We live in a culture today that is obsessed with sex and sensuality. From tv ads, magazines at grocery store checkouts, perfume ads, images of women in their undergarments in store windows, to the songs on the radio that glamorize infidelity—how is it possible to live a life of purity in such a society?
Jesus in Matthew 5:28 is making it clear that he is addressing more than just adultery but all sexual immortality because He is bringing it to the root of where all sin begins: in the heart.
“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
If a man or woman looks at another lustfully, they have committed heart adultery with the other person. Jesus isn’t adding to the OT law, but he is interpreting it correctly. God commanded purity of heart in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:17).
God’s law is so clear in how it calls for purity and integrity in how we think about others. So many professing Christians get caught up in sexual sin, and its effects are devastating. To the church, to families, and those watching our lives as believers from the outside.Sexual sin begins in our hearts, and we need to radically do some major surgery to live a life of purity in the world we find ourselves in today.
Adultery always first begins in the mind. In this verse, Jesus has laid out to the Pharisees and us that sexual purity doesn’t just involve the physical act of indulging in sex outside marriage, but he gets to the heart of the matter.
Sexual sin begins in our hearts, and we need to radically do some major surgery to live a life of purity in the world we find ourselves in today.
Listen to the Podcast Below:
The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom by R. Kent Hughes
Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control by Elisabeth Elliot
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes by Martha Peace and Kent Keller
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Is Lust a Sin for Women Too? @Michelle Lesley
Doctrine of the Perservance of the Saints @Got Questions
Questions to Examine Yourself to See if You are in the Faith @Thankful Homemaker
“The majority will sacrifice anything—security, honor, self-respect, the welfare of people they love, obedience to God—to passion. They will even tell themselves that they are obeying God (or at least He doesn’t mind) and congratulate themselves for being so free, so released, so courageous, so honest and ‘up front’….a good and perfect gift, these natural desires. But so much the more necessary that they be restrained, controlled, corrected, even crucified, that they might be reborn in power and purity for God.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control
“God made men and women to be attracted to each other, to need each other, and to enter into relationships with each other that have physical, spiritual, and mental dimensions. We have, by God’s goodness, the ability to share in the reproduction of other human beings, in a context of the closed imaginable human relationship—both physically and spiritually. The gift of sexual relationship is uequivocally good. It is God’s gift.
But the supreme reason for that gift is companionship. God brought Adam to Eve in the Garden of Eden because it was ‘not good for the man to be alone’ (Get 2:18). It is within that bond of committed fellowship that family life is to be established, and our sexual instincts are to find their fulfillment.
In order to become one flesh, ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife’ (Gen 2:24). At the heart of the relationship lies the element of commitment—leaving parents and uniting with one’s wife or husband. This is God’s order, and we breach it at our own peril and at the risk of destroying our society.”
~ Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount
“Is the primary motive behind your appearance to please God or to please yourself? Do you want to be charming and beautiful for God’s glory in order to draw attention to Him, or for your own glory in order to draw attention to yourself?”
~ Martha Peace, Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes by Martha Peace and Kent Keller
“The realization of this (referring to the fact that we’ve all been adulterers at some time) ought to deliver us from all judgmentalism and pious condescension toward those who have fallen to adultery. And it should instill within us a poverty of spirit and a humility that realizes we are spiritually bankrupt and makes us amazed that God loves us as he does.”
R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom
“What does this involve in practice? Let me elaborate and so interpret Jesus’ teaching: If your eye causes you to sin because temptation comes to you through your eyes (objects you see), then pluck out your eyes. That is don’t look! Behave as if you had actually plucked out your eyes and flung them away, and were now blind and so could not see the objects which previously caused you to sin.
Again, if your hand or foot causes you to sin, because temptation comes to you through your hands (things you do) or your feet (places you visit), then cut them off. That is: don’t do it! Don’t go! Behave as If you had actually cut off your hands and feet, and had flung them away, and were now crippled and so could not do the things or visit the places which previously caused you to sin. That is the meaning of mortification.”
~ John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
Am I suggesting a new legalism with a list of yeses and nos? In no way! Jesus says, “If YOUR right eye cause you to sin…….” NOT anyone else’s eye, but YOUR eye. We are all different. We stumble in different things. One thing may arouse and leave another unmoved. One must cut something out, but another may be under no such obligation.
~ R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom
“The freedom and joy that then come from a cleansed conscience create the desire and give us the right motive to deal with those sins. We cannot effectively pursue holiness without going back again and again to the gospel. The gospel is the only foundation upon which we can build the disciplines necessary to pursue holiness. Grace and discipline cannot be separated.”
~ Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace
God forbid that any of us should be able to look at this holy law of God and feel satisfied. If we do not feel unclean at this moment, God have mercy upon us. If we can conceivably be satisfied with our lives because we have never committed an act of adultery or of murder or any one of these things, I say that we do not know ourselves nor the blackness of our own hearts.
We must listen to the teaching of the blessed Son of God and examine ourselves, examine our thoughts, our desires, and our imagination. And unless we feel that we are vile and foul, and need to be washed and cleansed, unless we feel utterly helpless with a terrible poverty of spirit, and unless we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, I say, God have mercy upon us.
I thank God that I have a gospel which tells me that Another who is spotless and pure and utterly holy has taken my sin and my guilt upon Himself. I am washed in His precious blood, and He has given me His own nature. When I realized that I need a new heart, I found, that God, that He had come to give it to me, and He has given it.
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.
Let that be our prayer
~ Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
- Matthew 5:27-30
- Exodus 20:13
- Exodus 20:14
- Leviticus 20:10
- Deuteronomy 22:22
- Proverbs 6:32
- 1 Corinthians 6:18
- Hebrews 13:4
- Exodus 20:17
- Genesis 2:18
- Genesis 2:24
- Job 31: 1, 7, 9
- 2 Timothy 2:22
- Romans 8:13
- Philippians 2:12-13
- Ephesians 4:22-24
- Ephesians 5:3-5
- Philippians 4:8
- Ephesians 1:13-14
- Philippians 1:6
- John 6:37-47
- John 5:24
- 1 John 2:19
- 2 Corinthians 13:5
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
- 1 Corinthians 6:11
- Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones
- Sermon on the Mount The: Matthew 5-7 Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice
- Matthew 1-7 MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur
- Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle
- The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom (ESV Edition) by R. Kent Hughes
- Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 by Thomas Watson
- The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John Stott
- Sermon on the Mount Teaching Series by Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Connect
- Logos Bible Software
- Bible Memory App
- Study Guide for Sermon on the Mount