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Reading through the Gospels 57

Matthew 5:27-30 and Matthew 5:31-32

Matthew 5:27-30 LUST

Jesus (during the Sermon on the Mount) continues His theme of teaching us to see the intent of the commandments. The Ten Commandments are a matter of the heart and the intent is as much a sin as the actual action.  First he shared that anger is the root of murder.  Next He teaches that lust is the root of adultery (Exodus 20:12; "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is the 6th commandment). Even looking at a woman (or man) with lust is sinful mental adultery. Just because my heart has been lustful and I have already sinned does not give me an excuse to go ahead and commit adultery.  I should rather confess and stop the sin from "digging a bigger hole."  I sometimes feel guilty when I do a heart check while watching television and say in jest, not seriously, something about the good-looking hunk on the screen.  Jesus is really serious, however, indicating that if my right eye or right hand causes me to sin, that I should tear it out and throw it away.  Ouch! Do I think Jesus literally means to cut off my eye or hand? This is like the parables Jesus tells to teach.  In this case, He teaches that I must make a sacrifice to be obedient and that parts of my life must die rather than condemn my eternal life. It will be painful to remove the sin, but less painful than to be totally condemned. These verses would apply to anything my eye or hand does to cause me to sin, not just lust.  There are many things my eyes covet. The eye and the hand are connected to the brain that thinks and the brain is connected to the heart.  I have to be careful even what I think.


Matthew 5:31-32 DIVORCE

Jesus (during the Sermon on the Mount) teaches about the sin of divorce.  If a man divorces his wife for any grounds but sexual immorality, he causes her to commit adultery, as well as the man who she remarries commits adultery. Jesus is teaching about the laws giving in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 which seem to leave the grounds for divorce open to any "indecency in her." The Rabbis allowed a broad range of excuses to divorce a woman, but Jesus corrects the interpretation to that of this indecency is sexual. Since a divorce of any grounds other than by sexual immorality causes adultery, it makes the divorce invalid and unlawful in God's eyes.  I may live in a world that grants legal and valid divorces, but that same divorce is not legal and valid in God's eyes.  Since the divorce is not valid, God sees them as still married and, therefore, a new marriage would be adultery. Marriage is meant to be for a lifetime. Just because someone has been sexually immoral does not mean that one must divorce because God also teaches love and reconciliation.

Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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