Matthew 5:27-30 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Who is the “thee” that Jesus is referring to here? Your soul. The real you. This is what distinguishes humanity from animals. We were created in the image of God. Though marred by the fall, that image remains. We are spiritual beings who possess a soul that is housed in a body. When we sin, we not only offend God, we offend our very own soul. Cutting off sin is a never ending part of the ongoing process of sanctification. Thus, when we find ourselves being tempted to lust or indulge in any other sin, we need to cut off that flow of sin and death at the point of inception. Jesus uses drastic language to tell us that fighting against sin is serious business.
Our flesh is a relentless entity that seeks self pleasure above anything. Thus, the injunction of Scripture is that self must be denied and crucified daily. For herein lies the pathway to fullness of joy and intimacy with The Savior. You see, beloved, the real you is your soul. Your soul needs proper nourishment to grow, just like your physical body does. Sin is a poison of the greatest magnitude. Sin is the cause of physical and spiritual death. The only cure for sin is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the admonition to put off the old man, and put on the new man in Christ. We will never be sinless in this life. Temptation is a part of the Christian life. Spiritual maturity happens every time we refuse to offend our souls with the enemy’s cheap imitations of God’s promises and pleasures. The self we are to hate is our flesh, which is the enemy of the real, you who has been created and redeemed to be conformed to the image of Jesus.