Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”(Matthew 5:27-32)
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, we hear Jesus exhorting his disciples’ righteousness to exceed the self-righteousness of the Pharisees.
Today, Jesus is teaching them and us about that which is of most importance in our lives . . . inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is insisting that we should not let any other thing in this world distract us from having the Everlasting Life. In our verse today, Jesus says that if it is the things we hold dear in our hearts that will make us lose the Kingdom of God, then let them go. When Jesus talks about gouging out our eyes and cutting off our hands, He doesn’t literary mean that but means shedding off someone or something that may lead you into sin. You can shed off bad habits like adultery, drunkenness, gambling, idolatry etc. They may seem like fun and feel good when doing them but they ultimately lead us into sin.
Holiness, is a treasure we carry within ourselves. But holiness is not just about cutting things out of your life. There are other ways you can preserve and foster holiness. Pick up the Scriptures and read—maybe the story of Jesus’ death or a passage that declares your worth in God’s sight (Matthew 26–28; Psalm 139). Write a note to remind yourself that you are “created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Ephesians 4:24). Sit quietly in prayer and ask the Lord to show you something about the depth of his love for you.
Remember too that God earnestly desires you to be holy, and so he is intent on reaching out to help you. So when you are facing temptation and the allure of sin, cry out to him. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you his grace and to help you grow in the fruit of self-control. And if you do fall to temptation, don’t despair. God still loves you. No distance, no depth of sin, is ever beyond his reach. He is always ready to forgive you, even if you commit the same sin again and again. Never hesitate to run to him. He will shower you with his mercy—and the grace to live a holy life.
He knew that the spiritual life is a journey and not a moment. In this journey, he knew that we would stumble. When we pick ourselves up, it is to God that we must look to for forgiveness, and it is then that the ‘great exchange’ that Luther speaks of, takes place, “You give God your sin and He gives you His Son on the Cross”
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, help us to identify the negative distractions in our lives that can make us lose the Kingdom of God. Help us to shun them and give us the strength to avoid falling back into their tempting invitations. Jesus, we love you.”
Jesus teaches that righteousness involves responding to every situation in life in a way that fulfills God’s law, not just externally but internally as well. He knows that evil desires spring from the heart. He also knows that lust and adultery lead to even more grievous sin. That is why he discusses that the sin of adultery must first be dealt with in the heart, the place not only of the emotions, but the mind, will, thought, and intentions as well.