I have been reading over Matthew 5:27-32 very slowly, over and over, studying this section of the Sermon on the Mount concerning lust and divorce for the purpose of tracing out the prepositions for my New Testament I class.
27 ???You have heard that it was said, ???You shall not commit adultery.??? 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 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. 30 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.31 ???It was also said, ???Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.??? 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
My friend and fellow seminarian Jeremy shared about the issues at hand earlier. When I was tracing these verses, what I realized was a pain-staking truth that I had never seen before. My spiritual lightbulb finally turned on immediately out of nowhere:
We can be completely blind, and amputated — and yet we can still commit adultery.
Indeed, if Jesus truly saw that literal mutilations and amputations would be able to rid us of evil, lustful and adulterous behavior, then he would have commanded us to do so. But Christ did not command us to do so, nor do we have any churches today — orthodox or heterodox — that calls its members to do so. Hence, the supposed command in verse 29-30 is a hyperbole that should scream at us to awaken us to the truth that the problem is in our hearts: “The root of sin lies in the heart, not in sense organs or limbs” (Doriani, 66).So the question I was left with after finishing my assignment was this:
How many times have I committed adultery today?
And that revelation hurt. This Divine conviction hit me fast and hard. How many times have we committed adultery today?I reckon there are many guys reading this post, men who are supposed to be leading this thing — and women, I think you know what I mean when I say this. Christian guys, leaders, seminarians, small group facilitators, Sunday School teachers, elders, pastors — married men, single men, and men who are dating alike: we are men who are supposed to be after God’s own heart, leading our churches and our household with clean hands and pure hearts. And yet, this elephant in the room haunts us, revealing to us a discontent heart that lies behind our wandering eyes and day-dreaming minds.I admit, I sense a discontentment in my own heart about the place in life God has put me currently. For you, that discontentment may be of your spouse and marriage, or dissatisfaction about the relationship God has blessed you with. Wherever we are in terms of relationships, however flawed and scarred we are from our past sins and the sins of today, no matter how bad or numerous our mess ups have been — let us be reminded that the “greatest source of healing is the grace of God poured out into our hearts. … God graciously forgives our sins and flaws. … Remember God’s grace and providence” (Doriani, 70-71). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).May God’s own steadfast faithfulness towards His beloved compel us to be faithful and sanctified in the sovereignly ordained place in life He has put us. He is faithful and He will do it!
You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.1 Corinthians 7:23-24