Pluck It Out

It is perhaps the harshest statement in the entire Bible: “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.” (Mt 5:29) The command is at the epicenter of the greatest sermon ever preached, spoken by Christ Himself. It’s obviously important. (Mt 7:26) What does He mean?

Context is helpful: sexual sin, lust and adultery. (27-28) The implication is that efforts to avoid sinning, particularly in this area (1Co 6:18), are to be as extreme as necessary, such that if even a part of our own body is compelling us, it’s better to rid ourselves of that body part than live in sin. If our eye is forcing us to break God’s Law … lose the eye.

Yet, clearly, body parts don’t make us sin; they simply can’t offend us in this way: our body does what we tell it. The problem isn’t any part of our body, it’s our mind and heart. Plucking out our eye would only help if our eye were actually the root cause of our sin. It isn’t, so don’t take Christ literally here.

Perhaps there’s a hint in how Christ frames it: “if thy right eye offend thee … “. How could one of our eyes be offensive and not the other? one eye flitting back and forth on its own whether we like it or not? Or our right hand be offensive (Mt 5:30), always getting into things without our permission? He’s speaking in metaphor, using body parts to illustrate heart tendencies.

Point is, nothing physical can make us sin: sin is always a choice of our will (Ja 1:14), a choice to move away from God, from Truth. This is why God holds us accountable, and why sin makes Him angry. (Ro 1:18)

And sin always springs from a lie we’re believing and clinging to instead of God. The only way to root sin out is to supplant our lies with truth and move back toward God. (2Ti 2:25-26) It’s a journey, actually a battle, one lie at a time, and Christ is telling us to be intense about it.

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7 thoughts on “Pluck It Out”

  1. Great insight! Good reminder that the root of sin is lies, and to rid ourselves of sin we must replace lies with truth, one by one, as Christ works in us.

  2. Tim,

    Insight you share in concluding paragraph: “And sin always springs from a lie we’re believing and clinging to instead of God. The only way to root sin out is to supplant our lies with truth and move back toward God. (2Ti 2:25-26) It’s a journey, actually a battle, one lie at a time, and Christ is telling us to be intense about it.”

    If augmented with a few detailed examples would increase the helpfulness. I can see what you are saying, simply guessing that on the road to getting there, you saw some societal insights, personal insights, etc that would enhance the revelation of what you wrote.

    🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGMG_PVaJoI

    love
    stephen

    1. Perhaps the most common lie is: “God won’t satisfy; something else will.” This lie is at the root of people who eat to comfort themselves, or buy something to fill the void inside, thinking more stuff will comfort their souls. Whenever an internal restless drives us to fill a craving, this lie is at work.

    2. Another very common lie is: “God is unjust.” It is the lie that moves us to revenge, resentment, bitterness, etc. It is the belief that people will get away with sin and not have to recon with God about it, that God will not deal with each situation justly in His own time.

  3. Tim,

    I like the verse:

    let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

    Should I disagree with God, then I am a Liar. Same for anyone else. So called science disagrees with God, they are a Liar. Simple, easy to understand.

    Let God be true, but every man a Liar….

    stephen

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