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Matthew 5:28 meaning...

This verse transcends mere external actions and delves into the realm of the heart and intentions, challenging conventional notions of morality. Let's explore the profound meaning and significance encapsulated in this concise yet impactful statement.

  • The Heart of the Matter:

Jesus goes beyond the external observance of commandments, delving into the motivations and desires of the heart. By stating that merely looking at a woman with lustful intent is akin to committing adultery in the heart, he raises the standard of righteousness to a profound level. This declaration shifts the focus from outward compliance to inner purity, emphasizing the transformative power of a renewed heart.

  • The Universality of the Principle:

The use of the word "everyone" in the verse universalizes the application of this principle. Jesus doesn't exempt anyone from the call to purity of heart. Whether male or female, young or old, this teaching challenges every individual to examine their thoughts and intentions, recognizing the impact of internal attitudes on moral character.

This universality dismantles any cultural or societal notion that may trivialize certain actions based on gender or societal norms. It establishes a timeless standard that transcends cultural boundaries, emphasizing the universal call to purity.

  • A Radical Departure:

In the cultural context of Jesus' time, external actions were often the primary focus of moral assessments. Jesus, however, introduces a radical departure from this paradigm by addressing the internal realm. He challenges the prevailing understanding of righteousness, suggesting that true morality originates in the heart and is reflected in one's thoughts and desires.

This teaching not only challenges the religious leaders of Jesus' time but continues to challenge believers today. It prompts self-reflection and invites a holistic understanding of morality that encompasses both actions and attitudes.

Lessons for Us:

Internal Transformation: The verse underscores the importance of internal transformation. It's not merely about conforming to external standards but about a heart change that aligns with God's standards of purity.

Equality in Moral Accountability: The use of "everyone" challenges any notion of unequal moral accountability. In God's eyes, every individual is responsible for the state of their heart and the purity of their intentions.

The Call to Holistic Righteousness: Jesus challenges us to embrace a righteousness that goes beyond outward appearances. It's about cultivating a heart that is in harmony with God's principles, recognizing that true morality extends to our thoughts and desires.


Proverbs 4:23: "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life." This Old Testament wisdom aligns with Jesus' teaching, emphasizing the importance of guarding the heart as the source of life.

James 1:14-15: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death." James provides insight into the progression from desire to sin, reinforcing the importance of addressing internal motivations.

In Conclusion: Matthew 5:28 challenges us to move beyond external compliance and engage in the transformative work of the heart. It invites us to a radical understanding of righteousness—one that recognizes the universal call to purity of intention and the transformative power of a renewed heart.

Matthew 5:28. I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.


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