Bible Study: Anger & Lust

Bible

 

 

 

Matthew 5:21-26

Anger

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. [1]

 

 

Matthew 5:27-30

Lust

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. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. [2]

 

 

What Is Christ saying to us here? I believe He wants us to dig deeper. He is saying it’s not okay to murder, which we know is wrong, but more so that it’s not even good to have a heart filled with anger! It’s not okay to commit adultery, but more so He is saying it’s wrong to even have a lustful heart! Why? Because we see that when the heart is filled with these things, it then grows into the commitment of these sins.

 

How does murder start? It starts from anger towards another…

How does adultery start? It starts by lusting over another….

So Christ is saying, it isn’t the act I want you to correct, it’s your heart before the act even occurs.

Does this make sense? What are your thoughts?



[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Mt 5:21–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Mt 5:27–30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

 

Showing 4 comments
  • Andrew McCombs
    Reply

    I find the gospels to be contradictory if I do not take something into consideration: the fact that a) sin exists and we do not have the power alone to save ourselves from it, and b) we are not saved by our works. If we are not saved by our works, and we are not justified by our actions, I find that honesty is required at the very least. Whenever I attempt to curb an appetite or deny an emotion, that appetite or emotion only grows stronger. Secretly, I have not done anything but put into place an arbitrary LAW which my heart breaks whether I wish it to or not. My own arbitrary rule then condemns me, and the space with which that Holy Spirit should work of itself within me is constricted and blocked by guilt and bottled up urges which, instead of growing weaker, then ferment… and unless we’re honest about it, and unless we allow ourselves some room for the Spirit to work instead of our own weak wills, I feel that sin only becomes more volatile and explosive. I mean, if we could control these things, then Christ died in vain. If The Law was the old covenant, which made sins multiply exponentially and condemned mankind to hell, then how can we preach about LAWS? “Touch not, taste not…” which are only effective towards salvation if ALL LAW is kept? Jesus says “If you even feel anger in your heart, if you even feel lust in your heart, AT ALL, then you have sinned.” which then means you have broken the law, and he who is guilty of breaking the law in one regard is guilty of all.

    Christ didn’t come to abolish the law, but to BE the law, for the law was only a foreshadowing of Him that was to come. Since we commit sin whether or not we are aware of it, that condemnation remains regardless of one’s piety. Christ told the Pharisees and the Sadducees that prostitutes would see salvation before they ever would.

    So I think it is unhealthy to preach about trying to change our own hearts. It then creates a schism within our own minds about who we are exactly. On one hand we’re trying to be as Christ-like as possible, but on the other hand we become secreted liars and a shadow self grows larger and more powerful within us.

    If we CONFESS our sins, He is quick to forgive them. If we repent of our sins, but we are not honest about them, honest about the fact that we sin, then we don’t truly repent. We may never actually commit the acts which anger or lust cause again, but that doesn’t mean we repented. Repentance means for the heart to turn completely from something, and the heart can’t truly turn completely from something if the heart does not confess, and the mind is not fully aware, of the ends to which these sins lead. We will continue to lust and hate and curse in our hearts, unless first we are shown to be completely guilty, even at our best.

    My sense of it is that we’ll never become fully aware of our guilt until after we die and are before the judgment of God, so I’m very weary of any religious concept of abstaining from things we can’t abstain from by our very fleshly nature. We just condemn ourselves further.

    If the Spirit works within you, let THE SPIRIT work, and stop punishing yourself. If God forgives you, then forgive yourself. This forgiveness is what frees you, not self flagellation.

    • Nicole Fanshier
      Reply

      Yay!!! I cried a little bit when I read your comment Andrew
      McCombs!!! I just found this place through the videos on youtube and I have
      been reading the blog posts no matter how old! Jake (lol, I refer to him as if
      I know him) is right, Jesus was telling us that our very hearts are no good.
      But He doesn’t want us to TRY and correct them, to TRY and get better.

      Jesus preached the Law to tell the people of that time (and us) the truth about
      sin and ourselves (because the pharisees and sadducees had mucked it up by
      pretending they kept the law). The truth is…we can’t keep God’s perfect law,
      we are going to sin and break it!!! There is nothing we can do to stop that. We
      are and always will be trespassers. We are going to be angry with someone and We
      are going to lust. We do it every day! How many times on the way to and from
      work do I cuss someone just for driving the speed limit? I just committed
      murder in my heart! He was trying to show everyone how easy it is to break the
      law. Why? SO THAT WE WOULD KNOW THAT WE NEED A SAVIOR!!! So that we would know
      we need Him to cleanse us, to change us, not to keep on thinking we could
      change ourselves. It was not instruction for correction because we cannot
      correct it! If we could, then Jesus died in vain. Only He can do that! Enter
      His rest, know His love for you and as you view this amazing grace from glory
      to glory, you will be transformed into His image. KNOW HIS LOVE!!

      The only part where I would disagree with you, Andrew, is when you talk about
      confession and repentance. I do not say this disrespectfully, but from a little
      different perspective that I hope you will consider. That perspective is this:
      We are already forgiven. Yesterday, today, tomorrow…Jesus died on that
      beautiful cross roughly 2015 years ago. But more than that, the bible calls Him
      the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the earth. I have come to see
      that this means that God’s plan was to send Jesus to us even before He created
      the earth, before the fall of Adam, before you murdered your brother and before
      I committed adultery. Jesus was meant to save us even before the beginning. God
      told those in the Old Testament about a promised Messiah, a savior that would
      bring His righteousness to replace their unrighteousness. If they believed,
      that righteousness was imputed to them (Abraham was righteous by faith, not by
      his deeds). Some people in the NT got to see Him do the very deed, but still
      had to have faith that He was who He said He was and that His resurrection
      happened. And the rest of us have had to
      have faith in His righteousness just like the OT people. Jesus’s death forgave everyone
      of everything throughout all of time when He died.

      The only sin left to confess
      and repent of is the sin of unbelief. Whenever Jesus said “REPENT,”
      He wasn’t telling people to repent of their sins, bad behavior, and black
      hearts. He was telling them to repent of their disbelief in Him and who He was
      and what He was here for. Go and google the times JESUS said repent, it is
      clear that He wasn’t talking about regular ol’ sin. And if that still doesn’t
      convince, also note that it is somewhat contradictory to tell a crowd to repent
      of their sins but never tell the prostitutes and the tax collectors to repent
      while He was face to face with them. The word Repent in the original Hebrew
      actually means to change your mind. Jesus was calling for the crowd on the
      mount to change their minds, not their actions! (When we change our minds about
      who Jesus is and what He did for us, it begets a heart change, which in turn
      begets a change of actions)!! There is only one sin that we have to confess and
      repent of and that is the sin of disbelief. It is the only sin Jesus’s
      sacrifice does not cover. We can be sorry about what we have done, but because
      of our natural flesh, we cannot change our minds about doing these things. Like
      you said, only the Holy Spirit can change us. Obedience is not a work, but a
      fruit of seeing Jesus and His love and grace. And please understand, I am not
      preaching universalism, the idea where everyone is going to heaven because of
      His sacrifice, because the bible clearly says those who BELIEVE upon Him are
      saved from eternal death. But I do believe that when He died on the cross, everyone
      has been given grace and is already forgiven and loved just the same as those who
      believe. But that grace is a gift and gifts have to be received before they are
      of any benefit to us. It’s like getting tickets to a concert for your birthday
      and never using them. You have the tickets, they are yours, but you don’t use
      them. They are of no consequence to you. Just as Jesus and His grace is of no
      consequence to those who refuse to accept Him as their savior, as their
      righteousness, their personal sacrifice. It’s not confessing and repenting of
      behaviors that we can’t change, it’s repenting of not accepting that you are
      broken and unable to fix yourself. Confess that you are full of sin and that
      you need His grace. Confess that you are a sinner and can’t be righteous
      without Him, ever.

