Being Instructed by the Ten Commandments
The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.
In the 6th Commandment, we are taught to protect God’s gift of marriage. We are learning to regard the gift of marriage and life as holy. Thus, we are struggling against a culture that does not believe in the sanctity of life or the sanctity of marriage. Here we see the clear connection between the 4th, 5th, and 6th Commandments. From the gift of a father and a mother, we obtain the gift of life. From the gift of the marital union, we obtain the gift of life. Our own consciences bear witness that it is wrong in God’s sight to despise our parents and other authorities, to murder the unborn, and to commit sexual sin outside of God’s institution of marriage. However, the corrupted culture tries to silence our troubled consciences by speaking louder and crying out against the authorities established by God, conception given by God, and sexual intimacy in marriage ordered by God. Thus, the wisdom of the world yells, “Rebellion! Abortion! Same Sex Marriage!” The devil hates the institutions and gifts of God. The world tries to catechize us through the media, movies, and music.
The Apostle Paul warns the baptized saying, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals. Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 15:33–34). Now to us who have been given the knowledge of God in Christ, we are growing in our understanding of our salvation from sin and death. Christ is our Catechist.
As sheep of the Good Shepherd who laid down His life to save us and make us His Holy People, we know His voice. Through the mouth of the Apostle Paul we hear Jesus’ voice instructing us: “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:13–14). Instead of walking in the flesh, we are called to walk in the Spirit.
In Holy Baptism, we are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit who continues to be poured out on us through the Word of God. Our heavenly Father “gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives” (Small Catechism, The Lord’s Prayer: 2nd Petition). We are learning to keep God’s Name holy in our bodies by fleeing from sexual immorality, “which profanes the name of God among us” (Small Catechism, The Lord’s Prayer: 1st Petition). By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are starting to desire to do God’s will. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5). As those who know God, we are learning to mortify the desires of the flesh, that is, put to death our sinful passions of our fallen flesh. Such sinful passions are made manifest in misusing our bodies in sexual sin.
In the 6th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the baptized in Corinth we are instructed on how to keep the 6th commandment. The Apostle warns us that the sexually immoral, the idolaters, adulterers, and those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). It is true that sin will remain in the baptized, but it must not reign in the baptized who have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11). Our bodies have been redeemed by Christ. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Thus, we should flee sexual immorality which is the sin one commits against his or her own body. Our bodies belong to Christ who purchased it with His own blood. The body of the baptized is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). The Holy Spirit is instructing us to walk in newness of life in which we fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do.
But most profoundly, when it comes to God’s gift of marriage, we are given a picture of Christ, who is the Bridegroom, and the Church, who is His Bride. Jesus loves the Church and gave Himself up for her so that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of water and the word, that is, Holy Baptism (Ephesians 5:25–27)
Through Holy Baptism Jesus makes each of us presentable to Himself, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. He cleanses us from all our sins, even those against the 6th Commandment, and He enlivens us to live lives of faith in Him and of true love (not what the world peddles as love) toward our neighbor.
Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier serves as pastor at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Los Alamos, NM