Today we are taking a look at the Seventh Commandment
in a series on the Ten Commandments in Scripture. “You
shall not commit adultery” is also seen in Deuteronomy 5:18,
reflecting the time when the Lord through Moses repeated the
commandments out loud in the presence of the people of the nation
Israel, suggesting they were not completely listening the first time. As
humans we tend to listen, but not really hear.
A flood of promiscuity is sweeping through this world.
It is similar to a vast tsunami that brings enormous destruction
wherever it goes. The destructive force of it is like a signpost warning
humanity that trouble is ahead on the road of life, but most do not want
to read the sign and many lives are ruined as a result.
All too many people read the words, “You
shall not…” or “Thou shalt not…” as
it is in the King James Version of the Bible, and view it as a
challenge; as though someone dared you to run a stop sign. When I was
young, I smoked cigarettes for 23-years, but then with the Lord’s help
at a critical point in life, I stopped smoking! Praise the Lord! But I
also recall that for the next 10-years or so, I felt a strong desire to
light up every time I saw a “No Smoking”
sign. The word “No” is like the word “Not,”
in that it tends to reveal something rebellious inside of us.
"You shall not commit adultery"
(Exodus 20:14) couldn’t be more clear. The same is true for Hebrews
13:4, where it reveals God’s viewpoint on this - “Marriage
is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and
adulterers God will judge.” In other words, if you don’t take
faithfulness in marriage seriously, He does, and it is very dangerous for anyone anywhere to displease Almighty God.
Have you ever thought that certain
diseases might be a message from God to the people of this world? What
about venereal disease? How does it fit in? Is He judging us in relation
the sanctity of marriage by allowing venereal disease in the world? Certainly it
is true that if we eliminated promiscuity,
much of what is called “venereal disease” would begin to disappear.
Let’s take two people for just a moment; a young man and a young woman
and watch them as they meet and fall in love with each another. In this
example, their parents had no venereal diseases of any kind and these
young people were not abused as children. The two marry and they take
seriously the command presented in today’s Scripture: "You
shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).
The wedding ceremony is beautiful and off they go to a
honeymoon of discovery and wonder in the love they have for one another.
Let’s also assume that even though every marriage includes some elements
of misunderstanding, that they stick to their marriage vows which
contain the words, “Forsaking all others.”
They were and are faithful to the other person, to themselves and to
God. They have sex together, but not with anyone else. What happens? If
each is faithful, will they catch a venereal disease from the other? The
answer is – no.
Humanity is literally a swamp, a cesspool of venereal
disease. Sexually transmitted diseases with scary names like syphilis,
gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV/AIDs are high on the rather long
list of STDs, and such lists seem to include genital warts and cervical
cancer. Those diseases and more are everywhere and what does humanity
come up with to combat them? – Condoms and screening tests. But what
really works is to keep oneself unstained from what God calls “sin.” In
defining “religion,” James said this: “Religion
that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit
orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained
from the world” (James 1:27). Husband and Wife, by keeping yourselves
"unstained," you can find happiness and you can avoid terrible diseases. And there’s a bonus -
you will please God.
In what are called “sex education” classes, very
little, if any time is spent on the concept of abstinence or “celibacy”
as it is often called. Yet “adultery” in
marriage and also promiscuity, two opposites of abstinence, can destroy you.
Marriage is God’s vehicle for enabling a man and woman to
bring children into this world, and it is supposed to be a safe place
where the children will be safe, loved and nurtured. The husband and
wife are also to be safe and loved as well. It’s a relationship, a
family, if you will, that is intended not only for the benefit, but also
for the joy of all concerned.
I’ve been reading “Every Man’s
Battle,” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker (with Mike Yorkey),
a book with the caption, “Winning the War on
Sexual Temptation, One Victory at a Time.” Here’s what they say
on Page 91 – “God’s will is for you to have sexual
purity, though you may not think so since this hasn’t been your constant
experience. But He HAS made a provision for that purity” (and the
authors continue with the following Scriptures):
“Count yourselves dead to sin
but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your
mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of
your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer
yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life;
and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but
under grace” (Romans 6:11-14).
Also – “You have been set free
from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
On Page 92 of “Every Man’s Battle,” it
continues, “Sexual impurity isn’t like a tumor
growing out of control inside us… (It) is a
series of bad decisions on our part – a result of immature character –
and deliverance won’t deliver you into instant maturity. Character work
needs to be done… Holiness is not some
nebulous thing. It’s a series of right choices. You needn’t wait for
some holy cloud to form around you. You’ll be holy when you choose not
to sin. You’re already free from the POWER of sexual immorality; you are
not yet free from the HABIT of sexual immorality."
It’s true that when Jesus Christ died on
the cross, our sins died with Him. He was then taken into the tomb and
through trusting in the Lord, we enter that tomb as well. When we
trust in the Lord and accept His grace, we are “set free from
sin.” We become “dead to sin (and)
alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We are taken
out of the tomb through faith, but our sins stay there. They died with
Christ Jesus. We
have a choice – we can LIVE because of the “righteousness”
of God or we can continue to make the “series
of bad decisions,” mentioned in “Every
There is no doubt that we fall short of the glory of
God. But the entry of the Son of God into our hearts and lives gives us for the first time the ability to resist the sin that
has dominated humanity since the beginning of time. We have the Lord
to help us: “If we confess our sins HE is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He is the Victor over “adultery”
and every other sin.
Lord, we confess our sins. Please forgive us and
make us clean. In Jesus Name. Amen.