Daily Thought for: 20th April
IF THY RIGHT EYE OFFEND THEE, PLUCK IT OUT
Matthew 5. 29-30
Humans often perceive iniquity differently from their Creator’s perspective. God is holy and hates all sin. To men, however, certain sins are strongly attractive; such is the case with adultery. Lust is powerful, and the casual look can easily lead to the physical violation of God’s requirement of chastity. Therefore, anything that leads one into the danger zone of this or any other sin must be repudiated.
Even legitimate pleasures must be subordinated to the greater purposes of holiness. The Lord uses strong metaphors to convey the seriousness of this matter. The eye is one of the most cherished and useful parts of the body. It is a tremendous tool for the benefit of man. It steers his walk, informs his mind, and enables him to interact with the world around him unhindered by blindness. It opens the human soul to the beauties and glories of God’s creation. Nevertheless, as good as it is, it can also be an instrument of unrighteousness. If not bridled, it can wander into scenes of wickedness that lead to debauchery. As David learned to his detriment in the case of Bathsheba, the unguarded gaze can lead to adultery and murder. Similarly, the right hand - a picture of ability, strength, and authority in the Bible - can be used for good or evil. The Lord’s exhortation shows us that even useful and pleasurable things must be denied if they lead us into sin.
Our Lord’s command shows us that no earthly instrument or pleasure is superior to living out the new life that He gives to the believer. Tragically, men sell their eternal souls for temporal joys and fleeting fancies. Eternal life is held out as such a great treasure that all else must pale in comparison with it. Even those who are already saved are instructed to ‘lay hold on eternal life’, 1 Tim. 6. 12,19. They are to enter into the fullness of its implications and live in the reality of the life that has been implanted within them. Anything that mars the life that God bestows upon them must be eschewed as worthless. It should be cast aside as an impediment to the goal of the new creation, which is reproducing the character of Christ in the believer, Gal. 5. 22-24; 1 John 3. 1-3.