(Note: Our words from Jesus today include the phrase “to be cast into hell, where the worm does not die.” This is not the part we’re focusing on, but I thought it might trip you up like it did me. An image taken from Isaiah 66:24, it probably refers to our conscience eating at us as a worm feeds on a carcass. Yikes!)
“And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Mark 9: 43-50
In general, I take the Bible literally. I believe that what doesn’t seem to match up with our scientific knowledge will either be proven (and the scientific “knowledge” disproven) or will be understood more fully someday and line up with our scientific knowledge. How much time did Asimov waste arguing about the word “firmament” only to have the word translated more accurately in a later Bible as “expanse?”
But this passage is meant, at least for most of us I’m sure, as metaphor. Can you think of a sin that could not be accomplished with only one eye?
This will certainly have different applications for all of us. If you can’t seem to have internet in your home without sinning, get RID of the internet. Use the library or other public internet. Better to inconvenience yourself than to not follow Jesus. Can’t have money without using the excess on sin? Give away the excess. Small price to pay. Do you always have to apologize later for having been a jerk while drinking? You might not be an alcoholic, but you need to stay away from alcohol.
Is there anything that keeps you sinning?
My statement with which to replace my worry thoughts today is going to be BETTER TO BE INCONVENIENCED AND ENTER THE KINGDOM. What’s yours?
*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.