Sunday, October 04, 2009



In the same way that an angry heart is murdering someone, so is lusting after someone in your heart adultery. So, SECRET #20 is: The follower of Jesus knows his heart of lust is equal to adultery.

Here's how Jesus articulates this teaching: "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 lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it 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." (Matthew 5:27-30)

Jesus' revolutionary teaching continues to turn the Pharisaical teachings inside out and upside down. Although the teachings they had heard were strong, they pertained to the external aspect a relationship only. As He did with respect to the issue of murder and took it straight to the heart of a person, Jesus does the same thing with the external act of adultery.

Jesus makes it clear that lust in your heart for another is committing adultery. According to Jesus, if you have ever lusted after another, then you are an adulterer. Note that this has nothing to do with a physical or emotional affair. This is a matter of the heart! We tend to draw the line as good Pharisaical believers at "having sex" with another. But Jesus erases all lines and calls the lust in your heart adultery. So, are you an adulterer? Sadly, I am. I don't know of anyone with a pulse who isn't!

NOTE Jesus repeats again the end result. If you are a person filled with anger in your heart, you are as guilty as a murderer. The end result is that you are worthy of being thrown into "hell". I think it's important to understand the use of the term "hell" here. The word here is "gehenna" and refers to the cursed garbage pit just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It was cursed because babies were sacrificed to the god of Mollech. Gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom was thought of as the worst place to be. Jesus uses the same warning with respect to adultery. You who have a lustful heart are worthy of being thrown into gehenna.

This is the first time Jesus ever uses the term and unfortunately it has been translated "hell" right from the beginning. The Jews hearing Jesus refer to gehenna in this way were not thinking of a future place of torment and torture; they were thinking in terms of their local, horrendous, cursed, fiery garbage pit. He was saying that a person who is filled with lust in his heart is worthless enough to be thrown into this pit.

When Jesus mentions that it would be better to remove a body part than to have your whole body thrown into gehenna, Jesus is using hyperbole. He is saying: "Do whatever you have to do to keep from stumbling." This is like a doctor cutting off a limb to save a person's life. This is not to be applied literally. However, it points to the seriousness of violating the principles of God.

Jesus is pushing very hard at this point. There is literally no way out of being convicted of this sin. You see, Jesus is setting it all up. God requires perfection. Plan A says that you must be perfect. But since no one is able to rise to this perfection, you must move toward the perfection of Jesus, the Messiah. That's Plan B!

So Jesus starts by calling you a murderer and now an adulterer. I mean to tell you, there's no way out, EXCEPT through Jesus. SECRET #20 is: The follower of Jesus knows his heart of lust is equal to adultery. You are guilty at the core of your being-your heart-and only Jesus can get you out of this planet alive! Remember His words: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, even though he dies, shall live." You may be worthy of that pit, but Jesus is able to set all things right!