"And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell." Matthew 5:30 NASB
Jesus continues His illustration from the previous verse which uses exaggerated symbolism to demonstrate the extreme measures needed to avoid what causes one to sin. All sin is destructive and must be dealt with in a serious manner.
The word "hell" comes from the name for the valley of Hinnom. This valley, which was previously used for idol worship and child sacrifice, was used in Jesus' time as a garbage dump. The filth, which included garbage and animal carcasses, was constantly and continually on fire. This perpetually burning valley came to symbolize the punishment for sin and the place of future and eternal torment.
Lord Jesus, help me share with others how to avoid sin's destructive power and eternal punishment. Keep me from temptation so my life will be pleasing to You.
Max Hutto is a Baptist Minister. More information can be found at www.upwardlook.org.