The Sin Of Lust
THE depth and scope with which the scripture addresses every aspect of human living is most compelling. It hints at the fact that God is unavoidably interested in what we do with our bodies, and how we lead our lives. For instance, His standard on the issue of moral impurity through pornography, pre-marital and extra-marital relationships, were aptly captured in His Sermon on the Mount, when He said: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offends 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.”
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world as well as the Light of the Word. Without His insight and interpretation, most people will think that they are free from the condemnation of sin. Hearing the words, “Thou shalt not kill,” the majority of people in the world will claim to have kept God’s Word. But hearing the true explanation of “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” every mouth is stopped; the bulk of people in the world become guilty before God. Christ’s true interpretation, therefore, makes everyone see the need to seek forgiveness and salvation.
When He said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, we need the insight and illumination He so capably provided to avoid falling into the trap of limited understanding, which has led many people to conclude that they are morally upright and righteous when in fact, they are not. All sense of superficial righteousness is lost as we listen to Christ’s revelation on the commandment. He said: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” With this declaration, the Lord effectively takes the veil of self-deception away from our eyes, and reveals our need for salvation that He gives to those who sincerely repent of their sins and trust in Him for grace. Through His comments and commentary on moral impurity, He shows the world the need for divine mercy and He exposes the church to the necessity for heart cleansing.
Divine command against immoral deeds stand out prominently as the Lord declared: “Ye have heard…” Truly, we have heard from the voice of our conscience, from the voice of society, from the voice of priests and preachers that we should not commit fornication or adultery. Yet, some societies frown only at adultery (immoral acts by married persons), while tacitly condoning pre-marital sex, pornography and such dirty habits as masturbation. There are even societies that treat adultery lightly. But these should not serve as moral compass or barometer to all those who aim at living a morally upright life to the glory of God. There are enough indications in the scripture of how the Lord wants us to respond to matters of moral behaviour. The Lord’s dealing with King Abimelech in the Bible shows that this moral imperative had been in existence before even the Ten Commandment was given. By emphasising it in this age and dispensation of grace, Jesus wanted to show us the immutability of divine law.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to the world to excuse or conceal the sin of mankind. Rather, He came to expose and cleanse mankind from all sin. He has not come to condemn and leave man under condemnation, but to reveal the guilt and condemnation of all men in order to make men seek God’s forgiveness, mercy and salvation through Him. His light searches us so that His love may save us. Before Christ’s insightful interpretation and application of the divine truth on the sin of adultery, fornication, pornography, etc, the Pharisees and scribes had reduced the commandment, which prohibits adultery to the mere physical act. They imagined that as long as they were not actually guilty of the act itself, they were perfectly innocent and free from condemnation.