Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27
An Immoral Age
What do you think of this social analysis? I recently came across this commentary: “Sexual anarchy is here. It has assumed extreme forms and spread throughout a large part of the population, side by side with an increase of sexual perversions; a shameless sexual promiscuity has also increased…adultery, rape and prostitution have greatly increased. Homosexuality has entered the mores of the population and contemporary authors seem to sadistically enjoy the enumeration of a variety of…sexual perversions.”
When do you think that social commentary was written? Would you suppose it was written by Dr. James Dobson in last month’s, Focus on the Family bulletin? No, the writer of this particular article lived 4,500 years ago, approximately 2,500 BC, in ancient Egypt!
Promiscuity is not Progress
Perversion and immorality are not new. Those who assume that everything used to be more moral, and tends to get less moral with time, are ignorant of history. Sexual immorality is as old as sin. There is nothing modern about it. Those people who are promoting promiscuity, pornography and perversion as progress are lying. There is no progress in it. It is regression. It is a return to pre-Christian paganism.
Fidelity, chastity and faithfulness are a fruit of Christianity. The sexual revolution is extremely old news, True Love Waits is the real revolution and that is news!
The sexual revolution is revolting in more ways than one. It is an uprising against God Himself. It is a rebellion against His sovereign authority, a rejection of the Law of God.
Lies that Enslave and Destroy
The so-called new morality is neither moral, nor new. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). If we buy into his lies, we will find that they poison our minds, pollute our hearts and damn our souls.
Take the lie that “This is a private matter between two consenting adults.What I do in private is nobody else’s business. Nobody gets hurt.”
The Public Costs of Private Sins
Actually sexual ethics are not private matters at all. Everyone ends up paying for the private affairs of others. Many people are hurt by what others do in private. Sexual immorality has brought about the birth of literally millions of illegitimate children. Mothers without husbands, and children without fathers, living on welfare cost the rest of us many hundreds of millions of rand every year. Many of the children who grow up without fathers end up in gangs. A vast amount of the crimes that are committed are carried out by youngsters who do not even know who their father is.
Police officers have informed me that most of the young men in gangs come from single parent and broken homes. They are just some of the products of the sexual revolution. These gang members are full of anger at a world that has ignored them and abandoned them. Much of the graffiti, litter, pollution, vandalism, housebreakings, muggings, violence and armed robberies are committed by products of broken homes, irresponsible parents, absentee fathers and a result of the prevalence of sexual immorality.
All of us continually pay for the immoral and irresponsible decisions of others.
Not only are there catastrophic social consequences to sexual immorality, but pervasive psychological ones too. As Dr. Braceland, Editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry observed: “A more lenient attitude on campus about premarital sex experience has imposed stresses on some college women severe enough to cause emotional breakdown.” He noted that sexual permissiveness has caused mental illness to significantly increase. Furthermore, sexual problems, confusions and relational complications that result from permissiveness are now known to be a primary factor that leads to suicide amongst high school and university students.
How then can anyone believe the lie that “Nobody gets hurt!” Those who break the Seventh Commandment open themselves to traumatic mental, emotional and spiritual turmoil. When we break God’s Law we suffer and we cause others to suffer.
Many studies have confirmed that sexual adventurers demonstrate “abnormal depression, introversion, nervous activity and even some delusional thinking.”
State Sponsored Promiscuity and Perversion
Yet, ANC government policy has been to heavily fund and promote promiscuity and perversion through “values clarification”, “life skills” and the grossly overfunded “Love Life” campaign. In this lust-saturated society the young people of South Africa are being encouraged, by government policy, to be fornicators, adulterers, whoremongers and perverts. Everyone needs to see the Doctors for Life documentary DVD: In Your Face. It is not just HIV/AIDS. There are over 65 different sexually transmitted diseases, many of which are untreatable, with symptoms so terrible that I do not even want to describe them here. Suffice it to say that those who buy into the lie of homosexuality being a normal, healthy, alternative lifestyle, forfeit about half of their life. The average lifespan of normal married heterosexuals is double that of the average homosexual.
