“So if your eye – even your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand – even your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30
These are two of the most startling
sentences of the Gospel. There can
be no question that Jesus builds His message on a truth from the world of the flesh, but it is evident from the context that His language has application to the world of the spirit.
If the right eye was removed, the
sinner could still lust as effectively with his left eye or his other hand.
This is not a matter of the flesh, it is a matter of the heart. The eyes and the hand is not the source of sin, your heart is the source of sin. Sin starts in our minds and works its way into our heart. So the logical answer to this problem is allowing God to change the passion of your heart.
This change in our heart is no less
painful than the physical mutilation.
Most of us have spent a long time
learning how to be selfish and lustful.
We should not expect the end of
these things to come without
trauma. Jesus could have used any
sinful act in the sermon, but he used sexual desire, because sexual desire is the more radical challenge to the purity of our hearts.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin
as clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
How desperately Christians of this generation need to listen to this scripture.
It is better for a person to be
physically maimed than to enter into hell forever. However, doing physical damage to one’s self does not in any way guarantee entrance into heaven.
What Jesus simply taught was that
man must bring the passions of his
heart under control of the Spirit of God.