Sin is something every human being experiences. We see it all around us, but sin is not merely an external issue. Jesus said during His Sermon on the Mount, “Anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed sin against her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Sin is a heart issue before it is a physical one. We must battle on the internal level if we want to win the battle against sin. That makes it a difficult struggle.
As believers in Christ, if we want to overcome sin, we need to be clear that the battle is not just what we do with our bodies. The battle is against what goes on in our minds, in the realm of our intentions, ambitions, and motives. Jesus added in Matthew 5:29, “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.” This verse clarifies that awareness of our battle against sin should point us to the Savior.
Jesus talks about the seriousness of sin. It is even so serious, so profound, that it would be preferable to lose a member of our body (our eye, our hand) over our soul. Jesus’ words emphasize sin’s weightiness in a way most people don’t consider. Most people take sin very lightly. They say, “So, well, we all do it,” as if it were a light matter.
Jesus puts sin into the most severe context to point us to the value of our soul and the eternal consequence of these lives that we’re living. Where does it all end? It doesn’t end at the grave. It goes beyond the grave.
When Jesus says it would be better for me to lose a member of my body than to spend eternity in hell, He is pointing me to my need for a savior. Because sin is an internal matter (my thinking, motives, and ambitions), I’ll never conquer it in my ability. I cannot atone for any of that. The only way for me to answer for sin is hell. I need someone to rescue me—not only from my sin problem, but from hell itself. That points me to the very One who’s giving the message—the Lord Jesus Christ.