Skip to main content

Let us read what Jesus said:

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. 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. (Matthew 5:29, 30)

If you take it literally you have a problem. In the previous verse Christ talked about adultery being committed in the heart by a lustful look. He said:

Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

The problem therefore is not with the eyes but the heart! Will the plucking out of the right eye solve the problem? Was only one eye wicked and one eye holy? Will the cutting of the right hand solve the problem of sin by the hand? Won’t the left hand sympathize with the right hand, as it was also a companion in all wicked works done by the other hand?

Is a lustful look of adultery the problem of the eye? Didn’t Jesus Himself declare where the real problem is?

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:19)

The real problem is not with any part of the body, but the heart or mind, which is the seat of sin and a foul fountain. That is why God said:

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26)

For the eyes to observe God’s ways the heart has to be given to Him. That is why Jesus is pictured standing and knocking at the door of the heart. (Though it doesn’t mention the word “heart”, it is understood; as the heart is what He is looking for as seen in Proverbs 23:26; for it is the throne room of our life.) He said:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

The greatest deception is not from outside but from inside. The sinful heart is our great enemy, as it is Satan’s agent inside our body. The prophet wrote:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

Satan wants our heart, and God wants it more. Satan wants it to bring us to ruin, and God wants it to give us life and peace and pleasure and happiness forever. The devil uses the senses of the body- the seeing, the tasting, the smelling, the feeling, and the hearing to control our heart and mind. But God, through the heart, controls all our senses. When the heart is pure by God’s grace, all the thoughts, words and actions are pure. God works from the inside to control the outside, but Satan works from the outside to control the inside.

The cutting off of the hand or foot, or the plucking out of the eye will not solve the problem of sin. Since Satan uses these avenues to make us commit evil and sin, Christ was advising us not to give the members of the body to be instruments of the devil. Our hands, our eyes, our feet, our tongue, our ears, and all our body parts need to be guarded and protected from the evil one as he uses these avenues to make us corrupt. These parts need to be disciplined and controlled as not to commit evil acts. And that can be done only from the control room-the heart or mind. When the heart is pure the whole body will fall in-line. Paul wrote:

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)

Yes, all our members, the parts of our body, should be “instruments of righteousness”. In the same book, Paul talks about presenting our bodies to God in the best way. He said:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

And Paul tells us how that can be done. It is through the mind.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

When our heart or mind is in-tune with the Heavenly music, our bodies will truly be the temple of God. Cutting off of any part will damage the temple, and inspiration warns against it.

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:17)

BUT ONE MIGHT SAY: Didn’t Jesus say that we truly need to cut off some parts of the body? Yes we need to! By stopping it from doing evil. By shutting the eyelids from beholding vanity, by refraining the hands from performing evil acts, and by holding back the feet from forbidden ground we cut off the avenues for the body parts to be instruments of sin.

The Psalmist, too, talked about the plucking off of the eyes and feet, etc. He wrote:

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. (Psalm 119:37)

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. (Psalm 25:15)

But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. (Psalm 73:2)

I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. (Psalm 119:10)

Turning away the eyes from vanity is plucking the eyes; refraining our feet from the evil way is cutting the feet off!

Talking about the eyes-the important part of our body-Jesus said:

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matthew 6:22)

When the eye is looking at the right things–that is, at God and His Word, and at virtuous things–the entire body is lit up. So also when our hands and feet and other parts are focused on bringing glory to God, it fulfils the true purpose.

Yes, the “cutting off” of it will not solve the problem, for the problem is with the heart that has to be cut off. A new heart has to be planted. That is exactly what God does. It is written:

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.(Deuteronomy 30:6)

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

When the heart of the problem is addressed and taken care of, the whole issue is solved. Once the new heart is in place, do not allow the members of the body to be instruments of unrighteousness.

With God’s help fight it out. It is worth dying than sinning.