Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Radical Amputation

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you loose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you loose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!
Matthew 5:29-30

If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. What is Jesus telling us here? Is he advocating the mutilation of our bodies? I don't think so, because as we see in Matthew 5:20, the righteousness that God requires is not an external righteousness, but a righteousness of the heart. Sin does not come from our eye or hand, or from any other part of our body; it comes from within us. So what is Jesus teaching us here?

Jesus is using a literary technique called hyperbole. Hyperbole can be best defined as extravagant exaggeration. Jesus is trying to make us understand the seriousness of sin, but He is not advocating the removal of parts of our body. For example, removing one of your eyes will not make you stop lusting since lust comes from the heart and not the eye. You can still lust with your other eye. And cutting off your hand will not make you stop sinning; if you do sinful acts with your right hand you can also do them with your left.

So how are we to understand this passage? I think what Jesus is teaching is that we need to radically amputate anything in our lives that cause us to sin. If the TV causes us to lust, or covet we need to remove it. If we have a relationship that causes us to sin, we need to cut it off. What ever it is that causes us to sin needs to be amputated - Radically.

John MacArthur says of this passage, "Jesus’ point is that we should be willing to give up whatever is necessary, even the most cherished things we possess, if doing that will help protect us from evil. Nothing is so valuable as to be worth preserving at the expense of righteousness."

Take some time today to ask God what it is in your life that you need to radically amputate for the sake of righteousness - and then do it. Print This Post

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