The Chief Source of Defilement

by John Yoder on October 31, 2014

The quote from J. C. Ryle about the hearts of our children and the importance of praying for their conversion is found in his comments on Mark 7:14-23.  Here is the whole section on the chief source of defilement:

We see, in the second place, from this passage, that the heart is the chief source of defilement and impurity in God’s sight. Moral purity does not depend on washing or not washing–touching things or not touching them–eating things or not eating them, as the Scribes and Pharisees taught. “There is nothing from outside a man, that entering into him can defile him–but the things which come out of him, these are those who defile the man.”

There is a deep truth in these words which is frequently overlooked. Our original sinfulness and natural inclination to evil are seldom sufficiently considered. The wickedness of men is often attributed to bad examples, bad company, peculiar temptations, or the snares of the devil. It seems forgotten that every man carries within him a fountain of wickedness. We need no bad company to teach us, and no devil to tempt us, in order to run into sin. We have within us the beginning of every sin under heaven.

We ought to remember this in the training and education of children. In all our management we must never forget, that the seeds of all mischief and wickedness are in their hearts. It is not enough to keep boys and girls at home, and shut out every outward temptation. They carry within them a heart ready for any sin, and until that heart is changed they are not safe, whatever we do. When children do wrong, it is a common practice to lay all the blame on bad companions. But it is mere ignorance, blindness, and foolishness to do so. Bad companions are a great evil no doubt, and an evil to be avoided as much as possible. But no bad companion teaches a boy or girl half as much sin as their own hearts will suggest to them, unless they are renewed by the Spirit. The beginning of all wickedness is within. If parents were half as diligent in praying for their children’s conversion as they are in keeping them from bad company, their children would turn out far better than they do.

If you want to read more from J. C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels go here.

Previous post:

Next post: