This is the seventh part in the Beyond Today Bible study series: The Ten Commandments. Men and women were designed to be together, to need each other. Marriage between one man and one woman, is divinely ordained, established by God at creation. The Seventh Commandment helps define a godly marriage relationship and establishes it as the foundation of the family. In this study we’ll discuss the whys and hows of the Seventh Command as the most important building block of society.
[Steve Myers] Good evening everyone. Welcome to our biweekly, bimonthly Beyond Today Bible studies. Good to be together tonight. Welcome to those of you here in the room in Cincinnati. Welcome to those visiting with us on the web and those will later join us in the archive section. We’re continuing our series on the 10 Commandments tonight. Let’s begin properly by asking God to bless our studies. And so we’ll bow our heads in prayer.
Great loving heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your loving ways. We are so appreciative of Your Word and Your mercy, Your love that You pour out to us. So God, we pray tonight that You’d be with us, that You’d bless the Word that we read, that You’d bless the words that are spoken and certainly the words that are heard, so that we can understand more deeply the plan that You have in mind for us, the purpose that You have. Father, we’re so thankful for that purpose and that way and thankful, God, that You’re working with us, that You’re opening our minds to Your truth. What an amazing blessing it is. So Father, be with us, guide us, lead us, help us to understand Your way more thoroughly. We love You, we praise You, we honor You. We put this Bible study into Your hands and ask Your presence and Your blessing. We pray it all by the authority of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
We’re going to continue tonight with the next commandment. Sometimes as you go through the commandments, they are certainly a little bit different in length, different in meaning. And sometimes you might not think that just a single word could make that much difference. Could one word make that much of a difference? There was one little word that was left out of a Bible that was printed all the way back in 1671. Left out just one word, but it was in a very critical section of Scripture. They just left out the word “not”. Would that be that big that of a deal? Probably you could just read right over it and just have the assumed meaning and understand exactly what they meant.
Because of this one little word that was left out, this Bible became known as the Wicked Bible. Guess what phrase the word “not” was left out of? It was accidentally left out of the Seventh Commandment. So instead of the way it should have read, in the Wicked Bible it now said, “Thou shall commit adultery.” No wonder it became known as the Wicked Bible, vilified in the ages that it was printed in. But I wonder if it wasn’t a harbinger of things to come. You think about where we are at today in this world. People already act as though the “not” isn’t there. And so it certainly seemed to point to a future time that these things would not be so self-evident, that this word was left out. So in a way it’s almost an omen that has come to pass.
That’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. We’re going to talk about that Seventh Commandment. We’ll see if I can begin by writing it correctly. I’ll write it a little bit more modern. Make sure I put the “not” in so we don’t become known as the Wicked Bible Study. You shall not commit adultery. We find that, Exodus 20:14 Exodus 20:14You shall not commit adultery.
American King James Version×. Same exact words in Deuteronomy 5:18 Deuteronomy 5:18Neither shall you commit adultery.
American King James Version×. It’s listed there as the Seventh Commandment. Seems easy enough to follow. It’s short, it’s sweet. Third shortest commandment, very specific. But there’s a lot more to the story. A lot more to the meaning of that statement than just that short little sentence might seem to indicate, that might be more than obvious. Because we realize when it talks about not committing adultery, it’s talking about what a right relationship is all about. Talking about companionship. It is good to be together. It is good to have a faithful spouse. There is nothing like a stable relationship. There is nothing like a meaningful togetherness when a husband and a wife are together. That God intended men and women and designed them to be together. He intended it that way. There’s a need for each other. And right at the very beginning of Scripture, that purpose was spelled out pretty clearly.
If you want to turn over to Genesis chapter 2, verse 18 is where we’ll begin. Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version×. There’s something interesting here right at the very beginning. At creation, we have the days of creation that are listed. And what does it say about the things that God created? It says they were very good. They were very good. But when it came to Adam, there was something that just wasn’t complete. And in Genesis 2, it begins to point that out. It points out the fact that Adam was not complete. He was not complete. So in Genesis 2, if you look at verse 18, it says, “The Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that man should be alone.’” That was one thing that wasn’t very good, that he was alone. “’I’ll make him a helper comparable to him.’ So out of the ground the lord form every beast of the field, every bird of the air, brought it to Adam to see what he’d called them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.”
But probably a greater purpose going on there. Probably the purpose for Adam to recognize there was nothing comparable to him. There was no one to have a relationship with. Adam gave all the names, to the birds, to every beast. “But for Adam, there was not found a helper comparable to him.” God wanted to make Adam complete, so what happens? “The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam. He slept, He took one of his ribs, closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib, which the Lord God has taken from man, He made into a woman. And He brought her to the man.” Adam’s reaction? “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.”
Then we have instruction, verse 24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh. They were both naked, and the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” Here we see very clearly that there is a man and a woman that are brought together into a relationship. Not just any relationship. They’re brought into a marriage relationship right here at the very beginning. So what we see right from the start is that marriage was ordained at creation. Marriage was ordained right from the very beginning. And it was a natural union. But more than just a natural union of a man and a woman, we find here that it is Godly ordained. God is the author of marriage. He knows what is good. He knows what is wholesome. He knows what is best. And so here God not only ordained marriage at creation, but He also makes it a holy union. That’s critical. He makes it a holy union. You might say, “Wait a second, the words aren’t really there to say that it’s a holy union.” But is it? Is it really or is it not? We could make that assumption because of what Christ taught many, many, many years later. You look over in Matthew 19, we find in Matthew 19:3 Matthew 19:3The Pharisees also came to him, tempting him, and saying to him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
American King James Version×they were testing Jesus about marriage. And in a way they’re asking him: “Back in Genesis 2, is this really a holy union? Is this really something that God ordained? Or is this something that we could trivialize? Is this something that we can give it our own value? Is this something that we can decide what’s best when it comes to marriage?”
So they asked Jesus in Matthew 19:3 Matthew 19:3The Pharisees also came to him, tempting him, and saying to him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
American King James Version×, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” Christ answered them. He says, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female?” We begin to see the design for marriage was between one man and one woman. And Christ goes on and says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” He quotes that section of Scripture and then adds to it. Verse 6 He says, “So then they are no longer two but one flesh.” So we see this union. What kind of union is it? He says, “Therefore what God has joined together let not man separate.” You see, this is a God-ordained institution. God ordained the fact that Adam and Eve would come together and it is a holy union. It is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman. So here’s Christ expounding that very truth. In fact, what we find that in the Seventh Commandment it’s pointing to this fact that you cannot on your own tear apart a marriage. It is unlawful to rend or tear or put asunder or separate something that God has made holy. And so that’s supporting the Seventh Commandment. The Seventh Commandment is saying you can’t do that. You can’t do that by any means of tearing it apart. Sexual immorality is one of those things that can tear apart a marriage. And so Christ told them what God has joined together, people cannot tear apart. It’s not right. That’s not good.
But, like the idea in the Wicked Bible, today, well today when it comes to sex, well, everything goes. Today in our society, people say that’s a personal choice. That’s a private decision. There certainly shouldn’t be any ramifications for me making a choice about my own personal behavior. There shouldn’t be any consequences if I choose to have sex in marriage, out of marriage, with my marriage, whatever. Consensual sex in any form is totally acceptable. But what does God say? God says sexual immorality is unacceptable. Even in all forms He says it’s unacceptable. Here specifically in the Seventh Commandment within a marriage, you have sexual relationship with your spouse, period. That’s it. Outside of marriage, you wait until you are married. That’s what the Bible teaches. Any sexual immorality is unjustified. It’s sin, plain and simple. But today our world doesn’t see it that way. They see sex as just an ordinary, everyday kind of thing.
Yeah, in some ways I think you could look at sex that way. You could look at sex as an ordinary—I would label it a sinful thing—versus a holy thing. Is that a fair assumption? You can say it’s ordinary or sinful on one side. Why would that be the case? Well if we’re going to violate God’s instructions, sex is just sex. It’s ordinary, it’s sinful. No intimacy. It’s not what God intended. You’re just fulfilling an animalistic urge. It’s just a desire. It’s just a passion. There’s no meaning. It’s just fulfilling a craving.
That’s not what God intended. You see, what God intends is a holy relationship. And sex can be holy when it’s connected to the godly institution of marriage. That makes all of the difference in the world. And that’s what God is intending by this Seventh Commandment. You see, God is intending something special because His intent goes far beyond just these few words. It’s going right to the heart and core of what happened when man and woman were created. You see, God’s intent is that marriage is a holy covenant between man and a woman and God. The husband, wife, and God.
So God’s intent is that it’s a covenant, and we could say a covenant between one man, one woman, and God Himself. Who brought Adam and Eve together? Well, God did. God did that. And so by having marriage as a covenant, we’re talking about something special. We’re talking about setting this man and this woman apart in a relationship of their own with a relationship with God. So they’re set apart. Marriage in a way is an act of sanctification. Setting apart a husband and a wife with this gift of marriage. One wife and one [man] are set apart. They’re sanctified by God. What that does? That does amazing things. What it does is it elevates this relationship far above what we find in the world today. It takes that marriage relationship and it moves it to a relationship of commitment. It moves it to a relationship of reason. It moves it to a relationship of loyalty. And probably most importantly, when you put God into the whole relationship, now it becomes a holy relationship. There’s holiness, commitment, loyalty that far oversees just the animalistic nature that people have. And that’s what elevates it. It takes marriage to the level of a covenantal relationship.
What does adultery do? Thou shall not commit adultery. Adultery undermines holiness. Adultery undermines marriage. It undermines God’s purpose. It undermines the blessings that God intended. God intended the best for men and for women. God intended the best for their relationship. And when it’s undermined with adultery, we shake the very foundations. And right from the very beginning, God recognized that very thing. He said a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. They are to be one. They are to be one now. He was setting the tone for all future marriages. When it comes to marriage and to sex, He laid it out. You want a happy life? You want companionship? This is the way it works best. What can compare to the support and the love, the companionship that can be found in a loving mate?
Seems like we all need somebody special. Someone in our life who could share our ups, share our downs, share the triumph, share the difficulties. Those are things that sometimes we need help with. Who can fill that role better than someone that God intended to fill? You see, that’s why it was made for a husband and a wife. Someone of the opposite sex. It’s a natural, proper union. It’s proper for a man and a woman to come together, to be joined together, to create their own family with their own children, apart from their parents. That is a very, very good thing that God made clear right from the beginning. And Jesus added to it to make it that much more specific. That God’s intent in marriage was that it was to be monogamous. That it was to be permanent. That it was supposed to be a holy relationship. Those are pretty high standards. But God knows what’s best for us. And yet today we say, “God doesn’t really know what’s best, I know what’s best for me.” And we try to take it upon ourselves. And yet there are challenges, there’s no doubt. Because of who we are, there are blessings, and there are some perilous challenges that are out there when it comes to marriage and sex, and there’s no doubt about it. God intended it into that order by the way: marriage and then sex. What a tremendous blessing to have the kind of union that God intended. He intended it that way.
The potential for goodness? I think it’s limitless. So much good can come from a man and a woman being married. It can be wonderful, but at the same time there are dangers. There are dangers. When we face these dangers, the natural desires, you might say—the normal, everyday human way of thinking and its pulls and its draws—yeah, that can certainly bring problems when we come to the opposite sex. It works on our minds. But see, God understood those tendencies that we have, and He says we’ve got to channel those desires. Channel them toward our mate. It has to be that way. It has to be channeled toward a loving, giving, caring marriage relationship. Because the temptation to be involved in sexual immorality can overpower our self-control. God understood that.
Because of that weakness that all humanity has, God wrote the Seventh Commandment. God wrote that commandment because He knows who we are and He doesn’t want us to have all of those problems. He wants us to direct that energy to our mate exclusively. And He wants the best for us in that way. And so He tells us pretty clearly that adultery violates His command. Adultery violates God’s command. He makes it very clear. It violates His command. It violates, we could also put, the covenant. It violates the contract that we have made with our mate. It violates the contract that we’ve made with God. In the Church, we violate that covenant as well.
And so God says that’s not good for you. That is hurtful if you violate that covenant. And so very clearly He says we’ve got to be careful of any sexual activity with anyone other than our mate. He says that is sin, it is wrong and unacceptable. The only sexual activity there should be is within a legitimate marriage. And that commandment begins to cover that very fact.
Of course, it’s not just limited to adultery. When we look at many other scriptures throughout the Bible, it becomes obvious. It’s not just adultery that can undercut a marriage and violate that principle of the Seventh Commandment. Christ talked about pornea. The Greek word pornea, which would include any form of sexual immorality, any form. So we could talk about pornography, we could talk about a number of different things. Because that sexual immorality can take many forms, especially in today’s world. He says none of that is acceptable. It’s going to violate the idea, the spiritual intent of that Seventh Commandment, and He says that is unacceptable. So any sort of sexual activity is unacceptable when it occurs outside of marriage. And so the commandment covers all of those things in principle, and God condemns it. He says no way.
He spells it out in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 1 Thessalonians 4:3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication:
American King James Version×, if you’d like to turn there with me. We could take a quick look over at 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. And in verse 3 He doesn’t pull any punches here. He says very clearly, “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” What does that harken back to? Well it harkens back to the fact God ordained marriage at creation. You were set apart for your mate when you went into that covenant relationship with her, with God. “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality.” Any form of sex outside of marriage. It says that, “Each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and in honor. Not in passion of lust like the gentiles who do not know God. That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this manner because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testify. For God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness.” He makes that point so very clear. Adultery is a violation of the marriage covenant. Any form of sexual immorality is a violation.
God categorically condemns it and says that is no way to a happy relationship. He says, “You want a happy life? Here’s the way to do it.” And of course, most of humanity answers, “No, we want to decide for ourselves. Why should we allow you to give us direction? We want to decide that area of our life for ourselves.” Well, is there any area of our life that we don’t need God’s direction? Is there any area of our life that we won’t take God’s guidance? You see, the Seventh Commandment gives us guidance. It gives us direct, defined roles that fall within marriage. Guidance that’s going to bring lasting happiness. The guidance that going to bring a lasting stability to family. If there’s anything that this world needs more desperately, I’m not sure what it would be. It’s guidance when it comes to what God knows is best for us.
Because I think an important aspect of that very fact, and sometimes maybe a forgotten aspect, the fact that God created sex. You think God’s embarrassed by sex? No, He’s not at all. God created it. He knows where it is, why it is, what it is. He intended it for the best purposes. It was His idea! It was God’s idea. And so, contrary to Victorian ideas, God wants us to enjoy our mates. He wants us to have pleasure. He wants us to have a healthy sexual relationship within marriage, within His purposes. That is very good, as Genesis talks about. Because that relationship glues us together as a husband and wife. It binds us together. It gives us an opportunity to convey a special affection, a special appreciation, a special tenderness, expressing a special devotion, a special love for our one and only. For a loving person who returns that same appreciation, that same affection, that same love. And that relationship adds to a sense of well-being, contentment.
You don’t think God knew that? That’s the way He intended it. And the blessings within marriage are so amazing and so abundant we couldn’t even begin to list them all. There are so many that a God-intended marriage relationship would just flow with all these blessings. When you talk about the joy and the confidence and the love and the positive interaction that you have within family. Not to say much about the kids. You have the kids and the wonderful relationships that are there, and learning and growing together. It is no wonder that God wants the marriage relationship to be strong. No wonder He wants the relationship to be unbreakable. He intended it that way. He made it that way. He wants us to keep it that way.
He even tells us over Ecclesiastes chapter 9, verse 9, He reminds us there that we’re supposed to enjoy life. He talks about life. Often times Ecclesiastes talks about the woes of life, but here He talks about some of the joyful things in life. And in Ecclesiastes 9:9 Ecclesiastes 9:9Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of the life of your vanity, which he has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity: for that is your portion in this life, and in your labor which you take under the sun.
American King James Version×, He says we’re supposed to “live joyfully with the wife whom you love.” You see, that’s part of the intent of the Seventh Commandment, is to do that very thing Ecclesiastes talks about. To enjoy life, to enjoy your mate, to live joyfully together within a marriage relationship. And if it works for the wife, it’s going to work for the husband.
Now of course, He also has to warn us about the other side of things. If you turn back just a few pages to Proverbs 5. Look at Proverbs chapter 5, verse 20. Proverbs 5:20 Proverbs 5:20And why will you, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
American King James Version×is a warning, talks about some of the consequences to violating that commandment. We’re told in Proverbs 5:20 Proverbs 5:20And why will you, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
American King James Version×, “Why should you my son be enraptured by an immoral woman? And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” He says, “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. He ponders his paths. His own iniquities entrapped the wicked man and he’s caught in the cords of his sin.” That’s where sexual immorality leads. In fact, just a couple of verses down, He’ll rehearse that thought once again in chapter 6. Notice verse 27, Proverbs 6:27 Proverbs 6:27Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
American King James Version×. It says, “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned?” Now what is He talking about here? Well, puts it in another way. “Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife. Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.” So God spells it out very clearly. Can you play around with this kind of thing and not be burned? He says no, the consequences are heartrending.
Most people might read that and say, “Come on, that’s so outdated. That is so far out of style. It is just unenlightened garbage.” Most of the world would say that. But is that the case? Most of our world would say, “It’s not that big a deal, is it?” But the point is that it is a big deal. Sexual sins have consequences. Sin has consequence. How can you begin to measure the impact of sexual sin when it comes to human suffering? When it comes to the challenges in this world—social challenges, personal challenges? Our world is filled with those. Normally people would say, “Nobody’s going to get hurt. That’s not the problem, right? Because I can do whatever I want as long as no one’s hurt. And so what would that hurt?” That’s one of the justifications. I think the other justification is, “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do. I’m going to do what I want.” But wait a second, is there really hurt from sexual sin? I think when you really begin to think about it, yeah, you could deny it, but you can’t avoid it. You can’t avoid the facts. Paul told the Corinthians, “Flee from sexual immorality.” Those warnings aren’t just for men, they’re for women just as well. God’s not a respecter of persons, it’s for everybody. So when we read those passages that talk to one or the other, it includes everybody.
But as you begin to think about the disastrous consequences, we could begin to talk about STDs, sexually transmitted diseases. Now in a lot of medical facilities they don’t even call them STDs anymore. You know what they call them? STIs, sexually transmitted infections. And one definition I was looking up about sexually transmitted infections—and they like to use that term because it’s not so discriminatory on the people. It doesn’t sound as bad when you have an infection versus having a disease. If we were to begin to add up all of the consequences from all of the sexual diseases, infections, whatever you want to call them, that are out there, it’s unbelievable. I mean just begin with AIDS or HIV or go to gonorrhea and syphilis and all those diseases that are out there, all the billions upon billions of dollars that are spent to try to come up with treatments for all those things. In fact, it could all be avoidable if we followed God’s commandments. All could be avoidable. But that’s the kind of society that we live in. We live in a throwaway kind of a world. And so we’ve got a decline in commitment. We have a decline in loyalty. We have a decline in devotion in our world today. And so it contributes to this very fact that there are consequences to sexual sins and they are undoubtable.
When you add all of these things up, the ones who may be hurt the most are the innocent. What about the children? What about the children? Do we forget about the children who are really the big losers in this whole sexual revolution? They are the big losers. Where are the parents to guide them? One’s over there or one’s over there, I’m not sure who they are. You look up the statistics about fathers lately, how much time does the average father spend with his children? It’s down to minutes, minutes a day. Is that a consequence? I think it is. And you begin to get into the culture of the world that we live in. Our children are affected. They’re alienated from what family should be all about. Does our society even know how to define family anymore? I don’t believe we do. And we’ve lost sight of what family is because of this very thing that God said could be avoided. We talk about the cost of broken homes, and it’s a literal cost. When a mother and a father break up, it’s one of the causes of poverty. The causes of poverty when a husband and a wife break up. Single-parent homes are one of the leading factors that not only bring about economic problems, also bring about criminal problems. Criminal activity can be associated with single-parent homes. That’s a sad consequence of the world that we live in.
I don’t think there’s really a whole lot of doubt. Well, maybe people won’t admit it, but it’s certainly, shattered marriages lead to those kinds of consequences. And all too often it goes back to the fact that there is no loyalty within their relationship. There is no sexual fidelity, right? And that brings about all of these things. And most would not argue with the fact that divorce then brings deeper personal problems, personal challenges, difficulties in dealing with who we are. And then if there’s kids, we’re going to fight about the kids. Who gets the kids? When do you get the kids? Who gets to keep them on the weekend? And then the children are the pawns in this struggle, in this fight, in this difficulty between two parents who couldn’t be loyal to each other. Then that escalates as they become teenagers and the problems go on. And so the emotional cost, the psychological costs. Do you know anyone that’s been scarred because of divorce in their family? Probably everyone of us could think of maybe even more than one person that fit that description. Because it’s all too sad that home really isn’t home anymore. It’s something else because it leads to a lack of hope. It leads to a lack of consistency. There becomes shame and loss, self-worth becomes issues. All of those things could be avoidable. And so when you think about the cost of betrayal and rejection, because that’s what it comes down to, betrayal and rejection. Abandonment. Is there a cost? I think there is. Anger, depression, discouragement, bitterness, trust—all of those things become so prevalent in the world that we live in. God doesn’t want those consequences. Who said nobody gets hurt? It’s a joke, because they do. Adultery and sexual immorality have led our world into social disaster. It really has.
One of the challenges, of course, we face is that we have to know where it all began, or where does it begin with us or with anyone. When you get right down to it, we’ve got to know where it starts. Where does it begin? Adultery, we could write sexual immorality as well—it begins in the mind. It begins with our thinking. It begins in the mind. Christ talked about that very fact. That’s where greed comes from, that’s where lust comes from, that’s where our thinking projects us to—our normal, everyday human way of thinking outside of the spirit of God. Lust then becomes the beginning of immorality. And it starts with our thinking. It starts in our mind.
Christ talked about this back in the book of Matthew. Go over to Matthew 5. We’ll see one of the things that Christ spoke about. And it’s a familiar passage, you’ll recognize it when we get there. Matthew chapter 5, verse 27. Matthew 5:27 Matthew 5:27You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
American King James Version×. We see pretty clearly here as Christ speaks about this very fact of where sexual immorality begins. Let’s notice what He says. Matthew 5:27 Matthew 5:27You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
American King James Version×, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’” That’s where we began tonight, we began with the Seventh Commandment. Well, do we take that as just a physical act, or did Christ come to fulfill the law? Did He come to show the true spiritual intent of God’s Holy Law? Christ is going to show the spiritual intent. “So you’ve heard you shall not commit adultery.” Verse 28, “But I say to you, you whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
And so He points to that very fact of where does adultery begin? Where does sexual immorality begin? It begins by not dealing with the temptation. It begins without kicking out that thought, it’s going to take you to problems. You’ve got to deal with your thinking. You’ve got to deal with your thinking. So that should tell us all. Well, sexual fantasies, are they any big deal? “No, I didn’t do anything.” Well, wait a second. That’s not what Christ says. Christ says very clearly that’s unacceptable. That is lust, that is sinful, and those actions are originating within our thoughts. And thoughts of themselves can be sin.
And you’re guaranteed that opportunities to sin are always around us. Apostle Paul talked about that so clearly. When he said the one that wants to do good, sin is at the door. Yeah, the opportunity is there. What are you going to do about those things? If we don’t have a plan to deal with those things, we’re going to have that much more difficulty when those opportunities arise. We better have a plan in place. We better have a way to direct our thoughts in a right way. In a right way, in a godly way. That’s the only way, by the power of God’s Spirit, that we’ll be able to overcome wrong thinking. So no wonder God said sex is between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, in the kind of covenant agreement that God intended. That is a very good thing. Outside of that, when we let go of our thinking, we’re headed for all those consequences that could come with sexual sin. God doesn’t want that for us.
Now at the same time, I certainly don’t mean to imply that any kind of attraction is evil or is lust. Because that’s not the case at all either. God approves legitimate attraction. Legitimate attraction, that’s the kind of attraction that leads to proper courtship, proper marriage. God approves of that attraction. And that’s part of our mental makeup, it’s a part of our emotional constitution. He created it, He intended it, there’s supposed to be a spark between a man and a woman that leads and helps them to come to marriage. What Christ is denouncing here, what He’s really getting to the heart and core of, are the sinful thoughts that will then lead to sinful behavior. You see, that’s illegitimate. It’s illegitimate, outside of marriage. But the legitimate desire to marry, the legitimate desire to build a family, have a proper marriage relationship, have sex, have a family—those are all good. God intends it in that way. He didn’t condemn that. But He’s condemning sexual sin outside of marriage.
So the challenges are then, of course, as we come to God, we begin a relationship with God, we’re not all clean, we’re not all pure, we’re not all right, we’re not all perfect when it comes to this. We made mistakes. We’ve messed up. But we got to understand that God’s merciful, God loves us, He cares for us. When we fully repent, change, and obey, God forgives. Do you remember what Christ said to the woman caught in adultery? He said, “Go and sin no more.” Now of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. That marriage you once had may no longer be, but from here on out, go and sin no more. Go and sin no more. We do have a merciful Father.
But when you look beyond that, the good news is it doesn’t have to be like that. It doesn’t have to be a world of consequence, a world of pain. When we live and strive to stay within the bounds of God created for us in a healthy relationship, it is good news. We can control those desires. And in fact, more than just control them, we can replace them with an unselfish concern for others. That’s what God wants. When you read through Philippians chapter 2, that’s exactly what He talks about. When God’s Spirit begins to work in us and through us, then we’re going to be thinking like Christ. We’re going to be producing those wonderful fruit that God says really give us the blessings of what life is all about. That we can be loving and patient and kind and gentle and merciful—we have all those beautiful fruits. We don’t have to suffer what this world is suffering because it’s lost the vision that God had for marriage.
And maybe most importantly, because marriage is such a blessing for couples who treat each the way that God intends, it brings us to something that may be the most important fact of all when it comes to this commandment. And that’s that fact that marriage reflects something even bigger. Godly marriages should reflect the ultimate significance. They should reflect that relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. That’s what marriage should depict. And the apostle Paul spells that out in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 5:22 Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
American King James Version×goes right to the heart and core of that ultimate significance for marriage. Let’s read about it. In 5:22, oftentimes these are words that you’ll hear read at a church wedding ceremony. And you could see why this is so significant as it shows this ultimate spiritual intent for all of our marriages. This is the way it should be. Verse 22, chapter 5 in Ephesians says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.” Some would read that go, “What? Submit? Are you crazy? Who would want to do that? That sounds ridiculous.” But wait. It even goes on and says, “The husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the Church. He is the savior of the body.” And that becomes significant.
Should a woman submit to her husband? God says yes. There’s a tremendous spiritual significance in that. And then it goes even on from there. Verse 24 says, “Therefore just as the Church is subject to Christ so let wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Now, how could a woman possibly do that? Here’s how. Verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives.” It doesn’t say just love them, hang out with them, spend time—no, He tells us how to love them. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” How could a woman submit to a man in marriage? When that man acts like Christ, treats her like Christ would, would give his very life for her. That’s what men are to do. Would that make it easy for a woman to submit to a husband that would do that? You see, that’s the significance that lies behind this. It even says we’ve got to think the best of our wives. Verse 26, “He might sanctify, cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word that he might present to himself a glorious church, not having spot or a wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Well, you think that would be a great relationship? When you have this mutual love that is shared between a man and a woman in this fashion? I mean, what could be better? God says this is the ultimate marriage.
So verse 28 says, “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own body. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Then it goes on in verse 30, “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” So we’re a part of the Church. And as a part of the Church, Christ is the head of the Church. And what we begin to see is it all ties back to where we began. It all goes back to Genesis 2 and God’s original intent for marriage. Verse 31, “For this reason, a man shall leave her father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” In fact, it goes on. “This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” So the ultimate marriage should reflect that very relationship. What did Christ do for the Church? He died for the Church, He gave His life for the Church. The only hope for the Church is Jesus Christ. You see, husbands are to be like Christ. Wives are to love their husbands. And when you have that kind of a strength in a relationship, then it ultimately rises to the level that God really wants for us. He wants us to have that kind of relationship. The one that the Church would do everything and anything for Christ, and Christ gave it all for us. That depicts God’s intent for marriage.
In fact, He sums it up here at verse 33. He says, “Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” And so we have this mutual loving, caring relationship between one man and one woman in covenant with God. And it is very, very good. Does the world get it? Nope. That’s why he says here, “This is a great mystery,” it’s a mega mysterion. It’s what it is in the Greek: a mega, huge mystery, but not one that can’t be understood. It’s not that kind of mysterious. It’s the kind of mystery that must be reveled.
And so when God opens your mind and reveals this great mystery, then we can have the insight to see that marriage does reflect the ultimate significance of the relationship between Christ and the Church. And our goal then is to act that way, to be that way, to live that way within our marriage. And then of course that’s going to extend out from there. So what an amazing blessing that God has given. Even though there’s only five words in that Seventh Commandment, there’s so much meaning that’s packed into those very words. That is vital for our families. It’s vital for society. If this command were to be kept, the world would be revolutionized, would be an absolute amazing change. One day, that’s going to come. One day that will be when Christ returns. And then we can understand more effectively what a real marriage is all about.
So that’s what the Seventh Commandment is all about. The Seventh Commandment, to do what God intended, to have the right relationship that we need to within our marriages. So let’s always be committed to live faithfully with our spouse. Have that loyalty, have that love, have that affection. And in every aspect, we want to obey our Creator’s command. And as we do that, certainly we would never commit adultery.
Thank for you for being here tonight. We’re going to continue our series in the 10 Commandments in two weeks. Mr. Darris McNeely will lead us in the next study. We’ll be getting into the Eighth Commandment next time. So we hope you’ll join us. Safe travels back home for all those who are here in the room. Thank you for being with us on the web. We look forward to seeing you next time. Have a good evening and take care.