Saturday, September 26, 2015

STUMBLING BLOCKS - PART 2

Please scroll down to first read part 1
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Dealing with Stumbling Blocks

“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks!” Jesus said. “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matthew 18:7).

As we can see, this is central issue for Jesus. Being a stumbling block is not something that we can just brush off as being our own personal affair. Whenever Jesus pronounced “woe” on someone or something, the expression carried with it very serious consequences – eternal consequences. This issue of stumbling blocks is an issue that we cannot brush aside and pretend does not matter. We see this even more clearly as we continue to read what Jesus said.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell” (Matthew 18:8-9).

Those are some strong words. This is one of those instances where I do not think Jesus is speaking literally. I do not think that he is saying that we actually should cut off our hand if we continually do something wrong with it. I suppose some people might teach that Jesus does mean this literally. If you hear someone saying that, the first thing that I would do is to check to see if they still have both of their hands and both of their eyes.

However, neither do I want to compromise or water down the words of Jesus. He spoke in such strong terms because he wanted to show us that this is an extremely important matter. It is a matter that will have eternal consequences, and woe to us if we do not heed these words.

Beyond Dismemberment

So if Jesus does not mean for us to literally cut off our hand or gouge out our eye, then what does he mean?

What it meant to the Apostle Paul was even more extreme than what Jesus had said. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Paul did not stop at cutting off his hand or gouging out his eye. He crucified his entire body!

This did not mean that Paul literally and physically rigged up a cross and had someone nail him to it. However, spiritually speaking, this is exactly what he did do. He considered his life apart from Christ to have no value.

No… more than that, he considered his life apart from Christ to be dead!

He continues, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20 NAS).

Paul did not physically die in the flesh on that day that he gave himself up for Christ, but spiritually speaking, his flesh did die. From that moment on, he worked on living for Christ in all and every area of his life.

If we are sincere about our own lives with Christ, this is also what we must do. However, even knowing this, it still may leave us wondering about what Jesus said about stumbling blocks. How do we remove these things from our lives?
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The conclusion in a couple of days

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