No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: ten commandments

…And Now I cheated on my wife!? what adultery looks like.

Last week I pointed out where Jesus called us all murderers… so you should know what’s coming next:  Raise your hand if you have ever cheated on your spouse.  Okay hands down.  Now, I am willing to bet that those of you who didn’t raise your hand….have cheated on your spouse.  My Pastor gave a really good sermon on this topic.  Rather than recounting his sermon (you can listen to it here)…I am going to focus on a certain aspect of the sermon.

7th commandment…You shall not commit adultery.

After you have digested that statement for a moment read Matthew 5:27 – 28.

 27You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

After you pick your jaw up off the floor, consider this: 

When most people think of adultery they are thinking of the actual physical act of being sexually intimate with someone other than their spouse.  To limit adultery to such an act would be to fail to recognize what adultery is in God’s eyes.  Yes, according to God… looking at a person of the opposite sex with lust is adultery.

Many atheist and agnostics will harp on the fact that there are a number of Christians who do in fact commit adultery on their spouses to try to disprove the God revealed in the Bible.  Except when they talk about it they are talking about it in the physical sense.  The truth is that a super majority (if not all) commit adultery on their spouses according to the standard of God.  This is nothing to be boastful about… and it certainly is not my intent. But even still, the failures of His followers do not in any way discredit the claims of Christ.

We cannot limit our view of adultery to the physical act.  Adultery must be viewed as both the physical act and the act committed in your heart when you lust. But through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit there is hope and forgiveness and help to follow God’s standard more closely.

Paul summarizes it this way in Galatians 5:  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateveryou want.

Job 31 says: 

1 “I made a covenant with my eyes
   not to look lustfully at a young woman.
2 For what is our lot from God above,
   our heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,
   disaster for those who do wrong?
4 Does he not see my ways
   and count my every step?

What do you mean I’m a murderer!?

We have hit the 6th commandment mark in our series on the 10 commandments (link here to sermon).  Here is a commandment that is laced with controversy and unintended consequences.  Murder is a harsh word, that (in some circles) is politically charged and could cause many to recoil. And it should.  Our political climate and cultural climate has begun to desensitize us to the “condition” of human life.  I am not sure that a week goes by were murder is not shown on tv, or played out in video games.  This commandment covers the topics of war, abortion, manslaughter, and outright murder.

So when we look at the 6th commandment murder must be defined.  My pastor defined murder as the following “Any act of violence against an innocent human being out of hatred, anger, malice, deceit or for personal gain by whatever method that results in death.”  This is a definition that all of us (including most laws) will agree with.

 I want to talk about the elephant in the room that everyone can see, and I want to talk about the 800lb Gorilla in the room that very few see.

 First to the 800lb gorilla…all of us, at some point, more than likely have committed murder.

 I wanted to start here because if you ask the average Christian, atheist, or agnostic if they have ever committed murder they would all answer no.  They would be about 50% correct.  The truth is that 99.9% of those same people have committed murder and have no idea that they have…

 Jesus is known for ramping things up…so to speak.  He does so with the 6th commandment.  The point here is pretty straightforward.  The Bible says that anyone who is

We are all guilty...

 angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15).  So the act of physical murder is one thing, but anger and hate is murder as well?  Does that even make sense?  ABSOLUTELY!  The point that Jesus is making is that the intent in your heart matters!  God can see through to your heart and knows what your heart is saying….even if your exterior is smiling at the person you hate.  Let this soak in for a second…Every person you have hated…you have murdered…in your heart.  That would make some of us psychopaths. 

 The fact that this is a HIGH standard is intentional.  Raise your hand if you have hated anyone.  Okay know that all of our hands are up…including mine…would you have ever thought that the emotion of anger and hate was tantamount to murder?  This is undeniably a high standard and underscores the reason for our need for salvation.

Now to the elephant…abortion.  Abortion is, and has become a very politically charged issue.  Many argue that abortion is a moral issue.  What is the moral issue?  A woman has a right to choose what to do with her body.  However, I would argue that choice is not a moral issue.  Moreover, I would argue pro-choice is simply a position that could be applied to any issue where a choice is required…such as school vouchers (opportunity for parents to send their kids to a school of their choice), or the gun issue (my choice to have a weapon in the house).  The moral issue at play for the issue of abortion is this, is it right or wrong to murder?  Now, I can immediately envision the embolism that is taking place in the heads of pro-abortion individuals.  Hear me out.  Pro- Abortion and pro-life individuals both agree that murder is wrong.  No one on either side of that argument would defend murder as defined above.  The question then isn’t whether or not murder is wrong; because we all know that it is…the question then becomes when does life begin?  Is abortion in fact murder?  Check this out…In Roe v. Wade the US Supreme Court declined to comment on the issue of life.  Rather a neutral position was declared saying that it wasn’t necessary for them to know when life began.   Doesn’t that seem odd?  A court ruling that allows for the termination of a pregnancy ignoring the question of whether the fetus is in fact alive.  Now Planned Parenthood v. Casey does define when life begins (yes a court did this) however, the morality (which is where I am attacking here) was as vague if not more vague from this ruling. 

