Matthew 5 – Lust & Adultery

MATT 5:27-32   


MATT 5:27 – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

[Thou shalt not commit adultery] – Quoted from Exodus 20:14 & Deuteronomy 5:18.

[adultery] – G3430 = to commit adultery with, have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife; of the wife: to suffer adultery, be debauched.  It involves at least one person who is married.



MATT 5:28 – But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

[a woman] – G1135 = a woman; specially, a wife.  It includes betrothed women (who will be married) and widows (who were married).  It’s translated “women” 129 times and “wife” 92 times, but of those 129 times, the two words are interchangeable (Matt 22:27, Mark 7:25-26, Mark 10:12, Luke 4:26, Luke 7:28, etc. etc).  So why then is this not an example of a girl lusting after a married man?  That is perhaps because one man could marry more than one woman, but one woman could not marry more than one man.  If an unmarried girl wanted to marry a married man it wouldn’t be counted as adultery since one man could get married to more than one woman like Jacob, David, and others (Gen 31:17, Gen 36:6, 2Sam 2:2 & 1Chr 8:8).   However, men of the church should only be married to one woman at the most (1Tim 3:2 & 3:12).

[looketh … to lust after her] – Seeing a woman isn’t a sin.  Being tempted isn’t a sin.  Jesus was tempted by Satan (Matt 4:1), including every way we are tempted too, and He was without sin Heb (4:15).  Sin comes when you give into lust with action (James 1:14-15).  Anger can lead to sin (Matt 5:22), and lust can lead to sin, but neither anger nor lust is sin.

 [committed adultery with her] – If the issue was between an unmarried guy and girl, it would not be called adultery, but fornication.  “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1Cor 7:1-3 also 1Cor 7:8-9).

[in his heart] – It is the heart that is the problem, not the eye.

Why Pornography is Wrong – Looking “in order to lust” is fornication of the heart.  If the woman he looks to lust after is married, then it is adultery of the heart.  There doesn’t need to be any intent to touch the woman at all.  Take pornography for example: a man likely has no intention of going out of his way to even meet the woman he sees in the pictures, but he’s in sin since he’s “looking to lust after her”.  To accidently see is one thing, but to meditate on it is wrong.  This is a battle of the mind that every man of the 21st century will face.  A man must stop focusing on lust and shift attention to Christ (2Cor 10:5).

Why Masturbation Can Be Wrong – Masturbation is a form of fornication/adultery in the heart where a person summons sexual images in their mind.  The image they see is like an idol, and the act of masturbating is the idol worship.  For a celibate man perusing Christ, this is always wrong.  For a married couple, there may be permissible times within the marriage.  Some mistakenly teach that the story of Onan and Tamar is what proves that masturbation is immoral (Gen 38:9).  Tamar’s child happened to be an ancestor to Jesus (Matt 1:3).  Onan refused to continue the line that would lead to Christ.

Why Jesus Never Talked About Homosexuality – In the OT, homosexuality is a sin (Ex 22:19 & Deut 27:21).  In the NT, homosexuality is sin (1Cor 6:9-10 & 1Tim 1:9-10).  The reason Jesus never directly condemned homosexuality is because:

1)      First understand that in the bible, all sin is action.  Love, hate, faith, sin; all are actions, not feelings.  Homosexuality is no different.  According to the bible, homosexuality is the act of homo sex; if there’s no action on a desire, there’s no sin.  Second, there were no homosexual Israelites in Christ’s day.  Homosexuals were killed (Lev 20:13).  On a few occasions, there were sodomites (men who practiced homosexuality) in Israel (Deut 23:17), and they were taken out of the land (1Ki 15:12 & 1Ki 22:46).  However, there were many homosexual Greeks and Romans, and since Paul was the apostle of the gentiles (Rom 11:13), he had to address the issue.  Jesus did not mention it because it wasn’t an issue in Israel.  Jesus addressed common issues, and homosexuality or bestiality just wasn’t that common among the Jews.  Jesus said nothing about it, but that wasn’t approval. The law was against homosexuality. Not addressing the topic shows His agreement with the law that homosexuality is wrong, not right.

2)      Jesus’ mission was only in Israel (Matt 15:24).  He wasn’t “given” to the gentiles who were considered as godless selfish people (Matt 6:32).  If Paul was wrong about homosexuality being sin, then God would have not worked any miracles by his hands.  Seeing that Paul did many miracles while condemning homosexuality proves that he was right to call homosexuality sin.



MATT 5:29 – And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

[right eye] – Continuing with the topic of adultery, if you can’t quit looking at someone’s wife to lust after her, then it would be better to have no eye.  Question: why the right eye?  Why not the left?  The right side is a favored position; for example, Jesus is God’s right hand man (1Pet 3:22).

One way to understand this is that the eye symbolizes a person; in this case, a person that leads you to sin.  Christians are the body of Christ made up of feet, hands, eyes, ears, nose, and other members (1Cor 12:13-27).  When one member is in sin, it affects the whole body just like a little leaven affects the whole lump; therefore, that one member has to be plucked out AND cast away (1Cor 5:5).

[offend thee] – It causes you to sin.

[pluck it out] – None of Jesus followers did this, so it shows how literally we should take this.  “Fornication and adultery come from the heart” (Matt 15:19), not the eye.  A blind person can still lust.  So should we pluck out our heart instead?  No, we must “have our hearts cleaned from an evil conscience” (Heb 10:22 & James 4:8).

[cast it from thee] – If the eye symbolizes a member of the body of Christ in sin, then there shouldn’t only be a separation between the church and that person, but there should be a distance so that the church won’t be infected by sin, and “for the destruction of (his) flesh, that (his) spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1Cor 5:5), giving him a chance to repent and be forgiven (2Cor 7:7).

[it is profitable] – Literally, it really is better to lose a sinful body part than to burn in fire forever.



MATT 5:30 – And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

[right hand] – Continuing with the topic of adultery, if you can’t resist touching someone’s wife, then it would be better to have no hand.  Of course, this could have other applications, like stealing or killing, but look at verses 27 & 28, then look at the next verses 31 & 32.  Just by context, that makes these two verses about adultery as well.  “Theft comes from the heart” (Matt 15:19), not the hand.  A handless man can still steal.

[it is profitable] – You’d rather only be a torso with a head attached than spend one second in hell.



MATT 5:31 – It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

[give her a writing of divorcement] – Quoted from Deuteronomy 24:1- 4.



MATT 5:32 – But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

[saving for the cause of fornication] – Even Deuteronomy 24:1 says the reason for divorce has to be “because he hath found some uncleanness in her”, not just for any reason.  That includes adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.  Could it include idolatry?  The words fornication and idolatry often do go together (Acts 15:20, 15:29, 21:25; Rev 2:14, 2:20).

[causeth her to commit adultery] – The marriage contract is not truly broken if the woman didn’t have any fornication or uncleanness in her.

[whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery] – Since the marriage contract wasn’t truly broken, that makes her a married woman as she marries the next guy.  That’s why he’s committing adultery; because he’s with a married woman.

Kent Owen

Author: Kent Owen

After college I lived in China for 5 years, working as an English teacher and foreign marketing manager. Now i'm an insurance salesman, but my real passion is Christ and learning the bible.

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