Thou shalt not commit adultery. – Exodus 20:14.
This is God’s Sixth Commandment. – Matrimony is instituted by God. Therefore we must not profane it nor commit adultery. Neither by fornication, nor by willful desertion, nor by divorce obtained in the civil courts must we dissolve the bands of holy wedlock. Only when the one party has thus severed the matrimonial ties is the other party free. Christ says: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Matthew 19:6, 9). “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases” (I Corinthians 7:15). But not only is outward physical adultery a violation of God’s Sixth Commandment, for Christ says: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Each should love and honor his own spouse. Each should be true to his spouse in heart, mind, inclination, word, and deed. And all, including, of course, the unmarried, must be chaste and decent in word and deed. “Fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks,” says the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 5:3-4).
We must take this commandment most seriously. For that reason we are to avoid all opportunities where our heart, so unclean by nature, is further inflamed with evil desires. We must rather quench the evil desires with God’s Word and prayer, by working industriously and exercising due temperance in the use of alcohol. Oh, our heart is very unclean! “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts. murders, adulteries, fornications” (Matthew 15:19). Only in the righteousness of Christ, imputed unto us, can we stand before God: only the Holy Ghost can guard us against suffocating our faith by uncleanness.
PRAYER – It grieves me, O my Lord and Savior, that I am so unclean. Cover my impurity with Thy purity in the sight of Thy Father, who through Thee is also my Father. And graciously grant me Thy Holy Spirit, that by His almighty help and power I may fight against and overcome the evil desires within me, until the light of Thy countenance shall completely dispel all darkness within me in heaven. Amen.
Be faithful to thy marriage vows,
Thy heart give only to thy spouse;
Thy life keep pure, and lest thou sin,
Use temperance and discipline.
Have mercy, Lord!
Hymn 287, 7