This commandment points to two truths, the sacredness of marriage and the wholeness of sexual intimacy, and neither are mutually exclusive. Marriage is sacred in the same fashion as life is sacred (#6), or as the family is sacred (#5); each serve a valuable role in God filling the earth with his glory. Marriage is first and foremost God’s; he made it in his image, therefore it is sacred.
Sexual intimacy, (not just sex) by design is the very consummation of wholeness, or oneness between a husband and wife. It is a physical picture of a mutual reality. God is very serious when he says, “The two shall become one flesh.” Or “what God puts together, let no man separate.” This commandment is God’s way of saying, “stay whole; stay as one!”
Why? Because oneness in marriage is the heart of its sacredness, and if a marriage loses its sacredness it can no longer fulfill God’s purpose.
Is it any wonder than that the enemy would aim to destroy sex and marriage?
Having sex is not the only way to commit adultery. Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:28 move the line between “safe and sin” even further away from physical intimacy. “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Yet how many times do we feel like we need to know exactly where the line is between right and wrong. Often the question that accompanies this train of thought is, “How far is too far?”Let’s be honest enough to admit we ask it in all kinds of different circumstances that relate to many different kinds of sins.
The problem with this question is that it’s the wrong question to ask.When we ask this question, our attention and focus are directed toward the sin.Maybe a better question to ask is, “How close can I get to the Lord?”When we ask this question our attention and focus are aimed at the Savior. Let’s ask the right questions.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3
When we marry our spouse, we each make a covenant or an oath that our spouse and God are the only ones that our hearts will belong to. Marriage can be a beautiful reminder of who we are in Christ. When we become Christ-followers, we make an oath that our hearts will belong to no other (see commandments 1 & 2). But we don’t always act like that is the case.
As followers of Christ, we are His bride. How often do we, as God’s people, long for other things or long for that which is not God – essentially committing adultery in our hearts? I can say for myself that it is all too often. Yet, God keeps His promise. God keeps his oath that we are His people – forevermore. That’s why He sent Jesus; so that we could be purified from sin and presented as the gleaming bride. Jesus gave His life up for his bride…for us!
Have you rejoiced in God’s grace today because our hearts belong to Him forever?
Associate Pastor, Preschool & Elementary
Children are the most vulnerable beings on earth. Other creatures will survive and thrive on instinct. A child will survive and thrive to the degree she is formed in spirit, mind, body, and social context. Marriage—for all of the attention paid to communication, sex, Mars, Venus, love language, etc., etc.—is a vocation ordered to the creation and raising of children. A mother and a father form the body and the character of a child, and whenever there is a disruption of that order, the child’s life bears the imprint of that disruption. Every family knows disruption in one form or another due to the general depravity of man. This commandment does not say, “Thou shalt not be fallen.” That’s now out of our hands. But it does say, “Mind the things you can indeed control.”
As we looked last week at the commandment forbidding murder we quickly found Jesus’ teaching on the topic. You may remember that Jesus dealt not only with the physical act of murder, but the mental state of wrath and malice. It is not too much to assume that the realm of the mind with regards to the command to refrain from adultery holds a similar warning.
We may feel good about ourselves for not committing an act of adultery, but have you allowed you mind to go where it should not? Have you ever been in a place where you began to wonder what if….? The mind is fertile ground for the enemy if not continually surrendered to God. Like most things worth fighting for, our marriages require daily re-commitment to the covenant made with each other and with the Lord. Don’t allow the what ifs. Thank God for your spouse, and work together to strengthen the foundation you have made in Him.
All of us have faced the grave temptation to harbor hatred for another in our minds. At times we may find great joy indulging the flesh by imagining revenge and we can use that anger to fuel ourselves forward. But be warned by this passage from 1 John that notes the attitude of Christ in the believer:
Anyone who hates a brother or sisteris a murderer,and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,how can the love of God be in that person?Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.(1 John 3:15-18)
A follower of Jesus Christ does not take another’s life, they give their own on behalf of the other.
What is the opposite of murder or kill? Create life? While we come close, we can’t create life in the same way God does (out of nothing). Perhaps, in the fullest understanding of the sixth commandment, the opposite of kill is harmonize, as in two distinct things brought together as if they were one.
When reading Jesus’ interpretation of the commandment, he clearly teaches that to fulfill it we must go to great lengths to pursue harmony with others. Or another way, if you want to avoid God’s judgment be a reconciler; ditch the angry heart, and sharp words, and do everything in your power to make things right, especially if you are the offender.
The spirit of this commandment isn’t just life, it’s harmony. Who are you out-of-sorts with? Jesus would recommend checking your heart, holding the sharp tongue, and go to them right away to pursue harmony.
You shall not murder. It seems to be pretty simple and straightforward. So, why include it?Isn’t this a given by any moral code?Can anybody argue that the unlawful killing of an innocent life is ok? Don’t we all know at some level, killing is wrong?
The sixth commandment helps teach us about God, and ourselves.We learn about God’s sovereignty.As the creator and giver of life, He is sovereign over life and death. Killing someone displaces God from His throne and this role, and thus inserts the human murderer on the throne- Not where man was designed to be. God is serious about His sovereignty.
The sixth commandment is also a sincere affirmation and encouragement of human life. If humans were not important to God, then why have this commandment?In fact, this commandment serves as a compliment to the human race. Each personally andintricately created person has been made in God’s image. Each life is precious and significant.
This is why killing is a big deal to God. Lots at stake, lots to learn!
In today’s society, we have approached this command with a very pharisaical mindset. We have looked at the direct text and considered ourselves free from guilt because we have never killed. We justify our sins because they are “little” in comparison to murder.
Murder is an extreme reaction to a preexistent, sinful heart condition. Cain murdered Abel out of jealousy. David had Uriah murdered to cover up his adultery. If you read the biblical accounts of murder, most of them began well in advance of the act itself. Jesus lays this out for us in Matthew 5:21-26 as He talks about the connection of anger and murder. These “little” sins such as anger, malice, or jealousy left to fester in our heart lead us into extreme reactions. This isn’t always murder. Though these extreme reactions are abhorrent sins in their own right, we would never have gotten to that place if we would have checked our heart condition and become repentant of the “little” sins that are disrupting our relationship with the Father.