Matthew 5:27 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell”. (NIV)
Throughout the Old Testament, the people of God were well aware of sin, and they were well aware of their own sin. They knew of two types of sin. First there were sins of commission. These were the things that were sinful to commit, such as the seventh commandment found in Exodus 20:14 – “You must not commit adultery.” The second type were sins of omission, or things that were sinful if when failed to do something. An example of this would be the fourth commandment as found in Exodus 20:8 – “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
In the reading we have for today, Jesus raises the bar significantly when he tells us that even when we think of sinful things, we have committed a sin: “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus tells us that holiness is truly a matter of the heart. Can the transforming power of God really change our thoughts? Absolutely! In Romans 8 we find these words: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). Our minds must be governed by the Spirit. Then, Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
How dangerous are our thoughts? Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). If left unchecked, our actions often follow our thoughts. Using exaggeration to make his point, as was the practice of Jewish Rabbi’s of Jesus’ day, Jesus tells his followers that it would be better to gouge out an eye, or to cut off a hand, than to be led astray. In other words, our thoughts are serious business!
Today, let us seek the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, that our thoughts would lead us into holy living.
Posted by Ramón Torres