Matthew 18:8-9; DRB;

8 And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Luke 6:29; DRB;

29 And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

Is Jesus trying to say that the problem is in us, we are the problem, it's our sinful nature?

And He asks us to be serious and take the way to overcome our sinful nature?

  • If the problem was not in us then God wouldn't punish us for sinning.
    – Michael16
    Commented Apr 16, 2022 at 4:08

3 Answers 3


I am not sure that Jesus is saying anything about the cause or process of our sinfulness and sinful tendencies.

Jesus is simply saying that if something, whether an object or set of circumstances cause you to sin, then avoid that object/thing at all costs. Every person has these sinful weakness (I will resist the temptation to list examples) and thus, should make every effort to remove these from the life.

Jesus example is quintessential Hebrew hyperbolic idiom - even if it is your hand or eye - cut them off to avoid sinning. This is essentially a repeat of Jesus' teaching in Matt 5:29-30 -

If your right eye causes you to sin, 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 sin, 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 depart into hell.

Ellicott correctly observes:

Pluck it out.—The bold severity of the phrase excludes a literal interpretation. The seat of the evil lies in the will, not in the organ of sense or action, and the removal of the instrument might leave the inward taint unpurified. What is meant is, that any sense, when it ministers to sin is an evil and not a good, the loss of which would be the truest gain. Translated into modern language, we are warned that taste, culture, æsthetic refinement may but make our guilt and our punishment more tremendous.


The following words have shed light on this for me:

In order for us to reach this high ideal, that which causes the soul to stumble must be sacrificed. It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us. The surrender of the will is represented as plucking out the eye or cutting off the hand. Often it seems to us that to surrender the will to God is to consent to go through life maimed or crippled. But it is better, says Christ, for self to be maimed, wounded, crippled, if thus you may enter into life. That which you look upon as disaster is the door to highest benefit. Mount of Blessing p. 61. Ellen G. White.

Jesus is asking us to choose His lordship. Many Christians don't mind having Him as their Saviour, but not all will stand to have Him as Lord - surrendering their power of choice to Him instead of living by their own will and ways.

The problem is this. Our sinful nature does not 'listen' to our will (power of choice) just as it is. In other words, you can't quit sinning just by choosing to do so on your own.

By nature we are slaves of sin and Satan is our master. What Christ is asking is is to choose another master - Himself. When we surrender our will we are choosing Him as our Master. He then send us power to obey Him via the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

With a new Master and power from the Holy Spirit, the master (Satan) we were born slaves to must now submit and yield his power over us. Thus we gain the victory over sin.

But, we can choose to go back to our old master at any time. Jesus will never hold lordship over us against our will. Love cannot force.

Many Christians are looking for a Lord that will keep them so that they don't have to make the hard daily choice of surrendering their will to Him in all the daily choices they have to make.

That is why Jesus is asking us to get serious by making such a consistent choice of surrender that it looks like we are permanently maimed.


The verse in question sits within a disturbing passage about the sins committed against children, or those referred to as “these little ones” (Mt 18:1-14). In particular, Jesus targets the types of sins that corrupt.

6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Within this ominous context, the extreme measures to avoid such sins and the grave consequences presented in Mt 18:8-9 serve to underscore the serious nature of the sins themselves.

8 And if your hand or your foot is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or without a foot, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.

The gravity with which these sins are judged reflects God’s love for and desire to protect these little ones.

10 See that you do not look down on one of these little ones; for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven

14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.

Regarding the OP’s question, while Jesus does not explicitly mention man’s sinful nature, his reference to hands, feet and eyes does have the natural effect of drawing attention to the connection between the flesh and sin (cf Rom 7:5, Col 3:5).

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