Monday, January 5, 2009

Matthew 5: 27-30 Watch What You Watch

We live in a culture that could be best described in one word-perverse. Sexual immorality is rampant in our culture and hardly anyone bats an eye anymore. I have been watching a program that would really be considered a kids program before and had a commercial come on that was, shall we say, less than appropriate for kids. Shows aimed at teenagers regularly feature homosexuality as acceptable and mock the idea of sexual purity as if losing your virginity is some sort of rite of passage. Today more than ever it seems we need to hear what the bible says about sexual sin.

In these verses, Jesus warns us against involving ourselves in immoral sexual relationships.
First of all, He reminds His audience what they have heard taught by the rabbis, that "You shall not commit adultery". Now, in the same manner as we examined murder most of us could say that we have not committed adultery. That is a pretty easy test to pass. The religious leaders of the day taught the letter of the law but not the spirit of it. They taught that murder was a sin but the simmering anger that could lead to murder was not because it was something you could keep hidden from people. In other words, you were only accountable for what you had done and not what you had thought. Personally, I think that kind of moral law would be easy to keep because by that standard I would not have committed nearly as many sins.

However, Jesus doesn't let us off so easily. He says "but". That one single word tells us that these people had a less than full understanding of this commandment and that they had only been taught the surface level of this truth. Jesus came to fulfill the law (v.17) and here proceeds to do just that. Jesus says that "everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." There are a few observations I would like to make regarding this statement. First of all, while Jesus does direct this to men I believe the principal applies to all people. Men are wired so that they are stimulated primarily by what they see but I've heard women make similar comments about someone they've taken notice of. In fact, reading the Song of Solomon will give some examples of a woman checking out her buff beau to whom she is engaged. However, let's face it the problem of lustful looking is primarily a guy problem. Second of all, the word "looking" (blepo-991) is in the present tense in the Greek so it carries the idea of a continuous action. This is not a passing glace but rather a long, intense look. Now, as Warren Weirsbe notes in his commentary on Matthew it is possible for a man to look at a woman, know that she is beautiful, and not lust after her. However, I personally do not recommend trying to convince your wife or girlfriend of that. However, when a passing glance becomes an attempt to "undress her with your eyes" you have a problem. That leads to my third point, while Jesus says this is sin and it is adultery in your heart it is not the same thing as adultery. This is not a case of "Well, I've already committed the sin in my heart--might as well go ahead and go through with it". Even though the consequences in this world are different, physical adultery and adultery in your heart are both sinful in God's all-knowing, all-seeing eyes.

In verses 29 and 30, Jesus prescribes the kind of mindset that you have to approach sin with. You must take drastic measures to deal with it and you must do it without delay. In both verses, we are commanded to dispose of our eyes or our hands and throw them away. In those verses, the commands to tear out or cut off are written in the aortist imperative in the Greek. This means that they are commands and that Jesus is saying we need to carry them out without delay. In fact, when Jesus says if our eye or hand causes us to "stumble" He is using a word that means to fall into a trap or snare. If you are confronted with sexual temptation and you do not deal with it swiftly you greatly increase your chances of losing that battle. Jesus is not being literal here, however. I could pluck out my eye and still sin with my other eye. I could do the same with my hand. The point is that we must take radical measures to deal with sin particularly sexual sin. This stuff is dangerous, kids. You have to do whatever it takes no matter what to deal with this. Just like Barney used to say on the Andy Griffith Show "Nip it". As Paul warns in Romans 13:14, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."

The truth that Jesus reveals here is that God's definition of purity goes far beyond a surface, superficial level like what the religious leaders of the day taught. The true purity God calls for is purity of the heart. Most men could pass the test of not having committed adultery. However, no man, except Jesus, could claim that they have never committed adultery in their heart. To control your thought life and keep it pure requires more strength than anyone has in and of themselves. It is only through the supernatural power of God's Holy Spirit that we can live a kind of life pleasing to God--pure and holy.


Anonymous said...

And the elephant in the room is holding a sign that says "masturbation".

I have felt convicted on that one for a long time. I try so hard not to give in to my own fleshy temptation to "relieve myself" and instead try to save it for my husband. Sometimes the battle that rages on in my own mind and heart is intense.

But if I am using images in my mind to stimulate my sexual "needs" so that I can manually get myself to climax, is that ok in God's eyes? I think not.

How about you? This subject always intrigues me from a man's perspective.

I really want to do a post about this someday. I just have to figure out how I'm gonna say it first. Great job!!

Heidi Reed

Joe Blackmon said...


I hope you don't take this wrong but I'm not sure I would feel comfortable giving any sort of perspective on that particular topic. I think this is probably the first comment I've ever read on my blog that had me speechless.

I guess I need to get out more often. Or maybe not as the case may be.

Have a good day and thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

LOL - it's ok. Not everyone wants to talk about it. But I seriously wonder what is right when it's a mind/heart issue and it's a selfish thing to do -- esp when you're married. I'll do a post one day and we'll see if anyone bites. So stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

hey thanks so much for clearing this up for me!! we are studdying it in my bible class at school!!
GOD is love

Joe Blackmon said...


I'm glad you were encouraged. Thanks.

Adrian said...

Thank you for this. I am a college student at Fordham University. In my Faith and Critical reasoning class, there are some really intelligent students but theyre always down the bible's throat trying to show how ridiculous it is. And, i always have to be on top of the scriptures to make sure i can defend it.

Joe Blackmon said...


Thanks so much.

Ambrosia said...

To Hiedi Reed
(My sister in Christ)

When it comes to lust and sexual impurities we are to put them to death.. because the wrath of God is coming...

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:5-10)

in book of Colossians Paul addresses not only that of what we are to take off with our old desires but what we are to put on..

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (colossians 3:12-14)

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (colossians 3:1-4)

Dealing with sexual sin is never easy just as any strong hold that is in our flesh.. we must renew our minds to the new life we have in Christ Jesus...Ask for forgiveness and for Christ's strength to conquer fleshly passions...setting your minds on Christ not on your sexual desires. Just as a man has the option to look and look away.. so does every person with any temptation...The more you stand on God's strength in your life the less intense you will find the battle will become.

Hope this helps you in your day to day life in Jesus. I pray that God will use you not in discovering the intrigue of a sinful man's mind but for helping others who have struggled with your stronghold to become more more victorious in Christ our Lord as he has used me in others lives. Keeping you in prayer. God's love..

Ambrosia Joshua

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