“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.”
Jesus now uses the sin of adultery to further emphasize His point concerning the Law. Once again, He raises the standard by which the Law must be interpreted. He starts by stating the seventh commandment: “Do not commit adultery!” Then He rocks their world with the proper interpretation: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Wow! Every man reading this is now thinking, “Guilty!” I have counseled many men over the past thirty years in pastoral ministry. There is not one who would claim innocence in this area. Besides, I know my own heart! The point that Jesus is making is that just because you don’t go out and have a physical affair, you are condemned in your heart already. Jeremiah writes, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
We can be grateful that when we put our faith in the person and work of Christ, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and begins to make us new. Paul says we are a new creation! The Spirit of God works to transform us from the inside out. While this work is ongoing, we still must contend with the old sinful nature that resides in our flesh. It is spiritual pride that fools us into thinking, “I have arrived!” As long as we are in this flesh, we will contend with our sinful nature. Thankfully, God gives us a choice each day of whom we will serve. I love Paul’s answer to this dilemma: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God!” Every day we must surrender our will (minds) and our ways (bodies) to God. This is how the biblical process of sanctification works!
Unfaithfulness is not limited to just marriage relationships. Throughout the Old Testament, God points out the unfaithfulness of the Israelite nation. In the book of Hosea, God instructs the prophet to marry an unfaithful woman. This marriage would be an illustration of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. It also illustrates God’s willingness to forgive and restore the people when they would repent and return to Him. It also shows the great lengths to which God would go to reconcile His people.
So once again, Jesus speaks concerning the true nature of the Law. It was not given as a way to earn salvation but to show us our need for a Savior. The religious people of Jesus’ time missed the point! What about you?
Questions to Ponder:
What do you think about Jesus’ broader interpretation of the seventh commandment? With Jesus’ interpretation in mind, have you ever been unfaithful to your spouse? Friend? Family? God? Do you daily strive to be a living sacrifice? Are you a new creation in Christ?
- Thank Him that you can come directly to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- Thank Him for saving you, calling you out of darkness and into the kingdom of light.
- Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit reveals to You. Receive His forgiveness, mercy, endless love and amazing grace.
- Offer each part of your body to the Lord today. For example, I give You my eyes Lord, grant me strength to look right at You, and help me to look the other way when something comes my way that I should not see. Enable me to see things and people from Your perspective. I offer to You my ears, etc.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth about the Law. Thank You Lord that Your law shows me how to live as well as to know You better. Your law by Your Spirit convicts me. Thank You that my salvation does not come by keeping Your law, because You know I could never keep even one commandment since my heart is prone to wander and is deceitful. I ask today Lord that You would enable me to hunger for You and Your word. I ask that Your word would flow through me today to those around me. I also ask that conviction would come and You would help me to be sensitive to Your promptings, red flags, and warnings (convictions). Slow me down so I can yield to Your Holy Spirit. I ask for Your Holy Spirit, Your Kingdom to come, and Your will be done in and through my life. Shepherd me today and forever. I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.