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Matthew 5:30- What’s with That?

Discussion in 'Exposition & Bible Study' started by newton3005, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. newton3005

    newton3005 Member

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    In Matthew 5:30, Jesus says “...if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” This actually is rooted in the early Jewish interpretation of the Law that God gave them as part of His Covenant. The idea is that on a human body, everything below the torso should be regarded as subject to corruption. Thus, things like masturbation involve touching that part of the human body, and therefore triggers a sin.

    But if we take Jesus literally, any sin which a hand may cause, such as theft and murder, would subject the hand to being cut off. But in practice, if Matthew 5:30 were followed to the letter, there would be a lot of God-fearing people walking around without at least one hand! In the passage before, Jesus says the same thing about the eye. Almost makes you wonder if people walking around with eye patches had sinned!

    But is that the end of the story? Is that our fate? Maybe not necessarily, for as Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory, that would mean that nobody would gain admittance into Heaven. It would mean that God would not allow the man next to Jesus on the cross who acknowledged Him, to be allowed into His “Paradise.” Yet he is there to this day, for anyone who enters Paradise lives forever.

    So, what is it that might enable people to have sinned, to end up in Paradise? It is asking God for His forgiveness. But does one have to cut off his hand when he asks God for forgiveness? Is there anything in the Bible that would implicitly or explicitly save his hand from being cut off?

    What may be promising is that nowhere in the Bible does it imply that your hand is to be cut off if you sin. The verses in the Psalms which involve having asked God for forgiveness say something like ‘I asked you for forgiveness of my sins, and you oh Lord did.’ There are no verses which say anything that resembles ‘I cut off my hand that sinned and I asked you for forgiveness of my sins and you oh Lord did.’

    There is also Psalms 139:14 which says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...” Wonderfully made for what? To dismember ourselves? Would we in effect be mocking God by dismembering what He created on us, thereby committing another sin?

    There are commentators who write that Matthew 5:30 should not be taken literally, rather, the price of sinning with the hand is COMPARABLE to having it cut off. The ones I came across did not provide a basis in the Bible or in the Catechism for their interpretation. Seems to me that asking God for forgiveness might be a way of saving your hand, but I don’t know for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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  2. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Since masturbation (without lust) is not clearly defined as a sin, I believe that it is a general recommendation, such as

    "If drinking alcohol causes you to be adulterous (or violent), don't drink alcohol, etc." ;)
     
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  3. Arc F1

    Arc F1 Let the righteous man arise from slumber

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    I guess it's just a matter of how much we want to go to heaven. If sin will keep us from seeing the lord wouldn't it be worth it to cut off your hand? I know it sounds extreme and I still have both of mine but after hearing that again it makes me think. What sacrifices am I willing to make to get there? Just how far am I willing to go to keep from sinning? I thought I had it all figured out now I'm questioning my devotion. We all tend to ask for forgiveness and then end up repeating the same sins. If we truly were sorry and asked for forgiveness we wouldn't make the same mistakes over and over. One thing I used to tell people was stop saying can't when the correct term is won't.

    Your post really hit home and is making me do some reflection. Thank you.
     
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  4. gospels

    gospels He has sealed me with His Spirit as He promised! Supporter

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    I think it's a hard way of putting it to say how bad sin is and how important it is to not sin. We don't cut our hands literally, it's a way to say not to sin and if required stay away from or put away anything that causes you to sin, even if it’s something as dear as your own body.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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  5. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    There's such a thing as "context" ... context can be before or after a verse or contained with a passage and/or within the consistency through-out entire scripture regarding the subject matter. In this case the subject matter was in regard to adultery.

    An example would be any book .... to read one sentence or even just one paragraph out of a book and using that one statement or one paragraph as a determination of what the entire book is about is just plain impractical.

    And within scripture many verses use metaphoric (figurative) language.

    Does scripture as a whole teach we are to cut off our hand or gouge our eye out and throw them away? No it does not. Therefore the usage of literally cutting off ones hand or gouging our eye out and throwing them away in the verse is not to be taken literally but figuratively (metaphorically).
     
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  6. section9+1

    section9+1 Well-Known Member

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    I take it differently. Just before that he was talking about the Pharisees and all the stuff they require for righteousness. They had their own path to follow in pursuit of their righteousness. But it wasn't enough. If righteousness is pursued on such a path it must go further down that path than they were going. It must extend to the point of dismembering yourself. That will take you past even their righteous attempts. Or on the other hand, there is another path. One entirely apart from theirs that does not require such extremes. Both paths are there and both are available. Choose wisely.
     
  7. Rachel20

    Rachel20 Member

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    Since the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63), I think Jesus is saying to approach our own sin with great fervor - to deal with it quickly and completely.
     
  8. Phil W

    Phil W Well-Known Member

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    Jesus' words about "cutting" and "plucking" were prophetic.
    When we are crucified with Christ at our baptism into Him and into His death, (Rom 6:3-7), we undergo the circumcision done without hands and "cast off the flesh". (Col 2:11-13)
    It is written..."And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Gal 5:24)
    Of course none of this works if one's repentance from sin isn't real and permanent.
     
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