Matthew 18:6-9

(Jesus said:) “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

We don’t take sin seriously these days. Consider how casually, easily, and *frequently* we lie, gossip, or cheat. Lulled into complacency by pastors who preach a sugar-coated and corrupted gospel, we think we can do anything and get away with it scot-free. After all, God is loving and merciful and will forgive us no matter what we do. This is essentially true, but there is a caveat: he will not condone deliberate sinning.

As the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes: If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29).

We didn’t obtain forgiveness of sins by God waving his hand in the air. His Son, Jesus, paid the price for our sins, which cost him every drop of his blood. When we keep sinning shamelessly and mindlessly, we — as we just heard — trample the Son of God underfoot and treat the blood of the New Covenant in an unholy fashion. We also insult the Spirit of grace — the Holy Spirit that god gave us as a gift to enable us to lead holy lives in imitation of Christ.

God calls us to radical holiness, where even the smallest sin is disgusting. When Jesus speaks about cutting off a limb or gouging an eye, he isn’t talking about self-mutilation but the ruthless amputation of anything that causes sin in our lives. For example, if you are addicted to porn and have a channel that shows it on your TV, you disconnect that channel, but if there are many channels, chuck the television into the garbage, treating it like a gangrenous limb.

May the Spirit of grace move in you and inspire you to radical holiness.

More in this category: « Matthew 18:1-5 Matthew 18:10-14 »
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