You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Jesus words here are strong and precise. Lust is equated without spiritual adultery in no uncertain terms. Jesus reasserts the importance of the law and uses the phrase “But I tell you” to amplify the point of reestablishing the truth of Scripture above any traditions or additions. Avoiding the outside act is not enough. Our hearts and minds must be pure as well.
Verses 29 and 30 employ hyperbole (an extreme, absurd exaggeration meant to amplify a point) and are not meant to be taken literally. We are not told to literally pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands. Jesus’ plea is to avoid sinfulness at all cost and to be ready to employ extreme measures to protect yourself from lust and unrighteousness. It is better to lose a body part and be temporarily in pain than to lose your soul for all eternity.
Dear Christian, stay away from sin. The grace of God is no excuse for disobedience. Save yourself from trouble and strife in the future by seeking obedience to the Lord now.