“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” Matthew 18:7-10 NLT
My Thoughts: Today we read some very harsh words from Jesus to sinners and those who tempt others to sin.
First, let me ease your mind about cutting off body parts; Jesus is not telling us to do this literally! No! He is telling us to remove or “cut-off” sin, or those who tempt us to sin, from our lives. It is possible that when sin (especially a long-term or repetitive sin) is stopped, it may feel like we are amputating part of who we were or who we had become, if that make sense.
Let’s look at some examples of those sins: Perhaps you are an addict and you need to not only cut that addiction from your life but also all the relationships related to that addiction? Perhaps you aligned yourself with an unhealthy relationship and that person encourages you to sin by living against the word of God? Maybe you dangerously “had these friends…,” then the next thing you know collectively you are all breaking the law? Maybe you are committing what you think is a private sin that only you know about, for instance, watching on-line pornography? Finally, is your sin affecting the safety and trust of a child—which could be the most egregious of sins—because Jesus starts this warning with the word “beware!” These sins may have an emotional, relational, or controlling attachment that feels like it is a part of who you are, but that is a lie!
The thing about sin is it doesn’t stay still; it constantly temps you to want and do more, more, more! Over time hearts and minds start to become cold and indifferent to sins being committed. Maybe the first time you committed a sin your conscience was bothered, but now you find that you don’t care because you want what you want, when you want it, and that is all that matters to you!
Caution! Caution! If you have lost your conscience to sin, you are now under the control of evil from the pit of hell, and this truth should terrify you!
Jesus tells us it is better for us to go forward into everlasting life by leaving those things behind us. So how do we do that?
One of the best, and most confusing explanations about sin and how it controls our lives comes from the Apostle Paul in the letter he wrote to the believers of Jesus Christ in Rome.
(Note: If you are skimming this blog you may want to come back later because his words are a mind bender!)
Struggling with Sin:
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:14-25a NLT
There is only one way to battle and overcome sin and that is by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Without Him living in our hearts, minds, and souls, we are simply unable to win the battle over sin, which does nothing more than enslave us.
Because of my relationship with Jesus, I am (a) aware of my sins, and (b) I can overcome the desire to commit those sins that are tempting me because the power of Jesus Christ lives in me!
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.” Romans 811a-12 NLT
I love that! Do you have Jesus in your heart? Or are you desperately looking for a way to cut that sin out of your life right now?
The answer is simple—surrender your heart and life to Jesus Christ! Although, the battle may be hard, you won’t be fighting alone, because Jesus will fight with you!
“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Roman 8:31b NLT
However, going to battle without taking the first and most critical step, will only end in failure. So how do we surrender our heart and life to Jesus Christ?
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT
Next, you begin the battle to cut the sin away from your life, and you may need professional help. Don’t shy away from getting all that you need, to become all that God has for you!
Hopefully, you know Christians who can guide you to a good Bible believing church and walk you through the necessary steps to make changes in your life. If you do, contact them now and get started! It will be the best thing you ever do for yourself; I promise!
If you are unsure where to go, you can start your journey by going to www.billygraham.org and scroll down to the section titled “Do You Have Peace with God?” Click on “Start your journey today” or call their toll-free number at 1-877-247-2426 to speak to someone in person about beginning that journey. They will be able to answer questions and walk you through salvation, then point you to the next steps in the journey.
Closing Prayer: Father God, I pray if there are eyes reading this today that are ready to surrender their sins and give You their heart and life, You will guide them to all the right resources. Help them take that first courageous step to get eternal life along with freedom from the pangs and destruction of sin. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen!