“Love is Faithful” – Deuteronomy 5:18

May 28th, 2017

Dt 5:18

“Love Is Faithful”

Aux text: Matthew 5:27-30

Call to Worship: Psalm 128

 

Service Orientation: Sex is a whole lot more than simply satisfying a desire.  Sex is even more than a representation of God’s relationship with mankind.  Sex is the connecting of two creatures’ minds, souls, bodies and wills so as to become one.  Because of the implications of this truth, sex is to be highly protected and revered.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?  For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.  — 1 Corinthians 6:16-17

                                                                                                   

Background Information:

  • The seventh commandment mentions only one sin, but one that includes a wide range of other similar sins. (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 245)
  • Our reflection on this commandment confronts us with the biblical principles for sexual relationships. (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 245)
  • Adultery in the strictest sense was and is a sin possible only for the married. Ultimately, however, it became the basis for the prohibition of a whole range of sexual sins, which Christ expanded to the wide range forbidden in the NT (cf. Mt 5:27-32).  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 127)
  • Various biblical stories (e.g., Abimelech, Abraham, and Sarah in Gn 20; Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Gn 39; and David and Bathsheba in 1 Sm 11 and 12) testify to the moral seriousness of adultery, which was viewed in Israel and elsewhere as “a great sin” (Gn 20:9). (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 89)
  • The frequency of the prohibition of adultery is second only to idolatry in the OT, and second to none in the NT. It was considered to be a heinous sin, not only against another person, but against God, as expressed by King David’s pitiful cry, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Ps 51:4; cf. Gn 20:6; 39:9).  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 128)
  • Two of the Ten Commandments relate to the sanctity of marriage. Not only is the act of adultery forbidden but even the intent of it in coveting another man’s wife (Ex 20:14, 17).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 312)
  • God instituted marriage in paradise; he brought the woman to the man, Gn 2:22. He gave them to each other in marriage.  Jesus Christ honored marriage with his presence, Jn 2:2.  The first miracle he wrought was at a marriage, when he turned “water into wine.”  Marriage is a type and resemblance of the mystical union between Christ and his church, Eph 5:32.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 153)
  • Adultery was interpreted more broadly in the NT, where either a married man or a married woman divorcing a spouse in order to marry someone else was guilty of adultery (Mk 10:10-12; Mt 5:32; 19:9; Lk 16:18). In the Didache (2:2; 5:1), “you shall not fornicate” (is included along with other commandments warning against “the way of death.”  In modern American law, although state laws vary, the marital status of both man and woman defines adultery, where it is reasoned that either breaks marital vows if sexual intercourse occurs with someone else.  (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 291)
  • The Hebrew prophets strongly censured those who violated this commandment, especially Hosea (Hos 4:2, 13-14; 7:4) and Jeremiah (Jer 5:7; 7:9; 9:1[2]; 13:27; 23:10), but also Ezekiel (Ezek 16:32; 23:37, 43-45) and Malachi (Mal 3:5). Jeremiah found that even prophets were committing adultery (Jer 23:14; 29:23).  Hosea discovered adultery in his own wife (Hos 2:4 [2]; 3:1).  The present commandment is quoted in Mt 5:27; 19:18; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20; Rom 13:9; Jam 2:11.  In Mt 5:27-30, Jesus goes a step further in censuring the passion leading to adultery.  (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 292)
  • Christ condemned adultery, fornication and lust, both outwardly (Mt 15:19, 20) and inwardly (Mt 5:27-32). He made reference to being a eunuch either by natural or human causes for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Mt 19:12).  Christ forgave the woman taken in the act of adultery (Jn 8:1-11) and frequently referred to virgins and marriage in His parabolic teachings.  In general, however, His teachings concerning sex and related topics were subservient to His teachings concerning redemptive truth.  (Merrill C. Tenney, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, 367)
  • The seriousness of adultery lay in the fact that the family was an absolutely vital aspect of the covenant relationship of God with the community of Israel. So much of God’s will for his people is achieved through the family.  The Bible takes the principle of commitment that lies behind God’s covenant relationship with humans and the covenant relationship between a man and his wife very seriously.  To violate that principle is to violate the way God works with humans.  This is a serious crime.  Earlier God included honoring parents in the Ten Commandments as that, too, is a part of this God-and-family tie included in the covenant with Israel.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 216)
  • The marriage relationship and its dissolution continues throughout the OT as a figure of the covenant relationship between the Lord and his people. The Lord remains true to his love for his people, even though they are often guilty of infidelity, which is “spiritual adultery” (Jer 3:8-9; Ezek 16:15-63; Hos).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 58)

 

The questions to be answered are . . . What is God’s will for us in observing the seventh commandment?

 

Answer:  As creatures created in the image and likeness of God, sex is much more than just copulation.  We are to imitate God and remain faithful to those with whom we have a covenant relationship.

 

Webster – Adultery:  Voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with anyone other than his or her spouse.

 

Webster – Adulterate:  To weaken or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance.

 

Theological Wordbook of the OT -adultery:  The root represents “sexual intercourse with the wife or betrothed of another man”.    The seventh commandment requires sexual purity.  This contrasts with the infidelity and promiscuity sanctioned by the rest of the ancient near east.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Faithful

 

Our sexual passions are probably the most difficult to tame.  If we let ourselves calm down a moment, the urge to murder the person who just flipped us off subsides.  There is little we can get from that same calming down when we feel intensely sexually turned on to someone with whom we frequently have to interact.  The pains of unrequited sexual passion infest our psyches worse than the flesh-eating bacteria.  We search for ways to make the adultery something beautiful and special instead of a sin.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 226)

 

It is true that lust, lasciviousness, and adulterous thoughts are damning sins that, unforgiven, will send one to Hell as surely as adultery. Nevertheless, adultery is a greater sin.  Adultery breaks the marriage covenant, whereas adulterous thoughts do not.  Adultery provides the ground for divorce, whereas mental adultery does not.  Adultery violates and defiles another’s body, whereas its mental counterpart does not.  Adultery invites abortion, whereas the other does not.  Adultery is the vehicle for sexually transmitted diseases, whereas the mind is not.  There are vast, substantive differences between mental adultery and the act of adultery.  Never fall to the “If you’ve thought it, you’ve done it!” fallacy.  However, this is not to say that mental adultery (“adultery. . . in his heart,” Mt 5:27) is not a serious matter.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 131)

 

Originally adultery was considered illicit; then it was justified if there was “love” between the lovers; next adultery was declared natural on the grounds that humankind is innately polygamous; and finally it was pronounced good as long as there was, ironically, no “love”!  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 125)

 

Sexual anarchy is here.  It has assumed extreme forms and spread throughout a large part of the population, side by side with an increase of sexual perversions; a shameless sexual promiscuity has also greatly increased.  They seduce members of the same family.  Relations between father and daughter, son and mother are not unknown.  In fact, contemporary authors rejoice in relationships with two sisters or a mother and a daughter.  Adultery, rape, and prostitution have greatly increased.  Homosexual love has entered the mores of the population, and contemporary authors seems sadistically to enjoy the enumeration of a variety of . . . sexual perversions.”

Now I suppose you are thinking this was written by someone describing our modern day society and culture.  Not exactly.  The above quote is not from the pen of a contemporary author.  The writer lived 4,500 years ago, around 2500 B.C., in ancient Egypt.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 121)

 

What makes adultery adultery or what are the implications within the seventh Commandment?:

I-  Adultery is a perverted relationship with a covenant partner:  Divine and human.   (Gn 1:26-27; 9:6; 39:9; Mt Sinai marriage covenant; Dt 7:9; Job 31:1, 7-8; Ps 51:4; Prv 5:18-19; 18:22; Bk Song of Sol; Isa 50:1; 54:4-6; 61:10; 62:5; Jer 2:20; 3:14; 31:32; Ezek ch 16; ch 23; Bk of Hosea; Mt 19:1-6; Rom 7:1-7; 1 Cor 6:12-19; 7:1-7, 32-35; 2 Cor 11:1-6; Eph 5:21-33; Jam 4:4; 2 Pt 2:14; Rv 19:7-9)

 

To seek satisfaction from things that violate God’s Law is a form of idolatry.  We trusted in God because we believed that he would fulfill our deepest yearnings.  Those who commit adultery are saying that extramarital sex can give satisfaction that God cannot give.  This is the same as replacing God with an idol.  Paul shows that there is a close connection between idolatry and sexual sin in Rom 1:25-27 and Col 3:5.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 220)

 

Strictly speaking, “adultery” involves voluntary sexual relations between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse.  Adultery was considered a capital crime because it undermined the integrity and covenant of marriage, violated the sanctity of sexual union, defiled a human being as the image of God, and threatened the stability of the community.  Like murder, adultery pollutes the land and ultimately causes it to spew out its inhabitants (Lv 18:20, 24-25).  And like murder, adultery is not only a crime against one’s spouse or children or parents, it is a crime against God (cf. Gen 39:9).  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 166)

 

The ancient Jewish text The Holy Letter (written by Nahmanides in the thirteenth century) sees sex as a mystical experience of meeting with God:  “Through the act [of intercourse] they become partners with God in the act of creation.  This is the mystery of what the sages said, ‘When a man unites with his wife in holiness, the Shekinah is between them in the mystery of man and woman.’” The breadth of this statement is sobering when you consider that this shekinah glory is the same presence experienced by Moses when God met with him face-to-face (see Ex 24:15-18).  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 206)

 

Therefore what Paul is teaching us here is that the proper use of physical pleasures in sex and food is that they send our hearts Godward with the joy of gratitude that finds its firmest ground in the goodness of God himself, not in his gifts.  This means that if, in the providence of God, these gifts are ever taken away–perhaps by the death of a spouse or the demand for a feeding tube–the deepest joy that we had through them will not be taken away, because God is still good (see Hab 3:17-18).  (John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God, p. 187)

 

Thomas Hart observes that “our fascination with sex is closely related to our fascination with God.”  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 211)

 

Each partner in marriage is to be most concerned not with getting sexual pleasure but with giving it.  In short, the greatest sexual pleasure should be the pleasure of seeing your spouse getting pleasure.  When you get to the place where giving arousal is the most arousing thing, you are practicing this principle.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 267-68)

 

Indeed, sex is perhaps the most powerful God-created way to help you give your entire self to another human being.  Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another, “I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.”  You must not use sex to say anything less.

So, according to the Bible, a covenant is necessary for sex.  It creates a place of security for vulnerability and intimacy.  But though a marriage covenant is necessary for sex, sex is also necessary for the maintenance of the covenant.  It is your covenant renewal service.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 257)

 

Sexual intercourse is such a profound sharing of ourselves with our partner that it needs to be protected–within the covenant of a lifelong, faithful commitment.  When God’s design is followed, how freeing it is for all the persons involved!  (Marva J. Dawn, Sexual Character, 24)

 

It is this spiritual intercourse with God that is the ecstasy that is imagined and hinted at in all earthly intercourse; physical or spiritual.  And I think that is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong and so different from other passion; so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that always just elude our grasp.  I don’t think any practical need can account for it.  I don’t think any animal drive can explain it.  No animal falls in love or writes profound romantic poetry or sees sex as a symbol of ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God.  Not just sexuality, but human sexuality is that image.   And human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, losing and finding the whole self, a foretaste of that oneness and manyness that is the very life of the Trinity and the joy of the Trinity.   And that is why we long for without knowing it.  That is why we tremble to stand outside of ourselves in the other.  That is why we long to give our whole selves, body and soul, because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.  And this early love is so passionate because heaven is full of passion, of energy, and dynamism.  That is one of the reasons God invented families.  You can’t love or hate anybody as much as your own family.  Families are full of passion.  Heaven is not boring or blasé.  It is passionate because God is passionate.  Jesus Christ who is our window to God was not a stoic or a Scribe or a Scholar.  He was a lover.  I think we correctly deny that God has passions in a passive sense.  He is not moved or driven or conditioned by them as we are.  He cannot fall in love for the same reason the ocean cannot get wet.  He is love.  (Peter Kreeft lecture Sex in Heaven”)

 

Whereas in the ancient Near East adultery was considered a sin only against the other partner in the marriage, in the Bible it is regarded as a sin against God, as both Joseph and David have stated (Gn 39:9; Ps 51:4).  Nathan, declaring God’s word to David about the king’s adultery, said, “. . . you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (2 Sm 12:10).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 215)

 

Sex is glorious.  We would know that even if we didn’t have the Bible.  Sex leads us to words of adoration–it literally evokes shouts of joy and praise.  Through the Bible, we know why this is true.  John 17 tells us that from all eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been adoring and glorifying each other, living in high devotion to each other, pouring love and joy into one another’s hearts continually (cf. Jn 1:18; 17;5, 21, 24-25).  Sex between a man and a woman points to the love between the Father and the Son (1 Cor 11:3).  It is a reflection of the joyous self-giving and pleasure of love within the very life of the triune God.

Sex is glorious not only because it reflects the joy of the Trinity but also because it points to the eternal delight of soul that we will have in heaven, in our loving relationships with God and one another.  Rom 7:1ff tells us that the best marriages are pointers to the deep, infinitely fulfilling, and final union we will have with Christ in love. (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 270-1)

 

What I’m suggesting is that we connect our marriages with our faith in such a way that our experience in each feeds the other.  The next time you caress your spouse, think about how that caress might open up new avenues for your prayer life.  The next time you are virtually overcome by passion for your spouse, consider how you can offer yourself with equal abandon to your God.  Don’t be afraid to use all aspects of marriage–even sexual expression–to expand your prayer life.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 86-7)

 

When your loyalty is to God on weekends but only to the bottom line on weekdays, you’re driving a wedge between yourself and God.  It would be like saying to your spouse, “As long as I’m home, I’m committed to you.  But when I go off to work, well, I might fool around a little.”  That would create a rift in your relationship, wouldn’t it?  Similarly, if you’re living a fragmented faith, you’re saying to God, “I’m committed to you in certain areas of my life.  But you need to know that when I’m at work, I’ve got a mistress called my career.”  Doesn’t it make sense that this would stymie your relationship with him?  (Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, 52)

 

We need to further explore the power of human love to feed our divine love.  Rather than seeing marriage as a cosmic competitor with heaven, we can embrace it as a school of faith.  Maximus the confessor (580-662) observed that the love we have for God and the love we have for others are not two distinct loves, but “two aspects of a single total love.”  Jesus suggested the same thing, when in response to a question about the “greatest” commandment he declared that there is not just one, but two–not only must we love God, but also our neighbors.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 267)

 

The OT verb “to prostrate oneself” gives us room for reflection.  While we must never lapse into worshiping the created, there are those intense moments in which the unity of marriage and even the ecstasy of physical union lead you to stand in awe before another, wanting to fully offer yourself, without reservation.  When a wife says to her husband, “Take me, I’m yours,” she demonstrates a trust that whatever the husband does will be done out of love and with genuine concern and care.  It is a remarkable testimony to self-giving and to the joy of intimacy.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 84-5)

 

The clear and specific force of this commandment is to guard the sanctity of the marriage relationship, and it recognizes that the sexual relationship of wife and husband is the center of intimacy and commitment, which must be carefully guarded if the marriage is to be carefully guarded.  (Patrick D. Miller, Interpretation: Dt, 88)

 

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery, he implied that the adultery was a statement of his dissatisfaction with all the blessings God had showered on him.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 219)

 

Adultery and prostitution are words that can be mentioned in the same breath.  Israel’s adultery against Yahweh in Egypt and later in Canaan is simultaneously prostitution and unchastity (Ezek 16:15-19; 23:1-49).  Children born of adultery are called children of harlotry (Isa 57:3).

That puts not only adultery, but also harlotry in a critical light.  And what is said less explicitly in the OT about prostitution is declared explicitly in the NT.  Christians converted from paganism must, even as their Jewish brothers and sisters, abstain from harlotry (Acts 15:20, 29).  The body is not for prostitution, but for the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, flee sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:13-14)!  Just as one who commits adultery drives a wedge in an existing marriage, so one who commits harlotry destroys the unity established between his own body and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 246-7)

 

The “cleaving” mentioned in Gn 2 refers to an intense love that radiates in body and soul throughout all areas of fellowship.

