Matthew 5:32
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, brings adultery upon her. And he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Sermon on the Mount: 3. Exceeding RighteousnessMarcus Dods Matthew 5:17-48
Christ's Second and Third Illustration of the Christian Type of a True Fulfilling of the LawP.C. Barker Matthew 5:27-32
PurityJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 5:27-32

The ideas of this verse are expressed in the strong language of Oriental imagery, and yet a moment's reflection will show us that the language is not a whir too strong, even if it is interpreted with strict literalness. If it came to a choice between plucking out an eye and death, every man who had courage enough to perform the hideous deed Would at once choose it as the less terrible alternative. Every day hospital patients submit to frightful operations to save their lives or to relieve intolerable sufferings. But if to the thought of death we add the picture of the doom of the lost, the motives for choosing the lesser evil are immeasurably strengthened. Therefore to one who really believes the alternatives set forth by our Lord to be his, there should not be a thought of hesitation. Doubt as to the future, the overmastering influence of the present, or weakness of will, may restrain a person from doing what is really for his self-interest; but these things will not make it the less desirable. The difficulty, then, is not as to the truth of our Lord's words, but as to the application of them.

I. AN INNOCENT THING MAY BECOME A CAUSE OF STUMBLING. Christ does not require us to maim ourselves as an act of penance, or on any ascetic grounds. The eye is given to see with, and the hand to work with. Both are from God, and both are innocent in themselves. The body is not an evil thing, but it is meant to be the servant of the soul; as such it is an instrument "fearfully and wonderfully made." We do not honour God by dishonouring the body which he has bestowed upon us. But the body may become the tool of the tempter. It may be corrupted and perverted so as to be worse than the slave of sin, so as to be itself a perpetual temptation. Not only the body, but other things that belong to us, and are sent for our good, may become stumbling-blocks - e.g, wealth, power, friendship.

II. A STUMBLING-BLOCK IN THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE MUST BE CAST ASIDE AT ANY COST. The question turns on Our estimate of the great end of life. To frustrate that in deference to any present pleasure, or to escape from any present trouble, is to commit a great mistake. We are not now concerned with some slight inconvenience in the future. The thought is of complete shipwreck, of being thrown into perdition on account of the hindrance which it is very unpleasant for us to remove. So serious a danger does not admit of any consideration for the present annoyance involved in escaping it. The engineer will tunnel through mountains, blow up huge rocks, and bridge wide chasms to carry his line to its destination. Shall any hindrance be permitted to block the Christian's course to eternal life? As a matter of fact, self-mutilation is not the right method of avoiding temptation. If it were the sole method, it would be prudent to resort to it. But, as God has provided other ways, only a wild delusion will resort to this. Moreover, if lust is in the heart, it will not be destroyed by plucking out the eye. If hatred reigns within the enraged man, he is essentially a murderer, even after he has cut off the hand with which he was about to commit his awful crime. Still, whatever is most near to us and hinders our Christian life, must go - any friendship, though dear as the apple of the eye; any occupation, though profitable as the right hand. - W.F.A.

Thy right hand offend.I. Rather than anything, though ever so dear and precious to thee, should hinder thee in thy Christian progress, or prove a means of snaring thy soul and body, absolutely and totally forego it.1. Whatsoever opposes God in the heart, or keeps Him out of it, must be abhored and east out;2. All sin and temptation must be resisted, and the outward act of any sin must be avoided.3. For some temptations are against my retirement, against my prayers, against my possession and enjoyment of Christ, against peace in life, comfort in death, against time, eternity, and all my hopes.(Thomas Adam.)
One of the most useful pioneer evangelists of the Samoan mission was Teava, who, after many years of active services returned to Rarotonga. Though very feeble and bent with age, his place in the sanctuary was never vacant; and he was ever ready with a word of exhortation. On one occasion he said, "I have been meditating this morning upon our Lord's words: 'If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and east it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.' When I laboured at Tutuila I often felt rebuked by the strange conduct of a large species of land-crab, called there the ' mali'o,' here the 'tupa.' It bores deep into the soil, the holes sometimes extending a considerable distance. At night this crab loves to make its way to the sea, for the purpose of laving itself in the salt water and drinking it. Now it sometimes happens that, when hurrying through the tall grass and fern, some of its legs become defiled by contact with filth. So great is the vexation of this crab at its mishap, that it delays its march to the sea in order to wrench off the offending legs! One may sometimes meet a mutilated individual hobbling along without two or three of its legs — a self-inflicted punishment! In some rare instances it has been known to wrench off all its eight legs to escape defilement. It is then content to drag itself over the ground with considerable difficulty by means of its nippers, until it reaches its hole, where it hides until the legs partially develop themselves again, though not of their original length and beauty." "Were we," added Teava, "as willing to part with our favourite sins as this ' mali'o' crab is with its defiled limbs, there would be little doubt of our reaching heaven! This is what our Lord means by our cutting off our right hand, and casting it from us."


1. That we ourselves must engage in the mortifying of our lusts. It is not enough to cry to God, and be idle.

2. That we must be willing in this as in other duties.

3. It is not said, "If thine eye offend thee, observe it more than ordinarily," but "pluck it out."

4. It must be renounced for ever — "cast it from thee."


1. That the eye and hand are useful parts of the body of man.

2. That offences are from ourselves.

3. That sin is to all intents and purposes our own.


1. The whole mass of corruption in Scripture is called "the old man," and "the body of sin" (Romans 6:6).

2. As the natural body makes use of its several parts in work, so corruption makes use of several lusts.

3. Sin is, according to some, conveyed into the soul by means of the body.

4. Corruption shews itself by the sinful actions of the body, and therefore may have its denomination by the parts of it.



1. Men have particular temperaments, and therefore sins suitable to their constitutions.

2. There are distinct and peculiar periods of times and ages that incline to peculiar sins.

3. Men have distinct and particular callings that incline to particular sins.

4. Men have distinct and particular ways of breeding and education, and upon that account have particular sins.


1. Examination: how this sin may be discovered —

(1)By the love the sinner bears it;

(2)The sin which distracts us in holy worship is our beloved sin;

(3)It may be known by its commanding power over other sins;

(4)The sin that conscience doth most chide for;

(5)It may be known by being impatient of reproof;

(6)It makes a man notoriously partial in his own case;

(7)it may be known by the fair pretences that the sinner hath for it;

(8)The sin which a man wishes were no sin;

(9)The sin we think of first in the morning and latest at evening;

(10)The sin which most infests us in our solitudes;

(11)The sin we are willing to endure greatest hardship for.

2. Press upon you the mortification of your beloved sin;

(1)Seek holy courage and resolution against it;

(2)Let your repentance be against it;

(3)Beware of those things that occasion it;

(4)Pray to God that thou mayest not fall into that condition favourable to it;

(5)Learn to suspect things that are delightful;

(6)Labour to act that grace that is contrary to thy beloved sin;

(7)Keep watch over thy heart;

(8)Get respect to all God's laws;

(9)Lay hold on God's strength.


1. Bight-eye sins are the greatest hindrances to the soul's closing with Christ.

2. They are a great trouble to the soul afterwards.

3. It is a choice evidence of regeneration.

(B. Needler, B.C. L.)

Galilee, Jerusalem
Adulteress, TRUE, Adultery, Anyone, Cause, Causes, Causeth, Commit, Commits, Committeth, Divorced, Divorces, Except, Fornication, Ground, Husband, Immorality, Lewdness, Loss, Makes, Maketh, Marital, Marries, Marry, Matter, Puts, Putteth, Reason, Save, Saving, Sexual, Takes, Unchastity, Unfaithfulness, Virtue, Whoredom, Wife
1. Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3. The Beattitudes;
13. the salt of the earth;
14. the light of the world.
17. He came to fulfill the law.
21. What it is to kill;
27. to commit adultery;
33. to swear.
38. He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43. to love our enemies;
48. and to labor after perfection.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 5:32

     5677   divorce, among believers
     5711   marriage, restrictions
     6242   adultery
     8241   ethics, basis of
     8299   love, in relationships
     8841   unfaithfulness, to people

