Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ask the Pastor: How do the Ten Commandments Apply Today? Part 7

You Shall Not Commit Adultery

            The seventh commandment is going to address an area that our nation would rather we left alone. In fact, there are those in the church who would probably prefer that we not speak too loudly on this issue. It is here that people will begin to look at Scripture as antiquated, outdated, old-fashioned, and out of touch with modern society. However, before you begin making arguments for your child, parent, neighbor, friend, relative, coworker or yourself for why your behavior in opposition to this commandment has been completely justified, let me make a quick point.

            The unchanging nature of a Holy God. We have stated from the beginning of this study that the ten commandments, while given to Israel, reflect the moral nature of God, and are therefore relevant for all peoples and times. See, God is the Creator of the universe, and therefore He determines what is to be considered as moral and appropriate for His creatures (of which we are). The problem that many people fall into is this trap of looking at how society is, and trying to reconcile scripture to it. That is backwards. God sets the standard, and when it is a moral standard, it never changes. So, how do we define adultery? Narrowly, adultery is cheating on a spouse or causing someone else to cheat on their spouse. However, the word adultery overlaps significantly with the word often translated as “fornication” in English, which is used to point to sex between two unmarried people. Jesus also helps redefine the word in Matthew 5 when He states that to even look at a woman with lust is to commit a form of adultery with her. At the heart of this commandment is the idea that sex is a beautiful thing created by a Holy God, but it is only beautiful when used in the way that HE designed it. Outside of that usage it becomes dangerous, sinful, and dirty.

            The lies that we’ve bought into. There is no hiding the fact that our country has drastically decayed in the area of morality as defined by God. To enter marriage as a virgin is to be a social outcast, abnormal, and weird. It is amazing how our society has declared the immoral pagan to be “normal and healthy” in his sexuality, and the chaste virgin who is pure before God to be “strange, and somehow perverse.” This is a complete reversal of God’s plan! How did we get here?
  • The “it’s a private matter between consenting adults” lie. Satan has convinced people that sex is natural, fun, and harmless- and it is when kept within the boundaries of marriage! But we’ve taken it outside of marriage, and because of “private” decisions between “consenting” adults, unwanted babies are being murdered by the thousands, and taxpayers are helping raise an entire population of children who have no father figure and live in poverty. Many of these kids will grow up and mimic the patterns that their parents set for them, or worse, join gangs or turn to other illicit means of finding community and family. This leads to greater demands on our wallets as taxpayers. If I’m paying for it, I don’t care what anyone says, this is NOT a private matter!
  • The “why would you buy without taking a test drive” lie. I have heard this one over and over again, as if sexual performance was the determining factor as to whether a couple is compatible or not. I have a huge issue with this on a number of practical levels. First, God created sex for marriage. The plan is that two people enter a marriage relationship with nothing to compare their sexual experience there to. No test drive needed. Why does someone test drive a car? To compare it with all the other cars he has driven. If he has never driven another car, a test drive of only one car is pointless because there is no point of comparison. THIS IS GOD’S PLAN!!! Man’s plan has resulted in people heading into marriage with scars and enormous emotional, and sometimes physical, baggage as a result of their sexual history (oh, Satan didn’t tell you about that part?).
            Why do we buy into the lies? Well, there are a number of reasons, but at the end of the day, SIN IS FUN!! Sex is pleasurable (there is a reason some have called it God’s greatest gift to marriage!). Don’t let anyone tell you that the sin itself is so horrible that no one in their right mind would do it. That’s simply not true. Immorality is fun, and lust is fun, that’s why Jesus had to warn against it. Think about also how our society has manipulated and twisted our thinking. People don’t really use the word “adultery” anymore. We use less judgmental terms like “affair” or “sleeping together” or maybe even “cohabitation.” And because sin is fun, people charge headlong into it when it is socially acceptable! But we’re missing something. See, sin IS fun, but the end of the road is not. Broken homes, uncontrolled urges, emotional trauma, single parent homes, STDs, pornography addictions, shame, humiliation, and all the other results of immorality are bad, but what is the worst result? I Corinthians 6:9 lists (among others) adulterers, fornicators, and adulterers as groups of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. See, if someone makes sexual sin a pattern in his life, he is showing his rebellion against God, and God says that there is no place for that person in Heaven. That is a steep price to pay for something that can be done with God’s blessing inside marriage!

            A refocus for Christians. Okay, I don’t know you, and I don’t know your past. Maybe you entered marriage as a virgin, maybe you’re not married yet, or maybe you’ve had a background that has violated every law that God has against sexual sin. Let me lay something out for you. God has set the bar high, and here is HIS standard: you enter marriage a virgin, and you enjoy the pleasures of a sexual relationship with one and only one person for the rest of your life (barring the death of a spouse). You guard your body and keep it only for that person. But God takes it even higher….He wants us to guard our minds and keep them for that one person as well. No pornography or trips down the magazine aisle in the grocery store with all the scantily clad women or men. No wondering what it would be like to be with someone who…. (was skinnier, larger, younger, older, richer, etc). No imagining who you would pursue if something happened to your spouse. No giving another man or woman the opportunity to lust after you (this is why modesty is SO important- your body is your spouses and no one else’s!). So, all the reasons given above for why sexual immorality isn’t a good idea are valid, but they pale in light of the greatest reason of all: God says don’t do it!!! To willingly violate God’s command is to contradict His nature and demonstrate that we are not acting as His children, but as children of Satan!  
            What about those who have fallen? First, understand that God forgives. Sin must be confessed, repented of, and handed over to Him. Sins prior to marriage should be discussed with a spouse- there is no room in marriage for secrets. Don’t let Satan convince you that because of what you’ve done that you are beyond forgiveness….that is a lie that has clinched the eternal fate of thousands. Don’t let your flesh convince you that it’s okay to look as long as you don’t touch….that is a lie that has destroyed the effectiveness of thousands of Christians and rendered them useless to God. Get forgiveness for what you have done, and move forward seeking victory. Realize that sexual purity will be a life-long struggle, but it is a struggle well worth the effort, when we stand before our Lord with clear conscience and a pure heart!

I’d love to interact on this subject or any others through this blog (by leaving a comment below) or my email: pastorbrian@hughes.net. God Bless!!!

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