The expression “become one flesh” must–in view of the mandate to be fruitful and multiply–be taken quite literally.  But here too the meaning is not restricted to sexual union.  The verse from Genesis is cited by Paul in the passage already mentioned, Eph 5:22-33, where the term “flesh” refers to the entire human person (cf. Eph 5:29, 31).  Therefore, those words include reference to the comprehensive personal communion of husband and wife.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 250)

 

This passage is one of the primary places that the “dance of the Trinity” becomes visible.  The Son defers to his Father, taking the subordinate role.  The Father accepts the gift, but then exalts the Son to the highest place.  Each wishes to please the other; each wishes to exalt the other.  Love and honor are given, accepted, and given again.  In 1 Cor 11:3, Paul says directly what is implied in Phil 2–namely, that the relationship of the Father and the son is a pattern for the relationship of husband to wife.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 198)

 

BRIDE (OF CHRIST):  A term used in the NT to refer metaphorically to the Church, with Christ as the bridegroom (2 Cor 11:2; Rv 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).  In the OT Israel is sometimes referred to as the wife of Jehovah (Isa 54:6; Ezek 16:8; Hos 2:19, 20).  The figure is used to show how close God intends the relationship between Him and His people to be.  Disloyalty to Him is called harlotry.  (Merrill C. Tenny, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible–Volume One, 655)

 

Throughout Christian history, teachers have explored the similarities between the marital union and the various mysteries of faith that also involve a union:  Besides the Trinity there is the joining of divinity and humanity in the person of Jesus Christ; the Eucharist, in which the bread and the wine are joined to signify the body and blood of Christ; Christ’s union with his church; and other similar analogies.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 29)

 

The most frequent reference in the NT to the Church as the bride of Christ occurs in Revelation.  John applies the image not to the redeemed community directly, but rather to the heavenly Jerusalem which descends from heaven to a transformed earth.  The heavenly Jerusalem is itself a symbol for the Church (Aune, 146-8).  The appropriateness of the bridal imagery in the context of the eschatological consummation lies in the fact that Judaism compared the messianic age to a marriage of God and Israel (SB, I, 500ff.), as well as to a wedding feast.  The fine clothing of the bride symbolizes the righteous deeds of the saints (Rv 19:8), and the comparison of the heavenly Jerusalem with a bride adorned for her husband (alluding to Isa 61:10) emphasizes the readiness and anxious anticipation of the Church for Christ (Rv 21:2; 22:17).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume One, 547)

 

Paul further elaborates the Adam-Eve typology in Eph 5:22-31, and he interprets the “mystery” of Gn 2:24 (“the two shall become one flesh”) as a reference to Christ and His Church (Eph 5:32), thereby implying that the union of the first couple (as well as all subsequent monogamous unions) foreshadows the marriage of Christ and His Church (Chavesse, 75).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume One, 547)

 

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.  The overflow is experienced consciously as the pursuit of our joy in the joy of another.   We double our delights in God as we expand it in the lives of others.   If our ultimate goal were anything less than joy in God, we would be idolaters and would be no eternal help to anyone.  Therefore, the pursuit of pleasure is an essential motive for every good deed.   And if you aim to abandon the pursuit of full and lasting pleasure, you cannot love people or please God.”  (John Piper; Desiring God, 121)

 

To most women, sex is much more than just an independent physical act.  It’s the culmination of a day filled with security, conversation, emotional and romantic experiences, and then, if all is right, sex.  For the average man, you can reverse the order–or just skip everything that comes before sex!

In many ways, it’s just as hard for the average male to initiate intimate conversations and plan romantic activities as it is for his wife to initiate sex.  But these two different needs in the physical area can be met–in a fulfilling way–for both a man and a woman.  This is true particularly if you’re aware of several practical attitudes and actions that can help to fan passion’s flame.  (Gary Smalley & John Trent, Love is a Decision, 146)

 

When two people connect, when their beings intersect as closely as two bodies during intercourse, something is poured out of one and into the other that has power to heal the soul of its deepest wounds and restore it to health.  The one who receives experiences the joy of being healed.  The one who gives knows the even greater joy of being used to heal.  Something good is in the heart of each of God’s children that is more powerful than everything bad.  It’s there, waiting to be released, to work its magic. . . . But it rarely happens. —Larry Crabb (Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart, 185-6)

 

The intertwined relationship of sexuality and spirituality is emphasized throughout the Scriptures by the frequency with which God uses sexual images to admonish Israel. Rebukes for “going awhoring after other gods” occur almost twenty times in the First Testament, revealing the interconnection between making sexual intercourse an idol and giving our love promiscuously to any of a multiplicity of other gods.  (Marva J. Dawn, Sexual Character, 58)

 

To call the marriage “one flesh,” then, means that sex is understood as both a sign of that personal, legal union and a means to accomplish it.  The Bible says don’t unite with someone physically unless you are also willing to unite with the person emotionally, personally, socially, economically, and legally. Don’t become physically naked and vulnerable to the other person without becoming vulnerable in every other way, because you have given up your freedom and bound yourself in marriage.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 256)

 

The promises of sexual love are real but fragile.  Passion hints at a union between us that goes beyond the joining of our bodies.  But passion comes and goes.  Our lovemaking confirms that “we fit together well,” luring us to link our lives in other ways.  But to forge these links we must depend on more than the spontaneous delights of sex.  The promises sex makes are not well kept in casual encounter.  These promises need a home, a protected place in which to grow.

The body Christian knows that sex finds its home in commitment.  Commitment gives passion a place to flower and be fruitful.  For many people, the form that this commitment takes is marriage.  As a legal contract, marriage is the sanctioned shape of enduring sexual commitment.  As a religious covenant, marriage is a sign and source of God’s love.  The commitments of marriage–communion, fidelity, permanence–provide a framework that can protect and purify the promises of sexual love.  (Evelyn & James Whitehead, A Sense of Sexuality, 36-7)

 

The use of “know” for sexual intercourse is a euphemism, but a suggestive one, implying something important both about knowledge and about sexuality in the biblical materials.  Knowledge is not just cognitive, but always experiential and deeply personal; and sexual intercourse is never just physiological, but always involves mystery and touches the whole person.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, 433)

 

I think it is virtually impossible to read this and then honestly say that knowing God, as God intends to be known by his people in the new covenant, simply means mental awareness or understanding or acquaintance with God.  Not in a million years is that what “knowing God” means here.  This is the knowing of a lover, not a scholar.  A scholar can be a lover.  But a scholar–or a pastor–doesn’t know God until he is a lover.  You can know about God by research; but until the researcher is ravished by what he sees, he doesn’t know God for who he really is.  And that is one great reason why many pastors can become so impure.  They don’t know God–the true, massive, glorious, gracious, biblical God.  The humble intimacy and brokenhearted ecstasy–giving fire to the facts–is not there.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 32)

 

Is there any other activity at all in which an adult man and woman may engage together (apart from worship) that is actually more childlike, more clean and pure, more natural and wholesome and unequivocally right than is the act of making love?  For if worship is the deepest available form of communion with God (and especially that particular act of worship known as Communion), then surely sex is the deepest communion that is possible between human beings, and as such is something absolutely essential (in more than a biological or procreative way) to the survival of the race.  (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, 146)

 

The desires of the body lie to us.  They make deceitful promises–promises that are half true, as in the Garden of Eden.  And we are powerless to expose and overcome those half-truths unless we know God–really know God, his ways and works and words embraced with growing intimacy and ecstasy.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 33)

 

In marriage a man and woman are so closely joined that they become “one flesh,” which involved spiritual as well as physical oneness.  In marriage God brings a husband and wife together in a unique physical and spiritual bond that reaches to the very depths of their souls.  As God designed it, marriage is to be the welding of two people together into one unit, the blending of two minds, two wills, two sets of emotions, two spirits.  It is a bond the Lord intends to be indissoluble as long as both partners are alive.  The Lord created sex and procreation to be the fullest expression of that oneness, and the intimacies of marriage are not to be shared with any other human being.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 311)

 

The Fall distorted and perverted the marriage relationship.  Henceforth the wife’s “desire” for her husband would no longer be the desire to help but the desire to control–the same desire that sin had for Cain (see Gn 4:7, where the identical Hebrew construction is used).  For the man’s part, his “rule” over his wife henceforth would be one of stern control, in opposition to her desire to control him.  At the Fall the battle of the sexes began, and women’s liberation and male chauvinism have ever since been clouding and corrupting the divine plan for marriage.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 312)

 

Being joined to Christ meant that older pagan notions of sexual conduct were undone.  One could not reflect Christ properly if one was still “sexually immoral, impure, or given to adulterous passions and evil desires.”  Those who “put on the new self” put on the life of Christ with His chastity and His self-control.  This would have been, and in fact still is, a radical way of understanding sexual morality.  Paul’s Christian ethic is not based primarily on laws decreed by God to ancient Israel.  Christian morality is based on Christ’s all-encompassing purity and self-emptying love.  It is not just what Christians are to do; it is who they now are in Christ.  They are changed at their core, so they live in new ways.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 74-5)

 

