Whole Counsel Theology

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Seriousness of Sin

As our Sunday School class continues our discussion of the Sermon on the Mount, I'll continue to post some of the passages and comment on them. Jesus had some very pointed things to say, and far too often we ignore our Lord's teaching. May God rebuke us and forgive us when we do it, and then remind us of what we've so foolishly ignored. I truly believe this post and the following will penetrate us deeply.

Let's examine our Lord's words:
Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Matthew 5:30 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 the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!

This is a very strong teaching, as is obvious from the language Jesus used. Jesus just finished talking about the sin of adultery, and the fact that if a man lusts after a woman, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. This went beyond a common understanding of the day, which indicated that if a man didn't do anything physical, it didn't matter much what else he did. Jesus corrected this abuse of the Commandment with God's intention in it when He handed it down originally.

Following up on that, Jesus made a statement that should make us all repent with tears if we ever deal with sin in a light-hearted, flippant manner. Sin is serious business, and none of it should be taken lightly.

There have been those in church history who have taken Jesus's statements in these two verses literally, and have cut off hands, gouged out eyes, or done even more things to try to get rid of sinful influences on their lives. There is a problem with these courses of action, however:

1.) First of all, few if any of us have never sinned with our eyes and our hands. King David of course did both (in committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed), and from what the Scriptures tell us, he kept both his eyes and his hands. One would think that if this were meant to be taken literally, there would be a lot more people around missing an eye or a hand. In addition to that, when Peter struck the high priest's servant and cut off his ear, Jesus didn't demand Peter's dismemberment.

2.) If we have lusted or stolen, and we remove an eye or a hand, will that keep us from lusting or stealing again? Chances are we'd lust with our other eye and steal with our other hand. Furthermore, even if we lose both eyes, inappropriate images we have seen in the past could still revisit our minds, and might even do so more frequently since there wouldn't be anything new registering in our brains. The human mind does not easily forget.

That being said, I do not think that Jesus intended us to dismember ourselves when we sin -- but He did make a very important point. Sin is a serious matter. We cannot think we are immune to it, and we must ALWAYS be on guard against it. If there is even a small sin (calling any sin "small" is really a misnomer), we must repent of it immediately, and never think that to "sin a little" is acceptable, ever.

May God bring this truth to our minds and bring us to repentance for His glory.

2 Comments:

  • Good stuff. Would be to God that more Christians could foster a genuine hatred for sin, and see even the "small sins" as God sees them. More churches need to teach that Jesus not only saves us IN ours sins, but FROM them as well.

    Paul

    By Blogger Paul West, at Monday, February 27, 2006 11:29:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Paul.

    It's something I pray every day. I so often lose sight of my Greatest Desire and not honor Him as I should. I pray daily that God would cause me to hate and mortify my sin, to His glory.

    SDG,
    David Hewitt

    By Blogger David B. Hewitt, at Tuesday, February 28, 2006 1:20:00 PM  

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