The Sermon On the Mount
Matthew, Chapter 5
Matthew 5:27-30) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
NOTE: This verse begins with the same phrase that verse 21 begins with.
Exodus 20:14) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
ANOTHER NOTE: The more things change the more they stay the same. The Mid-East mindset concerning women today was pretty similar back in those days. The scribes and Pharisees considered adultery to be an act between a man and someone else’s wife.
The UBS Commentary says that adultery referred to an act performed “with the wife or the betrothed of a Jew. Both the commandment itself (Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18) and the Jewish interpretation of the commandment condemned adultery, because it involved the taking of another man’s wife. That is, it was considered the illicit use of another man’s property.”
However, the Bible teaches divorce, not honor killing, is the way to deal with an unfaithful wife.
Even when a society has such low regard for the woman, when a man loves his wife HE WILL TREAT HER RIGHT! The New Testament brings us to this truth:
Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
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.
(BBE) But I say to you that everyone whose eyes are turned on a woman with desire has had connection with her in his heart.
(CEV) But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts.
(MSG) But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices–they also corrupt.
Concerning “looketh on a woman,”
“Many and severe are the prohibitions of the Jews, concerning looking upon a woman, which they aggravate as a very great sin: they say (k), it is not lawful to look upon a beautiful woman, though unmarried; nor upon another man’s wife, though deformed; nor upon a woman’s coloured garments: they forbid (l) looking on a woman’s little finger, and say (m), that he that tells money to a woman, out of his hand into her’s, that he may look upon her, though he is possessed of the law and good works, even as Moses, he shall not escape the damnation of hell: they affirm (n), that he that looks upon a woman’s heel, his children shall not be virtuous; and that a man may not go after a woman in the way, no, not after his wife: should he meet her on a bridge, he must take her to the side of him; and whoever goes through a river after a woman, shall have no part in the world to (o) come: nay, they forbid (p) a man looking on the beauty of his own wife” [Gill].
Regarding “to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,”
“The law forbade the act of adultery; Jesus forbids the desire” [BBC].
QUESTION: If thinking it is sin then should we go ahead and do it?
“Jesus is not saying that the act of adultery and adultery in the heart are the same thing. More than a few people have been deceived on this point, and say “I’ve already committed adultery in my heart, so I may as well do it in practice.” The act of adultery is far worse than adultery in the heart. Jesus’ point is not to say they are the same things, but to say they are both sin, and both prohibited by the command against adultery” [Guzik].
QUESTION: What’s the harm is thoughts?
“E. Stanley Jones caught the import of this verse when he wrote: ‘If you think or act adultery, you do not satisfy the sex urge; you pour oil on a fire to quench it.’ Sin begins in the mind, and if we nourish it, we eventually commit the act” [BBC].
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.
Hyperbole – intentional exaggeration
Luk 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Concerning “pluck it out,”
“The trouble with a literal interpretation is that it does not go far enough! Even if you did cut off your hand or gouge out your eye, you could still sin with your other hand or eye. When all those are gone, you can especially sin with your mind” [Guzik].
Matthew 15:19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
QUESTION: Should we then cut out our heart?
ANSWER: Of course not. The idea is to “pluck out” the bad thought process.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church