The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

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The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 23 October 2006

Note: After today’s Blog I will take a break from “The Sermon on the Mount” in order to write some of my thoughts concerning things of a more political nature. As you will see below, one of the topics of today’s Blog – “temptation” – fits right in with a discussion of corruption in government!

In Matthew 5:27-32, Jesus continues to “raise the bar” by making it clear that it is not only the outward unlawful acts that defile a person, but the cherishing or indulging of those acts “in the heart” – in other words, choosing to think about, or dwell on, those acts. Jesus was critical of the example set by the religious leaders of His day who concerned themselves with outward appearances, ignoring the root of sinful actions.

It is not temptation per se that is the problem – even Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Giving in to temptation is the problem. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has given us a spirit of “discipline and self-control.” Galatians 5: 23 lists one of the Holy Spirit’s fruit as “self-control” or “self-restraint” and goes on to say in 5:24: “And those who belong to Christ…have crucified the flesh – the Godless human nature – with its passions and appetites and desires.”(Amplified Version)

Here Jesus chooses to speak about adultery as an example of sin that is nurtured instead of being “plucked out” at the temptation stage. The strong language He uses in 5:29-30 is not meant as approval of self-mutilation, but rather to emphasize the importance of living by as high a standard as possible.

In 5:31-32, Jesus turns to the subject of divorce and relates it to adultery, again pointing out the leniency of the old ways. In 5:32 Jesus gives one reason why a man may divorce his wife: depending on the Bible version, this reason is fornication or unchastity or unfaithfulness or sexual immorality (all translated from the Greek word “πορνείας” from which the English word “pornography” and related words are derived.) Otherwise, the man seeking to divorce “makes her commit adultery”; and “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Matthew 5:27-32

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
~ King James Version

Matthew 5:27-32

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;

28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

29 “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

30 “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “And it was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of dismissal’;

32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
~ New American Standard Bible

Remember, Jesus is not warning us only about giving in to sexual temptations – He is warning us about giving in to any sinful temptations.
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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