      A lot of us that have this burning passion for Jesus have stories that start
      like this: One day, I got fed up with all the contradictory BS and I said,
      “God, if you are real, just show me! I can’t go on like this, I want to
      know if you are real!” And we found out He was, if we were at all sincere.
      Our stories all take a little different path after that because He is a
      personal God and speaks to us all in a tailored, personal way…but the way it
      started was because we all asked. Seek and you shall find. I said the
      “sinner’s prayer” multiple times when I was a child. Why? Because I
      never felt “saved.” Nothing ever changed like every one promised me
      it would. I didn’t suddenly become a good, obedient, loving, prayerful kid. I
      was still unruly, disobedient, lustful, angry, deceitful….and so, I gave up
      eventually. Like most of us here that were raised in a christian environment, I
      continued to profess God and Jesus, but they weren’t real to me. I was lost;
      afraid that I was never saved, and that though I believed (yeah, even the
      demons believe) I would go to Hell because I couldn’t be good. Until one day,
      my awesome cousin told me that Jesus forgave us of all of our sins. No
      confession needed, that when Jesus died 2014 years before I was born, His last breath
      was “IT IS FINISHED!” She told me that now, instead of confessing all
      my sins every day (which I didn’t do then anyway, for who could even begin?),
      which is called “sin-consciousness” and only makes sin that much more
      powerful, she told me that when I know I have messed up, I can confess that
      though I messed up AGAIN, I am RIGHTEOUS ANYWAY, IN CHRIST! Instead of being
      sin conscious and remaining guilty, I can be Jesus conscious and acknowledge
      that He has set me free! At first, I argued with her. It was way too simple. It
      was way too nice. It was way too amazing. But over time, I started seeking to
      know if it was true, started seeking Him. And I found Him. And I have been
      living free ever since. Now that I know that I am forgiven before I even mess
      up…well, it makes me actually love Him. For the first time in my life, I
      don’t have to wonder if I love Him just because I messed up again. Because the
      minute that I confess His Righteousness in me, I feel that love. I feel His for
      love for me and in response; I love Him stronger than I did the last time I
      screwed up royally. It’s a vicious cycle…and I love it!! It’s
      counter-intuitive and so like God, to work in a way that us humans can’t
      comprehend. The bible tells us we are married to Jesus. We are His bride.
      In a good marriage, rules and laws aren’t needed because Love takes their
      place. If you love each other, you don’t have to be told not to sleep with
      someone else. You don’t have to be told not to beat them or kill them. You
      wouldn’t do those things! Because He first loved me enough to forgive me, I am
      supplied with all the love and forgiveness I need for myself and others. His
      love changes my heart in ways I could have never have fathomed and obedience is
      produced in me, not something I do of my own will.

      • Andrew McCombs
        Reply

        Several people I used to associate repeatedly drilled into me this idea that if you aren’t busy living, you’re busy dying. I bought into this very prolific propaganda for a while, and I was constantly failing to accomplish anything, neither materially nor spiritually. It looked and sounded very promising, and at times was very rich and vivid with that promise… but in the end, nothing became of it. The promise was a lie.

        I struggle with many things, lots of things no one can see me struggle with but they are there. In the days leading to my eventual conversion, I had a dream which repeated itself over the course of a few weeks. In the dream, I would be awakened very early in the morning by my mother, telling me I had to go to work, but every time I would take a step, it required more energy than I had, and I would fall down. Each time I fell, I pleaded with my mother to let me be, and that I couldn’t get to work, but each time I fell and began pleading, she would become more agitated, eventually screaming in furious anger. By the time I made it to the hallway leading to the front door, I was crawling not even on my knees but my stomach. Each little inch took all the energy I had and much that I didn’t. My mother was screaming, holding the door open, yelling that if I didn’t go to work she would call the police and I would be thrown in jail. I was crying because I couldn’t do what my mother demanded that I had to do, and there was no way I could get up, and there was nothing I could do to avoid jail. I was doomed.

