27 “You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, 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. 30 And if your right 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 go into hell.”

Matt 5:27-30 (NIV)

In our verses for today Jesus again goes deeper than the mere act of the sin of adultery – the breaking of the seventh commandment - to the lust behind the action which looms undeterred in the heart. Jesus’ warning is reminiscent of James’ writing on the progression into full-grown sin which leads to death. The source of temptation is found within one’s own heart – stemming from evil desires, lusts or cravings from within. Sadly, a devious heart builds and baits its own trap. Unchecked lusts yields to sin and unconfessed sin brings death. We are to restrain our sinful passions and appetites:

13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15 (NIV)

“The most important thing in life isn’t what we think about ourselves or what others think about us, but what God thinks about us. He is the final Judge. When He examines and evaluates our motives, words, and actions, are we commended, as was Abel, or are we condemned, as was his brother Cain? ‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at,’ God told the prophet Samuel. ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Sam. 16:7).” Warren Wiersbe

We find in Proverbs a warning similar to our Lord’s Words:

23 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, 24 keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. 25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, 26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Prov 6:23-26 (NIV)

God is serious about sin. No matter how trifling we may consider it, God never winks at it. It cost Him the life of His Son to cleanse us from our filthiness therefore He justly and righteously abhors our wallowing in it like a cleaned sow returning to the mud. It will always break our communion with Him and every sin carries with it a death sentence. Jesus teaches us here that we are to restrain corrupt glances and keep out defiling impressions – set before our eyes no vile thing hence the covering given for our eyes which allows us to shut out and turn from that which leads to evil. We are to flee the temptation to sin quickly – looks which ensnare bellow a hellish fire. These precepts are given as hedges around us to keep our hearts pure. This is not just the sin of adultery which Christ refers; it is the lusting after anything – fame, fortune, pleasures, comforts and the like. It is living an unsatisfied life always in need of fulfilling more worldly passions. It is the lie from the pit of hell that our mother Eve bit into when she lusted for the fruit – God is holding out on us – there is more out there than He is willing to give us – our way is better than His – we will be more satisfied with created things rather than the Creator – we know better than our Maker. All of these are eventually found wanting and lead to death. This is why Jesus is so severe in our dealings with sin in the verses for today.

“Sin is a power in our life. Let us fairly understand that it can only be met by another power.” Henry Drummond

“Sometimes the enemy seems to get an advantage over us; but the battle is not over yet. At last thou shalt have the victory, and carry the day for all that. In hard struggles remember the power of Christ, who, in his resurrection, broke through everything. With him thou canst also break through, and be more than conqueror. Yea, in every conflict, if thy faith be firm, thou canst be sure of victory beforehand; for faith engages Christ’s power, and his power ensureth victory; it is as impossible for thine enemies to keep thee always in bonds, as it was impossible that Christ could be kept in the grave by the stone, seal, and keepers. Nay, the greater their force is, the more glorious will be the victory of Christ over them.” K. H. Von Bogatzky

We do well to watch over our hearts, suppressing the first rising of corruption and lust, avoiding occasions whereby we are prone to fall and declining the company of those we are easily ensnared by. Basically, we are to keep out of harm’s way. If I were trying to diet I wouldn’t want to camp out in an ice cream store! We are sensible people we should understand this. God requires nothing of us that would not be for our advantage and ultimate good. It is His desire to give us good things – things that are pleasing and perfect. We are the losers when we wrongly choose to follow the lusts of our own hearts. Turn, our Lord pleads, and we will be healed and live fully.

30 “Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” Ezek 18:30-32 (NIV)

“For the love of God is broader than the measures of man’s mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.” Frederick William Faber

What I Glean

  • God looks at the heart. I am to check my motives.is desire for
  • There is a progression to sin and at first blush it seems rather harmless yet no sin is harmless – it bites like a deadly poisonous snake. I am to flee from it.
  • God has a wonderful plan for my life – plans to prosper and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.