Ten Commandments: #7 – No Adultery…God’s Power for Marriage

We’re surveying the Ten Commandments.  Yesterday’s post was about the clear definition of marriage that Jesus gave.  Marriage is to be pure, and the seventh commandment is about keeping it pure.  Today’s post is about how He empowers us to keep the seventh commandment…and all the commandments, for that matter.

  • God is love.
    • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
      • 1 – You shall have no other gods before Me.
      • 2 – You shall not make for yourself an idol.
      • 3 – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
      • 4 – Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
    • You shall love your neighbor as yourself; that is, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.
      • 5 – Honor your father and your mother.
      • 6 – You shall not murder.
      • 7 – You shall not commit adultery.
      • 8 – You shall not steal.
      • 9 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
      • 10 – You shall not covet.
  • We love because He first loved us.

Jesus did not come merely to restore our conception of marriage to the design God had given it in the beginning.  He came also to change our hearts, so that achieving God’s ideal for marriage would not be something too hard for us to achieve.  Jesus demonstrates His approach to the issue when He says, “…everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  That is, Jesus came to take our outward focus on marriage and make it first and foremost an inward focus.  Moses’ focus on the seventh commandment had to do with behavior, deeds, actions; Jesus’ focus on the seventh commandment has to do with thoughts, attitudes, desires.  Jesus’ strategy is simple: keep adultery out of your heart and you will not have any problem keeping it out of your life.  Control the inward and you control the outward.

How, someone will ask, can a man keep from thinking lustful thoughts about a woman?  Easy.  Easy?  Yes, easy.  By remembering that Jesus is watching you all the time.  Is that enough?  Sure.  How do I know?  First of all, by experience.  Second, you yourself already know that this is true because you know that men who think lustful thoughts about women other than their wives do so in the privacy of their thought lives, without regularly informing their wives about the thoughts.  It is precisely because such a man thinks his thoughts are completely hidden that he indulges them.  If a man had a video screen on his forehead that depicted what he was thinking, would he give more consideration to the purity of his thoughts?  Of course.  Well, as far as God is concerned, there is a video screen on our foreheads.  Staying aware of that video screen is what makes it easy to exercise control over the quality of our thoughts.

Take a more graphic application of Jesus’ admonition against lustful thoughts: pornography.  I have to laugh at the notion that many males are addicted to pornography.  It’s easy to find news stories today talking about men’s addiction to pornography, even among Christians – that with the Internet, pornography has reached an epidemic scale.  I don’t dispute that pornography is a problem, even a very big problem; I only dispute that it is an addiction.  It cannot be an addiction if a man, by an act of his will, can refrain from looking at it.  Yet many men who think they are addicted to pornography refrain from looking at it in the presence of their wives and mothers.  (Have often have you heard of a man compulsively looking at pornography with his wife or mother looking on?  No, they hide it!)   A man has the power to resist looking at it because he doesn’t want to deal with the repercussions of his wife or mother knowing about it – either he doesn’t want to hurt them, or he doesn’t want to be shamed before them, or both.  Therefore, all he has to do to resist pornography all the time is to decide that he doesn’t want to deal with the repercussions of his Lord and Savior knowing about it.  In other words, the man just needs the same respect and affection for Jesus as he has for his wife or mom.  God forbid that you are tempted by pornography, but if you are, don’t kid yourself that it is an addiction.  You can be free from it in an instant if you’ll just acknowledge that Jesus is real and that His opinion matters to you.  If you love Him at least as much as you love your wife or mother, you will not hurt Him by doing that which pains Him.

Think about it: you can be free from pornography if you love Jesus.  Don’t tell me you love me if you do what I hate to my face.  So, don’t tell yourself that you love Jesus if you do what He hates to His face.  Where is His face?  Everywhere.

This is how you keep pornography out of your thought life, how you keep adultery out of your thought life, and how you keep any sin out of your thought life.  And if you can keep something out of your thought life, you can keep it out of your behavior.

According to Jesus, the ability to obey God’s commandments begins in the thought life.  By acknowledging Jesus’ love for us and His forgiveness of our sins, we can love Him in return.  And we love Him by thinking thoughts that please Him and avoiding thoughts that cause Him sorrow.  Therefore, the power to have a godly marriage, to obey the seventh commandment, and to obey all God’s commandments is the power found in accepting His love…and reciprocating it.  Apart from this personal relationship dynamic with your Creator-Redeemer, you will never find sufficient power to consistently do that which He commands you to do.  With it, all things become possible.

…faith, hope, love, abide these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
–  1 Corinthians 13:13

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If you want to know where to find all of these commandments in your own Bible, see the post Ten Commandments: Scriptural Locations which gives the chapter-and-verse reference for each commandment and statement in the outline.

2 Replies to “Ten Commandments: #7 – No Adultery…God’s Power for Marriage”

  1. Mike, the problem is that multitudes aren’t choosing to stop watching pornography. Many are addicted to pornography in a similar way that someone can become addicted to stealing.

    Many men or women can control themselves for a period of time but succumb later to their lustful urges. Such people, Mike, are prisoners. They are enslaved but, yes, you are right the Lord can cleanse their heart and purify their thinking.
    It’s not at all easy being addicted to wrong behaviour. In fact it’s very challenging for these indiduals, but they can be set free because the Lord is gracious.

  2. As the coiled serpent that lay at the base (roots) to the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil: so does that which excites Man’s lust and passions lie at the base of his motivations. And as the serpent beguiled the woman; so does that serpent climb now upon that same tree within to entice us. So that we all might fall, as what he did, from glory and grace, to debasement and damnation. O Lord, our True Tree of Life, Let us come to You. Hallelujah. Amen.

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