Listen:  90 Question 4

Let’s read Mark 9:43-48, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”  Let’s read Mark 9:43 from the NIV translation, which might make it a little easier to understand.  That says, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”  The difficulty with these verses becomes easier when we realize that the language here is figurative.  The lesson for us in these verses is that we should give up anything that would cause us to refuse the Lord Jesus.  This dire warning from our loving savior should cause us to realize the seriousness of sin.

The Lord is not actually speaking of cutting off a hand or foot, or plucking out an eye.  Yet, if there is anything that you are doing with your hand, foot, or eye that is hindering you from coming to Christ then you should get rid of that thing, rather than risk spending eternity being tormented in hell.  Why does the Lord use the example of the hand, the foot, and the eye?  It’s with the hand that we grasp after the things of the world.  It’s with the foot that we walk to those things that appeal to the unregenerate person.  It is the eye that draws our attention to the world and causes us to lust after it.

Even if giving up some of the things that keep us from the Lord might be as painful as losing some part of our body, the eternal consequences for continuing in sin are greater.  Hell is a place of fire that will never go out.  “Where the worm dieth not” gives the thought of the torment of the conscience of the soul that refused the gift of eternal life that was offered through the death of the Lord Jesus.

Let’s look at Moses as a good example.  We learn in Hebrews 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”  To follow the Lord came at a great price of Moses.  Not only did he have to give up the riches of Egypt, he took a place of suffering affliction with the people of God.  He understood the great reward that would be his by being faithful to the Lord.  The pleasures of sin are real.  The ungodly man or woman enjoys the sinful activities of the world.  Notice, though, that these pleasures are only for a short while.  Eternity is forever.

The Lord asked this very searching question in Luke 9:25 where He said, “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”  What if you were able to gain all the wealth, power, and fame the world had to offer?  What if you were able to indulge yourself in all the sinful activity you could think of?  You would be able to enjoy those things for maybe 70 or 80 years.  Then, you would have to face the Lord.  Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  James 4:14 says, “…For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”  Life is so brief.  Eternity is forever.  If there is anything that is preventing you from bowing your knee to the Lord and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, cast it away.  Get rid of it.  Do not let the fleeting things of the world keep you from enjoying eternity in the presence of the Lord.  (90.4)