“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” – Mark 9:42-48
If we fail to understand the seriousness of sin then we will never be unable to understand the necessity of the cross. These words of Jesus seem extreme, but they are a reality check for us. Sin has deadly consequences (Romans 6:23) and we need to do whatever it takes to rid ourselves of it. To cut off a hand or poke out an eye are words that make us cringe. To some it may seem over the top…a little too harsh. One thing is for sure, there is a sense of urgency in this passage. We also must remember that Jesus is on the road to the cross and knows what lies ahead. Dealing with our sinful state will bring shame, suffering and a painful death on the cross. Jesus knew personally the “cost” of our sin and was willing to give His very life to remove its deadly grip from His creation.
The hard part for us is that we like to play with sin. We know that it is bad but we like to walk as close to the edge as we can. Maybe we think, for some reason, that makes it easier to relate to others if we look a little more like the world around us. So we compromise our convictions so we can better assimilate into the current culture. For others, it may be too difficult to change the old habits or “..lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely…” (Hebrews 12:1). Whatever our excuses, let these words of Jesus remind us today of the destructive affects of sin in our lives.
So, what is it that distracts you from the way of the Lord? Can you identify some thing, some circumstance, some relationship that draws you away from your commitment to Jesus? Whatever it is, Jesus implores you to “cut it out”! Flee from it! Run the opposite direction! Do whatever it takes to get it out of your life! Remember His forgiveness has covered you but He desires for you to live an abundant life to His glory and this is keeping you from experiencing the peace, hope, joy, and love that He has intended for you. Yes, we have been forgiven once and for all, but we have the daily responsibility to “keep the faith”. “Hold to the Truth”. “Deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him”.
He did it for you. Will you do it now for Him?