Today's Word of Encouragement
Saturday, June 13, 2020
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. . . . 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 (Matthew 5:29-30).
This passage has caused a lot of people anxiety and sleepless nights. Talk about extreme measures to keep from sinning! The real issue, however, is the heart. A blind person can sin just as easily as a sighted person, and a paralyzed person can sin just as easily as one who has all of his physical abilities. Jesus said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness (Mark 7:20-22).
The expression, if your right eye causes you to sin, stresses strong adulterous lust, godless desires, or evil appetites - They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin (2 Peter 2:14). The expression, if your right hand causes you to sin, stresses the involvement in sin. The right hand is one of the most important parts of the human body. 75-90% of all humans are right handed. But the truth is, to lose one or both would be a costly loss.
So, what is the point? Jesus emphasized the seriousness of sin. The phrase, causes you to sin, literally means ‘trap you in sin’ - if your eye or hand traps you in sin. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:14-15). To ‘lure’ is to lead into a trap. A fisherman uses a lure to trap a fish so that he can control it. What the eye sees and the hand does can become a trap for the mind, spirit, and heart to be controlled by sin.
“These vivid pictures are not to be taken literally, but powerfully plead for self-mastery” (A.T. Robertson). Jesus did not advocate self-mutilation in order to keep from sinning. You could cut off both hands and blind both eyes and still sin against God in your thoughts, motives, affections, and will. What Jesus insisted is a person control his/her body from yielding to sin. The person who plays with fire will get burned, or worse.
How serious are we to take physical resisting to sin? . . . consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions (Romans 6:11-13). Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Is this possible? Yes, but not without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
"Father, continue to remind me how serious it is to yield to sin, and how it can ruin my mind, body, spirit, heart, and life. Continue to release the power of the Holy Spirit in my life so that I will recognize the traps Satan can use to ambush, control, and wreck my life and service in Jesus Christ. Amen."