“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows that our thoughts are judged first as well as our actions because every sinful deed originates from the mind. Christ points out that character is determined, not so much by the outward act, as by the inward attitude that motivates the act. The outward act merely reflects and activates the inward attitude.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 25:21, 22).
Murder is an end result of anger. A person may hide his anger from his fellow men. All the legal courts can do is to punish the acts that result from anger but God alone is able to see the root of the matter, and judge a man for anger itself.
Also Jesus added, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27, 28).
Jesus showed that sin is an act of the higher powers of the mind—the reason, the power of choice, the will (Prov. 7:19). The outward act is merely an extension of the inward decision. And God will certainly judge us by our thoughts first and then by our actions.
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In His service,
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