If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” – Matthew 5:29-30 NIV

The Bible teaches that sin is a very serious matter to God. After Adam and Eve sinned, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and a divide was created between them and God. They were conversing with God one moment, and the next they were darting away in terror.

God made a significant sacrifice to make up for mankind’s sins and mend the broken relationship. As an atonement, God offered His own son’s death on the cross. It is, however, expected of humans to treat sin with the same severity as God did.

In Matthew 5:29–30, Jesus conveyed the lesson that people should make every effort to abstain from sin. What did He mean when He told people to have their hands cut off and eyes gouged out? Here are three interpretations of what this passage means.


Photo source: Patricia McCarty

  • Do Not Make Room for Sin

The call of humanity is to actively avoid sin. Although God wants to close the gaps that lead to man’s stumbles, misunderstanding and carelessness frequently provide abundant room for sin. This suggests a conscious effort to pursue holiness every day.

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” – Romans 13:14 NIV

Being clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ entails dwelling in Him, imitating Him, relying on His grace, and having a renewal of the mind.

  • Exercise Fear and Trembling in Salvation

Mankind is justified by faith alone—not by works—and salvation is a gift. That does not, however, absolve us of the need to continue following Jesus.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians 2:12

In light of the scripture above, it is clear that even after finding redemption, man cannot simply relax. Man is required to continue to view God with respect and humility. A proven method to avoid the things that lead to sin is to work out salvation in a spirit of dread and trembling.

  • Despise Worldly Pleasures

Letting go of material desires is essential in the effort to live a holy life. It is urged that Christians hate everything that interferes with leading a righteous life. When Jesus asks to cut off the hand that causes sin and gouge out the eye that causes sin, He is urging His followers to adopt the mentality of condemning worldly desires.

Is this article helpful? Share it with family and friends who may need it.
Dominion TV, Africa’s Christian Lifestyle Network for Inspired and Empowered Living.