Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I am still in the process of preparing for a lesson on the seventh commandment (You shall not commit adultery. Ex 20:14). In Part I, I began to develop the argument for how adultery and/or lust violates our fellowship or personal relationship with God. I would like to expand on this a bit more before I discuss how it affects our fellowship with our spouse.
One very interesting trend throughout Scripture is the recurring theme of God's wrath being poured out on those guilty of committing this sin. I have been listening to Romans on CD in my car on the way to work, and today I simply put Chapter 1 on repeat and listened to it over and over again. The second half of the chapter (Rom 1:18-32) deals with the guilt of mankind with respect to a variety of different types of sins. One theme that permeates this part of the chapter is that of sexual immorality, etc.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Three times in these verses God "gave them up". I think a verse in Romans that comes a little later addresses this 'giving up'.
Romans 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.
And this connection between God's wrath and sexual immorality doesn't just show up in the book of Romans. There are many other verses that discuss this matter.
Lev 20:10 "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Matt 5:28-30 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
2 Pet 2:14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
Rev 2:22,23 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.
1 Thes 4:2-6 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
2 Pet 2:9,10 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Ezek 16:35-38 "Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy.
I am sure there are even more, I just don't have the time this evening to make this list exhaustive. I must say, though, that God despises any sin and that any sin is worthy of judgment, wrath, and anger from a Holy God. However, this particular sin as revealed in God's Word plagues the sinful nature of every human being and is in dire need of mortification through God's grace. When we truly see this sin (and all our sins) as David did, then the process of mortification has already begun...
Psalm 51:3,4 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
...Lord, may it be true for all those numbered among the elect!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I'm prepping for an upcoming ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship...aka Sunday School) class on the seventh commandment - "You shall not commit adultery" Exodus 20:14. I have been studying God's Word on this topic, and I need to wrap some things together in my brain. Lord help me!
This commandment flows from the great and first commandment - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul" Matthew 22:37. It also expands the second commandment - "Love your neighbor as yourself" Matthew 22:39. In light of these two commandments that summarize all of God's moral law, I will try to develop an argument why God forbids a man or woman to commit adultery.
Something that I will always remember from one of my wife and I's marriage counseling classes was a lesson about priorities in life. Our pastor developed a rationale for how our first priority in life is our personal relationship with Christ. Our second priority must be our relationship with our spouse. Everything else falls under these two priorities. Oh, the truth in this rationale!!! I think that lust or adultery is first a violation of our fellowship with God and second a violation of our fellowship with our spouse. Tonight I only have the energy to speak on the first. Lord willing, by the end of the week I can get around to the second.
The desire of our sinful nature to lust after another person epitomizes our selfishness. God's will is that we desire Him above all.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Oh...how I wish that these verses would dig deep! "And there is NOTHING on earth that I desire besides you" v. 25. Combining this Psalm with Colossians 3:5, I can understand where Paul is coming from. "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." When we live by our earthly desires and give in to the temptations of lust, we set up idols before God. Oh, that mortification would come to our sinful nature! How I wish that every day from this day forward we could exclaim with Joseph, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Genesis 39:9. Praise God that "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 38:26. Praise God that "We are weak, but You are strong." 1 Corinthians 4:10. Praise God "For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10. Oh, that we could cling more and more tightly to the cross of Christ so that we might obey His commands through the power of the Holy Spirt and that we might glorify His holy name.