Lust is sustained desire for a thought, person or object.
(Luke 15:16 | Luke 22:15 | Matthew 17:37)
The Nature of Lust:
You may object: "How can something that goes on in the privacy of my own mind be a sin? Who is harmed?"
Lust is a sin against:
Others -- it dishonors living souls by treating them as something to be consumed
God -- it scorns God's holy design and breeds the opposite of worship: ingratitude
Self -- it condemns the body and soul to everlasting hell
Aside: Does this imply you can "lose your salvation?"
The opinion of Pastor Steve, this is not Scripture -- the faith that brings salvation is the same faith that produces obedience. If that faith does not produce obedience, it is unlikely that it ever produced salvation.
The Battle Against (Insert Your Private Sin Here)
The second half of this verse applies to any sin, not merely lust. According to Jesus, the war can only be won by very extreme measures: "Gouging out" leering eyes & "chopping off" wayward hands.
What Does this Mean for Us?
First: Unless you are an extreme literalist, this is not to be taken literally. It shows how seriously God takes sin and how seriously we must treat it.
Second: Jesus demands that you deal with temptation harshly, even at the smallest point.
Purity is not about dancing as close as you can to sin's "scratch line" without crossing it. It is instead a sustained desire to be as close to the Father as you possibly can. You can't dance cheek to cheek with the devil without getting burned.
Entering into Life
What is your life worth to you? Would you be willing to be maimed -- culturally, socially, financially -- so that you may enter ultimate glory?
New King James Version (NKJV)
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,[a] ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[b] 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
[a] Matthew 5:27 NU-Text and M-Text omit to those of old.