You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed and each love and honor his spouse.
Certainly, that's rather plain and straightforward and easy enough for anyone to clearly understand.
Still, in this post-modern era, contemporary Christianity continues to struggle with applying these truths to the world in which we live.
Over the years, I've jotted down my own notes to help me remain focused on what this Commandment is teaching us. Things like...
-- Remember: Christ = Bridegroom / Church = Bride
-- The 6th Commandment is actually tied to the 4th Commandment
-- Breaking the 6th Commandment will often lead to a breaking of the 5th Commandment (i.e., abortion)
-- Breaking the 6th Commandment also includes choosing a selfish pursuit when you should be helping your spouse
-- Marriage is a commitment
-- Love is an ACTION as opposed to just a FEELING all the time
-- The Lord has not given us the option of divorce in response to a marriage's problems. However, Scripture does actually permit divorce, but only in a few certain specific circumstances, and it should always be a last resort with reconciliation the goal.
-- Most remarriages today are actually considered "adultery" according to the Bible though it is sill allowed in some specific circumstances.
-- Celibacy is not Biblical at all
Recently, I came across a couple of Worldview Everlasting "Grappling" videos by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller as well as a 2013 commentary by Nathan Redman, and all three exceptional resources had to do with taking a closer look at the Sixth Commandment.
Actually, that's not quite right. It would be much more accurate for me to say that all three take a closer, more narrow-minded look at the Sixth Commandment.
Now, before you get all bent-out-of-shape and think I intend for such a description to be pejorative, let me just point out to you that I'm using the description "narrow-minded" in the Christian sense as opposed to the secular and worldly way of using it all the time.
"Narrow-Minded" = "100% Biblical"
So, now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, let's continue with our study today.
First, Rev. Wolfmueller presents what Martin Luther wrote for us in the Large Catechism about the Sixth Commandment...
As one Christian commented in response to that video, "You gotta love Luther's theology. It is especially meaningful to an former evangelical who was told to obey but never why I should obey."
Another person properly observed that, "God's Word really does have a lot to say about marriage and its sanctity, and says precious little about convents and monasteries. Luther was very counter cultural in recognizing and teaching this."
With that being said, this next video presentation highlights how the Lord uses the Sixth Commandment to protect the gifts of marriage and chastity...
I'm willing to bet that if you're anything like me, then that one hit much closer to home than perhaps the first video did. I like how one viewer put it: "Any diligent study of the 6th commandment always seems especially convicting and close to home. Who doesn't 'lust' in their heart? This 'law' definitely says, 'You're toast!'"
A more powerful point that was made in that one (and I hope you caught it) is that breaking this Commandment can eventually lead to falling away from the faith! It's an excellent observation, but a sobering one for us to prayerfully consider as well.
That's why I say thanks be to God that His forgiveness, grace, and mercy is available to me (and to you!) despite my wretched sinfulness particularly in this area of my life!
At this point, some of you might be interested in checking out the piece I did on lust and pornography and my own personal struggles with it throughout my life and even after becoming a Christian.
Keep in mind, however, that it's not just men or an addiction to porn that this Sixth Commandment is condemning. It's also condemning women who enjoy books like Fifty Shades of Grey or the couple that likes to make sexual comments and tell dirty jokes around others all the time.
This next video wasn't included in that post, but I'd recommend watching it too since it's a nice complementary piece where we learn that Solomon teaches the Sixth Commandment and warns of the foolishness of the adulterous woman in Proverbs 5...
Yes, beware of the woman (or man) with the trap-door bed!
Now, as good as all of those videos are, wait until you read this commentary that was written a few years ago by Nathan Redman.
What I really like about it is not only how honest and transparent he is, but how he ultimately admits what each and every one of us should be able to admit each and every day: "I've learned in my daily struggles with the 6th commandment that I am in constant need of the law and the gospel."
So simple, and yet, so profound, isn't it?
Please be sure to read "Having A Narrow View of the 6th Commandment" where Mr. Redman will walk you through his grace-filled journey of discovering the truth that included stops at...
My View Widens...Just A Little.
The Devil, The World, And My Sinful Flesh.
Don'T Put Your Adultery On A Scale.
Your Adulterous Sins Won't Stick.
This is most certainly true.
Why is a study of the Ten Commandments something that all Christians should continue to do on a regular basis regardless of how long they've been a part of God's family?
"When we teach the chief parts of Christian doctrine to the baptized we are talking to God’s children. We are telling them who they are, what belongs to them, and what God wants them to do. Teaching the commandments will necessarily show people their sins. What else would you expect? By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law works wrath. But teaching the commandments to Christians is also to teach them what God has called them to be. When we are born from above in Holy Baptism we find our identity and purpose in a holy place. We are seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places. This is why we are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This entails lifelong catechesis. Whenever we teach what God would have us teach we are starting a fight. This is because the teaching of God’s word is always at odds with the errors, distortions, and perversions of a godless culture. The catechetical task always engages one in warfare."
In a Lutheran layman's terms, these helpful Bible studies remind us that "the Law shows us our adultery for what it is...SIN," but they also remind us that "the Gospel shows us that adultery is forgiven because of Christ's life, death and resurrection" too.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!