The uniqueness of the seventh commandment appears even more clearly when we consider what the OT says about Yahweh’s relationship to His own people.  This relationship is compared to a marriage.  Yahweh is a jealous God, a God who takes revenge against other gods when they seek to embrace Israel, precisely as a husband is jealous when another man goes after his wife.  Nor does Yahweh tolerate Israel herself going after those gods; for in so doing, Israel is committing adultery just like a woman who is being unfaithful to her own husband (Jer 3:8-9; 5;7; Ezek 23:37; see Hos 2 and 3).  His honor and love are being violated.  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 244)

 

When you love someone you do not behave in ways that bring pain, fear, doubt, or insecurity to their lives, minds, and hearts.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 232)

 

II-  Adultery is an intimate relationship with someone who is not your covenant partner.  (Lv 18:6-18; 20:10-21; 21:1-15; Dt 22:22-29; Prv 2:16-19; 5:1-6, 15, 18-19; 6:27-29; 7:6-27; Mt 5:27-30; Mk 6:17-18 see also: Ex 20:5; 34:14-16; Nm 15:39; Dt 5:9; 32:16-21; 1 Kgs 14:22; Ps 50:18; 78:58; Jer 2:20; ch 3; 5:1-11; 9:2; 13:27; ch 23; Ezek ch 16; ch 23; Bk of Hosea; Joel 2:18; Nah 3:4; Zech 8:2; Mt 12:39; 16:4; Lk 7:40-50; Jam 4:4; 2 Pt 2:1-22; Rv 2:20-25; 14:8; 17:2-4; 18:3)

 

In short, according to Paul, sex with a prostitute is wrong because every sex act is supposed to be a uniting act.  Paul insists it is radically dissonant to give your body to someone to whom you will not also commit your whole life.  C. S. Lewis likened sex without marriage to tasting food without swallowing and digesting.  The analogy is apt.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 258-9)

 

The Bible distinguishes between holy and unholy sex.  Holy sex is that which takes place between a husband and wife in fulfillment of their marital relationship.  Unholy sex is everything else.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 216)

 

In some Jewish traditions, all non-marital sexual relations are defined as “prostitution.”  In its technical sense, the Bible looks at prostitution as “sexual intercourse from which ensues no binding or enduring relationship.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 217)

 

If Paul tells us that a man is not to join himself to a prostitute because his body is a holy temple–that is, if we are to use such imagery to avoid sinning–can a Christian not use the same imagery to be drawn into God’s presence in a unique way as he joins his body with his wife?  Isn’t he somehow entering God’s temple–knocking on the door of shekinah glory–when he joins himself to a fellow believer?  And isn’t this a tacit encouragement to perhaps even think about God as your body is joined with your spouse?  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 209-10)

 

A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all.  There is no such thing as part-time loyalty to Jesus Christ.  —Vance Havner

 

In this usage, the idea is not that of an incidental or involuntary glance but of intentional and repeated gazing.  Pros to (to) used the infinitive (epithumēsai, lust for) indicates a goal or an action that follows in time the action of the looking.  Jesus is therefore speaking of intentional looking with the purpose of lusting.  He is speaking of the man who looks so that he may satisfy his evil desire.  He is speaking of the man who goes to an X-rated movie, who selects a television program known for its sexual orientation, who goes to a beach known for its scanty swimsuits, or who does any such thing with the expectation and desire of being sexually and sinfully titillated.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 302-3)

 

Usually the only thing lacking for overt action is the occasion.  When the heart is ready, the action will occur as occasion offers.  Just as the thief is the person who would steal if circumstances were right, so the adulterer is the one who would have wrongful sex if the circumstances were right.  Usually that means if he or she could be sure it would not be found out.  This is what Jesus calls “adultery in the heart.”  In it, the person is not caring for, but using, the other.  The condition is wrong even though sexual relations do not occur.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 161)

 

God is jealous.  God doesn’t want to lose to another what He possess.  He knows He is the best for us and so He is jealous when we give our time, resources, money, or our affections to anything else than Him.  Why is God jealous?  Because He loves you so much He wants you to have the best.  And the best is God. — Pastor Keith

 

What other gods could we have besides the Lord?  Plenty.  For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution.  For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god:  self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some.  Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are legion.  In the matter of life’s basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster.  (James Packer; Your Father Loves You)

 

Our coins read, “In God we trust.”  But someone has suggested that we should alter today’s inscription to read, “In this god we trust.”  Job wisely said, “If I have put my trust in gold or aid to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained…then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high” (Job 31:24, 25, 28) This is idolatry!  Jesus put it with supreme simplicity:  “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Mt. 6;24).  In what, then, do we really trust?  (R. Kent Hughes; Disciplines of Grace, 37)

 

We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case.  The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes.  Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.  (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, xvii)

 

Men may question why they keep going back to a woman who treats them poorly or may wonder why they never seem able to feel, deep inside, a commitment to a woman after having sex partner after sex partner.  Sadly, they simply do not know that their brains are flooded with vasopressin during sexual intercourse and that this neurochemical produces a partial bond with every woman they have sex with.  They do not realize that this pattern of having sex with one woman and then breaking up and then having sex with another woman limits them to experience only one form of brain activity common to humans involved sexually–the dopamine rush of sex.  (A. Aron, H. Fisher, et al., “Reward, motivation, and emotional systems associated with early-stage intense romantic love,” Journal of Neurophysiology, 327-37)  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 43)

 

One recent study of sexually active adolescents illustrates that sexual activity has more ramifications beyond the physical.  The study showed that both boys and girls who have had sex are three times more likely to be depressed than their friends who are still virgins.  The study accounted for other factors in the lives of the young people, ensuring an accurate comparison with their peers.  The girls who became sexually active were three times more likely to have attempted suicide as their virgin friends, while the sexually active boys were fully seven times more likely to have attempted suicide.  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 20)

 

He is not speaking of the natural, normal desire, which is part of human instinct and human nature.  According to the literal meaning of the Greek the man who is condemned is the man who looks at a woman with the deliberate intention of lusting after her.  The man who is condemned is the man who deliberately uses his eyes to awaken his lust, the man who looks in such a way that passion is awakened and desire deliberately stimulated.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 147)

 

It is a thievish sin.  It is the highest sort of theft.  The adulterer steals from his neighbor that which is more than his goods and estate; he steals away his wife from him, who is flesh of his flesh.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 155)

 

III-  Adultery is a distorted and/or corrupt view of sexuality.  (Ex 22:16-17; Prov 5:18-19; 1 Cor 7:1-7, 32-35; 1 Tim 4:1-3; Heb 13:4)

 

God created human beings in his image–“male and female he created them” (Gn 1:27)–with capacities for intense sexual pleasure and with a calling to commitment in marriage and continence in singleness.  And his goal in creating human beings with personhood and passion was to make sure that there would be sexual language and sexual images that would point to the promises and the pleasures of God’s relationship to his people and our relationship to him.  In other words, the ultimate reason (not the only one) why we are sexual is to make God more deeply knowable.  The language and imagery of sexuality are the most graphic and most powerful that the Bible uses to describe the relationship between God and his people–both positively (when we are faithful) and negatively (when we are not).  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 26)

 

Together, the whole of these NT witnesses shows that there is only one God-pleasing expression for sex, and that is between a man and a woman who are bound together in marriage.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 86)

 

Sexuality is designed by God as a way to know God in Christ more fully; and that knowing God in Christ more fully is designed as a way of guarding and guiding our sexuality.  Or to put it negatively:  all misuses of our sexuality distort the true knowledge of Christ; and all misuses of our sexuality derive from not having the true knowledge of Christ.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 16)

 

An individual who is sexually involved, then breaks up and then is sexually involved again, and who repeats this cycle again and again is in danger of negative emotional consequences.  People who behave in this manner are acting against, almost fighting against, the way they are made to function.  When connectedness and bonding form and then are quickly broken and replaced with another sexual relationship, it often actually causes damage to the brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism.  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 105)

 

Any notion to the effect that the marital act tends to a lowering of the spiritual temperature and is not compatible with the highest demands of Christian devotion is one that, from its inception, is an assault upon the handiwork and institution of God.  It is no wonder that the apostle elsewhere should characterize the prohibition of marriage as a doctrine of demons (1 Tm 4:1, 2).  The false asceticism which has come to expression in the demand for a celibate clergy springs from a bias that has no affinity with the Christian ethic and is antithetical to the whole spirit of the biblical revelation.  (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, 65-6)

 

Clearly “one flesh” (1 Cor 6) means something different to Paul than mere sexual union, or Paul would be reciting a mere tautology:  “Don’t you know that when you have physical union with a prostitute you are having physical union with a prostitute?”  Obviously, Paul also understands becoming “one flesh” here to mean becoming one person.  One flesh refers to the personal union of a man and woman at all levels of their lives.  Paul, then, is decrying the monstrosity of physical oneness without all the other kinds of oneness that every sex act should mirror.”  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 258)

