THIS WEEK: Lead Me to the Cross…Read the Tablets…Find the Cross!
“I’ve never killed someone.”
“I’ve never committed adultery.”
We can “check the box” of the fifth and sixth commandment, right?
Not so fast. Jesus has a few things to say to us:
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Desiring someone to be eliminated from our life…the thought…is just as sinful as pulling the trigger.
Desiring to be with someone sexually…the thought…is just as sinful as physically committing adultery.
Once sin is on the outside, it is simply a manifestation of what is on the inside. Jesus teaches, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
Sometimes we “justify our sin” by saying, “As long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.” I’ve yet to see a secret sin that never has an impact somewhere on someone else. Our hate-filled thoughts turn into rude comments, or short tempers. Our sinful nature loves to think of ourselves better than other people, other skin colors, or other professions. While we may not classify our “looking down on others” as “hate” it certainly diminishes the value of that person’s life in our mind.
And that is what God is protecting in the fifth commandment…the value of life. We could go on with abortions, drug abuse, senseless murders, and more. But let’s not forget what is going on in our own hearts. Martin Luther put it this way: “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.”
The sixth commandment is like it. Some may argue what I look at on my computer is my business. Yet porn creates unrealistic ideas of what the blessing of sex is to be like, it makes women (or men) into sex objects and leads to the erosion of healthy marriages and relationships. Think you are immune? Just look at the advertising that comes up on your news feed, social media, or TV. Sex sells and advertisers know it. Lust is not innocent and while it is a sin of the heart, it has potential to affect others.
That’s why God gave us the sixth commandment…to protect and value the gift of sex, marriages and committed relationships. He wants couples to enjoy the gift of sex, treasure it and protect it. Yes we could mention here relationships that go against God’s design for one man/one woman committed marriages, but again God doesn’t want us to “look out there” first, but into our own hearts. Martin Luther puts I this way: We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
Both of these commandments and their finer points lead us to the cross. We can’t “check the box” and move on because guilt and shame reside in our lives because of the fifth and sixth commandments. That’s why we need Jesus. We need his perfect love to cover our hate and his pure heart to cover our lust. The punishment our sins deserved? Jesus took care of that too…at the cross.
You are forgiven and loved, pure and whole. Enjoy living today as a forgiven, loved, child of God!
Apply: Look for an opportunity today to “help and support” your neighbor in “every physical need” today. Also, if you or someone you know and love is struggling with pornography, check out this great resource: https://conquerorsthroughchrist.net
PRAYER: Lord, empty my heart of hate and lust and fill it with your love for me and strength to always love, value and respect each person. AMEN