“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body 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 lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
(Matthew 5:27-30 ESV)
I had to note this because I once thought that I wasn’t radical enough because I wasn’t cutting off my hand or plucking out my eye. I mean, it says it right there! Both my eyes need to go, and both my hands need to be gone, and perhaps my feet and legs as well since they rush me to do evil. My mouth and tongue and voice box too, because I speak tons of sin. Heck, I need to dice up my whole body and throw it all into hell…. right?
If Jesus is calling all Christians to be blind and quadriplegic, then why didn’t the disciples help one each other out in doing just that? Why didn’t Paul, John, or Peter write about how to live this life as blind and handless? Some may say that Paul dictated most his words, so perhaps he did cut off his hands. However, Paul said himself at one point that he was writing, and he was writing big letters. So much for the apostles obeying Jesus.
The truth is the apostles did obey Jesus, so what gives? Why aren’t there more blind and handless Christians? The key is the word “if.” If your hand causes you to sin. Now, does our hand cause us to sin? Obviously no because Jesus says that adultery isn’t merely the act of sex with another man’s wife, but it’s looking at a woman with lustful intent. Where does the lustful intent come from? The heart.
So, if you’re following Jesus’ words here you need to rip out our hearts because it causes you to sin. But does God want you to murder? No. So how can you obey Jesus if you can’t murder yourself but you want to obey all Jesus told us to do and he’s telling us to rip out our sin box? The answer is short: the gospel.
Jesus is pointing us to the reality that we need new hearts in order to stop sinning. Our whole body will be thrown into hell because our hearts are what causes us to sin. You can cut yourself piece by piece and still go to hell because sin is apart of your very nature. We need a new heart and it’s God who said that He would pour out His Spirit in the last days and give His people a new heart. We cannot get clean on our own, we cannot obtain a new heart on our own, and we cannot obey on our own.
This is why Calvinism is true. The only people who will desire a new heart are the ones God is drawing to Himself. Anyone being drawn will plead with God for a new heart, which is required to be in the New Covenant. Which makes it all of grace and not of anything we do.
So, cry out to God, all you who sin. Ask for a new heart. Stop dealing with the external things, like hands and eyes. Go for the source. Go for the jugular of sin. Don’t plead for the strength to cut off your hands. That won’t do anything but throw your whole body into hell piece by piece.
Cry out to Christ for forgiveness. Call upon God. Trust in His work alone.
For my family who is already in Christ, continue to ask God for a renewed mind and for a hatred of sin and love of God. Ask Him to keep on drawing you do Himself. He is our only hope.