 

Until now, efforts to accurately assess the connection between sex, love, sexual desire, sexual risk-taking, and so on with brain activity have been limited.  But with the aid of modern research techniques and technologies, scientists are confirming that sex is more than a momentary physical act.  It produces powerful, even lifelong, changes in our brains that direct and influence our future to a surprising degree.  This new neuroscience information, which has only become widely available in the last decade, has transformed the scientific discussion about sex.  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 21)

 

The inability to bond after multiple sex encounters is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times.  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 42)

 

The Bible teaches us that living together as husband and wife is a lifelong bond.  For that reason we must defend marriage and oppose cohabiting without being married.  Couples who cohabit without marrying never promise that they will remain bound to each other for life.  No matter how much they love each other, they never declare before God and others their promise of perpetual unity (“until death do us part”).  (J. Douma, The Ten Commandments, 267)

 

Theologian Christopher West remarked, “If the body and sex are meant to proclaim our union with God, and if there is an enemy who wants to separate us from God, what do you think he is going to attack?  If we want to know what is most sacred in this world, all we need do is look at what is most violently profaned.” (Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners, 11)

 

If is evident from these Scripture passages that the only taboos in the sex relationship are outside the bonds of marriage.  (Tim LaHaye, How to Be Happy Though Married, 62)

 

Living together before marriage, and therefore having sex before marriage, defeats the Christological character of marriage.  Christ intended marriage to reflect His passionate love for the eternal life of His Church, but living together before marriage represents a disregard for the soul of the other.  It says, “Yes, God’s Word may say this hurts the soul of my partner, but I’m going to do it anyway.”  True Christ-centered love will put the soul of the other before sexual desires; it will want sex to be more than an act between two people who believe they love each other.  It will want intercourse to be a statement of lasting, committed, Christlike love that moves past the flesh and reaches the depth of the soul.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 72)

 

Love is essentially defined in terms of preoccupation with the other’s needs.  The central goal of every interchange between partners must be to minister to the other’s deepest needs for security and significance.  I may legitimately desire a particular response from my wife.  But if my spouse for whatever reasons fails to respond as I wish, then I must honor my goal of ministry through an uncomplaining, nonpressuring acceptance of my disappointing spouse.  This acceptance would be motivated by my awareness of her deep needs for love and by my commitment to do all that I can do to touch those needs.  (Dr. Larry Crabb, The Marriage Builder, 53)

 

Giving priority to our marriage relationships is one of the best deterrents to adultery.  Paul said this about the need for married couples to have regular sexual relationships:  “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Cor 7:5).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 221)

 

The reshaping of the idea of power or authority over others is seen throughout this section of 1 Corinthians 7.  Verse 3 stated, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights.”  The literal reading of this passage in the Greek text is “to the woman, the man should give up what is owed.”  Sexual relations were a debt of love owed to the other, not an act of the will to be enforced on the other.  This shifts the focus from self to the other and makes it an act of self-sacrifice, not an act of selfish taking.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 67)

 

While the Early Church relied largely on the OT with respect to specific instruction about sex, reference is made in the NT to a variety of subjects related to sex.  Sexual intercourse between marriage partners is considered appropriate and expected (Heb 13:3); but married couples may forego, at times, natural sex relations in order to give themselves to prayer (1 Cor 7:5).  Sexual desire of the unmarried and widows is spoken of as “burning” and refraining from sexual intercourse is referred to as “refusing one another” in accordance with the Heb. tendency to refer to sexual intercourse indirectly.  (See 1 Cor 7:1-9 for a treatment of sex in marriage.)  Polygamy was condemned by the Early Church and monogamy was the expected practice (1 Cor 7:1, 2 and 1 Tm 3:2).  Homosexuality (Rom 1:26-28), prostitution, adultery and fornication (Gal 5:19 and Jude 7) were condemned along with other vices prevalent in the early Christian era.  It was stated that indulgence in such vices would keep a person from entering the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9, 10).  (Merrill C. Tenney, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, 367)

 

Will a woman or man who is involved in sex with someone they feel is just using them as a sex object, or having repeated broken sexual relationships, continue to bond with and trust their sexual partners?  Probably not.  And this crushing of these inborn healthy responses to sex may be one of the saddest outcomes of such sexual experiences–for damaging and individual’s future enjoyment of sex and bonding with a partner who loves and cherishes them.  (Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD & Freda McKissic Bush, MD, Hooked, 85-6)

 

Historians point out, however, that, “Paul, in effect, redefines marriage as a context for the mutual satisfying of erotic desires in contrast to the pagan philosophical idea that the purpose of marriage was the procreation of legitimate heirs who would inherit and continue the name, property and sacred rites of the family.”  In other words, Paul is telling married Christians that mutual, satisfying sexual relations must be an important part of their life together.  In fact, this passage indicates that sex should be frequent and reciprocal.  One spouse was not allowed to deny sex to the other.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 267)

 

One of the reasons we believe in our culture that sex should always and only be the result of great passion is that so many people today have learned how to have sex outside of marriage, and this is a very different experience than having sex inside it.  Outside of marriage, sex is accompanied by a desire to impress or entice someone.  It is something like the thrill of the hunt.  When you are seeking to draw in someone you don’t know, it injects risk, uncertainty, and pressure to the lovemaking that quickens the heartbeat and stirs the emotions.  If “great sex” is defined in this way, then marriage–the “piece of paper”–will indeed stifle that particular kind of thrill.  But this defines sexual sizzle in terms that would be impossible to maintain in any case.  The fact is that “the thrill of the hunt” is not the only kind of thrill or passion available, nor is it the best.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 82)

 

The Reformation fortunately called Christians back to studying the Word of God rather than blindly accepting dogma.  In gaining new insights into God, salvation, sin, and theology, Christians discovered that God is the author of sex, that both men and women have sexual needs which a partner is obliged to fulfill (1 Cor 7:1-5), and that their fulfillment is honorable and undefiled.  Obedient Christians over the centuries have discovered in the privacy of their bedrooms that sexual relations provide the most exciting experiences in their lives.  Any young woman who enters marriage without knowing it is a blessing from her heavenly Father, to be enjoyed without reserve, does not fully understand the Bible.  (Tim & Beverly LaHaye, What Lovemaking Means to a Woman, 49-50)

 

Your sexuality is an intense battle because it is the arena where God desires to demonstrate who He is and what He’s like.  Through sexual intercourse, God desires to demonstrate what communion with Him is meant to be.  It’s the taste of the intimacy we crave.  (Michael John Cusick, Surfing for God, 113)

 

The right attitude is important for both husband and wife.  The first thing to recognize is that the act of marriage (technically called coitus) is good.  It was designed by God for man’s good.  It could well be described as the most sublime expression of love between two people when limited to the bonds of marriage.  Because of the fact that taboos are properly put on the act of marriage during the teen-age and courtship years, Christian girls sometimes hesitate to enter enthusiastically into the relationship after marriage.  (Tim LaHaye, How to Be Happy Though Married, 61-2)

 

Our romantic relationship may never be called the “Song of Songs,” but we can still sing the chorus with gusto.  And a clear stanza from that very helpful song reads, “If you want to raise the passion level in your marriage–increase the purity of your character.”  (Gary Smalley with John Trent, Love is a Decision, 153)

 

Sex, according to the Bible, is a beautiful creation from the mind of God, covered in his moral perfection.  (Peter Jones, The God of Sex, 121)

 

Bible scholars Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner argue that here (1 Cor 7) Paul is rejecting the late Stoic view that marriage should be something you do not for romantic passion but strictly for business and producing children and heirs.  And also he does not, as did most pagan authors of the time, teach that you can get release for sexual passion merely through non-marital sexual liaisons.  No, let your passion find its fulfillment in marriage and only there.  So Paul teaches that attraction is an important factor in choosing to be married.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 242)

 

In most animals, sexual activity is narrowly focused on reproduction.  For example, among the primates closest to humans in evolutionary development–the great apes–the female is receptive to the male’s sexual approach only during estrus, a recurring but relatively brief period of biological fertility.  Among humans, in contrast, sexual interest is not limited to reproductive periods.  A woman can experience sexual arousal throughout the menstrual cycle, not just during the limited phase when conception is possible.  Both women and men remain interested in and capable of genital behavior long after their biological fertility has come to an end.  This would seem to confirm that for the human species sex is about more than reproduction.  (Evelyn & James Whitehead, A Sense of Sexuality, 29)

 

Sex is not a neutral ingredient in our relationship; sex changes things.  Sex generates more than passion; a sexual relationship arouses hopes and enkindles expectations.  As sexual sharing continues, promises are made–sometimes explicitly, often in subtler ways.  Recreational sex is bankrupt not because it focuses on pleasure but because it does not keep its promises.  (Evelyn & James Whitehead, A Sense of Sexuality, 32)

 

Throughout the NT, prohibitions against sexual immorality are every bit as clear as those of the Old.  “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals” will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9; cf. Gal 5:19-21; Rv 2:22).  “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4).  Regardless of how much a couple may care for each other and be deeply in love, sexual relations outside of marriage are forbidden.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 302)

 

Sex can only occur as a sacred act, when two people really know each other.  It implies a mutual understanding between the two people that their sexual union is part of a sacred relationship.  When the two people do not share this understanding, they estrange themselves spiritually from one another and from God.  One-night stands and couples who profess a purely physical relationship deny the sanctity of sex and diminish their relationship through such activity.  Likewise, teenagers who engage in sexual relations by the nature of their age are not able to understand the meaning of their act and, therefore, sex can hardly be sacred.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 214-5)

 

IV-  Adultery is a perverted view of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God.  (Gn 1:26-27; 9:6; Isa 54:5; Bk of Hosea; Mk 7:21-23; 10:2-12; Rom 8:29; 12:1-2; 1 Cor 6:9-20; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:1-8; 1 Thess 4:3-8; 2 Tm 2:22)

 

Adultery debases a person; it makes him resemble the beasts; therefore the adulterer is described like a horse neighing.  “Every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife” Jer 5:8.  Nay, it is worse than brutish; for some creatures that are void of reason, yet by the instinct of nature, observe some decorum and chastity.  The turtle dove is a chaste creature, and keeps to its mate; and the stork, wherever he flies, comes into no nest but his own.  Naturalists write that if a stork, leaving his own mate, joins with any other, all the rest of the storks fall upon it, and pull its feathers from it.  Adultery is worse than brutish, it degrades a person of his honor.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 155-6)

 

In 1 Cor 6:12-20 Paul presents another strong reason why adultery is so serious.  It is based on the fact that there is a very close tie between Christ and our bodies.  He emphasizes this point through four statements in this one paragraph:  “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (v. 13b); “Your bodies are members of Christ” (v. 15b); “he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (v. 17); “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (v. 19b).  Because of this union between Christ and our bodies, Paul says, “So glorify God in your body” (v. 20b).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 216)

 

So we see that adultery and its kin are unique in their sacrilege and spiritual devastation.  Adultery is a sin against the sacredness of marriage, the sacredness of one’s own body, and the “body of Christ”–not just against the church, but against Christ Himself.  Calvin bluntly portrays sexual sin as a “rape” of the body of Christ.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 129-30)

 

The keeping of our faith with each other and with God is what separates us from the rest of the animal world.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 234)

 

Relations between man and wife are an aspect of our relationship with Christ, and therefore it is part of the body being one with Christ.  But if one commits adultery, the body belonging to Christ becomes one with someone in a way that violates the oneness with Christ.  Paul says, “. . . do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?” (1 Cor 6:16).  The person has rejected Christ and has replaced him with a prostitute.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 216)

 

The “one flesh” status  during intercourse of a married man and woman married in a covenant relationship, is eschatologically symbolic of God’s desire to be one with mankind.  Any perversion of that symbol is blasphemous to God’s nature and His relationship with mankind.  (Gn 2:24; Mt 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12; Jn 17; 1 Cor 6:12-19; Eph 5:21-33)  — Pastor Keith

 

Sex is sacramental because it is suggestive, reminding us not only of the mutual commitment of this couple but of our link with our Creator.  Our passionate unions resonate with that covenant of affection and fidelity that God has made with humankind.  This ability of our sexual lives to hint at God’s presence among us makes sexuality mysterious and holy.

In its fierce privacy and its unavoidable socialness, sexual life symbolizes the life of faith.  The covenant between us and God, resonating in the deepest recesses of our heart, affects all our public behavior.  The Church has long cherished the image of marriage as a compelling metaphor of its own commitment and fidelity with God.  Sex is mysterious because it is sacramental:  it can remind us of God’s passionate affection for us.  For this reason, too, sex is very good.  (Evelyn & James Whitehead, A Sense of Sexuality, 31)

 

The Scriptures say to submit to one another.  When you love and care for someone, you build in that person the capacity to do the same!  He or she gets to love you, think of you, pamper you, and put you first, too.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 183)

 

Adultery was a huge sin because of the sacredness of the human body, and ultimately of Christ Himself.  A living human is innately connected with both the material and spiritual world.  That body, first committed to a sacred trust and then prostituted from its commitment, inflicts a sacrilege upon itself.  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 128)

 

Clearly, the apostle puts sexual sin in a category by itself, apart and distinct from other sins.  Why?  Because a Christian’s body is a member of Christ, as Paul had explained in the immediately preceding verses (1 Cor 6:15-18).  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 129)

 

The use of “know” for sexual intercourse is a euphemism, but a suggestive one, implying something important both about knowledge and about sexuality in the biblical materials.  Knowledge is not just cognitive, but always experiential and deeply personal; and sexual intercourse is never just physiological, but always involves mystery and touches the whole person.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol 3, 433)

 

 

Once I asked this young man why he had not ended this nightmare marriage.  His words were as courageous as they were simple.  He said, “My wife is a good mother most of the time.  My children need her.  But more than that they need to know their Savior.  How can they know of a Father in heaven who forgives them if their father on earth will not forgive their own mother?  How can my wife know the love of God if the spiritual leader in this home will not love her despite her faults?”  (Bryan Chapell, Each for the Other, 22)

 

Sex not only unites a man and woman in a spiritual relationship, it brings them closer to God as they engage in a creative act.  Therefore, when the sanctity of marriage or family is violated, not only are the husband and wife estranged, and often from other members of the family, but all the violators are estranged from God.  It is not accidental that throughout the Bible, the notions of adultery between people are paralleled with an estrangement of a people from God.  It is the sin of adultery that comes to symbolize the broken faith between God and people.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 234)

 

God’s intentions for us are clear:  that we lead holy lives, sanctifying our human desires and appetites in ways which elevate their meaning above that of animals and the mundane.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 226)

 

For a man, the first place he should check when it comes to building a strong family is a blueprint found in Ephesians 5.  In this important chapter, the man is called to be the “head” of his wife–the primary lover–just as Christ is the head of the church and the lover of the church.

Nowhere does it say that a man is to “lord it over” his wife.  In fact, Christ specifically commands that “lording it over” another person has no place in a Christian’s relationships.  Rather, the Scriptures tell me I am to love my wife as Jesus loves His church.

How did Christ lead in love?  By serving, by committing Himself to our best interest, and by doing so regardless of the cost.  The greatest among us are simply following a pattern Christ set down–namely serving those He loved and for whom He laid down His life.  (Gary Smalley with John Trent, Love is a Decision, 99)

 

To those who submit gladly to the truth of God about themselves as sinners, and about Christ as the Savior, and about the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier, and about God the Father as Creator–to them sex and food are sanctified.  That is, they are pure.  They are not unclean idols competing for our affections, which belong supremely to God.  They are instead pure partners in the revelation of God’s glory.  They are beams of his goodness along which the pure in heart see God (Mt 5:8).  (John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God, 189)

 

Yes, it is difficult to love your spouse.  But if you truly want to love God, look right now at the ring on your left hand, commit yourself to exploring anew what that ring represents, and love passionately, crazily, enduringly the fleshly person who put it there.

It just may be one of the most spiritual things you can do.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 51)

 

Both Roman and Jewish gender roles were defined by law.  Here in Ephesians, Paul’s view of submission and headship flows primarily from the Gospel, not the law.  St. Paul models the relationship of husband and wife after the relationship of Christ to His Church.  The husband is head of his wife as Christ is head of His Church.  The wife is submissive to her husband as the Church is submissive to Christ.  As Paul explains it, the husband is to bear the image of Christ within the family through self-emptying love and devotion to his wife.  It is consistent with the message of the previous passage.  This is not male dominance.  It is male self-sacrifice.  It is placing the needs of the other above one’s self.  The wife is not submitting to her husband simply because he is male and therefore “the boss,” but because he is emptying himself to her through Christ.  She submits to Christ as Christ manifests himself to her through her husband’s love.  The Christian definition of headship and submission require both parties in the marriage to be aware of Christ working through them.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 69)

 

The God preached by St. Paul actually joins Himself to the flesh of the people who believe in Him.  Faith represents a change of ownership with our flesh.  Our bodies are no longer ours to do with as we please.  Jesus paid for our bodies by sacrificing His own.  Because our flesh is God’s dwelling place and He owns it through the purchase price of His Son, God shows the world something of His purity and love through our flesh.  This is the heart of Christian ethics and morality.  It is not an ethics bound exclusively to laws.  We do not live as we do just because the Bible says we have to.  Christian ethics grow from the Gospel.  We live as we do because God has made us His own.  He joined Himself to us.  He bought us by giving up His Son’s life for us.  Paul’s ethic of sexual chastity is a natural extension of an overall ethic of changed being.  We live differently than the world around us because God changed us when He joined Himself to our flesh.  (Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World, 77)

 

Hosea 2:21-22.  With these words, the prophet Hosea uses the metaphor of marriage to describe our ideal relationship with God, the coming together of two partners who understand each other because they know each other.  God is a mystery to us.  In this case, the attempt to know leads to the relationship of love.  The idea of knowing God and a spouse lies in the ability to understand the nature of the commitment and the energy that is required to sustain the relationship.  We say, “to know him is to love him”–this type of knowledge reflects the building blocks of appreciation, realistic expectations, and acceptance.  The knowing of sacred sexual relations and the knowing of God are one and the same–a prerequisite for a meaningful relationship.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments, 216)

 

The sin of adultery is singled out more than any other illicit sexual behavior because it has to do with unfaithfulness.  The binding commitment of faithfulness between two persons in marriage was similar to the covenant relationship itself.  The crime of adultery was the social equivalent to the religious crime of idolatry.  Either offense of unfaithfulness could not be permitted by a God who was faithful.  Faithfulness in every area of life was expected of the Israelites.  It was to become a distinctive feature of the nation because it was a distinctive feature of their God.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 108)

 

I believe the greatest contributor to divorce is not “incompatibility,” but irresponsibility and immaturity.  I’ve discovered over the years that virtually every couple goes through the same basic challenges in a marriage.  But the difference between the couple that gets divorced and the one that doesn’t is wrapped up in one word:  commitment.

Why is commitment such a rare commodity in our world today?  Because we enter into marriage looking for someone to serve us, rather than someone to serve.  In a word, we are selfish.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 180)

 

Some say that love is based on passion.  “I’m empty without you, but if I can have you, I’ll be fulfilled and satisfied.”  That may be the definition some use for love, but I can promise you it’s not the kind of love that will hold together and last.

Some say that love is based on need.  “I need you and I’ll never make it if I don’t have you.”  But six months from now, you may find yourself “needing” someone else.  Love that is based on need can never be satisfied, because man is built to be satisfied by only one Person, and His name is Jesus.

Biblical love is a love that is based on commitment.  The whole purpose of that kind of love is to serve, satisfy, and fulfill the person to whom you’ve committed your life.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 180-1)

 

Worship Point:  When you see the stability, the security, the joy, peace and contentment that comes with faithful covenant keeping, you will worship the God of the Universe Who encourages us to keep our promises.  (Ex 34:6; Dt 7:9; 2 Sam 22:26; Neh 9:33; Ps 18:25; 33:4; 36:5; 86:15; 89:1-2; 100:5; 119:75; 145:13; 2 Tm 2:13; Heb 2:17)

 

If you get into a covenant relationship . . . you finally have a zone of security, a zone of safety, a place where you can finally be yourself.  You see, in a consumer relationship you are always marketing, you are always selling yourself, you’ve got to perform, you’ve got to meet the other person’s need or they’re out.  But in a covenant, in a marriage . . . you can finally have a zone of safety, you can finally get rid of the facades, you can finally let him know, her know about your insecurities.  You can finally be yourself.   (Tim Keller message, “Love and Lust”)

 

In God’s faithfulness lies eternal security.  – Corrie ten Boom

 

The gigantic secret of the joy of sex is this:  Sex is good because the God who created sex is good.  And God is glorified greatly when we receive his gift with thanksgiving and enjoy it the way he meant for it to be enjoyed.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 55)

 

The entire book of Hosea is a picture of God’s forgiving and patient love for Israel, dramatized by Hosea’s forgiving and patient love for his wife, Gomer.  Gomer prostituted herself, forsook Hosea, and was unfaithful to him in every possible way.  But the heart of the story is that Hosea was faithful and forgiving no matter what she did, just as God is faithful and forgiving no matter what His people do.  God looks on the union of husband and wife in the same way He looks on the union of Himself with believers.  And the way of God should be the way of His people–to love, forgive, draw back, and seek to restore the partner who is willing to be restored.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 314)

 

Gospel Application:  Only Jesus can transform us and empower us to keep our covenant promises in light of severe temptations to be unfaithful.  Look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith Who allows us to be one with God.  (Rom 5:5; 8:35-39; 2 Cor 5:15; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 3:17-19; Phil 1:9; 1 Thess 3:12; 2 Thess 1:3; 3:5; 1 Jn 4:7-21 as well as Ex 20:5; 34:14-16; Dt 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 32:16-21; Josh 24:19; 1 Kgs 14:22; Ps 78:58;  Isa 30:1-2; 31:1-3; Ezek 6:9; ch 16; 23:25; 36:5; 39:25; Joel 2:18; Nah 1:2; 3:4; Zeph 1:18; 3:8; Zech 1:14; 8:2; Eph 5:21-33 as well as Bk of Hosea; Mt 12:34-36; Lk 19:10; Jn 1:14-18; 3:1-21; 7:15-18; 8:31-32; 14:6; 15:26-27; 16:13-16; Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Jn 1:8-9; Rv 19:7-9; 21:2-10; 22:17)

 

The good news is that the shackles that chain you have already been broken at Calvary.  There on the Cross, Christ died to free you from captivity to every sin–including the strong bonds of sexual sin.  He can set you free.  You can go to that fountain and be washed and cleansed.  You can be clothed in the perfect righteousness of His robes of purity and become whiter than snow.  You can become truly free by repenting of your sin.  This is the only hope we have in this sinful world.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 131)

 

A Spirit-filled Christian attains more enjoyment in his marriage because he uses the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome his weaknesses; and thus, he becomes less objectionable to his partner.  In addition, the Holy Spirit gives him grace to overlook and joyously live with his partner’s weaknesses.  (Tim LaHaye, How to Be Happy Though Married, 19-20)

 

A magnificent marriage begins not with knowing one another but with knowing God. — Gary and Betsy Ricucci

 

You can only love when you know you have been loved.  And only then can you love to the degree that you know you have been loved.  — Steve Brown

 

By logical syllogism we deduce a very important fact.  If a person is not loving, John says, he or she does not know God.  How will that individual become more loving, then?  Can we grow in love by trying to love more?  No, our attempts to love will only end in more frustration and less love.  The solution, John implies, is to know God better.  This is so simple that we miss it all the time:  our means for becoming more loving is to know God better.  (Marva J. Dawn, Truly the Community:  Romans 12, 146)

 

Do for your spouse what God did for you in Jesus, and the rest will follow.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 43)

 

The best way to reconcile two disagreeing families is to make some marriage between them:  even so, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us in the world that He might hereby make our peace, reconciling man to God.  By this happy match the Son of God is become the Son of Man, even flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones.  (John Boys, The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations, 47)

 

Love begets love — Shirley Marsh 3-27-13

 

Fellowship with the Father and the Son, that intimate, holy, and unceasing communion, is the reason for man’s creation.  That fellowship has been restored to us in Christ Jesus.  (Andrew Murray, Receiving Power from God, 42)

 

The fact is, I need God to help me love God.  And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans.  Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives.  (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, 104)

 

If you find your love beginning to wane then go to your heavenly Father, the author of love, and he will give you a new love for your partner.  It is yours for the asking!  You may be inclined to ask, “But is it worth it?”  Or “What if my partner doesn’t deserve it?”  That has nothing to do with it.  You should love your partner for the Lord’s sake, but, because of the principle of reaping what you sow, loving will bring you love.  If you go to God by faith for his supply of love to give to your partner, then God’s divine law will bring love to you.  (Tim LaHaye, How to Be Happy Though Married, 115)

 

