We continue our examination of the 10 Commandments. Remember that these commandments are very relevant to our daily lives. They are God’s will for us as to how we are to live our lives as His people and as neighbors to one another. These commandments also show us our sins, giving us reason to repent each and every day. Plus, we examine ourselves by the commandments when considering our reception of the Lord’s Supper.
Today we focus on the 6th and 7th Commandments.
After the first three Commandments, there is probably no commandment so violated and rebelled against than the 6th Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” In this Commandment, which regards both the married and unmarried, God forbids any sexually impure thoughts, words and deeds, and “requires conduct which preserves the institution of marriage and the home” (ELS Catechism). God instituted marriage to be a lifelong union between one man and one woman for mutual companionship, procreation, and avoidance of sexual immorality. The family unit of husband and wife and children are the building blocks of society. Family and society depend greatly upon a healthy marriage union. But we now live in a society in which marriage is disposable or can be redefined. We live in a time where the roles of men and women in a marriage are denied, where self-sacrificial love is replaced by selfishness. This is a culture where sex is to be enjoyed whenever and with whomever. It is no wonder that society is hurting. But even beyond the breakdown of the institution of marriage, consider how the sex-obssessed culture demeans the value of people. (Of course, if we’re simply evolved from primordial slime, we have no inherent value. But, since we are created by God and redeemed by the blood of Christ, we are more than a mass of cells seeking the fulfillment of carnal pleasures.) Pornography and lust culture objectifies people. The hook up culture does not recognize the worth of people, but use people as simply tools for pleasure. Sex is also cheapened in this culture. It is a blessed gift God gives to the marriage union for the consummation of the oneness of flesh, and a joyful, intimate, and mutual giving of one to the other. But in our culture, it is often used for selfish pleasure. Besides all this, the homosexual and transgender movement is moving the culture further away from God’s order of creation and the blessed institutions of marriage and family. In contrast to all the offenses against the 6th Commandment in the world and in our own lives, Martin Luther explains the beauty of keeping the 6th Commandment, “We should fear and love God so that we lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed, and that husband and wife each love and honor the other.”
The 7th Commandment is given for the protection of our possessions and the fruit of our labor. God says, “You shall not steal.” Luther explains it, “We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or goods, nor get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his goods and means of making a living.” This condemns any theft or robbery, laziness (because its taking money from one’s employer without giving good and hard work in exchange), cheating (taking something that you did not earn), plagiarism, and any dishonest way to take from someone their possessions and the fruit of their work.
With these Commandments, it’s easy to point the finger to the guilty world, but we must recognize that we, too, are guilty.
But, for our help and salvation, we can look to a greater and eternal marriage relationship, that is, the relationship of Christ and His Church. Christ is faithful. He has self-sacrificing love. His love covers the multitude of our sins. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).
No matter what sins you have committed, and no matter which sins you struggle with, through faith in the faithful self-sacrificing Bridegroom, you are clean, holy and righteous. And therefore, being cleansed, we strive to live that chaste life, fighting for the sanctity of marriage and family in our own lives and in the world, and we seek to protect the possessions and work of our neighbor. God grant it. Amen.