The apostle Paul continues to unravel the connection between the knowledge of God and morality. We find that after the coming of Christ it is not enough to know God and glorify Him (Romans 1:21). It is not enough even to worship or serve Him (Romans 1:25). It is also necessary to “retain God in your knowledge” all the time. If man does not have the only thing that matters on his mind, he is busy with all sorts of bad things. He is filled with “all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness”. Wishing to lead us away from this, the Lord says, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. The eye and the hand are the immediate instruments of the soul, and they must be in strict submission.
Thus, the Lord puts the desire of sin on an equal footing with sin itself.
The question, however, is whether it is the same thing that a man feels when he desires his legitimate wife versus what he feels when he desires someone else?
Won’t the Lord go on to say that all the desire for a woman is sin, and it is necessary either not to marry, or to break up immediately …? He did say something totally different, nonetheless.
Divorce, it turns out, was only tolerated due to the imperfection of the people of old. Now the Lord says, Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. On the one hand, one must not even dream of other people’s wives, and on the other hand, one must not think of leaving his own. With that said, sexual desire towards women is at the heart of both adultery and marriage.
How do we resolve this issue? The nature of sex is the nature of the human being. It is a great power and a great mystery. The wise Solomon, talking about four unfathomable things, mentioned among them the way of a man with a maid (Proverbs 30:19). The Lord does not speak about the things that we can not accommodate, but only shows the ways that can steer our ship through this tempest. One of them is the way of married life. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn (1 Corinthians 7:9). Christian marriage is distinguished by its inseparability and respect for each other’s image and likeness of God. If the couple remains with God and with each other until death, then all uncleanness in the relationship between husband and wife is burned down because of their fidelity.
As soon as the eye and the hand are tempted to sneak out and do their own thing, we must immediately remind them of the advice that the Lord gave us. Let both the eye and the hand know that we would rather enter the Kingdom of Heaven without them than be thrown into the flames of hell with them!