The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 95 of 207
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produces. It will never result from more laws and regulations. They can never touch the
heart of the problem, which is disobedience to the Lord's commands.
Furthermore, in the context of Matt. 5:, it is clearly taught that the purity of heart is
indispensable for admission to God's kingdom (verse 8).
The verses that follow teach that no sacrifice is too great in order to enter into the
kingdom of heaven:
"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" (5: 29, 30, N.I.V.).
The right hand and eye are the most valuable members of the body that can be
sacrificed without causing death. They signify what is most precious. It should be
obvious that the Lord is using figures here, for the actual sacrifice of an eye or hand
would do nothing towards securing purity. Christ is not teaching that the body should be
mutilated, and we have never met a person zealous enough to have done this. What He is
doing is to strongly stress self-control, and let us not forget that this is part of the fruit of
the Spirit which the Lord expects from His children (Gal. 5: 22, 23 where `temperance'
means `self-control'). "Causes you to sin" of the New International Version is better than
`offend' in the Authorized Version. Giving offence to others is not what the Lord Jesus
means here but the inability to control one's self.
The eye stands for seeing and the hand for doing. If what we look on and what we do
causes us to sin, then we must cut it out ruthlessly. The One Who gave the law of God
through Moses is the One Who is interpreting it here and His interpretation must be right!
5: 31 - 6: 4.
pp. 165 - 169
"It has been said, `Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of
divorce'.  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so
divorced commits adultery" (Matt. 5: 31, 32, N.I.V.).
Here the allusion is to Deut. 24: 1.  The Pharisees and Scribes differed greatly
among themselves regarding divorce.  Those who followed the school of Shammai
forbad divorce on any other ground than infidelity. The Pharisees belonged to the Hillel
school and interpreted "uncleanness" in a wide variety of definitions so that they could
grant divorce on the flimsiest of pretexts. This meant that they twisted the law of