Did Christ Teach Self Mutilation?

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Hi E___,
Thank you for your question. You ask:

I could not find an e- mail which answered this question, so I will answer it now. Here are the verses to which you refer.

Mar 9:43  And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:44  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:45  And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:46  Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:47  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

The Old Testament scriptures are clearly against any puncturing, or tattooing of the human body.

Lev 19:28  You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. (NASB)

From a spiritual perspective, any mutilation to our God- given physical body, including tattoos or cutting off any of our physical members, is an attempt on our part to glorify the flesh or in some way to improve upon what God has done.
But as the scriptures themselves demonstrate so many times, Christ’s parables do not mean what they say, because they simply are “not [ written] in words that man’s wisdom teaches, but which the holy spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

1Co 2:13  Which things also [“the deep things of God,” vs 10]  we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The fact that these verses in Mark are not to be understood literally is clear from the fact that Christ says “It is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one hand… one foot… and one eye than having two hands, feet and eyes to be cast into hell.”
No man has ever been born whose hands have not worked evil.

Isa 2:8  Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

No man who has ever been born has ‘walked’ without offence. We have all “walked in darkness”, and we have all stumbled and fallen.

Psa 12:8  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Psa 78:10  They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
Pro 2:13  Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Isa 8:14  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isa 8:15  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

The eyes of every person who has ever been born have been offensive.

Pro 28:22  He that hasteth to be rich [ hath] an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Mar 7:21  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Mar 7:22  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
Mar 7:23  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man

If these words are to be taken literally, then we must conclude that every person in the kingdom of God has no hands feet or eyes. But that, of course is not the case because the point of this statement by our Lord is a spiritual point made with spiritual words which are “not words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the holy spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
The “spiritual thing” in an “evil eye… feet that stumble… and the work of our own hands” is that these things all have one thing in common. That one “spiritual thing” is to please the flesh and in so doing to worship “our father the Devil.” This is all done in rebellion against the words and precepts of our true Father, our Creator.

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Rom 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Rev 13:4  And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [ is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Admonitions and reproofs of instruction are God’s way of doing His work within us.

Pro 6:23  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Admonitions and reproofs of instruction in no way mean that of ourselves we are doing those works that we are admonished and instructed to do. The fact of the matter is that we will not heed or be admonished or instructed until we have “fallen seven times” and have offended our heavenly father “seventy times seven”. Only then, after we have been forced to acknowledge the helplessness of our own fleshly strength to save ourselves, will we with Job acknowledge that while we are indeed admonished to work, it is really God who is working any good or even any desire or will to do good that we may have or do.

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

It is God who is working in us, admonishing us with these words.

Rom 6:19  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield y our members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

 If we yield our “members”, our hands, feet and eyes, in obedience to God and His precepts we will spiritually be “cutting off… the work of our own hands, cutting off a stumbling walk and cutting off an evil eye.”  In other words what Christ is saying is that we are to take whatever steps are needed to ‘cut off’ those things in our lives which give an occasion to our flesh to satisfy itself without even asking what the scriptures reveal to be the will of God in my life? We are to seek to please God first in all we do.

Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

If we do not “acknowledge Him in all of our ways”, He will not direct our paths in the ways of righteousness. He will instead “cause us to err.”

Isa 63:17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

That is right; it is all predestined and “made” to happen by God Himself.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

Being predestinated does not change the fact that no true son of God does anything he does, simply because he wants to do so. Instead he always asks, How will the things I do glorify my heavenly Father?

1Co 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

I hope these verses of scripture help you to see what our Lord is saying in Mar 9:43-47. He is not teaching self mutilation. What He is telling those who can receive “words that are not according to man’s wisdom” is that if we yield members to serve and obey sin, we will die in our sins to be raised up in the second resurrection, to be judged in the lake of fire “prepared for the Devil and his angels”. But if we “seek first the kingdom of God”, we will be in that blessed and holy first resurrection to live and reign with Him for a thousand years.

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Your brother in Christ,

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