        That’s how I felt for many years before Christ had seen me and taken me and guided me. I felt doomed. I felt like I would always be inadequate. I wasn’t handsome enough, I wasn’t motivated enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t obedient enough, I wasn’t disciplined enough, I didn’t practice enough, I didn’t have enough authority, I didn’t have enough power, I didn’t have enough spiritual wisdom, I was too selfish, I was too childish, I was too lazy, I was too unpredictable, I was too predictable, I was too good, I was too evil, I was not grounded enough in reality, too grounded in reality, whatever I was or wasn’t didn’t actually seem to matter because in the end there was no purpose. There was just taking another man who seems wiser or more authoritative on his word. So who was that to me? That was everybody except me because I was nobody and hadn’t proved anything. Everyone else was off building their lives and their churches and preaching their philosophies and having people eat it up, drink the kool-aid, join the cult of whatever it was that I could never seem to fully understand because I was never good enough…

        And then finally one day even the illusion of hope dried up… even that very little glimmer of hope in the things of this world died. How was I going to sit and meditate or perform rituals or do works when I had no more worldly motivation? When all I saw was eternal damnation for all things forever?

        When Christ saved me, I was facing very dark forces, which had posed as the highest of philosophies, posed as the most profound of enlightenment, for so long… and when they revealed themselves to me as a darkness so deep and destructive that no one could look upon that darkness and live without becoming consumed and possessed by it, I had only one thing left I could do, and that was to scream perhaps for hours, perhaps it was months, “Help me, God! I need God! Where are you God? This is not God that I’ve known! Where is the real God?”

        So… when someone tells me that God expects us to do anything whatsoever… I tell them that I would like to see them try, because they don’t understand what they would have to do just to even think one thought on their own without darkness and sin strangling it and twisting it into wickedness, which literally means to be bent or twisted, try to take one step in the direction of their salvation without eventually finding they’ve walked down a golden paved road straight to the gates of hell and the abyss itself.

        I am very far from a saint. I was not given the grace of being much more than a wretched waste in the eyes of the world. So when you say that the only thing God forgives is our unbelief through Christ, I believe that is probably more correct than what I said. Our works accomplished by grace through Faith… they’ll probably never be known to anyone but God. We don’t see ourselves as God sees us. What we view as strength, power, miracles… are probably just garbage heaps in the eyes of God. Yet the garbage heaps live. Despite all death in the universe, a tiny little insect lives. Briefly, but somehow it lives. It doesn’t do anything to deserve it. How could it do anything to deserve anything?

        The only thing we as humans can do which animals cannot do is recognize Life as a miracle from God… not because it is great or powerful or big or beautiful, but because Life is good, no matter how bad we feel. We don’t want to die. We want to be saved from death. We want somebody to love us, even though at the same time we can see how unlovable we really are. Science and philosophy may trivialize these things, but they are the first things we desire to know when we come into the world, and if we don’t receive them, we die, or at the very most spend our whole lives wishing we were dead.

        It’s a great thing that God is Good and we are dead without Him. We need the Father, we need the Son, we need the Holy Spirit. If I could explain it more than we need God because God is Life and Love and the means by which to have Life and Love as He Loves, I would be pretending to be as wise as God. Faith I think then more accurately states what religion is than belief, because faith is Trust, and we sometimes don’t trust our beliefs, especially in times where we are weak and broken… so to have Faith is simply to fall upon the rock and have it bring forth water, to see what Life is, despite all death, all misery, all pain… and it seems so small, as a mustard seed… but to deny God’s power because it is humble is to deny existence itself, because from clay we were made and to clay we shall return… and what life does clay have but the Life God gives it?

        It’s by distrust in the Life of this smallest of all seeds…. in which many, perhaps the majority of the world, sell their souls, sell their children’s souls, sell their countries, sell their generations to come, sell the world, sell the world to come…. to the destroying angel.

        We ask ourselves “Why so few?”, and I think I would answer… because so few value the small things. Just to sit in a room and be alive. Just to speak to another and be heard. Just to be able to wonder, if only for a second, “Why?”

