Seven sins which come from the heart and defile

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:18-19 NASB).

The word defile here means to make common, declare or count unclean, render unhallowed, or profane.

The evil thoughts mean full of, pressed, and harassed by labors, annoyances, and hardships. These are thoughts that bring toils, annoyances, and perils. It is also used of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness, causing pain and trouble. These evil thoughts are of a bad nature or condition. In a physical sense, this word refers to being diseased or blind. In an ethical sense, its primary use here, it means evil, wicked, or bad.

The word for murder is pretty straightforward and simply means to murder or slaughter. A dictionary definition of the word is the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder). Jesus exposed the spiritual intent of the command not to murder when He said, “You have heard that it was said by the ancients, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders shall 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 Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22 MEV).

Adulteries is also pretty straightforward, the meaning and the word listed as the same. The dictionary definition of adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse. Jesus, again anticipating the technicalities His listeners were imagining that would make them innocent of this command, exposed the spirit behind the command not to commit adultery in the same sermon that He discussed the command not to murder. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It’s not just enough not to actually commit the physical act. Entertaining thoughts of these acts are the equivalent of doing the act in the eyes of God.

The Greek word for fornication is “porneia” much like our word “pornography.” This word “fornications” means illicit sexual intercourse. That includes adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, incest, and sex with a divorced woman, although I would say that this comes with the biblically-defined exceptions of a divorced woman who has been cheated on (Matthew 5:32) or a divorced woman who has become a believer that the unbelieving spouse wanted nothing to do with anymore (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). In those cases, a person is no longer enslaved and is free to remarry. There is also a form of spiritual fornication that God sees as the same as physical fornication against one’s spouse. Spiritual fornication is the worship of idols or eating sacrifices offered to idols.

The Greek word for thefts here is another one of those self-explanatory words that means the same as the word. A dictionary definition of the word is the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny."

False witness means to give false testimony.

The Greek word for slanders is “blasphēmia” and sounds like the word “blasphemy.” So to slander someone is essentially to blaspheme them. Slander, then, is detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name. It can also mean impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty. This is where slander against God is considered blasphemy because there is no higher majesty than God Himself.

Thankfully, there is hope for all who have been defiled by these sins. God loves you and wants you to experience his peace and life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Being at peace with God is not automatic because by nature you are separated from God. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God’s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, he paid the penalty for your sins. “‘He bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds he healed you’” (1 Peter 2:24). You cross the bridge into God’s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). You need to do four things to receive Christ. Admit your spiritual need by agreeing you are a sinner. Repent and be willing to turn from your sin. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross. Receive, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life. Christ says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). “For, ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:13). Then take a firm stand for Jesus Christ, making your life count every day by telling people about your decision, reading and studying God’s Word (The Bible), and praying.