by Eduardo Pierini
In my country society neither respects the law or those who
administer it. We see those who have the power in their hands to
enforce justice as those who, more often than not, twist it. From
childhood we have been accustomed to the symbol of justice as
being represented by a woman wearing a hat. Her eyes are covered,
and she's holding a balance. This balance symbolizes equal
treatment. These days this symbol of justice seems like a
fairytale. But justice is not a fairytale to God. He sees
everything; not just what happens in this country, but in the
Almost three thousand years ago the Lord said, "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment." (Isaiah 59:14,15)
One doesn't have to be very intelligent to know that these days justice hardly exists; and there is next to none in man. We know that justice is as corrupt as man. We find ourselves saying, "I can't believe it! What's the world coming to? What's happening to this country? It didn't used to be like this!"
Back in my grandparent's day a simple handshake sealed a deal. Also in my grandparent's day people didn't lock the doors of their homes or cars. It didn't even occur to people to touch something that didn't belong to them.
These days it's necessary to use chains, locks and alarms, but even they don't make much difference. Robbers will dig a tunnel under the street if need be to get to their objective. And this isn't just in Argentina.
"Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey:..." The Spanish translation of this verse says something to the effect of "he that departs from evil ends up in prison." That is to say, he who obeys the law still ends up in prison; that's how corrupt the judicial system has become. Now picture a group of people working. One says, "Let's slow down. At this wage, there's no reason why we should work so hard." But a man of integrity wants to work because he knows that if he doesn't he's robbing both God and his employer. He decides to produce and to do his best. You won't find this man wasting time on the job.
We see how those who preside as court judges are often found guilty of corruption when under investigation. If someone robs your home and you catch him, you had better be careful that when you accuse the thief you don't end up in prison yourself! So we find ourselves saying, "Where is justice?" Yet the problem doesn't lie with those who administer the law; the problem has its roots much deeper than meets the eye, very much hidden from view. God tells us we are part of the problem.
We are tackling this theme, not to solve the world's problems,
but rather to establish the fact that there is a place, a kingdom
in this world, a kingdom of justice, and it's called the Kingdom
of God, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus said, "Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand." (Mark 7:14)
We hear a lot of things, but the majority of things we hear we don't understand either because we don't pay enough attention or we don't understand because our intellectual capacity is limited.
Jesus wanted to talk to them and He wanted their full attention. When He had their full attention He continued speaking. "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." (Mark 7:15,16)
A few days ago a lady in one of our meetings was making hand gestures. Later I learned that she was deaf. She could understand, she could talk, but she couldn't hear. Jesus said, "If you have ears to hear, hear." What He very much wanted them to hear and understand was that what comes out from within us is what defiles us. What comes out will defile another? No. You will defile yourself. Jesus continues to say, "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:..." (Mark 7:21-23)
Our hearts are in reality dens of iniquity.
Perhaps you're thinking, "I really am a good person." I didn't say that you weren't a good person. Jesus said from within the heart all these things come out. Jesus reduced the global problem of society to one thing: You and me. From my heart - my thoughts - comes all this evil and it defiles me.
A man who studies to receive a degree in law will eventually administer justice in court. He administers justice according to the law he studied, yet his heart is contaminated. Even though his intentions are good and the law he studied is good, he is contaminated, therefore his judgments are also contaminated. Jesus is saying that the problem with Argentina, with man, and with society, doesn't stem from the outside, it comes from within. Don't think of the problem as being global or as governmental or as judicial; it's something a lot closer.
Perhaps some of you are thinking that if only you didn't have that wife or that husband things would be different. Or if only things were like this or like that then you would be a better person. The problem isn't your husband or your wife or your circumstances. The problem stems from within you... from within me. This is something to understand and to recognize. If you can recognize that the problem is you you're doing well - you've paid attention and have understood a good part of what the Lord wants to say.
Man without Christ in his heart is under a curse; he's separated from God and evil reins in his heart and dominates his mind. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,..." Do you sometimes have bad thoughts? These come from within and they contaminate. Often we have mental conversations with ourselves. In the Bible we find this many times."The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." (Psalms 14:1) Perhaps I look at a person who I know doesn't like me very much and I begin to fabricate in my mind all sorts of twisted thoughts about them. Before I know it I hate them. Yes! We do have evil thoughts.
Adulteries. These also proceed from the heart. Adulteries mean sexual sins or immoral acts. Perhaps you're thinking, "I have a wife and no other relationship outside of her." Jesus said, "...whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)
Thefts... raise your hand if you've never stolen anything.
Murders. Okay, so now you can say you're not on the list. You haven't murdered anyone. But Jesus said that whoever hates or is angry without a cause with his brother is a murderer. What about those that after having committed fornication and then abandon their partner? And what about those women who act loosely to later kill the life their act produced by abortion? Isn't that murder? Who made them do it? Jesus says that these things are hidden in the heart. Covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness... the list is long.
Deceit is false testimony. Deceit is to twist the truth. The Scriptures tell us that no deceit was found in Jesus' mouth.
Lasciviousness is similar to lust or lewdness; it's the lack of self-control - people who give free rein to every perverse impulse that comes their way. Who can say, "I am free"? Who can say, "This doesn't apply to me"?
Covetousness or envy is the displeasure we feel when we see someone with something that we don't have. Envy poisons the heart. It destroys. Once a man called Cain killed his brother because God had blessed him. Hate entered Cain's heart through the door of envy and as a result he killed. Envy not only affects you, but can be tremendously harmful to others. It was because of envy that a family of twelve brothers plotted together and threw one of their brothers, Joseph, into a pit and then sold him into slavery. King Saul, who was chosen by God to be king of Israel became envious when David became more popular than him. Saul persecuted him and attempted to kill him several times. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians gave us an antidote for envy. "...charity envieth not;..." (I Corinthians 13:4 )
Blasphemy is to speak abusively and slanderously; to say more than one should. I read once on a car's bumper sticker "Before you speak think if you have something to say." We talk and talk and talk. Proverbs 10:19 says, "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Pride is also on the list. Pride is arrogance. It's to think yourself better than others. It was the spirit of pride that rose up in Satan. It is highmindedness.
Foolishness is the end result of all the perverse inclinations
After reading this list you might ask, "God, is all this really in my heart?" It's because it is in our heart that we have those bad reactions, and do bad things, and think bad thoughts. If the problem is within us we can't put the blame for our actions on someone else.
A NEW HEART
Jesus said that He knew that man was corrupt from birth but He found a solution. What was that solution? Ezekiel 11:19,20 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." God promised to take out all contamination; to remove this den of iniquity from within us and give us a new heart and a new life. Today is a special day for you because here you have set before you life and death. You can continue with your present corrupt heart or you can receive a new one. Recognize that the problem isn't outside but inside. If you can recognize this you've taken a very important step forward. To admit the truth is to put yourself in line with God. There is a solution for you!
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