Jesus challenges us to see how corrupt our heart can be, and it is about our heart. Jesus says do not feel good because you do not commit adultery.
- What about the pornography?
- What about all those TV shows and the fact they aren’t so innocent in what they are suggesting?
- Why is it you like to watch them, Jesus asks.
- What about …?
The list of these questions, could go on forever. Sexuality is “in our face” and not subtle at all. Jesus is clear that what can be in our heart is corrupt. No mincing of words here but then again Jesus is always clear.
God has a goal for us. God wants us to be pure. Jesus makes it clear that “the law” about adultery is not the issue when our heart is burning up with lust. The culture of our world is not a subtle one. It is all over the top and clear in its message. Jesus challenges us to make a choice. Mental adultery is missing God’s goal for us.
So … Jesus challenges us to be pure. He gives us the power to be pure in His Holy Spirit. But we do have a choice. Will we make it?
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. with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Matthew 5:27–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Jesus affirmed God’s law of purity, and then explained that the intent of this law was to reveal the sanctity of sex and the sinfulness of the human heart.
- God created sex, and God protects sex.
- God has the authority to regulate it and to punish those who rebel against His laws.
- God does not regulate sex because He wants to rob us, but rather, because He wants to bless us.
- Whenever God says, “No” it is that He might say “Yes” when it follow His way and meets His goal for us.
Sexual impurity begins in the desires of the heart. Again, Jesus is not saying that lustful desires are identical to lustful deeds, and therefore a person might just as well go ahead and commit adultery. The desire and the deed are not identical, but spiritually speaking, they are equivalent. The “look” that Jesus mentioned was not a casual glance, but a constant stare with the purpose of lusting. It is possible for a man to glance at a beautiful woman and know that she is beautiful, but not lust after her. The man Jesus described looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sensual appetites as a substitute for the act. It was not accidental; it was planned.
How do we get victory? By purifying the desires of the heart (appetite leads to action) and disciplining the actions of the body. Obviously, our Master Jesus is not talking about literal surgery; for this would not solve the problem in the heart. The eye and the hand are usually the two “culprits” when it comes to sexual sins, so they must be disciplined.
- Jesus said, “Deal at once and decisively with sin!
- Don’t taper off—cut off!”
- Spiritual surgery is more important than physical surgery, for the sins of the body can lead to eternal judgment.
Jesus illustrates the seriousness of lust destroying the marriage bond through two graphic examples: “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away” (5:29), and “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (5:30).
- Most people being right-handed, the right side often stood for the more powerful or important side.
- The eye is the medium through which the temptation first comes to stimulate the lust, and the hand is the instrument by which the lust is physically committed.
- So, Jesus uses hyperbole (deliberate exaggeration) for the sake of emphasizing the seriousness of single-hearted devotion—single-eyed and single-handed commitment to one’s spouse.