Statements like these are so common among Christians: "Sure, having a wrong thought is not as bad as killing someone right?" Or, "What about a lustful thought, at least is not like being "homosexual."
According to Jesus there are no categories of sin. If we break one commandment we are guilty of breaking them all. That's why He was punished at the cross to pay for our sins. He took the sin that we commited so we could receive the righteousness we don't deserve.
Jesus, In Mark 5, told his disciples He was here to fulfill every letter of the law. That statement is very important to interpret the verses below! So, I'll say it again. JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW. Read it yourself if you don't believe me.
Mark 5:17-18 Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.
After Jesus told his disciples He is the one doing the works of the law (He is the one fulfilling everything written in the law) He said our righteousness, which is our works or right standing before God, should be superior to those of the pharesees. Remember the pharesees were those who rejected the righteousness God ascribes (by faith) and tried to establish their own righteousnes (following the law). Below, read an example of how Jesus let us know how our behavior will never be good enough to be right with God.
Mark 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
I think it is interesting, we categorize sin, but Jesus categorizes righteousness. He tells us doing everything the Torah demands is not enough. There is a higher righteousness required for us. There is a higher standard than the law (the one the pharesees thought they kept so well).
Only the humble would accept that there is no way one can be more righteous than a pharesee. Only a meek person could understand the only way to attain a righteousness higher than the one stablished in the law is by believing what Jesus said in Mark 5:17
17 Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.
Jesus does not want us to categorize sin. He wants us to realize how sinful we are. In other words, he wants us to be poor in spirit. If we are, we will finally know that Christ is the one who fulfilled the law to make us right wit God.
When we categoriz e sin, we are acting like pharesees. We are making the commandments God has given us as if some are more important than others. That's why Jesus, before teaching us about a higher righteousness, says he is doing it for us because we cannot do it! That's the beauty of his grace!
Mark 5:19 Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So, when Jesus says in the folowing verses, "pluck your eye," or "cast your hand away," He is not figuratively speaking. Jesus means it! Then, Why are we not plucking our eyes? Because we categorize sin and take some commandments as if they are not important or we water down the demands of the law.
"Now, wait a minute." You may say, "Are you saying I really have to pluck my eyes?" YES, If you want to live under the law you have to do everything it says and teach it. However, the point Jesus is trying to bring across is: "You guys can't be more righteous than a pharesee because in order to do that you wouldn't even be allowed to be upset or even think another person is attractive. Also, by now, you should have no eyes. The law is too intense. You cannot be right by your works or good behavior. Therefore, be humble, accept my gift. Be meek and poor in spirit. Realize you can't fulfill the law. Instead, let me fulfill the law on your behalf. Let me be the one who does the work for you and takes the punishment too. If you trust and rely on my finished work then you will be made right, blessed and happy because of me."
Dear reader, do you believe you are justified by the works of the law? Or do you belive, Christ made you right even when you fail.
One final thought, every sin is self-righteousness. When you lie, when you steal, when you vomit your last meal, when you change your gender, you are trying to be right not for what Jesus has done but for what you do. If you believe Christ has made you right then know that you have been justified. Regardless of your actions, even sexual inmorality. Your actions will never define you before God. Your faith on His sacrifice will.