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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

IF THY HAND, FOOT, OR EYE OFFEND THEE

Matt 18:7-11 Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Also see Mark 9:43-48)

The first verse of the lesson text tells us that the root cause of suffering that people must bear in the world is because of offences - that is, because of anything a man or woman does that brings about sin in their lives or the lives of others. However, it is true that from the beginning of time sin came into the world and we are told that it will continue to do so, but the person that brings it about is assured a life of woeful sorrow. In this text, and the verses immediately preceding it, we are assured that there is no sin more destructive than that which invades the peace and contentment of another and, by teaching and example, misleads and causes them to commit sins that results in the lose of their souls. To all that deceive others by placing the stumbling blocks of sin in their paths, and to all that are deceived by them, are destined for the same woeful state of eternal punishment and destruction.

Here, and in His "Sermon on the Mount" (Matt. 5:29-30), Jesus taught us the dreadful seriousness of sins that we commit ourselves and, more seriously and destructively, by example, persuasion, threats, and false teaching, cause others to sin. Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee. Whatever the reason sin enters our lives, remains there, causes others to sin, and condemns us to eternal destruction, must be purged from our hearts, minds and bodies. Satan often disguises many sinful actions as things that are harmless as well as pleasurable. These may seem as dear and needful to our lives as our hands, feet, and as noted in verse 9, our eyes. Yet, if we ignore them and continue to participate in them unrepentantly, they will destroy all hope of eternal salvation in the life to come after death, both for ourselves and all others that we, by chance or purposefully, lead astray. If this is true, then Jesus tells us that it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet (or two eyes) to be cast into everlasting fire.

Certainly we cannot blame our hands, feet, or eyes for any sin that they are instrumental in committing. These are mere members of our physical bodies and do not act independently of our will. It is our minds that direct their actions. Jesus uses these wonderful and beneficial body parts to represent things that are precious to us. Like them, other things that seem to be desirable, but cause us, or others to sin, must be sacrificed in order to lead the life God desires of His children. Hands, which these verses say should be cut off, represent things our minds directs them to do that bring sin into our lives and those of others. The same can be said for feet, which are directed by our minds to go into evil places and participate in evil things. Our minds also, at times, direct our eyes to look upon things that do not belong to us, desire them, and steal them away from their owners. Much is said in other scriptures about our tongues, with which we use to speak. Jesus could have very well used that body member as another example of the commission of sin when misdirected by one's mind.

Indeed, the mind is able to direct hands, feet, eyes, and even tongues to commit sins that will cause us to lose our souls - to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (See Mark's account). However, even worse is to lead a child - a babe in Christ without full knowledge and understanding, to sin and lose their soul due to the influence we may have over them. Anything in our lives that may cause us, or others, to sin and fall short of the glory of God, must be sacrificed, cut off, and removed from our lives, in order to gain eternal life in heaven.