In short, the “secret” is not simply the fact of marriage per se.  It is the message that what husbands should do for their wives is what Jesus did to bring us into union with himself.  And what was that? Jesus gave himself up for us.  Jesus the Son, though equal with the Father, gave up his glory and took on our human nature (Phil 2:5ff).  But further, he willingly went to the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, removing our guilt and condemnation, so that we could be united with him (Rom 6:5) and take on his nature (2 Pt 1:4).  He gave up his glory and power and became a servant.  He died to his own interests and looked to our needs and interests instead (Rom 15:1-3).  Jesus’ sacrificial service to us has brought us into a deep union with him and he with us.  And that, Paul says, is the key not only to understanding marriage but to living it.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 41-2)

 

We learn from the phrase “he grew powerful in his faith” that faithfulness is not only a gift from God but also a skill or even a virtue that can become stronger with use:  we learn how to be faithful in the process of trusting God.  This means that even if we think we have very little faith in God, by living into the faith we do have, we can watch God increasing our faith and ourselves growing stronger in faith.  Abraham and Sarah had to learn to trust God:  when they first heard the promise of God’s gift of a child to them in their old age, they laughed (Gn 17:17; 18:12-15).  (A. Katherine Grieb, The Story of Romans, 53)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Recognize the war that exists between your flesh and the (S)spirit.   Allow the recognition of this war to remind you of your need for Jesus.  Jesus will encourage you to do all you can to remain faithful to your covenant promises. (Eph 4:17-32; Col 3:1-8; 1 Thess 4:3-8; 2 Tm 2:22)

 

Look to your eyes.  Much sin comes in by the eye.  “Having eyes full of adultery” 2 Pt 2:14.  The eye tempts the fancy, and the fancy works upon the heart.  A wanton amorous eye may usher in sin.  Eve first saw the tree of knowledge, and then she took, Gn 3:6.  First she looked and then she loved.  The eye often sets the heart on fire; therefore Job laid a law upon his eyes.  “I made a covenant with my eyes, why then should I think upon a maid?” Job 31:1.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 158)

 

Obviously getting rid of harmful influences will not change a corrupt heart into a pure heart.  Outward acts cannot produce inner benefits.  But just as the outward act of adultery reflects a heart that is already adulterous, the outward act of forsaking whatever is harmful reflects a heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness.  That outward act is effective protection, because it comes from a heart that seeks to do God’s will instead of its own.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 305)

 

If we do not consciously and purposefully control what is around us, where we go, what we do, what we watch and read, the company we keep, and the conversations we have, then those things will control us.  And what we cannot control we should discard without hesitation.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 1-7, 305)

 

Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other.  And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 50)

 

Look in a special manner to your heart.  “Keep thy heart with all diligence” Prv 4:23.  Every one has a tempter in his own bosom.  “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts” Mt 15:19.  Thinking of sin makes way for the act of sin.  Suppress the first risings of sin in your heart.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 159)

 

You should stop making excuses for selfishness, you should begin to root it out as it’s revealed to you, and you should do so regardless of what your spouse is doing.  If two spouses each say, “I’m going to treat myself-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect of a truly great marriage.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 64)

 

There is the essence of sin, according to the Bible–living for ourselves, rather than for God and the people around us.  This is why Jesus can sum up the entire law–the entire will of God for our lives–in two great commands:  to love and live for God rather than ourselves and to love and put the needs of others ahead of our own (Mt 22:37-40).  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 62-3)

 

There is no man or woman in the world who can fill all the empty places in your heart.  Solomon had a thousand wives, and who knows how many concubines, yet he ended up as empty as a man can be.  Only the Lord God can fill the vacuum in a human heart.  (Ron Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments, 181)

 

Come not into the company of a whorish woman; avoid her house, as a seaman does a rock.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 158)

 

Look to your attire.  We read of the attire of a harlot, Prv 7:10.  A wanton dress is a provocation to lust.  Curlings and braidings of the hair, a painted face, naked breasts, are allurements to vanity.  Where the sign is hung out, people will go in and taste the liquor.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 159)

 

Take heed of evil company.  (Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, 159)

 

Perfect love is a kind of self-abandonment and self-sacrifice.  Love requires us to die to ourselves and our own interests for the sake of the one we love.  To love a person we must sacrifice ourselves to please him.  Because of this high price love demands we become quite upset if love is not returned or the person we love does not pay us any attention.  (Henry Scougal and Robert Leighton; God’s Abundant Life, 42)

 

Christianity does not direct us to focus on finding the right person; it calls us to become the right person.  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 236)

 

If God had the gospel of Jesus’ salvation in mind when he established marriage, then marriage only “works” to the degree that approximates the pattern of God’s self-giving love in Christ.  (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 43)

 

Almost a century ago, G. K. Chesterton wrote that the man who knocks on the brothel door is knocking for God.  If he were writing today, he might say that the man who surfs the web for porn is surfing for God.  If nothing else, this truth means that sex is a signpost to God.  It also points us to the way He designed us as sexual beings–when we are most aligned with this design and intention, we are most powerful, complete, and fulfilled.  (Michael John Cusick, Surfing for God, 15)

 

The Christian Way—The Christian says, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.   A baby feels hunger:  well, there is such a thing as food.  A duckling wants to swim:  well, there is such a thing as water.   Men feel sexual desire:  well, there is such a thing as sex.  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.  If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.  I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.  (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, 120)

 

If we regard ourselves merely as bodies and if we therefore want more than anything else to find some way to feel physically good, then sex is the ticket.  And the pursuit of sexual pleasure can become a strong preoccupation.  The compulsive craving for erotic excitement prevalent in our society is rooted in our denial of ourselves as real persons made for personal fellowship with God and others.  (Dr. Larry Crabb, The Marriage Builder, 91)

 

The terminology of [Mt] 5:28 is quite clear if we will but attend to it, and many translations do get it right.  The Greek preposition pros and the dative case are used here.  The wording refers to looking at a woman with the purpose of desiring her.  That is, we desire to desire.  We indulge and cultivate desiring because we enjoy fantasizing about sex with the one seen.  Desiring sex is the purpose for which we are looking.

Another NT passage very graphically speaks of those who have “eyes full of adultery” (2 Pt 2:14).  These are people who, when they see a sexually attractive person, do not see the person but see themselves sexually engaging him or her.  They see adultery occurring in their imagination.  Such a condition is one we can and should avoid.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 165)

 

Jesus’ metaphors recommend that we be willing to endure pain in order to conquer our sinful habits.  It hurts to sever your foot or to tear out an eye, and it hurts to give up wrong things in our lives.  But better your blood on the ground than your life on the rubbish heap for eternity!  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of Grace, 134)

 

So What?:  In a world that struggles, suffers, and agonizes over broken promises because of unfaithfulness, Jesus empowers and motivates us to be faithful promise keepers and enjoy the life that is really life:  Oneness with God.  (Heb 10:23)

 

If a husband is not secure in his relationship with his Savior–if a man needs to have control over another to have some confidence in himself–then he cannot love as God requires.  Christ’s love is our relational fuel.  If our spiritual lives are running on empty, then we will inevitably suck energy from the life of our marriages.  Men who assert or confirm their manhood by the psychological, physical, or sexual control of their spouses actually reveal deep insecurities of the soul that leech personal esteem from the misery of others.  Until the certainty of God’s approval fills the wells of need in a man’s heart, he will always be tempted to drain life from others, including those nearest and dearest to him.  (Bryan Chapell, Each for the Other, 70-1)

 

“Christ is the faithful One.  We are the ones who slip into flirtation and then into adultery with the world.  We are loved by Christ Jesus, but we are drawn aside by our desires and seduced from our love of Christ.  Such a seduction is the worst of all transgressions since it is the sin against the love of Christ.  He is faithful to the end, loving us when we were unlovely, and taking us through all steps of our wandering to the place of redemption and final attachment to himself forever.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Sermon on the Mount, 128)

 

The Bible is very clear about another, more major issue.  Everyone who disobeys God’s law hates Him, and those who hate God, love death (Prv 8:36).  People demonstrate their hatred of God and His laws time and again by their rebellion and rejection of His rule over them.  God is the living God.  He is the God of life.  He is the Giver of life.  He is the One who promises, to those who obey His Gospel, life everlasting and life abundant.  Whenever you reject His commandments, you reject Him, and you inevitably bring upon yourself death.  (D. James Kennedy, God’s Absolute Best For You, 129)

 

As in the OT, Paul used the threat of punishment for sin as a deterrent to adultery (1 Cor 6:9, 10; 10:8; Col 3:5, 6).  If the church was more faithful in warning its members of this reality, I believe people would be more cautious about extramarital sex.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 219)

 

 

JESUS:

THE FAITHFUL ONE

 

 

 

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