14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
The food you eat does not defile you spiritually. It is the actions that flow from a wicked heart. Your real problem isn’t your disgust at what other people do, how they live, or what they believe or don’t believe. Your problem is your own wicked heart and your lust for sin.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Your heart desires to sin much like a crowd is desperate to get out of a burning building. They are often so desperate that they will pull any would-be rescuer in with them and cause his death, as well as their own. The human heart is desperate to do wickedness. Your wickedness may only be revealed in smug self-righteous pride rather than malicious and malevolent works but it is wickedness nonetheless. It may be revealed in a reckless disregard for God’s authority over your life but it is evil, in any event.
The human heart by its very nature repeats a similar challenge to the Almighty that Lucifer did when he rebelled against Him.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Unlike what ritualistic religions teach, there is nothing that you can eat that will spiritually defile you. The curse on animals, clean and unclean, from a spiritual perspective was removed by Christ’s work on the cross at Calvary. (Acts 10:9-28)
It is what comes out of your mouth, preceded by your vile thoughts, that makes you filthy, not what you took in. We like to blame our environment, upbringing, social class, education, looks, intelligence, or some other circumstance for our misdeeds. We like to focus on what others do that makes the world a rotten place or our lives miserable. But, the problem is ourselves.
Your iniquity doesn’t have to be vulgar words, indecent dress, or immoral actions; it can just be the expression of a heart consumed with self.
The words of verse 16 are repeated often to underscore something very, very important. The seven types of churches in the first part of Revelation are told this each one.