Causing Others to Sin


Reading the Word

Mark 9:42–50 (ESV)

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 18:6-9; Luke 17:1-2

Understanding and Applying the Word

In our current world, we often hear people say things like “Do whatever makes you happy” or “I can do whatever I want.” However, in our passage for today, Jesus warns us that our actions are judged in a greater way than that. Everything we do has an impact on others. Every choice we make affects not just us, but others. Jesus’ words warn us that we will be held accountable if we cause others to fall into sin.

Jesus’ description of the punishment awaiting those who lead others away from Christ tell us how serious of a matter this is. The punishment is described as “unquenchable fire” and a place “where their worm does not die.” It would be better to cut off a hand, lose a foot, or gouge out an eye than to fall into sin that leads us and others away from Christ. We must maintain our saltiness (i.e. distinction from the world) as we live in this world.

When you think about your life, is it one that would please Christ? Is it one that young believers should emulate? Is your life one that shines as a light in the world that points unbelievers to Jesus? If someone were to follow in your steps, would those steps lead them closer to Jesus or away from him? May we live in such a way that Jesus is glorified in all we do.

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