“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
Jesus now turns from the sixth commandment to the seventh command: you shall not commit adultery. Once again, the Pharisee’s and Scribes were limiting adultery to simply the external action of adultery rather than regarding the heart of the issue. Furthermore, they conveniently never mentioned coveting another woman’s wife, which would have mad them guilty of the tenth commandment. This is an important section for our culture because we live in an overly sexualized society.
Jesus explains that adultery is not simply an external action but one that begins in the heart. Just as anger is related to murder, lust is related to adultery. Again, all lust does not lead to the physical action of adultery but in God’s eyes, lust is the same as committing the act.I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve sat in men’s accountability groups and this verse has been read. More often than not, this verse was used to pile guilt and shame upon men who already felt the burden of the Law due to their sin. Although Jesus is teaching on the Law, He also gives insight on how to defeat this sin.
Despite the fact that Jesus commands us to be pure in hearts towards sexual desires, this sin is a predominant issue for most men, and some women, in our churches. You will be shocked by the statistics provided by Covenant Eyes:
- 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women say they are addicted to pornography.
- 9 out of 10 boys were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography.
- The porn industry generates 13 billion each year. That is more than the four major sports in America combined.
These are just a sample of the statistics that show the total pollution of pornography in our country. The problem with lust, and with all sin, is that it leaves us wanting more. Lust and porn have never truly satisfied; it always leaves the individual craving it once again. This is why you see men and women addicted to a problem that promises a solution. Instead they continue to run to this well thinking they will be satisfied but they never are.
In Proverbs 7, Solomon warns the young men not to venture onto the street corner taking the road to this woman’s house. Solomon says, “behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart…” and then comes the young man’s demise. The woman, seductive and loud, seizes the young man and seduces him. She has “spread her couch with covering, colored linens from Egyptian linen.” She beckons him, “Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey… So with much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him” (Proverbs 7:18-21). Solomon feels the burden for the young man entrapped by the woman’s seductive passion.
He gives heed to the young men, “and now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim she has laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:24-27). Do you hear the warning Solomon gives to the young men? Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways for her house is the way to the chambers of death. There is no life down that road. There is no freedom found in her. So then, as Solomon once did, we must preach to our young men that true life and freedom is not found through lust and the fulfillment of that passion.
True life and freedom is found through the bloodshed of Jesus Christ. He took all of our lust and sexual sin and absorbed it fully. He has provided an avenue for the fulfillment of sexual longings, marriage. In the Song of Songs, Solomon paints a beautiful picture of romantic, beautiful, passionate and gentle sex found through marriage. An in-depth reading of the book would make individuals long to have that kind of depth and vitality in sexuality and marriage. Remember, porn and lust are never meant to satisfy but always leaving you wanting more. Do not go down to her house, brothers, for it is a chamber of death.
So then, the call of Christ is to take every measure to defeat sin in your life. I believe in this area, safeguards and accountability are a must but we first must pray for the Spirit to move. We pray that God’s Spirit will continue to do the work in us that He began. So then, let us fight in the Gospel’s power to wage war against a sin that has devastated too many lives. Let’s gouge an eye out and cut a hand off all for the sake of God’s Name.
To close, John Stott comments, “Jesus was quite clear about it. It is better to lose one member and enter life maimed, he said, than to retain our whole body and go to hell. That is to say, it is better to forgo some experiences this life offers in order to enter the life which is life indeed; it is better to accept some cultural amputation in this world than risk final destruction in the next. Of course this teaching runs clean counter to modern standards of permissiveness. It is based on the principle that eternity is more important than time and purity than culture, and that any sacrifice is worth while in this life if it is necessary to ensure our entry into the next. We have to decide, quite simply, whether to live for this world or the next, whether to follow the crowd or Jesus Christ.
 Stott, J. R. W., & Stott, J. R. W. (1985). The message of the Sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian counter-culture (p. 91). Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.