8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
Ever read this verse, and wonder, "Is this for real?"
The short answer is yes. As Christians, we are to radically deal with anything separating us from God. Sin is infectious. One small sin turns into several small sins. Several sins turns into a lifestyle and identity. Think of the worst act, crime or behaviour you can think of. A person does not become a mass murderer overnight. A series of choices and events lead up to a person committing horrible atrocities.
A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon this Biblical principle in the rock climbing community.
The Video below contains instructions on "How to Cut Off Your Arm to Save Your Life." These climbers are willing to cut off parts of their bodies in order to save themselves. They realize that a stuck hand leads to their whole bodies dying.
In spiritual matters, also, the part affects the whole. This is the same advice Jesus gives us in the Scriptures. Cut off death to save a life.
Whether it's an arm stuck in a rock, or a habit of lying, there are certain small decisions constantly determining our futures. A small sinful decision may seem as if makes little to no difference, but, like a hand stuck in a rock, it leads to death.
What are the small decisions you are making? Will you cut off the sin in your life?
Now, does Jesus mean this literally or symbolically? I say symbolically.
Can someone still lust without eyes? Absolutely. Plucking out the eye the doesn't completely solve the spiritual issues. Jesus deals with the heart.
That's why He says in Matthew 5:28,
"But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
The audience would have known Jesus is speaking in Hyperbole. He didn't want people to literally and physically cut off their sin causing apendages. As we look through the lives of the disciples, we see none of them cut off all the sinning parts of their bodies.
Jesus used symbolism to express that Christians must radically deal with sin.
Are you tolerating sin or making steps to cut it out of your life? What are those steps?
Are you current decisions leading to death or life?