The Facts of History
The testimony of history is that great civilisations rise and flourish on the basis of strict discipline, self-control and strong family units. However when those societies turn to sexual promiscuity then productivity wanes, things begin to unravel and soon the society plummets to destruction. Historians have studied each of the 26 civilisations, (from the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes and the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc.). They have found no exceptions to this pattern. No society survives long without strict laws, strong families and stringent self-discipline. Pervasive sexual immorality spells the death of any nation.
Free Sex is Never Free
So-called “free sex” is by no means free. The price tags include: sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, AIDS, broken homes, broken lives, crime-ridden societies, and the collapse of civilisation itself.
Marriage is Honourable“Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2
God instituted marriage in Paradise (Genesis 2:22). He gave the man and the woman to each other in marriage. Our Lord honoured marriage with His presence at the wedding in Cana, during which He performed His first public miracle (John 2:1-11).
“Marriage is honourable among all and the bed undefiled.” Hebrews 13:4
Marriage is a type of the mystical union between Christ and His Church. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Ephesians 5:31-32
The Protection of Faithfulness and Chastity
The Seventh Commandment is protective. It can save us from being plunged into a world of misery and trauma. It can save us from throwing away priceless opportunities, from losing vital friendships, from derailing and destroying our lives. The Seventh Commandment is designed to hold us safely within the bonds of faithfulness and chastity.
“For the commandment is a lamp and the Law a light…to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” Proverbs 6:23-28
Do Not Be Deceived“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Samson and Delilah
Samson had great potential which was wasted through his lack of discipline. Samson had an eye for beautiful women. He loved to look. His roving eyes often got him into trouble with prostitutes. His weakness for women undermined his leadership for his people at a time of great crisis. Then his eyes settled upon a woman who eventually destroyed him. Her name – Delilah – has since been synonymous with beauty and treachery.
Sin Binds, Sin Blinds and Sin Grinds
Using both her body and her brains, Delilah was out to ensnare Samson. As Samson became captivated by her beauty and his lust, he began to lose discernment and control. Finally he lost all his strength and was unable to resist. Too late Samson realised that he had lost his freedom. Samson learned that sin binds, sin blinds and sin grinds.
Samson never achieved his potential, because he refused to live a disciplined life. His character flaws and sin prevented effective leadership. All of Israel suffered as a result. Samson squandered his potential on loose women. Samson dishonoured his parents, diluted his power, disgraced his profession and dissipated his potential. Samson deliberately exposed himself to the enemy with a self-confidence that bordered on carelessness and recklessness.
What We Sow That Shall We Reap
He had power without purity, strength without self-control and because he didn’t know holiness he would know defeat. While Samson was strong before men, he proved weak before women. Samson strangled a lion, but he could not strangle his own lusts. He burst the bonds of his enemies, but he couldn’t break his own self-destructive tendencies. He burned the crops of the Philistines, but he lost his own fruit of virtue by burning with lust for Delilah. The tragic story of Samson in Judges 14-16 teaches us that whoring leads to blindness, slavery and death. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” Galatians 6:7-8
Samson did what was right in his own eyes and his eyes were gouged out. He followed the lusts of his eyes and he lost them. He visited a prostitute in Gaza, and he ended up as a prisoner in Gaza. He pursued Philistine women and ended up doing their work - grinding the corn to provide food to strengthen his enemies. He refused to discipline himself and ended up a prisoner of war and a slave of the Philistines. The tragic story of Samson should serve as an object lesson and warning to each one of us.
