Daily Word

Cut it off! | Matthew 18:7-9

7 “Woe (judgment is coming) to the world because of stumbling blocks and temptations to sin! It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person on whose account or through whom the stumbling block comes!

8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire. 9 If your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; it is better for you to enter life with only one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fiery hell.

Matthew 18:7-9 (AMP)

Continuing the child theme

Jesus is using a child as a visual aid of sorts for teaching about the importance of welcoming new believers. And in addition to that, to not lead them astray with false teaching. 

He expands the warning to stumbling blocks of all sorts, for they are all temptations to sin. But the greatest judgment is to the one through whom these temptations come. “It is a wicked thing to sin, and it is a far greater evil to lead others into sin.” (enduringword.com ) James explains the source of temptation (James 1:14-15) – it starts with evil desires in our hearts. 

Cut it off!

Now we arrive at a set of verses that have some scratching their heads wondering if Jesus really said that or meant that. As we mentioned in the last post, Jesus often uses hyperbole in His teaching to emphasize His point. Here is another case in point. Of course He didn’t mean to literally cut off or pluck out body parts or all the disciples would have been maimed. As the AMP adds in explanatory notes (“remove yourself from the source of the temptation”). The idea is to address the source of temptation. And as we said above, James tells us it’s the evil in our hearts. 

Another reason we know this is hyperbole is, the life He is talking about is eternal life (just as the eternal fire is eternal death). And we know from other scripture that we will have glorified bodies in Heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:42–44) so our deformed bodies will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual.

Now we can’t remove our hearts so what do we do? We can practice Psalm 139:23-24, to ask the Lord to reveal our sin and wicked ways then lead us in the way of righteousness. 

Serious consequences

Let us not miss how Jesus stresses the seriousness of sin. The “life” He refers to is eternal life, just as “Everlasting fire” is death; neither are hyperbole. Is Jesus saying that anyone who sins is going to hell? Well, actually yes. Is the act of cutting off or removing temptation our way of salvation then? No. For we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). The cutting off will work for our sanctification – making us more like Christ.


  • Are we possibly leading others to sin, if even through our lifestyle? Maybe our sinful actions, left unchecked, encourage others to follow the same path. Hopefully none of us deliberately teach others to sin – like promoting greed, worship of money, drunkenness, fornication, homosexuality (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 1 Corinthians 6:9).
  • Are we actively seeking to rid ourselves of sin? Do we daily feed on His Word and commune with Him and others? Are we quick to confess and repent?
Cut off foot. Image from Pxfuel.com

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