Justifying Self and Sex

You must flee to a power greater than your nature to handle this. You must also stop trying to craft justifications for moral sin.

The law was originally given to support the institution of marriage. Thus when we’re told by God not to commit adultery in act or in our hearts, he is really telling us that these relations are off limits. But within those limits is the proper place for human sexuality. Within the marriage relationship established by God is the place for truly beautiful and blessed sexual relationships. There is nothing wrong or dirty about sex within marriage. It is only when sexuality is expressed outside of the covenant of marriage that it is wrong. And Jesus omnisciently knew that many justifications for sin in this area would be crafted.

 
Matthew 5:27-32

These verses provide an exercise in learning how error functions. I want you to note four things about Jesus’ correction of the Scribes’ interpretation of the law.   
 
First, “anyone” refers to both male and female. Jesus intentionally phrases this commandment in gender neutral language so that it applies to both men and women. Neither gender is immune from this command, nor privileged to ignore it.
 
Second, note he uses the word “lust” to refer to all forms of sexual immorality. It is not just wrong for two people married to different spouses to have sexual relations, but also any two people not married to each other who commit sexual acts are guilty. Jesus covers all of the Scribes’ possible loopholes. His command is really quite comprehensive if we allow the meaning of this word to speak for itself. Only the casuistry of a lawyer seeking to avoid the truth or find a loophole could miss this. It would take real effort.
 
Third, the phrase “but I say” reiterates the law-giving authority of deity. He is, all by himself, capable of uttering divine law.
 
Fourth, Jesus focuses on the heart—on the internal. He says a person is just as guilty in God’s sight by craving another person as if he’d already committed adultery. The Greek of this verse is perhaps clearer than the English. What is forbidden here is not the mere sighting of a woman (remember: women can be guilty, too). What is forbidden is to look at a person with the purpose or object being to continue to visualize that person in a sexual view long after they’ve left the scene. To lust, then, is to look at a person other than one’s spouse and to continue to view them as a sexual object long after they’ve physically vanished. The person doing this in verse 28 does this intentionally and nurses these images. This is not accidental. One commentator compared an accidental or stray unpremeditated glance to a visual feast in this way: “You cannot help birds flying over your heads in the air, but do not let them alight and build their nests in your hair.”
 
Could Jesus here be dissecting the inner lives of some of us today? Does this ever happen on the street, on your phone, perusing the web, in movie selection? Jesus says all of this is forbidden by the 7th Commandment. The reason is because what is behind the 7th Commandment.

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