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In the same way that an angry heart is murdering someone, so is lusting after someone in your heart adultery. So, SECRET #20 is: The follower of Jesus knows his heart of lust is equal to adultery.
Here’s how Jesus articulates this teaching: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-30)
Jesus’ revolutionary teaching continues to turn the Pharisaical teachings inside out and upside down. Although the teachings they had heard were strong, they pertained to the external aspect of a relationship only. As he did with respect to the issue of murder and took it straight to the heart of a person, Jesus does the same thing with the external act of adultery.
Jesus makes it clear that lust in your heart for another is committing adultery. According to Jesus, if you have ever lusted after another, then you are an adulterer. Note that this has nothing to do with a physical or emotional affair. This is a matter of the heart! We tend to draw the line as good Pharisaical believers at “having sex” with another. But Jesus erases all lines and calls the lust in your heart adultery. So, are you an adulterer? Sadly, I am. I don’t know of anyone with a pulse who isn’t!
If you are a person filled with anger in your heart, you are as guilty as a murderer. The end result is that you are worthy of being thrown into “hell”. This is an unfortunate use of the term “hell”. The word here is “gehenna” and refers to the cursed garbage pit just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It was cursed because babies were sacrificed to the god of Mollech. Gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom was thought of as the worst place to be. Jesus uses the same warning with respect to adultery. You who have a lustful heart are worthy of being thrown into gehenna.
This is the first time Jesus ever uses the term and unfortunately it has been translated “hell” right from the beginning. The Jews hearing Jesus refer to gehenna in this way were not thinking of a future place of torment and torture; they were thinking in terms of their local, horrendous, cursed, fiery garbage pit. He was saying that a person who is filled with lust in his heart is worthless enough to be thrown into this pit.
So Jesus starts by calling you a murderer and now an adulterer. I mean to tell you, there’s no way out, EXCEPT through Jesus. SECRET #20 is: The follower of Jesus knows his heart of lust is equal to adultery.