Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 4, 2018

Cleaning the inside of the cup – “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 23:23-28.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law:  justice and mercy and faithfulness;  but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.  You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.  You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  Matthew 23:23-28.

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Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”  John 7:24.

Today is Independence Day for United States more commonly known as “the 4th of July”.  For appearance sake, there are some who will wear red, white, and blue and wave U.S. flag, but their actions are unpatriotic and do not serve United States.  And, there are others who do not wear red, white, and blue nor wave U.S. flag, but their actions show that they are very patriotic and render great service to United States.

Just as it is more important to be patriotic and render service to the country than it is to wear the country’s colors and wave the country’s flag, today’s Scripture teaches that it is more important to take actions that promote justice and mercy and faithfulness than it is to appear righteous.

Furthermore, today’s Scripture pronounces woe on those, in the language of 2 Corinthians 5:12, “who take pride in appearance and not in heart.”

The Law cleans the outside of a man but does not and even cannot clean the inside of a man.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.  You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  Verses 25-28.

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”  Colossians 2:20-23.

But, in comparison to the Law, the Spirit first cleans the inside of a man.    

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”  John 7:38.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:  immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:16-23.

“But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;  but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:15-18.


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