Matthew 18:7-9

There is only one cause of sin; our heart. So then what is Jesus really saying? ‘If your heart causes you to sin – get rid of!’ To which we reply, ‘But we need our heart to live, if we don’t have our heart – we have nothing!’ To which Jesus replies “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Matthew 18:7“Woe to the world for temptations to sin!b For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hellc of fire.

In my previous post I went over Matthew 18 verses 1-10. My normal practice would be to go through verse 1-6. Then do 7-9. And then do 10 onwards. But while reading this chapter I noticed something about verses 7-9 that I haven’t noticed before. Most people (especially men) are quite aware of Matthew 18:7-9, but it wasn’t until very recently that I noticed this very strong and serious statement toward sin is spoke right in the middle of Jesus’ explanation of God’s jealous and prodigal love for children! With that in mind, I’m just going to go ahead and analyze it like I normally would.

How many young men have read/heard this verse and felt a bolt of fear strike their spine. I don’t think it’s too much to say that any man, on any given day will find his hands and/or eyes guilty of some kind of sin. Jesus says; “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 that’s true, and if “It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire” is also true–then shouldn’t there be a WHOLE LOT of Christians walking around without hands and eyes?

So the word that Jesus says here that really intrigues me is “if”. “If your hand … If your eye… So then the question becomes; ‘Does my hand, foot or eye cause me to sin?’

Well I can’t really blame this on my hand, if I hadn’t of seen it, I wouldn’t have touched it. It’s my eyes to blame here. But how can my eyes be blamed, all they do is see whatever my brain tells them to look at. Therefore it’s my mind that’s at fault. But then again, all my mind is guilty of, is interpreting a visual into analyzable information, it’s in my heart that I determine what a thing is worth to me. It’s in my heart where I decide what I want, do I want to honor my God, or do I want to gratify the flesh. In my heart is where I choose whether I would like to pursue right from wrong.

In Matthew 15:19-20, Jesus says “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” In Matthew 18:7-9 he gives us instructions for what we should do with part of our being, that causes us to sin. If it is our hand, foot, eye – whatever it is – he exclaims get rid of it! It’s better to live without it than die because of it. But it’s never our eyes that cause us to sin. It’s never our hands or feet that cause us to sin. These things are just tools we use to commit sin.

Furthermore I don’t think it’s wise to blame our sin on anything that isn’t the true cause, because if we do that, we remain with the cause of the sin, and dessert ourselves of the tools with which the sin was committed. Tools which could have been used for good, if we acknowledged and thrown away that which truly causes us to sin instead. That means we can’t blame the internet, we can’t blame TV, video games, weapons, our location, the time of day, the people around us, the structures around us, cars, money, or anything at all as the cause of sin, if it truly is only a tool in which the true cause of sin utilized. If we blame those things, when they in fact are not the cause of sin – we take the pressure off the true cause of sin. The true cause of sin remains, and a mere amoral object is taken away as an unfit propitiatory sacrifice.

Like Matthew 15:19-20 says, (and we can see it more in Matthew 5:28, 1 Timothy 6:10 & Romans 8:7) there is only one cause of sin; our heart. So then what is Jesus really saying? ‘If your heart causes you to sin – get rid of!’ To which we reply, ‘But we need our heart to live, if we don’t have our heart – we have nothing!’ To which Jesus replies “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

This is the message of the gospel. There is a fundamental problem causing the separation between God and man. That breakdown is the human heart. The human heart seeks to glorify itself over God – ultimately leading to it’s demise – rather than glorify God, which ultimately leads to total satisfaction, as we were created to experience it. The only solution to the fundamental problem of the human heart condition is to cut the old heart out and put a new heart in.

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