2015-06-21 - The Seventh Commandment
Is Moral Purity Relevant Today?
As we can see, there is a two-fold approach we can take to this commandment, the one is as it relates to the purity of marriage, and the other faithfulness to God.
It seems as if marriage has become a questionable convenience today. Many go in with the attitude that if a marriage isn’t working, then it should be ended. Now it’s obvious on this basis, it can’t work. A marriage is something that has to be worked at always.
The new morality, actually the old immorality, says one way to save a marriage is to have sexual relationships outside of the marriage. This isn’t really new. In many cultures, you marry a women for children, and get your pleasure elsewhere.
In fact, there are some so-called experts who will try to tell us the institution of marriage is outdated, and will soon be a custom of historic curiosity, no longer practiced. This may also explain the effort to redefine it. If it is outdated, who cares how you define it?
Once again, society deals in euphemisms; people don’t commit adultery, they have affairs. An example of this was shown on TV, “The Bridges of Madison County,” which demonstrated the supposed positive benefits from a beautiful and loving affair. Isn’t that nice?
It is often the same in spiritual matters. People are in church on Sunday, to be respectable, though I'm not sure that’s so true today. But they really get their “pleasure” the rest of the week, with other gods. These are the gods of money, power, ego, even sex. Jesus said …
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24 ESV).
Jesus is stating this same principle in another way. You cannot be faithful to God, and have an adulterous affair with other gods, money for an example. Some are willing to be faithful to God, as long as He meets their needs, but as soon as He demands something from them, or doesn’t do life their way, forget it. It’s off to somewhere else.
The attitude is: Marriage is fine, so long as there are no demands; otherwise let’s go elsewhere. Today, of course - with equality - the “in thing,” it is just as appropriate for women to have “affairs” as men. We hear all kinds of excuses for the violation of one’s marriage. Some have an “open marriage.” This means both parties can have adulterous relationships, supposedly showing their maturity, in accepting one another’s sins as alternate life-styles.
We also hear: “Well my spouse doesn’t meet my needs. Therefore, I have to go somewhere else. After all you don't really expect me to do without, do you?” But just as we talked about previously, God calls us to standards of behavior that are not contingent on what someone else does, only on what is right or wrong. Marriage is given to us by God, as His standard. In addition, as it is a picture of God’s relationship to people, be it the adulterous Israel, or Christ’s bride the church, our marriages are to serve as examples to the world around us.
We also need to remember Christ's standards regarding marriage. In Matthew 5:27-29 we read:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 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” (Matthew 5:27-29 ESV).
Keep in mind that while this talks of men, it is just as true for the woman. This is why the requirement for the elder is to be a one-woman man. Christ is speaking of what should be our main concern, our heart condition. First comes the sin of the heart, and only then, of the body.
Paul points out that sexual sin is unique …
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 ESV).
Christian marriages are to be pictures of Christ’s relationship to the church; therefore to violate them not only breaks the sanctity of the marriage relationship, but it also demonstrates a false view of God and His standards, to the world around us.
Do we really think of our marriages as testimonies of the Christian life? What are some of the practical ways that our marriages are demonstrating the quality of our faith, to those around us? Can you give any examples of marriages, your own or others, (no names please) that have been an example to you, good or bad?
Study to be continued.
Pastor Geoff Kragen
For part 1 of this commandment study, go to the May 3rd 2015 devotional.
For more information about the author, podcasts and additional studies visit www.GKRAGEN.com.