You Shall Not Commit Adultery


This week we continue our review of the Ten Commandments with the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” And in keeping with this series I share with you Luther’s brief explanation, “We are to fear and love God so that in matters of sex our words and conduct are pure and honorable, and husband and wife love and respect each other.”

Note first of all that this is already the second of ten commandments dealing with marriage and the family. A third is the commandment against coveting. All three protect the institution of marriage and the family. Do you think God is interested in this gift! Marriage and family provide the foundational blocks for both the larger society, and for the community of God’s people, that is, the Church.

Wherever God has ordered things you can be sure that Old Slew Foot, the archenemy known as the devil, will be hanging around. And he is full of mischief. Concerning the office of father and mother he plants rebellion. Concerning the nucleus of the marital relationship he instigates the fission of adultery. And as the Tenth Commandment teaches, coveting works to assist the fission.

Little wonder our Lord was not only concerned about the final act of having sex outside of marriage, but he knew the origin for this destructive action begins in a lustful heart (cf. Mt. 5:27-28). So indeed, in matters of sex our words and conduct are to be pure and honorable! The goal before marriage is that the marriage bed be undefiled (cf. Heb. 13:4). Vigilance is required in keeping trashy images and thoughts out of our minds and hearts. Good old fashion prudence is called for.

And above all, we are to quickly confess our sins, believing our Lord’s promise to forgive us our sins, to cleanse us, and to create in us a right spirit. And husband and wife are to love and respect each other.

Since You Asked…

What is meant by the term “catholic” as when we confess, “I believe in the holy catholic Church?”

The term “catholic” means whole and refers to a church which receives the Christian faith intact without alteration or selection of matters of the faith. The opposite of catholic is heretic, one who picks and chooses which parts of the faith to accept. Thus “catholic” is more specific than “Christian” and is not a synonym for “ecumenical” or “worldwide”. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)

- often when the “C” is capitalized “Catholic” is referring to the Roman Catholic Church, and when the “c” is lower case “catholic” is referring to the Church receiving the whole of the faith.