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What does Matthew 5:28 mean?

Discussion in 'Young Adults' started by Micah1, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. Micah1

    Micah1 New Member

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    I've been trying to grasp this scripture for a few years now but I'm no closer to understanding it.

    Matthew 5:28

    "But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."

    What context is this scripture in? I've looked up "lust" in dictionaries but it could mean anything really. What I've deducted is that this scripture is intended for married people, correct me if I'm wrong.
     
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  2. Aseyesee

    Aseyesee Well-Known Member

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    Adultery/married ... thought/soul.
     
  3. W2L

    W2L Well-Known Member

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    Lust is our desire for material things, and sexual desire as well. I believe this scripture is for everyone.
     
  4. CoolDude68

    CoolDude68 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    He's talking about the thought process behind the look. There's nothing wrong with looking at a beautiful woman, but if lustful thoughts start creeping up in your mind about what you would DO to that woman, or having fantasies about anything in a sexual nature that is what Matthew was referring to. Even just thinking about that is a sin. Yes, this is one of the most difficult things to keep in check being a man. It really takes discipline and faith. I pray about it quite often. It's one of the ways Satan knows how to temp me.

    I personally admire a beautiful woman, but I don't dwell on it or let it go past seeing her beauty. Besides, it's the heart that matters in a woman, not so much physical appearance.
     
  5. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

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    Jesus was teaching about the correct application of the 7th and 10th Commandments against adultery and against coveting something in your heart. Sin is always an action that we choose to take, so it is not about the reaction that we have when we see an attractive person, but about our choice to dwell on the thought about what we would like to do with them. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, we are told to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.
     
  6. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Correct. Jesus was condemning the conduct of the Pharisees (most of the Sermon on the Mount is spent correcting the false example they were setting and the false things they were teaching). Here, they were not actually committing adultery, yet they were gawking at married women (or single women though themselves married). So they were essentially committing the sin of sexual covetousness, which is one of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:17).
     
  7. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dog gone-it, Soyeong. You beat me to it! Serves me right for taking ten minutes to post, LoL.
     
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  8. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Kobayashi Maru? What're you even talk'n about?! Supporter

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    I would interpret this in the context of various Old Testament allusions to sexual temptation, and in that context. For instance, read the first several chapters of Proverbs, and then ask yourself: "What kind of woman would Jesus be talking about?" It's not as if women in Jerusalem were just strutting around with thigh-high skirts, low-plunging blouses, juicy red lip-stick, and the current issue of Cosmo in one hand; not like they might do today in some of the more progressive cities today. :cool:

    ...I'm sure it also reflects some aspect of the 7th and 10th commandments, as Soyeong pointed out above.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  9. Waddler

    Waddler Live a story worth telling well.

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    First, let's look at Matthew 5:28 in context. From Matthew 5:21 to the end of the chapter, Jesus went through some familiar Judaic commandments. He pointed out that abstaining from the specific actions wasn't enough, that God cares about our intent. Harboring contempt for someone enough to kill them is as sinful as killing them.

    In some ways, our understanding of Matthew 5:28 is crippled by poor translations into English, and by the connotations we attach to the English words used. The word "lust" isn't strictly sexual in this context. It refers to a brief, passionate desire, like an angry drunk. "Adultery" could refer to sexuality, but the word used in Greek also refers to a generic unfaithfulness to God, like eating food sacrificed to idols.

    So, if we look at a woman to desire her in any brief, emotional way as a thing to be used and discarded (like some might use alcohol and then dispose of it one way or another), we have shown disdain for her value to God, and put something in God's place, however temporarily. That causes us to be unfaithful to God, resulting in metaphorical adultery. Of course, thinking sexually of a woman could "achieve" that adultery, but it doesn't have to be sexual.

    In high school, I met a girl who I became infatuated with. I was willing to lie, to change my habits (for better or worse), to do whatever it took to impress her. If she had decided she was an atheist, I would have said I was an atheist, too. I was willing to deny God just because I wanted her affection. That was lust and adultery, never mind any sexual aspect.

    It's not wrong to look at a woman and recognize her beauty. It's not a sin to find a woman sexually appealing. It is wrong to let that desire for her replace God, however temporarily. If our thoughts do not take into account her value as a person God created, we've cheapened her to little more than a toy to be used and discarded on a whim.

    The general point of the last half of Matthew 5 is that our intent is just as important as our actions. The Mosaic Law put a heavy emphasis on what you do, but not as much on what you intended. Jesus was essentially saying, "What does it matter if you abstain from the action but desire to do it anyway?"

    Now, there's nothing wrong with admitting to yourself you'd like to have sex with someone. If I see a beautiful woman, I might confess that desire to myself. But I also recognize that I wouldn't have sex with her, even if for some reason she offered the opportunity. Why? Because she's not my wife, and I wouldn't want to abuse her by treating her as something to be used and thrown away. It's fine and healthy to recognize that someone is appealing, but we should also recognize what the proper intent is toward a person.

    One last thing: the Greek word used in Matthew 5:28 is one referring to any woman, including (but not limited to) married women and unmarried virgins. Consequently, we know this verse isn't strictly applicable to married people, and it is safe to infer the same applies to women in regard to men. The Judaic view on adultery was different from our modern views, but I'd have to do further study to fully explain the nuances.
     
  10. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    One distinction is that this is a choice, not an momentary reaction.

    If a person sees randomly someone without intent to lust (did not look in order to lust), and then has a reaction of being attracted, momentarily, this is only natural and is not the "lust" being referred to, but the initial temptation.

