From the Inside Out


In yesterday’s study, we saw that God’s desire is for us to give our hearts completely to him. On this side of heaven, that is no easy task. But as we grow in our understanding of what Christ has done for us at the cross, we will turn toward him more and more.

  • As you go to his Scripture today, ask God to continue to reveal to you the truth and depth of sin and God’s forgiveness.


14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Summarize, in your own words, Jesus’ argument in this passage.
  2. The Jews believed that many things would defile their relationship with God (such as unclean food and exposure to blood). What are the modern-day equivalents that make you feel defiled (separated from God, contaminated, stained)?
  3. Of the list in verses 21 and 22, what are the things that you see in your heart?
  4. What keeps you from feeling forgiven in your failure?
  5. Scripture tells us that our God is the God of fresh starts. No sin is above God’s ability to forgive and to cleanse you of it. How would you live differently if you always remembered this truth?


The amazing thing about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is that when we come to faith, we have been once-and-for-all made clean. In other words, when God looks at us, he no longer sees our dirty hearts; rather, he sees Christ’s pure heart. When we stray, he only wants us to turn back to him. This is an extremely difficult concept for Christians to fully accept. We want to “earn it,” and God makes it clear that there is absolutely no way this could ever be earned. Accept this for what it is: an amazing, supernatural gift of God’s grace!

  • Confess to God the things in your heart that you know are hindering your relationship with him.
  • Ask God for forgiveness and a fresh sense of freedom and cleanliness.
  • Lord, I thank you for the amazing gift of grace you gave me through the Cross. Help me to understand your love for me in new and amazing ways. Give me a passion for you unlike anything else in my life.