saved.