Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30- No adultery

(Decalogue parchment by Sofer 1768)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

3/30- Seventh Commandment-
18 "You shall not commit adultery.”(Deuteronomy 5:18)
“You have heard it said, “You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “(Matthew 5:26-28)

Calvin: The purpose of this commandment is: because God loves modesty and purity, all uncleanness must be far from us. To sum up, then: we should not become defiled with any filth or lustful intemperance of the flesh. To this corresponds the affirmative commandment that we chastely and continently regulate all parts of our life. But he expressly forbids fornication, to which all lust tends, in order through the foulness of fornication, which is grosser and more palpable, in so far as it brands the body also with its mark, to lead us to abominate all lust. Let us not delude ourselves, then, when we hear that ourside marriage man cannot cohabit with a woman without God’s curse. While God forbids us to commit fornication, at the same time he does not permit us to seduce the modesty of another with wanton dress and obscene gestures and foul speech. (II.8.41-44)

Calvin approached this commandment in a day in which adultery was common. Calvin’s own brother’s wife had betrayed their marriage vows. This was publicly humiliating for Calvin. Prostitution was common in certain areas in Geneva before Calvin’s day. Calvin is credited in part for putting an end to the prostitution houses, not just by law, but also because people did not want to give those places business any more. Another thing hit home with Calvin about this commandment. That is that the Roman Catholic church, in their zeal not to break this commandment, went to the extreme of requiring celibacy of priests. This had the opposite of the desired effect- many priests were publicly celibate, but privately unchaste. For Calvin, this was an example of going beyond what scripture required to the point that it was self-defeating behavior. Calvin was one for balance and moderation.
In our day the breaking of this commandment is leading to the dismantling of the faith. So many are cohabiting, that marriage is becoming a rare thing. I believe we have made weddings and marriages too expensive, when in fact the government, churches and people have an investment in seeing families make it for the long haul. Many studies have been made of the effects of absentee parents on their children. Children and society pay a tremendous price for divorce and sexual immorality. The sexual revolution has not blessed us, but almost destroyed us with lust, pornography (internet pornography is epidemic), HIV and STDs, and the destruction of the family. The rise and approval of homosexuality in our culture- once thought to be anathema is now in full bloom. This past week Hawaii made steps toward civil union of homosexuals- another degrading of the sacredness of marriage. March 8 “The Family Guy” TV show had a person saying, “Jesus Christ, who hates many people, but none more than homosexuals.” This is a false caricature meant to degrade those who oppose acts of homosexuality or sexual immorality at all. The Muslim women and men are much more conscious of lust. We do not need to resort to burkas, but modesty (as Calvin advocates) and discretion are sorely needed. Men and women need to be more cautious about being alone with someone of the opposite sex. Billy Graham’s reputation in this regard was impeccable because he never allowed himself to be alone with another woman other than his wife. We take our lust and sexual desires too lightly, despite Freud’s warnings. Sex is a powerful gift from God. But used in wrong ways it brings powerful hurt and harm. God establishes borders for our own good.

Prayer: Lord, keep me pure and holy for you in my relationship with others.

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