It’s a short and simple commandment—but it’s another thing to live accordingly. If anyone supposes that he holds the high ground in other commandments, the Sixth Commandment turns us into slinking jackals. Let’s be honest about it—we humans habitually misuse and abuse God’s gift of sex.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
“As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to those of his household.” (Martin Luther)
The Sixth Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we live a pure and decent life in words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor one another.
That’s because sex hunger ranks right up there with hunger for food and drink; it’s a normal hunger invented by God for procreation and for enhancing the bond between husband and wife, but Satan manages to pervert this sweet blessing into a stinky vice.
What are we to do when sexuality assaults public morals in TV sit-coms and soap operas, when game shows display gorgeous girls in skimpy outfits to titillate the audience, and even in church both matrons and maidens display cleavage that distracts from worship?
Are we losing our sensitivity to God’s will about all things sexual?
We don’t expect much from our fellow citizens, who applaud fornication, or from our politicians, who have legitimized same-sex unions—but isn’t it ironic that Satan has turned public morality upside-down so thoroughly that whereas heterosexual couples want to avoid marriage, homosexual couples want to get “married”!
That happens when people tune out God’s will: You should not commit adultery.
If anyone wonders why God considers faithful monogamous marriage to be important for the human race (and especially so for His children!), it is simply that sex sins alienate spouses, corrupt home life, and infect children with bad examples. The tragedy is compounded by political pandering to deviations that have “come out of the closet”; our country’s public morality stinks—and we’re getting used to it. Lord, have mercy!
When our sinful nature suggests that it’s too much to expect that we remain faithful to our spouse, let’s squelch the suggestion by turning our hearts to God’s positives–remembering that He blesses His children via the bond of marriage: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). God blesses a man and a woman in a life-long bond that brings emotional, spiritual, and sexual fulfillment to each (Genesis 2:24).
God wants unmarried people to control their sexual thoughts, words, and actions, too. Luther summed it up in this way: “We should fear [revere] and love God that we live a pure and decent life in words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor one another” (Small Catechism, Sydow edition, item 64).
That’s based on God’s Word: “For this is the will of God,
your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality”
(1 Thessalonians 4:3); “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled”–while to mess with His good and gracious will is to court disaster: “but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
The Old Testament is sprinkled with dire warnings against sexual sins; read Exodus 22:16-19 and Leviticus 18 for yourself. People who choose to live contrary to the Sixth Commandment are slated to “receive in themselves [in their bodies] the penalty [of infections and viruses] of their error [in sinful sexual activities] which was due” (Romans 1:27).
God spells it out for us: “But fornication and all uncleanness…,let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting….For this you know, that no fornicator [nor] unclean person…has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6).
We don’t want that to happen to anyone—either in this life or in the life to come. Neither does God. “Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:7).
After all, God claims us for Himself: “You shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” (Leviticus 20:26).
We gain strength from His reminder, “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
We turn to Jesus, who obligates us (Mark 10:1-12) to honor the sanctity of marriage (avoiding divorce) and to heed God’s formula, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” In practical terms, we limit our sex drive to our spouse, and we stay faithful to one another. God sets a higher standard for us than the world sets because He loves us and wants to spare us the pay-back of promiscuous sex, one of Satan’s tools for ensnaring souls.
Living a clean and decent life in word and deed will never be easy—for Satan, the world, and our sinful nature combine forces to destroy souls via sexual immorality.
We remain convinced that Christian love trumps lust, Christian chastity trumps fornication, and Christian marriage between one man and one woman trumps all other unions.
We have God’s Word on it.
Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen!