How seriously do you view sin? What ‘drastic action’ do you take to eradicate the propensity towards evil that lies latent in your heart? No, I don’t believe the bible teaches that we are ‘neutral’ – a ‘tabula rasa’ – a blank slate upon which impressions are made. “Tabula rasa is a Latin phrase often translated as “blank slate” in English and originates from the Roman tabula used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it.” (Wikipedia) Rather the Bible teaches we have been “born in sin” shaped by our first spiritual ancestor, Adam, whose one choice left permanent consequences.
In Mark 9:42-50 Jesus exhorts his disciples with the seriousness of sin, and urges drastic action by them or anyone who seeks deliverance from this embedded issue.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.”
Jesus had a special love and care for innocent children and used their child-like trust as an example of faith to those who were following him. Here he raises the issue of causing one of these to stumble. Some action trips up an innocent life and leaves lasting consequences. Jesus pronounces strict judgment and contrast the severity of judgment with the impossibility of wearing a millstone on one’s neck while trying to swim!
Sin has consequences, often hidden at the time of the offense. “It’s no big deal.” “It’s just a white lie.” “Who cares?” These attitudes and others reflect an impaired assessment of the reality of our falling short of God’s glory. It only took one sinful choice to force Adam and Eve from the paradise of Eden. Sin is sin and genuine Christ followers detest even the smallest remnant of this lethal spiritual toxin which influences them in daily living.
So “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off.” Now that’s drastic, isn’t it?? Yes, it is!
“If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off.” More drastic action expressed in hyperbole to drive us to the point of repentance.
In God’s ’emergency triage’ there’s no room for hesitation. The offending limb must be ‘amputated’ if there is any hope of recovery. Anything less than drastic action means we will keep offending and offending and offending. Better to have the bad news, have the surgery (spiritually speaking) and get into a healing program with the Great Physician, than to try a ‘bandaid’ solution. Jesus indicates entrance into life/the kingdom of God crippled or blind stands in sharp contrast with the reality of hell’s torment.
May God grant us the grace to fully obey this demanding directive from the One who loves us and died for us! I deal with sin because He has dealt with sin. I’m forgiven because He was forsaken. Amazing love, how can it be???