Devotional Ruminations: Matthew 5:27-30

Mount of BeatitudesI am currently reading in the gospel of Matthew for my devotions. I have really been challenged to walk with Jesus and sit at His feet and reacquaint myself with what it means to be His follower. Matthew 5-7 comprise what we commonly know as the Sermon on the Mount. Contemporary Christians must hear the Master’s words and then receive them with all of their moral weight. Matthew 5:27-30 deals with the subject of lust. This sin of lust makes promise after promise to satisfy only to bring moral and marital ruin. Here are four observations on lust from the words of Jesus.

1. Lust is not confined to action, rather it is committed at the level of intent. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [action] [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 [intent]” (vv. 27-28). “You can look but not touch” badly misses the mark of Jesus’ teaching.

2. Lust is a sin that promises gratification but actually leads to destruction (physical, relational, and spiritual) (cf. Proverbs 5:1-6). “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (v. 29, 30). Jesus says this twice. It should really capture our attention.

3. Lust must be fought militantly. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” (v. 29)…”And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (v. 30). Hyperbole? Yes, I think so. But to simply place these statements under that literary rubric and then diminish the weight of these statements is the height of folly. If we do not resist lust (and any other sin) “to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4), we are placing our souls and bodies in eternal danger.

4. Lust does not characterize a follower of Christ. The very inclusion of this topic is an imperative for being set apart (i.e. holy) as followers of Christ. Yes, sex is a natural, God-given human drive (and it should be celebrated and enjoyed according to God’s pattern; cf. Proverbs 5:15-19; Song of Solomon). Yes, we live in a hyper-sexualized culture. Yes, we are surrounded by and immersed in sexually-charged content. But none of these realities excuse us from not battling the sin of lust. Moreover, the follower of Christ can overcome this sin (Romans 6:6-7).

We must see lust as our Lord described it. Battling and overcoming lust is what Jesus said His disciples must do, thereby distinguishing themselves as salt and light in a morally decaying and dark culture by the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. So battle lust my brothers and sisters knowing that the battle is hard but the victory is yours.

(Image of Mt. Eremos from bibleplaces.com, Mount of Beatitudes)

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17 Principles to Remember Concerning Sexual Purity

  1. Remember that sexual purity is first a matter of the heart (Matthew 15:19; cf. Mark 7:21).stay holy bro
  2. Remember that sexual purity begins with a pure mind (Philippians 4:8; cf. Alcorn, The Purity Principle, 45-6).
  3. Remember that our eyes must remain vigorously guarded to prevent sexual immorality (Job 31:1; Psalm 101:3; 119:37; Ecclesiastes 1:8; Matthew 5:27-28; 2 Peter 2:14).
  4. Remember that the Christian community must keep the banner of sexual purity lifted high (Acts 15:20, 29; 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
  5. Remember that sexual sins are not only a transgression against you but also against the person with whom you had sexual contact (1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:6).
  6. Remember that our bodies are not ours to do with whatever we please (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  7. Remember the notion of “not even a hint” (Ephesians 5:3, NIV).
  8. Remember to identify the “lust triggers” and aggressively avoid them (Romans 13:14).
  9. Remember that sexual immorality is behavior that is characteristic of man’s sinful state and therefore requires the just and dreadful wrath of God (Revelation 21:8). Therefore, continual failing in this area may suggest that true conversion has not taken place (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5).
  10. Remember that sexual sin is contrary to sound or healthy doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10).
  11. Remember that sexual sin can happen to you (Proverbs 16:18; Galatians 6:1-3; 1 Corinthians 10:12). Some may know experientially, some may think it cannot.
  12. Remember that the choice to commit sexual sin is yours to make, the consequences are not of your choosing (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
  13. Remember the far-reaching consequences of sexual sin (2 Samuel 13).
  14. Remember that sexual temptation is inevitable but need not be overwhelming (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  15. Remember the past failures of others and the destruction that followed (Proverbs 7:5-27; Romans 1:24-27; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:8).
  16. Remember the need for accountability (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
  17. Remember that if you’ve failed, you can overcome your sin (Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 2:14) and forgiveness can be found with repentance (Isaiah 55:6-7; Psalm 130:3-4).