Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher. When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, “AMEN, BROTHER!”
When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, “PREACH IT, REVEREND!” And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS…AMEN!”
But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet. One turned to the other and said, “He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’.”
The sin of adultery is the sin of lust for a woman in the heart. This lust in the heart has eyes. These eyes of lust look at the woman lustily. The verb, “looks” (blepo) is present participle. Hence, “everyone who keeps on looking at a woman.”
It is not a sin to look at a woman. But it is a sin to keep on looking at a woman “with lustful intent.”(sermoncentral.com)
What is this “lustful intent”? The Greek is epithumeo, meaning, “desire, long for.” (Gingrich) Thus, to look at a woman to lust is to desire that woman, in order to possess that woman, in a sexual relationship with that woman in your heart. The sin of adultery in the heart is the sin of thinking and desiring a sexual act with a woman in the heart. To desire that sexual act with that woman in your heart then is to violate the deep purpose of the law against adultery. Therefore, Jesus said, you have already committed adultery.
In the OT, the law prohibits lusting after another man’s wife. But Jesus prohibits lusting not simply the wife of another, but any woman.