Whenever a student enters their first semester of high school or college, transitioning to this next level can be difficult. Some professors and teachers understand this, providing subtle hints during lectures. The more serious might exclaim, “what aren’t you writing this down.” Meanwhile, savvy veterans tend to be more entertaining, coughing in gest “this seems like a good test question,” winking to anyone paying attention. Ultimately, I learned that anytime facts, information or statistics were repeated, it was something I should definitely study.
If your hand causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It is better for you to enter life crippled, than to have two hands and go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] – Mark 9:43-44.
During a first century speech to his disciples, Jesus repeats the same sentence almost verbatim three times. The subtext above this passage in my Bible reads Dire Warnings, I don’t mean to be Captain Obvious, but you might want to check into this beginning with Mark 9:44. Since the previous verse mentions hell, this statement refers to an eternal reality. From a literal stand point, Jesus highlights a constant gnawing on human flesh in a place without any escape from fire. Jesus’ dire warning is to scare souls straight from this state of eternal suffering.
If your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It would be better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, 46 [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] – Mark 9:45-46
Jesus’ advice to avoid this destination is through the Old Testament practice of purging. While Jesus isn’t telling people to physical remove parts of your body, the actual call to action refers to removing the source of temptation within your life. For an alcoholic its getting rid of any beverages that might cause you to stumble. Those addicted to pornographic must place filters on computers, cancel mail subscriptions and remove all magazines that promotes lust. Everyone has a weakness. There is no such thing as a superman or super woman. Rather, each must meditate, pray and act immediately upon conviction so that any traces of temptation are removed. May you be successful in this constant battle to avoid the wrong eternal destination.
by Jay Mankus