3.5.21 – Daily Dose of Worship. A study on Matthew. Part 33. Clean.

Ready to cut off your hand?

Let’s continue this sacrifice discussion. I could have combined Matthew 5:29 and 5:30 but wanted to keep them separate because the point Jesus is driving home here is so very very important.

Matthew 5:30 says this: “And if your right hand is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

This verse follows the same pattern of hyperbole—exaggeration for effect—as made clear by the rest of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus is not literally telling people to mutilate themselves in order to avoid sinning and going to hell. His purpose is to emphasize how high the stakes are when it comes to sin.

While the prior verse involved the eyes, and implied sins like lust, Jesus’ current analogy speaks of one’s hand. The overt meaning is that we ought to be in control of our urges—not to let the desires of the body take us over. Once again, the point is that it’s better to lose a body part rather than be thrown into hell. Some scholars suggest the words used here might have also been used as a polite euphemism for lustful acts, more generally.

Once more, Jesus is demonstrating how seriously God takes sin. It is not only action, but motivation, which matters to God (Matthew 5:20). Sin starts in the inner places of a person. Along with this, Jesus is demonstrating how impossible it is for anyone to be worthy of the kingdom of heaven, based on their own goodness (Matthew 5:48). Every person is a sinner, based on God’s standards.

Not only actions, but motivations. It’s not the physical act but the intent or the idea of the intent in your mind and heart. Clearly a very very hard thing to control. Our minds are these vast pools of good and bad intentions and everything in between. Maybe this is why David, in the Psalms was pleading with the Lord saying, “Create in me a clean heart.” Our hearts fuel our minds and vice versa sometimes.

A clean heart. God that we would be granted a clean heart. Help our motivations, desires and intents be pure and clean in the name of Jesus.

Prayers up for you today as you struggle with this. We are all with you.

6 Comments

  1. Patti S on March 5, 2021 at 7:52 am

    I got stuck today, right at the beginning, at the decision to separate verses 5:29 and 5:30 in the devotionals. It caused me to pause.
    Such an interesting thought.
    Makes sense. A good reminder for me to slow down and really take in what Jesus is saying here.
    This is where ll shall begin my God time today.

    Because of Him

  2. Magggie on March 5, 2021 at 9:54 am

    I in the past have struggled in this area of my life asking God to clean my heart and mind has helped me to recognize that adultery starts in ones mind long before we end up with an affair.

    • Patti S on March 5, 2021 at 10:26 am

      Hi Maggie. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your honesty. Thank you for sharing.

      Because of Him

  3. Sherri H on March 5, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    most definitely thanks for sharing, we all fail and are not perfect that’s why we must die daily to ourselves and strive to have the mind of Christ, let us all be a reflection of Jesus thank you Jesus for loving us so unconditionally

  4. Suzanne R on March 6, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Amen, Sherri H.

  5. Jonathan B on March 6, 2021 at 9:47 am

    In my other men’s group we were talking about “business as usual” and how we are working with God to change that and begin to find a better tomorrow. I remember that stall water can become deadly with disease. Whereas flowing water can change. Yes it can be dangerous, but if we have God as our pilot we can roll thru the changes better. Have a blessed week.

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