Yes, I know. You’re probably curious about what I’m talking about, because of the specific words that I used in the title, aren’t you? Ever wonder why that is? How is it that we seem to be naturally drawn to that which we sense is for certain eyes only and of course, we’re sometimes inclined to look, simply because we know darn well, those certain eyes don’t include ours?
Humanistically speaking, most of us, at one time or another, either intentionally or unintentionally, have wanted or desired that which is not rightfully ours. And what can happen when we linger on that thought or we take that second or third look? Well unchecked minds can quickly wander can’t they?
Did you know that Jesus actually spoke about this very thing? In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus says the following:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Adultery, as you are aware, is considered by God, as a sin, because it distorts God’s good intent, in that it violates the sacred trust and commitment exchanged between a man and a woman, and a woman and a man, in marriage. But as Jesus points out, just because you don’t actually act on the impulse in your heart (let’s say for lack of opportunity), it does not negate the fact that the impulse is there and as such, the desire and consent to commit adultery has already been exercised in one’s heart.
That is a pretty high bench mark isn’t it? And I have some serious doubts about how many of us are totally exempt from that particular infraction. Interesting how Jesus uses this reality when He was asked to judge the woman who had been caught in adultery and He said that he that was without sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7). And just so you know, that’s just one example, there’s many more like coveting something that belongs to someone else or taking that which doesn’t really belong to you. And it wasn’t that Jesus condoned sin, He told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. But He did not condemn her because His first appearance was not to judge, but to show God’s love and grace. When Jesus returns again, and He will return, His next appearance will be when He renders judgement.
The thing is, God’s standards are very different from ours. God says that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that God does not see as man sees for we look at that which is external but God looks at our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).
Throughout the Holy Scriptures God continually tells us and illustrates to us, time and time again, via the Law in the Old Testament, material objects such as the Tabernacle, and functional interaction with Him via the Levitical Priesthood, that He is Holy (Leviticus 11:44). That is a standard that few of us can truly grasp. We’re not talking about being Holy, as in like the size of our solar system, we’re talking about being Holy, as in like the size of the whole universe, because God’s holiness is that immense, it covers that kind of totality, it is who He is.
We often hear people say things like, “Well Joe is a really good person.” And when we’re comparing ourselves to one another, that kind of comparison, from that perspective, can sound correct, in it’s limited application, but when we compare ourselves to God’s holiness, to His standard of right and wrong, that comparison breaks down.
And, unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t understand that. They think that if they check off the appropriate boxes, in whatever form they may be, and there are a lot of them to pick from, that somehow, everything will be alright when it comes time to stand before our Maker.
Of course, when Jesus walked on this earth it was almost two thousand years ago and we know how much we have learned since then and how much better educated we all are. But there are certain things that seldom seem to change. The Pharisees in Jesus time, made the same mistake that we still do, in comparing their actions with God’s holiness. They thought that their observances and traditions, in themselves, made them right with God, but they were wrong. That which was designed by God to produce or bring about true justice and mercy, became the means whereby the Pharisees thought that they had become righteous in God’s eyes. When Jesus arrived, as promised, He pointed this out (Mark 7:11-13). Nor was this the first time that God had clarified this (Hosea 6:6).
God the Father’s answer to our problem, since we became independent of Him via our naturalistic impulse to plot our own course and make our own decisions of what was right and what was wrong, has always been that God would do it for us, because we are totally incapable of becoming like God is, in and of ourselves. And God did this for us by sending us His Son, the promised Messiah, who would do for us, what we could never do. Jesus is God the Father’s answer to our separation from Him.
Listen to the words that Jesus spoke:
John 3:3-20 NASB
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
Note that being born again is something that originates from God, who is Spirit. We cannot do this ourselves. God and God alone is the one who can bring life to our spirit again by joining Himself to us via His Holy Spirit. This reality is one of the ways in which Christianity differs from all other religions. Flesh produces flesh. Spirit (God) and God alone can originate His life again in our spirit.
Note that Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection is the means whereby the door for this reality to happen, is made available.
Note that Jesus being lifted up like Moses lifted up the serpent points to the cross, where the righteousness of Jesus, the Lamb of God without blemish, was given to pay the price that sin brings, death, so that we might live again in Him. Our body dies but our spirit lives on and God tells us that we will be given a new incorruptible body that is no longer subject to death.
Note that he who believes in Jesus is not judged but he that does not believe in Jesus is judged already because he has rejected God’s expression of His love towards His creation.
Note that the judgement is that God’s answer (the light) (Jesus) is rejected by the world because humanity prefers to follow their own darkness. Flesh produces flesh.
The reality of our fleshly nature is undeniable, we all acknowledge that none of us are perfect, nor can we ever be, while we live in these imperfect bodies, that are in and of themselves, subject to selfish desires and motives to address self serving wants and needs.
But Jesus promises to change all that when we answer His knock at the door of our life and open ourselves to having His Holy Spirit live in us, preparing us for what He has promised, lays ahead. This is the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it all starts in faith and trust in the Son of God.
Easy? Nope, not even close.
Worth while? More than anyone can possibly imagine.
Revelation 3:20 NASB
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.“
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!