Dealing Decisively with Sin!

Dealing Decisively with Sin!

Matthew 5:29-30

  • “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

The Lord Jesus had ways of speaking that would have shocked his hearers. Surely this must have been one of those sayings! We must see this as hyperbole, a purposeful over-statement given to make a point. But this must not cause us to overlook the very point that Jesus is making in this passage. Sin is serious! Sin brings eternal death (Romans 6:23), the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6), judgment (Hebrews 13:4), and hell (Revelation 21:8). Sin is our mortal enemy and it must be resisted in every way possible!

In the previous verse, Jesus said, “Every one who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (cf. Matt. 5:28). In this case, the eyes lead one into sin. Christ said that if our eyes do make us “stumble,” we must deal decisively and drastically to remove whatever makes us fall into sin. The term “stumble” is from the verb scakdalizo, from the noun scandalon, which at first meant the bait-stick or trigger in a trap, then it came to mean the trap or snare itself (Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament, p. 4). Therefore, the term denotes “cause to be caught or to fall, i.e., cause to sin” (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 760). Jesus is saying that our eyes can cause us to stumble into sin. We must do whatever is necessary to deal with this temptation, even taking drastic action to prevent succumbing to sin. In this passage, Jesus says that we should be willing to tear our eye out if it causes us to fall.

Our hands can also lead us to sin. Think of the sexual sins that employ the hands; think of the theft committed with the hands; think of how the hands are used in purchasing worldly and wicked items. We should be willing to take drastic measures to deal with sin—even to the point of cutting off our right hand if it causes us to fall. Although we may say that Jesus is speaking hyperbolically in these cases, we must see the seriousness of this issue!

Do we take drastic measures when we discover something in our life that leads us to disobey God and fall into unholiness? Do certain kinds of music lead you to sinful thoughts? Renounce it—and get rid of your tapes and CDs! Does the television lead you to lustful, covetous, or foolish imaginations? Throw it out! Does the computer provide you with a temptation that you cannot resist and you find yourself falling into foolish or violent games or yielding to impure and lustful programs or sites? Renounce it! Do you discover that women’s magazines, gossip magazines, or pornographic magazines captivate you? Burn them and refuse to look at such trash ever again! What about carnal movies or videos? Renounce them!

Scripture again and again tells us to avoid the temptations to sin and renounce sin wherever we find it. David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me” (Psalm 101:3). Peter adds, “I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Be willing to repent and renounce your sin with the same earnestness that Jesus demands in this passage.

Richard Hollerman

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