“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery: but I say to you, that every one that looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
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Adherence to Jesus allows no free rein to desire unless it be accompanied by love.
To follow Jesus means self-renunciation and absolute adherence to him and therefore a will contaminated by lust can never be allowed to do what it likes… Instead of trusting to the unseen we prefer the tangible fruits of desire, and so we fall from the path of discipleship and lose touch with Jesus. Lust is impure because it is unbelief, and therefore it is to be shunned. No sacrifice is too great if it enables us to conquer a lust which cuts us off from Jeus. Both eye and hand are less than Christ, and when they are used as the instruments of lust and hinder the whole body from the purity of discipleship, they must be sacrificed for the sake of him. The gains of lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings—you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand. When you have made your eye the instrument of impurity, you cannot see God with it.
Surely, at this point we must make up our minds once and for all whether Jesus means his precepts to be taken literally or only figuratively, for here it is a matter of life or death... If we decided to not take it literally, we should be evading the seriousness of the commandment, and if on the other hand we decided we decided it was to be taken literally, we should at once reveal the absurdity of the Christian position, and thereby invalidate the commandment.
Jesus does not impose intolerable restrictions on the disciples, he does not forbid them to look at anything, but bids them to look at Him. If they do that he knows that their gaze will always be pure, even when they look upon a woman. So far from imposing on them an intolerable yoke of legalism, he succours them with the grace of the gospel.
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