108 Q. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
A. That God condemns all unchastity,^1 and that therefore we should thoroughly detest it^2 and live decent and chaste lives,^3 within or outside of the holy state of marriage.^4
^1 Lev. 18:27-28
^2 Jude 23
^3 1 Thess. 4:3-5
^4 Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7
109 Q. Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?
A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why God forbids all unchaste actions, looks, talk,^1 thoughts, or desires,^2 and whatever may incite someone to them.^3
^1 Eph. 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:18-20
^2 Matt. 5:[27-28]
^3 Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:33
LORD’S DAY 41 (Q/A 108-109)
This isn’t a reflection to extol living a single life as a bachelor, nor is it a reflection to extol being married; I commend both, as one who was a bachelor and as who is married with children. I was blessed as a bachelor, and I am blessed as a married guy. Being single is not for everyone, as is being married is not for everyone. Both are gifts from God, and, as such, are to be treasured, honored, and received with thanksgiving. Both also share a common trait: both are callings/vocations, and, as such, are intended to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God. In this upward sense, whether as a bachelor/bachelorette, widow, widower, divorced, or (re-)married, is your particular relational vocation glorifying God, and, enabling you a greater delight in your relationship with God; in short, is your mind, heart, and body singularly focused on God and delighting in God? Q/A 108 and 109 discuss the seventh commandment’s prohibition on committing adultery. As the Decalogue, in each and in toto, is an expression of God’s character, the seventh commandment expresses the jealousy of God, the singular focus that God has upon us, God’s desire to be worshipped and glorified by God’s creation, not because of a divine narcissism or a divine necessity, but out of worthiness for who God is and what God has done. God’s heart pulses for deep love for us; thus, the first commandment’s exhortation, “You shall have no other gods but Me.” The seventh commandment is an extension of that first commandment (all other commandments are extensions of that first commandment), but from another angle – our intimate human relationships. Our intimate, human relationships are gifts that offer a window into God’s deep desire, delight, and love for us. Are we being faithful in our relationships – in singleness or in marriage? How we regard those whom we love is a key evidence of how we regard the invisible, almighty God. When Grace and I got married 12 years ago, we shared that during our single days, we each prayed to the Lord for a mate whose passion for the Lord surpassed our own. It’s not that we could quantify passion, but our prayers were hopes that whomever we married, we desired another whose commitment was singularly to God, and secondarily, to the other. This was essential because we as human beings are faulty and are easily guided by our own rationalizations and fleeting emotions. Secondly, being human beings, we are mortal, and if Grace’s undying love were to me and me alone, or me to her and her alone, when either of us predeceased the other, will our world crumble and shatter to a point that we would be unable to live, unable to function, unable to have any more meaning, significance, value, worth, purpose and calling in life; our singleness nor our married state could not replace God, could not satisfy the mind’s, heart’s, body’s longing for what only God can provide. If God were made to serve our singleness or our marriage, then singleness or marriage would have become our god, and a counterfeit god it would have proven itself to be. Q/A 108 and 109 force the diagnosis upon us: Is your singleness or marriage serving to have you delight in God and in God’s ways? An adulterous mind/heart/body is a double-minded, double-hearted, double-bodied person. To whom is your singular focus? And are you encouraging others to live out their callings/vocations to delight in God, whether in their singleness or in marriage? Grace and I understand our marriage to be an exhibition of the Gospel (God’s love in Christ for the Church), as well as building up one another in our discipleship of Jesus Christ. If, in our singleness we were committed to the Gospel and discipleship, then, surely and hopefully, now in our marriage, God desires and expects that in our married state there would be that ongoing commitment to the Gospel and discipleship, if not an enhancement and expansion of that commitment. Likewise, in your singleness – whether unmarried, divorced, widow/widower – are you exhibiting the Gospel and discipleship of Jesus Christ? Being single applies to singleness and marriage. Because at its heart, being single is about a singular focus – the singular focus of God upon us, and God’s calling to us to be singularly focused on God as we discover this in our relational commitments to one another.