Cut it Off and Tear it Out

Mark 9:42

“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.”

Sinning against our Lord is bad enough, but if anyone leads another believer in Jesus into sin, his sin is great and his punishment will be great. Yet, I confess that I have a difficult time comprehending levels or degrees of punishment, though I know the Scriptures speak of them, for I know that all who reject Jesus and who choose to keep on in their sinful practices will die in their sins. They will not have eternal life with God.

But there are people who are not content just living in sin themselves but they want others to join them, and so they will literally lead others into sin, either outright, or through trickery and manipulation and intimidation, or by whatever other means they may have up their sleeves. For they want to bring others down. They want them to fail. They want them to be like them, still floundering, still living by the flesh, and not obeying the Lord.

Some of these people who are leading, convincing, and persuading believers in Jesus to sin against God, or to continue living in sin, are pastors of church fellowships, or they are people in positions of power and authority within church denominations, or they are professors at Bible Colleges and at Seminaries. Or they are government leaders. Or they are fathers and husbands who are supposed to be leading their families in holiness.

For many of them are knowingly teaching what is false. Many of them know the Scriptures and yet they twist the Scriptures and they teach them out of context in order to convince their adherents that nothing is required of them other than to make a profession of faith in Jesus or to pray a prayer after someone else, and then they congratulate them that they are now in God’s family and that heaven is secured for them as their eternal destiny.

They either don’t teach that repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord are required for salvation as part of believing faith or they deliberately tell their prospective believers that they don’t have to repent of their sins or obey the Lord or submit to him as Lord (owner-master). And not only do they convince them that they don’t have to but that they should not submit, obey, and repent, for they call that works-based salvation.

Thus, they are leading them into sin for they are discouraging them from forsaking their sins and from following the Lord in obedience and from submitting to his Lordship over their lives. They convince them that a mere profession of faith is enough to secure them heaven but they don’t teach holiness and righteous living as part of that faith which saves. And so they leave them still in bondage to sin headed to hell on the promise of heaven.

Mark 9:43-48

“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 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.’”

God takes sin seriously. He always has and he always will. Just because he sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ (God the Son) to the earth to die on a cross for our sins to cleanse us from our sins and to forgive us our sins and to give us new lives in him, it doesn’t mean he has gone soft on sin. It doesn’t mean he looks the other way, and it definitely does not mean that God can no longer see when we sin so our sins no longer matter to him.

If you read the New Testament (Matthew thru Revelation) one word at a time, and if you read all of it in context, and if you compare Scripture with Scripture to get the full meaning of terms such as “salvation” and “the gospel” and “eternal life,” you will learn that God can still see when we sin, and that he still feels the same way about it as he did in the Old Testament, and you will learn that we are all going to be judged by our deeds.

Jesus Christ taught that we must repent of our sins and that we must walk in obedience to his commands and that we must not continue living in sin or else we will face the wrath of God. Paul and the other apostles taught the same thing, that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness and that we must not make sin our practice or we will not inherit eternal life. So, the Scriptures insist on repentance and obedience.

Therefore, Jesus’ severe teaching here on sin is understandable when you understand what the Scriptures really teach about sin and judgment. We can’t play around with sin. We can’t be casual in our approach to sin. We can’t habitually and deliberately sin against the Lord and have the hope of heaven when we die. God does indeed see when we sin and he is going to judge us by our deeds. You can count on it!

So, this is why the strong teaching here. And the meaning is that whatever is causing us to sin or whatever is leading us to sin we are to cut it out of our lives. If it is a person, and if that person is our spouse, I don’t believe the Scriptures are teaching to cut our spouse out of our lives, but we can learn to stand up and say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God. We can resist the devil and flee temptation and we can walk in obedience to Christ.

But if we keep going down a sinful path because we are not willing to cut those known things out of our lives and out of our routines that are leading us into sin, then we don’t really take God or our sin seriously. We don’t believe God and we don’t believe his word and we don’t really believe that he will judge us. And this is exactly where many professers of faith in Jesus are today, still bound in sin, not willing to make the necessary cuts.

But know this. If you walk in darkness (in sin), and if sin is what you practice, and if righteousness is not what you practice, and if you refuse to obey the Lord because you want to hold on to your sin, heaven is not your eternal destiny. Hell is. God will judge you because you do not bow to him and you do not obey him but you continue to deliberately and habitually do what you know is wrong and which is in defiance to Jesus as Lord.

So, don’t be stubborn. Don’t hold on to your sin. Die with Christ to sin that you might live to Christ and to his righteousness. Forsake your sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. Let the Lord lead you. Embrace his will for your life and follow it. He will give you all that you need to cut out of your lives the sins which have been waying you down, and he will empower you to live righteously before him. Just trust him with your life today.

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

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Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

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