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Foundations For Our Future #66

Foundations for Our Future (66)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Letter & Spirit           

Today we come face to face with the need for every believer to become mature in understanding the word of the Lord. We must learn to interpret the scriptures in the light of their whole truth, and not just on the basis of a superficial literal reading.

Jesus is continuing to elaborate on his teaching about marriage and the sacredness of the bond between one man and one woman. Of all the sins that can destroy a marriage, adultery is one of the most destructive. But any man who thinks he is not guilty of this sin because he has never committed it, is now faced with the deeper and subtler reality of sexual sin. If a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart he is guilty of adultery. (Matthew 5:28) Every man stands condemned.

We have seen this teaching before, that is that there is an external reality and an internal spiritual reality, and the internal is the most important. Today, the Lord Jesus speaks to the absolutely central truth that sexual sin destroys God’s purpose for his children. Sexual attraction between a man and a woman, expressed in Holy Matrimony, is good. Lust, which is the craving for what is forbidden, is not.

Jesus never, not for one moment, meant for anyone to “pluck out their eye”(5:29) or “cut off their hand.” (5:30) He is using hyperbole to forcefully clarify how serious this teaching is in the sight of God. Adultery, and all sexual sin, is a destroyer.