27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’[a]28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye[b]—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. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand[c]—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.
After seeing God’s purpose for marriage, partnership, pleasure and procreation, we now see God’s plan for:
- Purity in Marriage
When it comes to purity in marriage scripture reveals both the problem as well as the protection.
It is very difficult to preserve a marriage that has experienced sexual infidelity. Because the pain of unfaithfulness sexually can be greater than the pain of death itself. Infidelity poisons partnership because without trust there is no teaming. Trust is the foundation of relationship and sexual unfaithfulness destroys trust, undermining the foundation. Adultery doesn’t just break our vows it breaks hearts and trust. Today we have tried to soften the seriousness of sexual sin by calling it an affair instead of adultery, but while you can soften the name you can’t soften the pain of sexual unfaithfulness. For this reason, Jesus expands on the simplicity of the 7th commandment in Matthew 5 to explain the process that results in this relational ruin. Like murder it begins in the heart long before it becomes an outward act of sin. Jesus reminds us of the connection between our thought life and our actual life. Are you careful or carless when it comes to your thought life? 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive. But instead of taking them captive we cultivate them. It’s called fantasizing which contrary to the culture that thinks this is healthy Christ says it is harmful. Because it causes us to live a lust-based life instead of a love based one. It cultivates a culture that kills marriage because lust consumes where love contributes. It is not the fleeting thought that Jesus is explaining here, it is the dwelling thought that is entertained. To look on another woman and allow a process of fantasizing to develop with lust can be just as sinful as the act of adultery. Why, because even if it doesn’t lead to the act of adultery it leads us away from love and into lust. Lust destroys relationship because it makes it about me not, we. A lust-based life causes us to use people for self-pleasure. No one wakes up and decides they will commit adultery today, it is usually the result of dwelling on lustful thoughts that produce the fruit of sin later. Men and women tend to lust differently, while men tend to fantasize visually women often do it romantically. But the point is if we are not investing in our marriage we will be in danger of investing outside of our marriage. The battle is often won in our thought life, we must guard our HEARTS AND MINDS in order to live godly. Let me illustrate this with a story: There were two Buddhist monks walking in a drenching thunderstorm. They came to a stream that had swollen its banks. A beautiful young Japanese woman in a kimono stood there wanting to get to the other side but was afraid of the currents. In characteristic Buddhist compassion, one of the monks said, “Can I help you?” The woman said, “I need to cross this stream.” The monk picked her up, put her on his shoulder, and carried her through the water, carefully putting her down on the other side. He and his companion went on to the monastery. That night his companion said to him, “I have a bone to pick with you. As Buddhist monks, we have taken vows not to look on a woman, much less touch her body. Back there by the river you did both.” The first monk responded to this by saying, “My brother, I put that woman down on the other side of the river but you are still carrying her in your mind.” This is why the plague of pornography can be so devastating, especially for men who are more visually directed than women are. What you carry around in your mind will be the culture you cultivate, either a love or a lust based one. I will never forget going into a guy’s garage to look at a vehicle he had fixed up and saw that he had a pin up calendar hanging on the wall. He was a grand pa with grand kids. What message was he sending to his grandkids? Guys this isn’t something we just grow out of with time it takes truth and godliness to deal with the garbage. Instead of fantasy we need to focus on our faith, are you filling your life with garbage or God? Fantasy sets your wife up for failure and you for disillusionment, look she is not a pin up model she is woman made in God’s image. She is your partner not a porn star. Ladies this is not just a male problem, fantasy is also a female problem. While men tend to make a visual connection, women tend to make an emotional connection. Either way you are still focused on someone else. Men tend to fantasize women tend to flirt. And ladies while it may make you feel good to get a guy to like you more than the girl he is with, if he leaves her for you what have you really gained, a cheater, someone you can’t trust. The processes of lust once stimulated will look for opportunity to find expression for that lust. It is also the reason why the Bible talks about our dress and appearances as being “moderate” and not in such a way as to help create lust in someone else’s mind. Ladies stop taking sexies and calling them selfies. Where you take 20 pictures and post the one you know will draw attention typically a birds eye view. Sure, people will like it, but what will those likes be based on, lust not love. If you want someone to like and love you don’t encourage them to lust after you. Jesus’ point here is to promote a healthy discipline with our minds and thought life because ultimately it will impact our lives through actions. No wonder Paul also encourages a proper thought life in Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Jesus wants us to understand just how important it is to discipline our thought life to the extent that he uses two powerful metaphors about gouging out your eye if it tends to stray toward lust or cutting off your hand! He is not encouraging actual self-mutilation, He is simply stating how critically important it is to do whatever is necessary to prevent the process of lust from developing. The root of sin begins in our thought life, and what we entertain in your head will enter our heart and exit through our hands. So often instead of exterminating it we entertain it. But not young Joseph, when Potiphar’s wife tried to entice him into bed, HE JUST FLED. In 2 Timothy 2:22 the Bible tells us to, “Flee youthful lusts” something Joseph took literally! This is not a call to control ungodly appetites but to kill them. So, what about you are you cultivating lust or kill it by cutting it off?