 Consider the following quote from the Casey case: “Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code…at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”  Now that you have read this…re-read it while considering the following:  1.  The court mandated it’s own moral code, while stating that it could not. 2. Based on the above one could argue that a murderer defines his existence by murdering.  The above statement could be used to justify anything under the guise that it defines a person’s existence, and meaning.

 Now, in our small group we discussed this topic at length.  It was brought up that scientific studies show that the cells do not enter the womb until the 6th day  of pregnancy (yes this is relevant.)  Looking at abortion statistics from a 2006 CDC survey, 40% (487,000) of abortions take place AFTER the 9th week and 60% (755,000) less than 9 weeks.  We don’t know how many abortions take place from day 6 and before, but I am willing to wager not very many considering that most do not find out they are pregnant until the missed cycle (which could be anywhere from 3 weeks).  Consider the above statistics when reading the next paragraph.

 According to Psalm 139:13-16 God knit us together in the womb. He sees our unformed body.  He wrote out our history before we saw one day.  Psalm 139 offers instruction as to when life begins.  So there could be two sides to this argument… the Conservative, life begins at conception, or the liberal, life begins when God knits us together in the womb.  Both conclusion could be had from Psalm 139.  To rephrase…life begins at conception or at the time we enter the womb for knitting (day 6).

 To summarize…God has provided a timeline to when life starts.  The courts have been put into a position to try and define when life starts, but they relegate it to choice.  If life starts (even at the latest) 6 days after conception, then abortion at any point beyond that has to be considered murder, according the definition provided above. 

 While the argument about abortion is indeed heated, one must remove the cultural issue (choice) and focus on the moral issue at hand (murder).  When you focus on the true moral issue of murder, the only question that exists about abortion is, when does life begin.  If the argument for abortion looked specifically at that question…I have a feeling that the tone would be much different.

The forest through the trees…

Can you see the forest through the trees?

A group of guys were on a camping trip.  They went hiking, and got lost.  They were looking for a forest where they had camped.  One of them turned to the group and said “Hey, can anyone see the forest?”  One in the group replied “Well it would be a lot easier to see without all of the trees!”

This is a pretty common saying…can’t see the forest through the trees.  The use of the phrase implies that someone is so caught up in the details, that they can’t see the big picture.  This was the situation that Jesus found himself in, in Matthew 12:1-14. 

The set up:  Jesus and the apostles were walking through a grain field on the Sabbath.  They were hungry, so they picked some grain and ate.

The problem:  According to the 4th commandment, they were to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.  Because God made the world in 6 days, and rested on the 7th…we are supposed to as well.

The reaction:  In their zeal to try and do what is right (keep the law), the Pharisees had built a practical buffer around the law were they placed rules around the law to attempt to prevent accidental violation of the law.  They did this because they had learned the severe consequences of ignoring God’s laws (through the exile).  They were irritated with Jesus for not keeping their stringent rules or the letter of the law.

The response:  Jesus asks the Pharisees to see the forest through the trees – to see the big picture, or to observe the spirit (intent) of the law rather than the strict letter of the law.

Upon being questioned by the Pharisees Jesus drew a couple of comparisons to the Old Testament.  He concluded his response with a quote of Hosea 6:6; “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.  Jesus had used this phrase before (Matthew 9:13).  When Jesus summarized the law in Matthew 22:37-40 He basically told them “Love God and Love People” – in other words BE Loving… BE Merciful.  The law was a set of guidelines to help people figure out how to be and act in loving and merciful ways. The Pharisees were totally missing that point.  Jesus went on to illustrate this at the temple by healing a man with a withered hand.  It wasn’t enough that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day (viewed as work by the Pharisees), but he also made a point to ask the man to extend his hand to be healed (this also could have been viewed as work).   This time Jesus was painting a picture for them.  He asked them which one of you would not go help your sheep if it fell into a pit?  This was a practical illustration of giving mercy, and not sacrifice that they would put into effect because it would ultimately benefit them.  Jesus exposed their heart attitude that they didn’t care so much about loving God and loving other People… they were just trying to stay out of “trouble” and look good.

The 4th commandment is really an interesting commandment because of what happens when you discuss it.  You can be in a group talking about how we can honor this commandment and within 10 minutes you are so far into what is allowed that you forget that Christ wants us to be merciful rather than sacrificial… he wants us to see the forest…  Now don’t get me wrong, it helps us to see the trees (look at the details) in most cases.  But, it is when we are so focused on the trees, and we forget the big picture, that’s when problems begin to occur. 

