There is something that must be said to the many folks who read this article on a regular basis. I want you to know I sincerely appreciate your faithfulness to this ministry. I am nothing more than a messenger of the inerrant, inspired word of God and may He receive all the glory. Thank you for reading and to those of you who have called, sent email and spoke with me in church, at stores around town or even in the workplace I want to say thank you for reading and I hope God richly blesses your support of His work.
Moving on with our series. We know that Jesus has come to fulfill the law not abolish it. We also saw last month how the Lord corrected the Pharisees and their misguided teaching of murder. This month we are going to see the Lord continue His schooling of the Pharisees by correcting their teaching concerning adultery. This month we are going to look at Matthew 5:27-30 where we read; “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: (28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
In this passage Jesus addresses the part of the law designed to protect marriage. We must remember marriage was divinely given to provide for the satisfaction of both the physical and emotional appetites that God gave to the man and woman. Hebrews 13:4 reminds us “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Likewise Paul stated in order for these appetites to be filled each man should have his own wife, and each wife her own husband. Notice with me 1 Corinthians 7:2 “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Paul then outlined the physical responsibilities of marriage in verses 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.
We seem to have forgotten God instituted marriage to benefit society. God did not found society on the individual but on the family unit. To prevent a disruption of society, God protected marriage. The union of one man and one woman.
Furthermore we should remember God designed marriage to be an object lesson of His relationship with the believer. The born again Christian and Christ are inseparably united, the husband and wife have become one flesh and this pictures the Christian’s spiritual union. To protect these purposes God forbids adultery in the law. Contrary to what the Pharisees taught (and many today) refraining from the physical act did not meet the spiritual demands of the law, the law demanded not only abstinence from a physical act but from the lustful desire that would produce the act. Simply put the law demanded purity of thought as well as abstinence from the act. The Lord plainly tells us the one who lusts is guilty of adultery and has violated the law.
The Lord didn’t stop with this vivid description, He warned us to remove the cause of any offense. Jesus was not teaching mutilation as a form of repentance and removal from temptation. Can a blind man lust and one handicapped with amputated limbs have sinful desires? Yes they can! The word pictures of plucking out and eye and cutting off a hand are there to teach that one must deal with the sin of lust because it is the root of the physical act called adultery. It is not enough to simply say I will look and not touch, we must understand that once we have taken that second look with the thought “if I could I would” we have already committed adultery. To be right with God we must totally repent of our lustful desires and seek a heart that is totally focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior.