27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So this week we move on from anger to lust. We’ve talked much about the spirit of the law versus the letter and Jones makes the point that the whole of verses 21-48 must be understood before we can adequately understand each issue. Remember Jesus is not only giving a positive exposition of the law but He is revealing this disagrees with what the scribes and Pharisees have interpreted the Scriptures to mean. For those who have read “Indwelling Sin in Believers” or “The Mortification of Sin within” all by John Owen we will be looking at similar principles today in light of lust and sin in general. Jones makes the point as does Owen that it is not so much “I do a thing”, that matters but it is what urges me “to do it” is the real issue. As we remember from Matthew 15 it is what comes out of our heart that defiles us. Jones concludes from Scripture, the trouble is in our heart, all else is but the expression. It is that which leads to the sin that matters. Owens would call this out of the book of Romans “a law unto sin”. If the most important thing we can do is prepare ourselves for eternity (Jones) then we must continually struggle against sin and its influences in the heart.
Jones concludes with a 7 principles to deal rightly with the mortification of sin :
1) The first as I have mentioned is we must see ‘sin apart from sins’. We must realize the nature of sin and also its consequences. We must see it as something that leads to the actions and that exists apart from them.
2)We must realize the soul and its destiny. Anything that comes between us and Him, if it is harmful to the soul it must be hated and put on one side.
3)We must hate sin, and do all we can to destroy it at all costs within ourselves. Train ourselves to hate sin.
4)The ideal in this matter is to have a clean and pure heart, a heart that is free from lusts. Not be free from actions, but rather our hearts become pure.
5)We are to make NO provision for the flesh.
6) We must deliberately restrain the flesh.
7) Lastly we must remember the price has been paid to deliver us from sin.
As Owen stated in Indwelling Sin in Believers “Let us then reckon that there is no way to have our work done but by being always engaged in it; and he who dies fighting in this warfare dies assuredly a conqueror.” We must fight against sin…that has already been defeated. Paul declares in Romans who we are truly indebted to, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom 8:13-14) To put it another way Owen states also that “This captivity is peculiar to believers. Unregenerate men are not said to be subject to the ‘law of sin’, though they are willing captives to this or that particular sin. They oppose sin only when it disturbs their consciences, and this opposition is not from their wills, but only from light in the mind and conscience. It is the guilt and consequences of sin that trouble them, not its nature.
Hope this is convicting because the last time I read through 1John 1:8 if we claim to be without sin…we are liars. There seems to be a harsh tone to that statement but if you’re not so convinced you’re a sinner, Jesus would say “You have no need of a Doctor”. Please don’t let that be said of you…that is a harsh statement. We all need a doctor badly. Thankfully there is One closer than a brother.