“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ ..." (Matthew 5:27-30)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 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 if off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matthew 5:27-30)

A clear statement about hell

Jesus' statement, "whole body to go into hell" clarifies that breaking God's rules is hell. Rather than hell simply being a place we will go to be punished, hell is the attitude of rebellion and rejection of God. Hell is that place where our own enjoyment comes first, and God is forgotten.

This means that most of human society is, actually, in hell.

This statement presents a particularly difficult criteria for someone living in modern society. In this generation we are surrounded by media focused upon sexuality, communicating to us that sex brings the ultimate happiness.

And what is the goal of sex?

The organism.

This is ironic because many call sex "making love." Why?

Many believe that because the two partners are mutually seeking the orgasm and because they help each other achieve it that this is love.

Actually, this is a perverted reflection of love.

We might compare this to looking in the mirror. What do we see? We see an image of our face and our arms and so on. We see an image of our mouth as well.

But what if we reached over to the mirror and tried to put a biscuit into the image of our mouth in the mirror? Would we eat any food?

Certainly not. The food would be smashed up against the mirror. It would just leave a squashed biscuit and some crumbs on the mirror.

Thus, while the mirror image might look like my body, it isn't. It is simply a reflection of my body.

It is also inverted. Notice that our right side is our left side on the mirror. It is switched. Thus it may seem like our body in the mirror but it is a perverted - a twisted - reflection of our body. It is not really our body, it only looks like it.

In the same way, the so-called "love" we might feel as we try to reach our organism and hoping our partner reaches theirs is a reflection of love.

This isn't really love

Why not? Because the sexual act is a self-centered activity. Yes, we might want our partner to also feel good, but essentially it is about me feeling good.

In fact, sex is actually quite difficult if each partner isn't ultimately interested in their own satisfaction.

In the real world, we are not these physical bodies. They are simply vehicles we occupy for a few years.

We are the spirit-person occupying this physical body, and at the time of death we leave it behind.

And we - the real person within this body - are in fact a real person who seeks real love. We seek the love of others and we want to love others. But this real person is covered up. It is covered up by our self-centeredness and our false identification with this physical body.

And what we are really looking for in the sex act - within - is union. We want to exchange love with someone but we are currently steeped in self-centeredness. We have no ability to truly love because we are ultimately concerned for our own welfare, and the welfare of those we also identify with - our family, country or other organization.

Thus when we seek union in the sex act all that comes across is our self-centeredness. This is exhibited by all the moaning and groaning of sex. Each partner wants to "get off."

And we find that there is no satisfaction in this. Our body might get some nerve sensations going, but the person within - our real selves - are not satisfied.

It is like a person driving a car feeling hungry and thinking that if they fill the car with gas they won't be hungry anymore. This doesn't work because the person's body is separate from the car.

In the same way, we are separate from our physical body.

Our true self is only satisfied with love

Our real self within is only satisfied by giving love. By serving. And the ultimate union of the person within is loving service to the Supreme Being.

This brings real happiness because there is no self-centeredness in loving service to the Supreme Being.

And there is no loving service to the Supreme Being within the heart of self-centeredness. It is only emptiness.

What this means is that those of us who are trying to feed the image in the mirror instead of the real person within are in hell. We are saturated with self-centeredness and thus not able to enter into the world Jesus is inviting his students into.

The love that exists in the spiritual realm between the living being and the Supreme Being is pure. It is unconditional. But the perverted reflection of this love in the physical world is conditional lust.

This is illustrated by sexual attraction in the physical world. While a man might be attracted to the body of a woman, and a woman might be attracted to the body of a man, these attractions come with conditions. For example, a person might see the rear of another person as attractive as they walk down the street, but that attraction would stop if they saw that same rear end defecating.

A man might be attracted to the private parts of a woman but that attraction would stop if they saw those same private parts during menstruation. Moreover, the man and woman must work hard to maintain the mirage of attraction. Shaving, putting on antiperspirant, make-up, special clothes, and so on, all create the mirage of attractiveness. Without these, there would be little attraction for a hairy, blemished and malodorous female body and a fat hairy blemished male body.

Furthermore, given a few years for old age to show - and even the most attractive body ages - the older body will no longer be physically attractive, even with make-up piled on.

This world can be hell

Hell is that place where we are drawn in and trapped by lust. In hell, we are teased by the illusion that the attractions of the physical world will bring us happiness. But they never do. They only lead to misery, as we become bound by their conditions.

The best way out of hell is to gradually and realistically develop a higher taste. This higher taste is accomplished by re-developing our innate loving relationship with God. We can do this with prayer and praise - by glorifying His Holy Names and by making offerings to Him. These facilities bring us closer to Him.

As our relationship with God improves, the attractions of the physical world lessen. In fact, we can judge how well our relationship is developing simply by observing how drawn we are to the illusory attractions (reflections) of this world.

The temptations of the material world are tests. They teach us to grow stronger by illustrating how weak we are without the Supreme Being. It is not as if the temptations of the world have come from another place other than God. God designed the physical world and its temptations for a particular reason. He created the physical world for those of us who rebelled against Him and wanted to be independent of Him.

While we can never actually be away from God because He has created everything and is present everywhere, He has created a place where we can pretend He is not present. Here we have temporary senses and the physical body and mind that give us the illusion He is not here. These give us the opportunity to attempt to enjoy ourselves.

At the same time, He does not completely let us go. As we travel through this physical world with these temporary physical bodies ‘of clay’ - we continually find emptiness without Him.

Reaching out to God

As we reach out to God and request to return to Him, it is not an automatic process. Consider the situation if we were to want to be friends again with someone we rejected years ago. Suddenly we wanted to be their friend again. Would such a person just forget the past and accept us back into the relationship we had with them before? Certainly not. They would want to go slowly and make sure we won't leave them again. They would likely test us to make sure we didn't have any ulterior motives.

The bottom line is that they would want us to be serious about having a relationship with them.

This is similar to God's process. However, He already knows our intentions, so He does not test us in order to understand our intentions. He tests us so that we can understand our intentions.

The temptations of the world are here to help us see just how serious we really are about returning to our relationship with God.

In other words, we don't have to be afraid of going to hell - we are already here. The question is how do we get out. Jesus gave us the path out of hell: By learning to re-establish our lost loving relationship with the Supreme Being:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)