Join us Sundays at 10am

A letter from a friend (Church Fast Day 4)

Todays Reading: Matthew 15

I decided I didn’t know how to write a devotional (mostly due to no experience) but, I knew how to write a letter to a friend. So hey friend! Today, we read Matthew 15 and there is A LOT to unpack. I am not skillful enough to unpack it all or any of it without Christ. So with a lot prayer and many tears, here we go.

The opening passage to Matthew 15 starts with the Pharisees questioning Jesus on why His disciples break the traditions of the elders by not washing their hands when they ate. Jesus ends up rebuking them for following traditions of man vs. God’s Commandments.  Jesus references back to Isaiah 29:13 “And the Lord said: Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” (side note: I love when you see Jesus and the disciples referring back to the old testament. It reminds me of 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”)

When we go a little further down, Jesus expounds upon what actually defiles us.

Matthew 15:10-20 10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[d] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Goodness, every time I get here I feel overwhelmed with fear that I wouldn’t explain this part right. Would it be legalism? It could be.  Obviously, in the beginning of the chapter the Pharisees are well ,the Pharisees. But, is that all we can take away from this? Don’t be legalistic, have a nice day? What about matter of the defilement of sin? All would be great topics, I am sure. (I have many opinions on both. Let’s talk later about it.) I want to talk about what fixes those issues. How do we stay away from legalism and, die to our sin?

We remind ourselves of the Good News. We have been saved by grace through faith in Christ. The God of the universe sent His one and only son to be the last sacrifice ever needed for the atonement of our sins, so that we could be called sons and daughters of God. Stop for a minute and, be in awe with me. We are ADOPTED BY GOD.  Because of this, we no longer have to be slaves to sin or the demands of legalism. Our only duty in life now, is to live it for the Glory of God. How freeing is that?

Soli Deo Gloria!