Matthew 5:27-30 “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 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.
Adultery is “unlawful sex outside marriage, whether practiced by married or unmarried people.” The Greek word for lust means unrestricted desire for a forbidden person or thing. Jesus’ point in these verses is that we are to do whatever it takes to deal with lust, which leads to adultery.
As with all the sins, Jesus takes it down to a heart condition. The place to start obeying the command not to commit adultery is in the heart, not the bedroom. The heart condition comes from our eye and feeds on our imagination and fantasies. We see and then begin to fantasize and let our imagination run loose. “Deeds of shame are preceded by fantasies of shame, and the inflaming of the imagination by the indiscipline of the eyes.” (John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, pg. 88)
Jesus is not teaching self-mutilation here, but rather self-mortification. He was using dramatic figures of speech. John Stott says, “What he was advocating was not a literal physical self-maiming, but a ruthless moral self-denial. Colossians 3:5 says, Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. ‘If your eye causes you to sin because temptation comes to you through the eyes (objects you see), then pluck out your eyes. That is, don’t look! Behave as if you had actually plucked out your eyes and flung them away, and were now blind and so could not see the objects which previously caused you to sin. Again, if your hand or foot causes you to sin, because temptation comes to you through your hands (things you do) or your feet (places you visit), then cut them off. That is: don’t do it! Don’t go! Behave as if you had actually cut off your hands and feet, and had flung them away, and were now crippled and so could not do the things or visit the places which previously caused you to sin.’” (Stott, pg. 89)
Our lust comes from a wrong orientation. There are two attitudes which will help us to avoid the temptation of sex. First, focus on eternal things, not temporal. Build up the spiritual man. Realize that the answer is in Christ. Break the pleasure orientation in your life. Avoid a self-indulgent lifestyle. Second, realize the cost of allowing sexual temptation to rule in your life. Do whatever it takes to defeat lust or it will defeat you.