Foolish Thinking

The simple young man in this story lacked judgment (Prov. 7:7). He had no idea that his naiveté would cost him his life (vs. 23). The woman who seduced him was dressed like a prostitute, supposedly religious (vs. 14) and married (vs. 19). The wise man would have seen the danger and discerned immediately that her intentions were not good. The simple person doesn’t consider the consequences of sin. The fool wants only immediate gratification. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most incurable disease in the world, but it is easily the most preventable. All you have to do is abstain. Yet millions are dying every year of AIDS. To throw away your life, career, marriage and reputation for a few minutes of sexual pleasure is totally irrational.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matt. 5:27-30). Jesus is graphically illustrating the seriousness of sexual sin, and we should be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to keep from paying a far greater cost for the inevitable consequences of adultery, disease and death.v

If eyes and hands are the cause for sin, we would all be cutting off body parts and we still would not have solved the problem. Jesus explained in the previous verse that the one who is looking lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. The looking was the evidence, not the cause. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that genuine righteousness is a matter of the heart, and not the result of external conformity. “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The prevention of murder (Matthew 5:21-26) and adultery (Matthew 5:27-32) requires a transformation of the heart and a renewing of the mind.

Salvation does not improve our old nature. Salvation makes us a new creation in Christ and a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). In Christ we have the potential not to sin, but there are three requirements. First, we must choose to believe the truth and repent of our sins. Second, to keep from committing sexual sins, we have to live by the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). Third, we must renew our minds and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Dr. Neil

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