|Matthew 23:23-28 |
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these without neglecting the others.
24 You blind guides, who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. [They dress in fine garments, and they pretend to be very holy; but unless changed by the power of God, like all men, their hearts are full of evil, being uncleansed and unpurified. Being covetous, they draw a salary from your contributions, and from their position they lord it over you.]
26 You blind Pharisee! First cleanse what is within the cup and platter, so that the outside of them may be clean also. [Your heart must be purified and cleansed, even perfected; then you are like Jesus, able to witness, teach, or preach; otherwise you are a blind guide leading your followers into the ditch and captivity. To not be banned from heaven, everyone must become pure and holy before they die.]
27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. [Every man's heart is full of uncleanliness, which defile us, as Jesus told us, (click to see). A defiled man is banned from heaven, whatever his lips may say. Jesus came to save us from the evil in ourselves, but we must go to Him, expose ourselves to His instructions, and then faithfully obey what He tells us to do — this is the way of the cross, and there is no other way to avoid being banned from heaven.]
28 Even so, you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [sin].5 [Dressing up in your Sunday-best makes a fine show of outward appearance, but that does not cleanse your heart that is full of sin: lust, sexual immorality, covetousness, anger, greed, pride, envy, etc. Ministers with their robes, stages, pulpits, choirs, and accompanying music, make fine staged entertainment; but in their ministerial performances, the ministers of Christendom teach that sin is excused because they themselves are full of covetousness, sexual immorality, anger, and pride — hypocrisy and iniquity.]
5 You clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. First cleanse what is within the cup and platter, so that the outside of them may be clean also. For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness...you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [sin]. Do not read this and assume it only applies to the Jewish Pharisees. Jesus is telling us all that we must have a cleansed heart; all our inward parts are full of greed and lusts and wickedness, until he cleanses us, until he purifies us, until he washes us, until he frees us from all sin, until he perfects us — until then we are nothing but selfish beasts, completely unfit to be in the company of God.
Jesus tells us what defiles our hearts and must be destroyed:
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.
These are the things that defile a man; Mat 15:19-20
Whatever comes out of the man is what defiles the man.
For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lack of restraint, an evil eye [envy], blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
All these evil things come from within a man, and defile him. Mark 7:20-23
We can all make a fine show with our Sunday-best clothing. We can all pretend to be loving and kind. We can all watch our language to not show our anger. We can all carry our Bibles to look holy. We can all wear a cross on our neck or lapel. But that does not fool God, who sees our hearts, who hears every thought, who knows what is in our heart even beyond what we think. God calls us hypocrites if we are sinning and claiming to be religious; He says our lips utter praise but our hearts are far from Him. He knows all because He is in us all from birth; the Light and Word Christ is in every man's heart, as we drag him through the dirt and mire of our sins. Unless we go to him to be cleansed, we can only expect to be banned from heaven when we die.
The gospel of Jesus promises the release from the bondage of sin, the Kingdom of God while on earth, and union with God. To realize the promises of God, you must seek Him, which Jesus told us to make our first priority in life. Mat 6:33. To seek Him, he said for us to come to Him. He said to sit at his feet and listen for Him was the good part, the one thing needed, and what will not be taken away. So we sit in humble silence as we listen for his voice and words, and watch for his revelations. When we hear his commands, we obey Him. The Bible calls this waiting on God. To wait on God is to persistently sit in humble silence, listen for his voice and words, watch for his revelations, hear his commands, and then obey Him. This waiting is how we receive the promises of the gospel, including salvation from sin:
To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation. Heb 9:28
And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the author and source of eternal salvation to all those who heed and obey him. Heb 5:9
If you die still sinning, you would be absolutely miserable in heaven; all your pleasures and desires, having not been crucified while on earth, are not available in heaven, and you would be miserable without them. You would be yearning for the old wine, which you think is better than the new wine because you have not been prepared, crucified, purified, (the new wineskin), and freed from lusts, anger, sexual desires, resentment, envy, greed, lying, jealousy, foolishness, revelry, drunkenness, pleasures, etc. Even your thoughts would be heard by everyone around you; you would be terrified and wanting to run to darkness where you hope your thoughts would not be heard by everyone. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens.