Liberated Christians
PO Box 55045, Phoenix Az 85078-5045

Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality


LUST Or Covet

Math 5:27-28: An interpretation of this passage is that if you look at the Greek verb (lust more properly translated covet or desire), is the same word used in the Septuagint's translation of the 10th Commandment (not covet). In this case, Matthew has Jesus saying that covetousness, the desire to deprive another of his property, is the essence of adultery. Jesus was then reaffirming a quite traditional understanding of what is wrong with adultery.

The Greek word here is, of course, epithumia, which also means "covet" and is the word used by the translators of the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew, chamad, in Ex. 21:17 "Thou shalt not COVET ." It is not coincidence, by the way, that "neighbor's wife" is included with the other PROPERTY listed in this neighbors ox etc...

In this case, Jesus was asserting that adultery does not consist primarily of sexual union of two people, at least one of which is married, but it consists rather in the intention, accomplished or not, to take what belongs to another. The purpose of the verse is to show no one is free of sin, but the nature of sin lies in impurity of the heart (taking from another man his wife) rather than the physical act itself. This is different from consensual nonmonogamy. Its like the Rabbi said at the swing club, "I don't want to own your wife, just borrow her!" Now, lets look at how porneia is used here,

The natural desire for sexual variety or the enjoyment of looking at a beautiful body has absolutely nothing to do with "lust" as most assume it to mean. Lust is only wrong if it is the selfish desire to take something from another. Lust is wrong if it is about greed and self satisfaction at the expense of another. But there is nothing whatsoever wrong with mutually desired loving intimacy and enjoying sexual variety or pornography for that matter.

In biblical times man could have as many wives and concubines (breeders) as they wished once the man was age 12 and the women age 13, and adultery was only a sin for a married women. It was never a sin for a married man as long as the other women was not married (owned by another man). There was nothing wrong with "common" prostitutes which are often mentioned with no negative inference. Only the idolatry of the Temple prostitutes who were via sex worshipping the fertility gods was a sin, not prostitutes or their customers.

Biblically lust was not nearly such a bad word as those that use it against sexuality seem to think. In the original Greek the word translated "lust" was used several other times for things NOT considered wrong: Jesus "lusted" to be with his disciples. The word is the same as that some use to make lust to be a sin. Did Jesus sin? No, but He lusted. Strong desire for something is not a sin.

Another interpretation of the famous "lust" passage is that Jesus was taking the law in which the scribes and Pharisees believed that they were so authoritative on and pressing that law (using adultery as an example) to its ultimate conclusion, the intent of the heart.

Jesus was not interested in making a new law for us to follow. After all, he came to fulfill the law in himself through atonement, to bring back to God those of us who will come. The ONLY commandment he gave was LOVE, love of God with all that is within us and love of others as we should love ourselves.

Jesus was pressing the law to its ultimate conclusion to show how damning impossible a task its proposed adherents set for themselves in their inherent inability to follow the law. Other NT verses come right out and say that the law condemns, and that salvation is to be found elsewhere. The law does not save. Jesus' graphic illustration of sin by saying that the lustful should first cut out their eyes to enter heaven is not meant literally because the heart is the real core. Jesus is being sarcastic with the dogged enemies of the truth that were the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought to keep their status quo intact.

Return To Section Contents Page

Back To Home Page

Copyright 1997, Liberated Christians, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.