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July 21, 2011 / Daniel

Extreme Purity, Matthew 5:27-30

In April 2003, outdoor enthusiast Aron Ralston was hiking alone in the Bluejohn Canyon in southwestern Utah.  Ralston had not informed any of his friends or family members of his whereabouts.   Soon after he entered the canyon, he slipped and dislodged a boulder.  The rock pinned his arm to the canyon wall.   For next six days, Aron was trapped in the middle of nowhere.    Aron knew that there was only one way out of the canyon.  He had to cut off his arm.    His story is featured in the film 127 Hours.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that we are faced with a similar dilemma.  He says,

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.   And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matt 5:27-30).

This is a challenge to pursue the better righteousness which Jesus requires of his followers.   It’s not enough just to avoid adultery.   You must destroy your lustful thoughts.  Adultery is only a symptom.  The disease is lust.

Sexual sin will destroy your life.    Without Jesus, you are trapped.  You must take severe action.    If you try to save your life in this Present Age, you will lose it in the Age to Come.    But if you lose your life for the sake of Jesus, you will find it in the Age to Come (Matt 16:25).

What’s the solution?  Jesus recommends self-mutilation.  Of course, this is hyperbolic, but it makes a point.    Lust is a heart problem.   To conquer lust, you have to deal with the unbelief in your heart.  After all, blind men can still lust.  The maimed still have sexual desires.

As John Owen once said, “Kill sin or it will kill you.”   Your fight against lust has eternal significance.

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