Adultery and Lust

In this second of the so-called antithesis (Mat.5:27-30), as is also true in the other five, Jesus does not contradict the Law of Moses, but contrasts it with His teaching as the new Lawgiver. Also, Jesus did not merely interpret the Law of Moses (as if this is what it always truly meant), but having fulfilled it (5:17), He brought it to an end as the rule of life for God’s people under the New Covenant. The law of Christ requires a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness demanded in the law of Moses even that achieved by the scribes and Pharisees in their scrupulous attempt to keep it (5:20).
Under the law of Christ, it is wrong to commit adultery, but it is also sin for a man to look at a woman to lust for her. According to Jesus’ teaching, the man who does has already committed adultery in his heart. Jesus uses hyperbole to stress the drastic measures one must take to deal with this sin of lust. “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out…” “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off…” Jesus indicates that it is more profitable for one of your body parts to perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. While it is true that those who continue in the sin of lust will be cast into hell, Jesus is not indicting the removal of body parts as the remedy. Though He does not mention it here, the remedy for sin is the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, all who believe in Him are crucified with Him. Our old man, including our old eyes and old hands, were crucified with Christ, and we were raised with Him as new creations! Because that is true Paul wrote, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). And, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).