    The falling into lust happens if they then choose to continue to focus on that attraction and follow into it even just mentally. That would build up lust -- build up that romantic or sexual attraction to someone not one's spouse. That continuing to look or focus mentally on that person in order to feel that feeling of attraction -- to yield to being attracted more powerfully.

    It's very serious, as Christ showed us in the surprising and dramatic (hyperbole) wording that is part of this warning, the next verse --
    29 "If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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. "

    Paraphrased -- do whatever it takes to escape this temptation. Whatever it takes, no matter what it takes. Of course, there are about perhaps many hundreds of ways to avoid the temptation short of literally blindfolding or impairing vision. But the metaphor is sharp, because the danger is sharp.

    But aid is available also!

    Christ gave us a powerful prayer to aid us daily in possible temptations that can happen to us without warning. In this prayer, in Matthew chapter 6, we pray "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil".

    When prayed with faith, this powerful prayer will result in real aid from above, which we can often need in all sorts of possible situations, such as conflicts, or other kinds of temptations also.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  11. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I think Jesus is explaining how sin works:

    If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matt. 5:29,30)​

    Notice first it's the eye, then the hand, you look and then you reach. It reminds me of the progression in Psalm 1:

    Blessed is the man that doth not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1)
    Notice he is walking down the street, standing in the door way, then he is sitting down. You see this in the Sermon of the Mount in the immediate context. If you murder, you are subject to the judgment of a trial court, if your angry with your brother for no good reason you can be called before the council, Israel's highest court. If you call your brother a fool, your in danger of perdition, God's final judgment. See the progression?

    Discipleship is from the inside out, it starts with what you look at with desire, dwell on, and finally seek to consummate.

    You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. ( Exodus 20:17)
    If your eye causes you to sin pluck it out, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. You may not have total control over every random desire but you definitely have a fair amount of control over what you gaze at longingly. In the Old Testament world the way wealth could be flaunted is to erect an idol of gold, the onlooker could even worship this inordinate display of wealth. Jesus is really saying be very careful what you set your heart on as you bring it in though the eye gate.

    If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things which are above, and not on things which are on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
    If you do this you can avoid the trappings of idolatrous earthly affections (Colossians 3:5-6). And pursue the things of God (Colossians 3:12-16)

    See how that works?

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  12. mozo41

    mozo41 Well-Known Member

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    it as every other scripture is in the context of your/our soul in relation to having a true husband or a husband not her own ... and why you find words like harlot and virgin spoken of her ....
     
  13. Micah1

    Micah1 New Member

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    Thanks for the answers everyone, I've learned a lot.
     
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  14. toLiJC

    toLiJC Senior Member

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    the "eye" of spiritual unrighteousness/wickedness is bewitching, and the biblical "adultery" is causation/infliction of evil/harm to/on the neighbor/cohabitant by not-quite a direct impact such as intrusion, obtrusion, harassment, disturbance, perturbation, offense, imposition, violence, excruciation, bullying, enslavement, etc.; so, what the Lord says in Matthew 5:27-30 is that the spiritual person should be careful not to bring stumbling blocks, twists, corruptions or temptations to the world, IOW, they should not commit spiritual lawlessness/wickedness, because e.g. some people being purposefully involved in a heretical/idolatrous (spiritual/religious) activity turned into angels of satan and possessed others to think/act unnaturally/abnormally and enslaved them in spirit/mind or caused them to be enslaved by vicious things/activities thus taking away the(ir) freedom they generally have in the true God...

    Jude 1:6-7 (NASB) "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire."

    remember how eve and adam began to perceive things strangely at the time of the Fall - they (began to) go in for occultism, as a result of which some strange "eye" and consciousness appeared in them and they began to perceive creations of the true God (such as sex and other physical sensory activities as well as their lives in this world) as shameful/disgraceful, and they dressed up in another(strange) glory forsaking the one they had from Him...

    Blessings
     
  15. Jamminontha1

    Jamminontha1 Member

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    This scripture is for everyone, male or female, single or married. Lust has more to do with sexual desire. You can look at your married spouse with lust. Doesn't make it wrong, but if you're looking at someone who you are not joined with and have sexual fantasies with, you have already committed a sin in your heart.
     
  16. toLiJC

    toLiJC Senior Member

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    in principle what you are saying here is true (or at least from one perspective), but who were sinners/murderers, Romeo and Juliet, only because they fell in love, dated, hugged, kissed, etc., albeit without marriage, and yet didn't hurt/kill anybody, or, their warring families/relatives who killed each other and caused the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?!

    Blessings
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  17. Jamminontha1

    Jamminontha1 Member

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    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are you saying that Romeo and Juliet were not sinners? That wouldn't be true. Please elaborate.
     
  18. toLiJC

    toLiJC Senior Member

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    for example, the so-called marriage fashionable for most of the time since the Fall and for most people has constantly been accompanied by suicides and homicides because of adulteries, jealousy, quarrels, fights, divorce, inheritance, etc.; let's say there were some romeo and juliet in the world who were not married, but never hurt/killed anybody, while there were married people who hurt and killed their neighbors, how can such a marriage be called better than a relationship of a couple such as that of the aforementioned romeo and juliet?!

    Blessings
     
  19. Jamminontha1

    Jamminontha1 Member

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    I'm still not sure if I'm seeing your point. Regardless sin is sin, whether you're married or not while you commit a sin is irrelevant. Marriage doesn't make you better than anyone else, but looking upon someone with lust that you are not married to is a sin that you've commuted in your heart. God does not weigh one sin heavier than another. You're either sinning or you're not. If your married neighbors next door are killing someone while Romeo and Juliet next door are lusting for one another, it doesn't mean that the married couple is worse or that Romeo and Juliet are better, for all have fallen short.
     
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