Was there a time when God was okay with lust? Today’s question is kind of a silly one. It’s easy to figure out if you just think about it for a second, but yet there are those who actually believe, apparently, that one time, long ago God was okay with lust.
I saw a Facebook preacher post a little post not so long ago that he said, “Under the Old Covenant, God forbade adultery and the act of adultery. But under the New Covenant, He forbids even thinking about it.”
So, he’s implying there that there’s been a change and that God has raised the standard. That is a premise that is often heard, proclaimed and proffered that the Sermon on the Mount is a lifting of the standard.
That Jesus is introducing a radical new ethic and morality that the world has never seen before, because six times He says, “You have heard it was said, but I say to you.” He’s offering a counter point and an improvement on the Old Covenant Law. Well, let’s look at what Jesus said and let’s look at what actually the law said. Here, the very next part of the Sermon on the Mount as we’re reading through chapter five, and verse number 27.
Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said,” and now quotes verbatim from the 10 commandments, “You shall not commit adultery.” Well, who’s going to argue with that? I’m not argue with that. That’s in the 10 commandments. You think Jesus is going to argue that? Well, you probably know He didn’t say in the next sentence, “But I say to you, commit adultery.”
He wasn’t contradicting what He said by the Holy Spirit and giving the law of Moses. But some people say, “Oh yeah, that’s right, He wasn’t correcting it, but He was raising the standard, because now the standard goes from adultery to lust.” Well, can I ask you another question, has anyone ever committed adultery who first didn’t commit lust? I would say, that’s very unlikely.
I would say that the sin of adultery is always one hundred percent of the time, before that happens, lust has already been committed. Jesus says, “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” That is if you think that because you haven’t committed the act of adultery, but yet you’ve lusted, you’re just fooling yourself.
Because you have already committed not identical, to what is considered adultery, but a full arm of adultery. You show that there’s something wrong in your heart. You’re lusting after a woman. Now, I ought to add a little caveat here, there’s one thing to be tempted with lust, and another thing to give into the temptation to lust.
I think Martin Luther was given the credit for being the first guy who said, “You can’t keep the birds, you can’t prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.” That’s a great illustration to describe the difference between being tempted to lust and actually committing lust. ‘Cause Jesus said, you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart.
Well, a flitting temptation in your brain is not the same as envisioning this and imaging it and dreaming about it, mentally undressing, consciously know what you’re doing in your heart.
Jesus is just doing what He said He was going to do. I’m not abolishing the law, I’m going to fulfill it. In this case, I’m going to fill it to its fullest sense.
What the law has really been saying all along, let me just help you guys to understand that, because obviously when God gave the law that prohibited adultery, He did not mean it’s okay to take off your clothes and have a member of the opposite sex take off their clothes and engage in all kinds of sexual activity, as long as you stop short of technical adultery. No way that’s what He meant.
Contained within the commandment forbidding adultery is the forbidding of everything that leads up to adultery, all the way back to the inception of it, which always begins with lust. God has always been looking for people who are not just outwardly pure, but inwardly pure, pure in heart. Blessed are those people, we’ve already read in the sermon about blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Remember, Jesus was saying these words not under the New Covenant. The New Covenant was a couple of years at least away yet. When people say, “Well, the New Covenant has a new law, new ethic, new morality,” well, then why is Jesus saying it right now? Did what He really mean was, what I’m saying right now will be applicable after I’ve died and resurrected. But until then, it’s okay to commit lust because this is still the Old Covenant.
You see the confusion that is in some folks minds about these things? It is confusing. To say that it’s okay to lust, everyone knows that’s wrong. But to say that God’s raised the standard, not everyone knows that’s wrong apparently, because lust was wrong under the law of Moses. In fact, it was wrong before the law of Moses. Any man who mentally undressed a woman who wasn’t his wife, even prior to the law of Moses.
Forget about the Jews, let’s talk about the Egyptians and Syrians and the Babylonians and all those ancient civilize, when a man did that, in his heart, he felt guilty. Why? Be God gave him a conscious. There’s proof of that from the scripture. I’m going to read to you from the book of Job, which most biblical scholars say was a book that predates even the law of Moses.
That Job was an ancient, ancient patriarch, and so ancient man. We don’t know for a fact, but there’s a lot evidence that it was true. Look what Job said in Job 31 and verse number one, “I have made a covenant with my eyes,” he said, “How then could I gaze at a virgin?” I think it’s important to notice that not glance, gaze. When the glance turns to the gaze, you start taking off her clothes in your mind, and think about how you can set yourself up here.
Well, then you’ve crossed the line from temptation to lust. Job, the patriarch, as every man before him, after him, during his time, they all knew in their heart it was wrong. I’m going to prove to you on my next Little Lesson, that God explicitly forbade lust in the law of Moses. But you’ll have to wait to our next Little Lesson. All right. Thank you for joining me. God bless you.