Matthew 5:3-48

     1660   Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:17-48

     2042   Christ, justice of

Matthew 5:27-32

     6237   sexual sin, nature of

Matthew 5:31-32

     2333   Christ, attitude to OT

Agree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 9. "Ye are the Light of the World" (Matt. v. 14).
"Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. v. 14). We are called the lights of the world, light-bearers, reflectors, candle-sticks, lamps. We are to be kindled ourselves, and then we will burn and give light to others. We are the only light the world has. The Lord might come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we don't give it the world will not have it. We should be giving light all the time to our neighbors. God does not put
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Eighth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'--MATT. v. 10. We have seen the description of the true subjects of the kingdom growing into form and completeness before our eyes in the preceding verses, which tell us what they are in their own consciousness, what they are in their longings, what they become in inward nature by God's gift of purity, how they move among men as angels of God, meek, merciful, peace-bringing. Is anything more needed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The First Beatitude
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.'--MATT. v. 2. 'Ye are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, nor unto the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of "awful" words.' With such accompaniments the old law was promulgated, but here, in this Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, the laws of the Kingdom are proclaimed by the King Himself; and He does not lay them down with the sternness of those written on tables of stone. No rigid 'thou shalt' compels, no iron 'thou
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Second Beatitude
'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.'--MATT. v. 4. An ordinary superficial view of these so-called Beatitudes is that they are simply a collection of unrelated sayings. But they are a great deal more than that. There is a vital connection and progress in them. The jewels are not flung down in a heap; they are wreathed into a chain, which whosoever wears shall have 'an ornament of grace about his neck.' They are an outgrowth from a common root; stages in the evolution of Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'--MATT. v. 6. Two preliminary remarks will give us the point of view from which I desire to consider these words now. First, we have seen, in previous sermons, that these paradoxes of the Christian life which we call the Beatitudes are a linked chain, or, rather, an outgrowth from a common root. Each presupposes all the preceding. Now, of course, it is a mistake to expect uniformity in the process of building
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fifth Beatitude
'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'--MATT. v. 7. THE divine simplicity of the Beatitudes covers a divine depth, both in regard to the single precepts and to the sequence of the whole. I have already pointed out that the first of the series Is to be regarded as the root and germ of all the subsequent ones. If for a moment we set it aside and consider only the fruits which are successively developed from it, we shall see that the remaining members of the sequence are arranged in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sixth Beatitude
'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.'--MATT. v. 8. AT first hearing one scarcely knows whether the character described in this great saying, or the promise held out, is the more inaccessible to men. 'The pure in heart': who may they be? Is there one of us that can imagine himself possessed of a character fitting him for the vision of God, or such as to make him bear with delight that dazzling blaze? 'They shall see God,' whom 'no man hath seen at any time, nor can see.' Surely
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Seventh Beatitude
'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' MATT. v. 9. This is the last Beatitude descriptive of the character of the Christian. There follows one more, which describes his reception by the world. But this one sets the top stone, the shining apex, upon the whole temple-structure which the previous Beatitudes had been gradually building up. You may remember that I have pointed out in previous sermons how all these various traits of the Christian life are deduced from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Sinai
'And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: 2. And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Swear not at All'
'Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35. Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.'--MATT. v. 38-42. The old law
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Law of Love
'Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect."--MATT. V. 48. "Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--ROM. VII. 24, 25. We have studied the meaning of reconciliation through the Cross. We have said that to be reconciled to God means to cease to be the object of the Wrath of God, that is, His hostility to sin. We can only cease to be the objects of this Divine Wrath by identifying ourselves
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

On that which is Written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, "Even So Let Your Light Shine Before Men, that they May See Your Good Works,
1. It is wont to perplex many persons, Dearly beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ in His Evangelical Sermon, after He had first said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" [1934] said afterwards, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [1935] before men to be seen of them." [1936] For so the mind of him who is weak in understanding is disturbed, is desirous to obey both precepts, and distracted by diverse, and contradictory
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever Shall Say to his Brother, Thou Fool, Shall be in Danger of the Hell of Fire. "
1. The section of the Holy Gospel which we just now heard when it was read, must have sorely alarmed us, if we have faith; but those who have not faith, it alarmed not. And because it does not alarm them, they are minded to continue in their false security, as knowing not how to divide and distinguish the proper times of security and fear. Let him then who is leading now that life which has an end, fear, that in that life which is without end, he may have security. Therefore were we alarmed. For
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 3 "Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: For great is your reward in heaven: For so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you."
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Christian Aim and Motive.
Preached January 4, 1852. THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."--Matthew v. 48. There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists. Worldly-minded men--men that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion; and they suppose
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

A Call to Holy Living
Too many persons judge themselves by others; and if upon the whole they discover that they are no worse than the mass of mankind, they give themselves a mark of special commendation; they strike a sort of average amongst their neighbors, and if they cannot pretend to be the very best, yet, if they are not the very worst, they are pretty comfortable. There are certain scribes and Pharisees among their acquaintance, who fast thrice in the week, and pay tithes of all they possess, and they look upon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

Persistency in Wrong Doing.
6th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. v. 25. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him." INTRODUCTION.--I spoke to you the Sunday before last about the obstinacy of persisting in an opinion after you have good cause to believe that this opinion is unjust, or unreasonable. I am going to speak to you to-day of another form of obstinacy. SUBJECT.--My subject is Persistency in doing wrong, because you have begun wrong. This is only another form of the same fault. The other
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

"That the Righteousness of the Law Might be Fulfilled in Us,"
Rom. viii. 4.--"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," &c. "Think not," saith our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "that I am come to destroy the law,--I am come to fulfil it," Matt. v. 17. It was a needful caveat, and a very timeous advertisement, because of the natural misapprehensions in men's minds of the gospel. When free forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting, is preached in Jesus Christ, without our works; when the mercy of God is proclaimed in its freedom and fulness,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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