“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched…” Mark 9:43 (NKJV)
Jesus always knew how to get a point across. Christ communicated with incomparable effectiveness, knowing exactly what to say and how to say it. Sometimes, He imparted a truth or command with the utmost delicacy and tenderness.
But there were other times when He used harsh imagery to drive home an idea, like in the passage above. In context, Jesus is speaking to His followers and is spelling out the severity of sin and how serious it is. He’s warning them against those earthly entrapments and enticements that would hinder them.
Now notice where Jesus takes the teaching. He says that it’s better to chop off the hand that you sin with than to suffer eternally. Don’t misunderstand. Jesus isn’t promoting self-mutilation…not at all! Rather, He’s challenging us to measure our earthly sins against eternity.
An eternal awareness is going to influence our attitude toward sin. It’s going to make us reevaluate it and really think twice about it. Instead of just going along with the tide of temptation, we’re going to stop and say to ourselves, “Wait, there’s something more enduring and important than my immediate gratification. There’s an eternal reality that I want to honor by the way I behave here and now.”
So much of the sin we willingly commit is done so without any forethought to our future…our eternal future. None of us is ever going to be perfectly sinless, no matter how eternal our perspective is, and that’s why Jesus had to die as our sin covering. But at the same time, we should want to stop sinning. And more often than not, being eternally minded leads us to do what’s right instead of what’s wrong.
The next time you’re tempted to sin, measure the momentary pleasure you may derive from it against the weight of eternity.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
If you were to meet Bob Coy on the street, you’d probably find him much like yourself. His story is that of any ordinary guy. Like a lot of us, Bob’s dreams of fame and fortune turned to a reality of disappointment and destruction. On the outside, he seemed to have it all together—a great job, nice car, amazing digs, and plenty of women. Yet, inside he was empty and dying. He longed for a life of fulfillment that seemed to elude him until Christmas 1980 when Bob Coy surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. In One Almost Surrendered Life, Pastor Bob shares the incredible journey from his fast-paced existence as an executive of Capital Records to his supernatural walk with Christ. In this book, Pastor Bob will lovingly reveal that God has a plan for you and how you can discover your remarkable story through the grace of God. He is a true example of what God can do through even one surrendered life.