Matthew 18.7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (King James Version)
From a biblical perspective it can mean several things. Of course the easiest answer is this planet of ours. It's round and mostly blue. In the beginning God created the earth, this ball of wonder.
Another meaning is the form of governance. God gave all authority to Adam and he was free to do as he wished under God's throne. Sadly, at the fall, Adam put another authority between him and God. That authority is Satan, "the prince of this world" (John 12.31). Fortunately for us Satan cannot go beyond the boundaries that God has set for him. We are also fortunate that the Holy Spirit restrains our desires in accordance to his will and grace. What forms have governments taken? Kings and dictators to dictatorial regimes (such as communism) to democracy (Athenian and U.S.) to anarchy (each man doing what was right in his eyes). Are there other forms? Perhaps, Satan is a clever fellow.
Now let us deal with the inhabitants on this earth. Basically there are only two groups of people on this planet. There is everyone who is not in an established government under God's direct authority. They are self willed, self pleasing and according to Romans incapable of following God. The other group are those called to be in an established government under God's direct authority. They can be simply called those who are in the world (governance and systems of belief) and those who are part of the church (Jew and Gentile who follow the leading of the Spirit) which manifests itself in various forms of governance. Prior to the New Covenant Israel was under the Old Covenant and that was God's government of choice at that time.
The world is everything that creates a temptation. As Eve thought, after listening to Satan's agent the serpent, it was "good for food... pleasant to the eyes... desired to make one wise." This sentiment was also echoed by John in 1st John 2.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. It isn't that we need to avoid the physical world with its temptations. We are to be a light in this world. We are not to be partakers of these things with them. This is not easy to do. Just like it was not easy for Lot to live in Sodom. His soul was troubled by what he saw his neighbours doing. Like Lot, we will be taken out of this "world" when the time is right.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (kjv)
The world is reeling under the pressure of sin. It can't be helped for Satan is out to destroy and kill. People are being led astray and all manner of corruption pervades the earth. Even the little children are not safe. They are led innocently into sin by the foolish. Some are thrown into darkness by corrupt men with dark intent. Woe to that man by whom a child is perverted. Alas, the whole world is becoming perverted. They think they are walking into the light but they are the blind leading the blind. How can they not fall into the pit?
Can Jesus really be serious about this? To maim yourself in the hopes that you will not be able to sin? The answer is yes. It is that important. It is that serious. Do you want to lead an innocent child into sin? Do you want to harm, to devastate, the soul of a child? Of course we don't. Under the Old Testament the people were given "The Law." It is by this standard that people had to learn what is right and wrong. To avoid committing sin. What is more important, to see a way out by sacrifice and cleansing. We of course have a much better covenant. If we believe, we are given the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence and also as an empowering agent upon us. The work of the Holy Spirit is regeneration. To make us new. To change us from within.
With the help of the Holy Spirit we can put to death the deeds of the body. If we fall, we can repent and start once again to follow the Spirit's leading. This is our hope. Yet what can I say about the instances concerning a child that believes in Jesus? About the person who, cannot or will not, stop destroying these little lives? Perhaps they need to listen to the words of Jesus, "8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada