Matthew 18:7

Temptations to Sin

7 "Woe to the world for 1temptations to sin![a]2For it is necessary that temptations come, 3but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

Matthew 18:7 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 18:7

Woe unto the world because of offences!
&c.] By which are meant, not sins, as sometimes, but rather temptations to sin; and so the Ethiopic version renders this word by "temptation" in every clause, as the Arabic does in the next; and may design all the contempt and reproach cast upon the doctrines, ordinances, and people of Christ, and all those afflictions, distresses, and persecutions exercised on them, on purpose to cause them to stumble and fall; to tempt them to deny the truth, drop their profession of religion, and relinquish the service of Christ; things which are displeasing to God, discouraging to his people, and often attended with bad consequences to formal professors; and bring down the judgments of God upon the men of the world; who sooner or later will vindicate his own cause, avenge his own elect, and render tribulation to them that trouble them.

For it must needs be that offences come;
considering the implacable malice of Satan, his unwearied and indefatigable pains, the malignity of the men of the world, their aversion and enmity to the Gospel of Christ, and all good men; it cannot be thought, God suffering such things for the trial of such as are truly gracious, and for the discovery of hypocrites, and for the manifestation of his grace, power, and faithfulness in the preservation of his dear children, that it should be otherwise, but that such offences should be:

but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh;
for though God, for wise ends and reasons, as above, voluntarily permits such things to be in the world; and though they do not succeed, as to cause the true followers of Christ so to stumble and fall, as to perish, yet this does not excuse their sin and wickedness, in doing all that in them lay to effect it. For though God will, and does overrule all their base designs against his ministers, church, and people, for his glory, and their good, this is no thanks to them; and as it does not in the least extenuate their crime, it will not abate the severity of their punishment.

Matthew 18:7 In-Context

5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 "Woe to the world for temptations to sin!For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.
9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Cross References 3

  • 1. See Matthew 13:41
  • 2. Luke 17:1; See 1 Corinthians 11:19
  • 3. Matthew 26:24

Footnotes 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.