“Pride goes before destruction.” Proverbs 16:18
Devastating and Destructive
As in the life of Samson, so any pastor can tell you, in all too many examples which he would have witnessed: adultery not only has a devastating effect on the adulterer personally, but on the families involved. Unfaithfulness devastates relationships and destroys families.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12
Foundations for Faithfulness
Marriage partners must love one another wholeheartedly, thank God for each other regularly, pray for one another daily and do everything possible to strengthen and serve one another. In the Bible marital love includes honour, esteem, respect, gentleness, courtesy and affection and these must be treasured, cultivated and entrenched. Faithfulness to our covenant duties will protect us in God’s pathway of blessings, multiplying our effectiveness in ministry, resulting in great joy in our families and God’s Kingdom.
We are called to be faithful to the Lord and to the husband, or wife, with whom we have entered into covenant commitment. We must also be faithful in all other relationships to which God calls us. Faithfulness is to characterise every Christian.
Do Not be Unequally Yoked
No exposition of the 7 th Commandment would be complete without also considering its prohibition against being unequally yoked.
The Moabite women at Shittim enticed and seduced many of the men of Israel into sexual immorality. One man, Zimri, openly brought Cozbi, a Moabite woman, right into his home. The Scripture records that this incited the Lord’s anger to burn against them and a devastating plague hit the community.
One Israelite, Phinehas, had the courage to make a stand and put a stop to the degenerate wickedness, which was destroying his people. He refused to be seduced by the Moabites. He was committed to upholding the Law of God and he was angry enough about sin to do something about it (Numbers 25).
Today we have many, including so-called Christians, bringing immoral women into their homes, through DVDs, DSTV, M-Net, MMS and through the Internet. The epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases bears eloquent testimony to the rampant immorality of our times.
We need more people like Phinehas today. Clean out your cupboards. Tear up and burn the pornographic posters, magazines and books. Crush the offensive videos and DVDs. Cancel that cable channel with “adult” films. Speak to your local store managers that market modern Moabites. Mobilise other church members to clean up your community. “As free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” Colossians 3:5-6
In the course of my missionary work I have all too often come across the disastrous and tragic consequences of Christians marrying unbelievers. On numerous occasions, while counselling the distraught Christian married to an unbelieving spouse, I’ve heard how the other partner appeared to be a Christian, claimed to be a Christian, made a public profession of faith in Christ, but later revealed that it had been a charade to secure the marriage. On numerous occasions the tearful Christian asked: “Why did nobody warn me?”
Marriage Involves Families
Marriage not only involves two individuals, but two families. We need to honour our parents and seek the guidance of our church leaders when we consider marriage. Those who become “unequally yoked”are being short-sighted and selfish. They are neither considering their ancestors, nor their descendants. Nor are they placing God’s Word above their own emotions.
The Bible tells us that God seeks “…Godly offspring…” Malachi 2:15
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you and their generations for an everlasting covenant…you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.” Genesis 17:7-9
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God; the Faithful God, who keeps His Covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His Commandments.”Deuteronomy 7:9
Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, commanded his servant to swear by the Lord “that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” Genesis 24:3-4
The Bible tells of Jacob’s twin brother Esau who took Hittite wives: “And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebecca.” Genesis 26:34-35
“Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.’” Genesis 28:1
The Law of Moses declared: “Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.” Deuteronomy 7:3
Joshua warned the children of Israel that if they intermarried with the nations around them: “Know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:12-13
“Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons…that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.” Ezra 9:12
When Nehemiah discovered that some of the believers had “married women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab, and half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah (but spoke according to the language of one of the other people). So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them, and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, ‘You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. Did not Solomon King of Israel, sin by these things? Yet…should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” Nehemiah 13:23-27
As part of the Order of Service for marriage, in the Book of Common Prayer, the minister is required to say to the persons about to be married: “I require of you both, as you will answer on the dreadful Day of Judgement when the secrets of all shall be disclosed, that if either of you knows any reason why you may not be lawfully married you now confess it. For be assured that those who marry, other than as allowed by God’s Word, are not joined together by God, and the marriage is not lawful in His sight.”
Protections and Blessings
God’s Law is clear. Obeying it protects us from disaster and guides us to blessings.
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies…” Ephesians 5:28
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Dr Peter Hammond