Friends of ours have a daughter who is married to an American. They have two children who do home schooling. The husband resigned his position of running the catering department for a huge campsite for Christian youth. Their intention is to tour America for a few months to see where they would like to settle and what type of work he would like to pursue in the future. I don’t know how they will do their tour, but imagine them leaving Houston in Texas, going through all the states to New York, from there through the states to Chicago, then to Washington and from there down to Las Vegas, to Los Angeles before returning to Houston, Texas. They would have made many detours on their journey. That is what we have done with Jesus saying:
Mt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’”
Although each detour has been brief, we have tried to deal with the commandment … “You shall not commit adultery” thoroughly. Now we are ready to consider the remaining verses:
Mt 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 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. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
1) Sexual intimacy must take place within the parameters of marriage.
1 Cor 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
One man, one woman, one marriage. This is God’s parameter for sexual intimacy. One man married to one woman within a faithful monogamous marriage. The world we live in might have its own take on what the parameters of legitimate sexual intimacy is. God is very clear.
2) Mutuality within the marriage.
1 Cor 7:3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
I found a catch phrase for mutuality … it is “good for me, good for you”.
(1) At marriage the man and woman, now husband and wife become “one flesh”. Genesis 2:24 implies “one flesh” as the sexual intimacy in marriage. Paul says the body of the wife and the body of the husband belongs to the other. The picture of exclusivity is seen here. They belong to each other and no other is permitted to come between them or into the relationship … even should both agree to it. As an aside, after many years of marriage seeking to do it God’s way, I think it is impossible for one man to satisfy one women properly (emotionally, relationally, sexually, financially, etc.), let only having more than one wife (polygamy) or by having more partners.
(2) Restricting sexual intimacy for any reason, apart from health reasons, would be sinful and would encourage the other partner to look elsewhere. Paul calls this “marital duty”.
(3) Strangely, the Scriptures encourage healthy sexual intimacy within the marriage with restrictions only for spiritual purposes … prayer! When these instructions are followed there ought never to be a need for any husband or wife to look elsewhere for sexual satisfaction. I have found over the years of marital counseling, that one of the hardest things to do for most husbands and wives is to talk about their sexual intimacy. Married couples ought to learn to discuss their likes, dislikes and needs. As soon as the husband and wife understand these things they will functions within those parameters and be relationally happy.
3) Personal discipline.
Mt 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Sight is one of the senses that God has gifted us with. We are able to see and appreciate many things, including God’s creation. As mentioned before, many argue the appreciation of art which includes nudity. Here Jesus cancels that as an argument. Although it is true that women are also affected sexually through the eye gate, generally this is how men are “turned on”. There is an extremely fine line between appreciating beauty and lust because lust looks beyond the face to the body! This is the supreme reason why modesty in dress is important. Our Lord says that lustful looking is adultery in the heart. Remember the heart of the believer belongs to Jesus … and once married the heart include the wife (husband). Looking that becomes lustful is fantasy and God sees this as adultery. Please note that this includes the husband (wife) and any unmarried man (woman) or married man (wife).
4) Personal denial.
Mt 5:29 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.
This verse shows us how serious Jesus is about His people remaining sexually faithful within marriage and pure being single. He is however not implying that we engage in self-mutilation of the body. The picture presented is one of seriousness and self-denial. Let me paint a picture … we do not watch movies rated over PG 13 … and even that at times is questionable. Cut out the things that could cause seeing becoming lust. Naturally this includes art and pornography. Paul says to the single man:
1 Cor 7:9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
In marriage, the wife needs to understand the husband’s needs.
5) Personal senses. Although Jesus mentions the eye gate, all of the sense could be influenced sensually. The ear, nose, eye, touch … as well as the eye. The principle of verses 28-29 needs to cover all our senses.
6) Personal protection … self-control.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is 23 and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
To dress yourself with the fruit of the Spirit means to keep in step with the Spirit by using the Bible He provided for God’s people.
Father, forgive us for each time we have transgressed the sexual law. Please help us to be faithful to You, our spouse and ourselves. Amen.