        I may have done terrible things which do not deserve heaven, but I know God, and I know Christ saved us, and we all have that choice to see that smallest of seeds if we choose, and to fall upon it as Moses did in the wilderness in times of great thirst.

        If we think of God’s miracles as signs and wonders, we forget that even Christ, who was able to produce all those sorts of things, willingly died the most wretched of deaths the most worthless human on the planet would barely be subject to.

        The way I view Faith is that we don’t believe to have faith. Faith is either in us or it is not, and it can only be proven by works, not generated by them.

        But which works? For Christ said let not the right hand know what the left hand is doing, and that we show our works to God in secret, so that he can praise us:

        Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen
        of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

        2Therefore when thou doest thine
        alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the
        synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I
        say unto you, They have their reward.
        3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
        4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

        So how do we know what our good works are? The answer I think is that we don’t. So all of our sins and unbelief… it seems as though even those are judged by God and God alone. Therefore, Faith is the ability to trust that God is Good… not that we are good. If we do works, it’s God’s Will, not ours. So how could we judge God’s works by our own definitions of “good” when we know we are not good?

      • Andrew McCombs
        Reply

        I don’t think I ever replied to this… re-discovered it today. You’re right. Lately, I’ve been very sorrowful. Usually, I would attempt to augment that sorrow, to get psychological help, to take drugs or drink, binge on tv or some other empty vice… but I’ve just been sitting with this sorrow. What is this sorrow that I always reject it in favor of contrived highs and their inevitable equally contrived lows? What is this sorrow that I refuse to listen to it, to hear it, to be with it?

        It’s funny you corrected me about confession and repentance, because I have been re-thinking that, too (I must not have even read the full comment before for some reason). My problem was not my individual sins so much as my unbelief. If I truly believed, I would not feel so compelled to sin. I have asked God to help my unbelief, and also to help me to stop sinning, and for a while I thought he was ignoring me (or even at times condoning my sins). However, I have now realized something. God has been showing me His Son for years, the light that lights all who come into this world, yet I have been rejecting him even up to the present. He was with me as a little kid, and that was when I was closest to his joy… but when I grew up, that joy seemed to disappear, and I stopped believing that it was real anymore.

        That joy is real, and it has never disappeared… but it is only my view of it that has changed. Since I have become so engendered to the world and its cares, I became convinced of false joys and trivial pursuits. I have abandoned my first love and gone awhoring after other gods. So now when I see my first love, it no longer appears to me as joy… but as sadness, sorrow. It appears to me as a loss which nothing can ever replace. Yet this is not the whole truth…. for it is still there. It IS that which makes me feel sorrow. It is that which bends me down and which makes me cry out “Abba, Father!”

        So Christ said to his followers “The Kingdom of Heaven has come upon you.” and “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Was this a mystical place involving years and years of deep trance and mind bending experience to realize? Was this meaning that we are God, or that we are Heaven?

        No, I think Christ meant that the kingdom of heaven was always with us, yet we have always since the days of the original transgression grown to reject it… because we know what we have done to our first joy (our true joy), and we are now ashamed to look at it. Sometimes, we even do all we can to completely destroy it (ahhh is this the unpardonable sin spoken of?). To us, it looks weak, foolish, tiny, miserable, and if we are of the world which demands strength, smarts, beauty, and largeness, we will hate it and we will cease to listen to what it tells us, shows us, beckons us towards…

        That is why we do not believe. We hate the Truth, and are ashamed of it. That is why they crucified Jesus… not because they were any worse than you or I, but because the world hates the Truth, our first love.

        That is why we mistreat the poor and the unfortunate, and why we cannot look upon them without some sort of false sense of pity… because they are what we are, only they are honestly poor, while we instead are deceptive about our poverty.

        I do repent of my unbelief, for the Truth was here all along, waiting for me to look upon it and love it again. Yet it is not an it. It is The Lord Himself. The Holy One of God!

        Isaiah 53

        http://biblehub.com/kjv/isaiah/53.htm

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