You shall not commit adultery
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:27-30
God’s Word forbids us to adulterate or pervert God’s intent and design in creation when He made woman to be a helper and companion to man and instituted marriage (Genesis 1-2). Thus, we become guilty of adultery not only when we engage in any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman; we become guilty even when sinful thoughts and desires arise in our hearts. It is adultery – a perversion of God’s intent and design in creation – when a man looks at a woman to lust after her. Of course, the same is also true if a woman lusts after a man not her husband.
The commandments demand more than outward purity; they demand purity of heart – pure and holy thoughts and desires.
How far short we have all fallen! Even if we have outwardly obeyed the commandment against adultery, inwardly, in our thoughts and minds, we have all come short! That is why we so need a Savior – one to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law and to bear our punishment that we might receive God’s mercy and forgiveness!
And that is why God sent His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. He fulfilled all righteousness for us and He suffered and died for all our sins. Messiah Jesus died for us and rose again that we might have God’s pardon and peace!
This, or course, does not make it a light thing to disregard God’s commandments. The wages of sin is still death – spiritual and eternal – and to turn away from our Savior and back into the sin from which we have been redeemed is a grave danger to our soul (cf. Rom. 6:1ff.; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Heb. 10:26-31).
Jesus says, “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Jesus is not advocating that we literally pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands, but He is telling us to remove from us those things which lead us into temptation and sin. Thus, in our struggle against the temptations of the devil, the world around us and the sinful desires of our own flesh, it would be better for us to cut off and do away with those things in life which are a temptation to us than to allow such things to lead us back into sin and to spiritual and eternal death. We may need to avoid certain places, turn off television programs and limit Internet use to avoid temptation and sin. And we will certainly need to pray constantly for the help and strength of God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
O merciful God, for the sake of Christ Jesus, Your Son, forgive us for our sins in thought, word and deed. Cleanse our hearts and minds and lead us to follow You whole-heartedly. Amen.
Divorce is adultery
“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32
Jesus further explains the true meaning of the commandment against adultery. It not only applies to sexual desires and sexual relationships outside of the marriage union; it applies to breaking the marriage union by divorce.
Though Moses, because of the hardness of men’s hearts, permitted a man to divorce his wife by writing her a certificate of divorce and sending her away (Deut. 24:1ff.), such was never God’s intent when He created the woman for the man and brought her to him (Gen. 2; cf. Matt. 19:3-9).
The words of Jesus are unquestionably clear: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
It is as Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-6: “Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Even though God made provision for divorce because of man’s sinfulness – as do civil governments yet today – it was never God’s intent that a marriage end in divorce. In fact, God says He hates divorce and warns against such treachery (Mal. 2:14-16). And since God’s original design and intent in creation was for one man and one woman to be and remain one flesh – one family unit – one who divorces his or her spouse not only commits adultery, but causes his spouse to commit adultery by not continuing in the marriage union. Even the one who marries a divorced spouse commits adultery because he or she takes one whom God intended to continue in a marriage to another (cf. Mark 10:11-12).
God’s command against adultery, therefore, requires much more of us than outward sexual fidelity to our marriage partner. It forbids evil thoughts and desires and divorce as well. God’s provisions for divorce (cf. Matt. 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:15) are there only because of human sinfulness – as a way to clean up the mess we make of our lives by our own sinfulness.
How far short we have come! Who has kept this commandment as God intends and requires?
How thankful we can be that God sent His Son to fulfill all righteousness for us! That Christ Jesus suffered and died for our sins and rose again! How thankful we can be that God is merciful to us sinners and grants us forgiveness, pardon and peace! And that He has made provision for us to pick up the pieces and live our lives anew for Him!
O almighty God, our Creator and our Redeemer, forgive our sin and wickedness for Jesus’ sake, create in us clean and undivided hearts to seek after You and Your perfect will, trusting always in the shed blood of our Savior for eternal salvation. Amen.
“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
Though, perhaps hard for us to fully understand, the serpent was cursed with a greater curse than that of the rest of God’s creatures for its role in the temptation and fall of mankind. Not only would it have to die, but it would spend its lifetime on its belly, eating the dust of the ground. There would be enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. This enmity speaks of much more than a normal distaste for snakes and even destroying them when opportunity arises. It speaks of the offspring of the devil’s lie and the Seed or offspring of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head and undo the damage done by the temptation of the devil in the garden.
The devil would fail in his attempts to deceive and mislead the promised Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Mary’s Son, for Jesus did not give in to the devil’s temptations but was holy and without sin (cf. Matt. 4:1-11; Heb. 4:15).
And, Christ Jesus, when He suffered and died upon the cross for the sins of the world, paid in full the punishment for all mankind’s sin and destroyed the devil’s work, opening up for all of us a way of salvation through faith in Him and His shed blood (cf. Heb. 2:14-17). And so, though the old evil foe bruised the heel of Christ Jesus when He suffered in agony upon the cross, Jesus crushed his head and destroyed his evil work, opening up for us the gates to heaven, by paying in full for all our sins and then rising again from the dead on the third day.
The devil used God’s holy law to bring about mankind’s condemnation by tempting Adam and Eve to disobedience and bringing them under the curse of the law. Jesus, true man as well as true God, obeyed God’s law in the stead of all mankind and then suffered the just punishment for the sins of the world, rising again in victory on the third day, that the law would be fulfilled for all mankind and the just punishment for sin fully satisfied for all. Cf. Gal. 3:10, 13.
It is also true that there is enmity between the offspring of the devil (the unbelieving) and the children (or offspring) of God (the believers) through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, true believers continue to suffer hatred and persecution here in this world from those who do not trust in Christ Jesus or follow Him. But, in the end, all who have not trusted in the innocent sufferings and death of God’s Son for their salvation will be condemned and cast into the eternal torments of hell; and all who have trusted in Christ Jesus will live forever with Him in the paradise of God (2 Thess. 1:3-10).
In Jesus’ own words, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life … He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16,18).
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of man, thank You for redeeming me from the curse and condemnation of God’s holy law by keeping it perfectly in my place, bearing my punishment upon the cross and rising again. Graciously keep me trusting in You and You alone for my salvation. Amen.”
Preparing for Sunday
Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 32; Hebrews 10:1-39; Luke 11:1-13. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.
Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of 1 John, in chapter two.
Verse to Remember
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and [having] an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22
Remember to Pray
Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us – for Sam Rusch, Ray and Bonnie Hawes, Robert and Dawn Hiebert, Mel Boren, Freda Stueland – for our extended families and for believers who are alone and have no congregation.
Choir will practice on Sunday, meeting in the choir room following the worship service.
Our next evening Bible study will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the church.
A Reformation celebration will be held at the church on Saturday, Oct. 26. Mark you calendars and plan to attend.
[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]