“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-3, NKJV).
Jesus began a later sentence with a word that means “in the light of this.” He was about to tie his next statement into the whole context of the lesson he’d been teaching about mixing works with the cross. “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire” (Matthew 18:8-9, NKJV).
When Jesus said, “Pluck it out; cut it off,” he was talking to Jewish listeners first about their confidence in their own good works. The hand, foot and eye all represent the flesh, instruments of independence, by which man goes his own way, relying on self-will and human effort to rid himself of sinful bondages.
Christ was saying to such a person, “Your eye is focused on the wrong thing. You’re looking at your own ability and power. Therefore, pluck out your eye. You have to rid your body, mind and heart of all such evil thinking. Surgically remove it. Cut off all hope of offering to God anything of your own merit or goodness. Lust and offences must be cut off but not by your hands. It is the work of the Spirit.”
Simply run into God’s arms. Humble yourself like a child by embracing Christ’s victory on the cross. Commit to a life of total devotion and dependence on the Heavenly Father. Because of Jesus’ work at Calvary, you are no longer your own. He has bought you. His Spirit will fulfill God’s demand for holiness in you.