In our small group tonight it took 10 minutes before we were diving into the minutia of the 4th  commandment and asking questions like, “are we enabling the breaking of the 4th commandment by going to the store and forcing people to work on Sunday?”  After a few minutes of discussion we looked at Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” and moved on. But the questions still remain – God created a 7 day week for a reason (and studies have shown that people are most healthy productive when they take 1-2 days off each week). There’s so many things to consider surrounding the practical application and implications of a “Sabbath” day (like Hebrews 10:24-25, what day it should be and whether it is even applicable to the Church age or strictly an OT commandment specifically to Israel).  While our group discussed this commandment for only an hour, the Israelites had discussed it for over 1000 years… You can imagine how far down the rabbit hole they had gone with the 4th commandment!! This is why Jesus’ words and actions were so upsetting to the religious establishment of the time!

As alluded to before, the problem with the Pharisees wasn’t that they were being “disobedient” to God… they had a Heart problem and jacked up motivations.  Their stance can be summed up in one word:  Legalism.  None of us think we are susceptible to that, but we really are… AND , We have to avoid it AT ALL COSTS… because it leads us to being so consumed with the “law” that we forget the mercy and grace of God and how He desires us to be loving and merciful to the people around us.  After all isn’t Loving God and Loving others the point?

There are no absolute truths…except that one

The previous post stirred Kevin and I to begin to look at the issue of moral relativism.  This is an issue that, not only permeates society at large, but also has reared its head more and more in the church.  Many in the church have fallen prey to the idea that some things are okay.  This is due to the acceptance of some things that are glorified or deemed acceptable to society.  To stand up against these immoral values requires courage, and faith.   Many Christians are afraid to take that stance, while others take their stance to an extreme.  We touch on this topic in the very first post of this blog (No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing). 

As Christians, we are called to believe in an absolute moral authority and live by it.  This

Inside the mind of a moral relativist...

 means that there is an ABSOLUTE right, and an ABSOLUTE wrong.  Kevin and I understand the position that this creates.  You might be saying “How can you say (insert moral value) is wrong?”   My response…would be to ask you the exact same question you asked me. Read more of this post

Are you a good person?

Do you think you are a good person?  If you are like me, you think that you are.  Who wants to think that they are a bad person? 

Well, there is one way to find out if you really are a good person.  Just answer these questions below honestly.  If the questions have a sound a familiarity, it should.  The questions are based off of the Ten Commandments.  Are you ready?

  1.  Have you ever told a lie?
  2. Have you ever used Jesus or God as a curse word?
  3. Have you ever looked at someone of the opposite sex with lust?
  4. Have you ever stolen anything?
  5. Have you ever hated anyone?

If you were honest you probably answered yes to all of these.  I am in the same boat with you. 

Have you ever told a lie?  What do you call someone who lies?  A liar.  It doesn’t matter how insignificant the lie is, or the volume of lies you tell.  A lie is a lie.  The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word?  If you have then you are a blasphemer.  Blasphemy is so offensive to God that when declaring the Ten Commandments God said that he would not acquit anyone who does it (Exodus 20:7). 

Have you ever looked at someone else with lust?  Why lust?  Jesus said that anyone who looks at a woman to want her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  According to God, if you have done this, you are an adulterer (Matthew 5:27-28). 

Have you ever stolen anything?  What do you call someone who steals? A thief.    Stealing a pack of gum is no different than stealing a DVD, video game, or car. There is no distinction between frequency or what was stolen.

Have you ever hated anyone?  This is an interesting question because we all have emotions and I know that I have expressed and acted on hateful emotions towards others.  Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer in their heart.

If you answered yes to these that would make you a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous murderer.  Sound a little harsh?  IT IS as harsh as it sounds.  Here we have only covered 5 of the Ten Commandments, and we all (myself  included) have violated all 5!  Does this concern you?  It should.  Do you still believe that you are a good person?

 “But, Robert I did do these things, I am not that way anymore?”  Basically you are saying that you think the statue of limitations has run out and that God has forgotten that you did these things.  I can assure you he hasn’t.

If you woke up and were standing in front of God, and he were judging you based on His law would you be innocent or guilty?  I would be guilty. 

If you are reading this saying “Robert, I don’t believe God”.  Well just because you don’t believe in the judge doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to pass down a verdict to you.  If you are standing in a court room, and the judge finds you guilty of committing a crime, and you say “I’m sorry judge I don’t believe you exist”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away? 

If you are standing in front of a judge, and say “yes your honor, I did steal all of that money, but I give to charities”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away?

If the Judge lets you walk, how good of a Judge would he/she be? 

God is a righteous Judge.  He must punish violations of His law.  This is true whether you believe in Him, or don’t believe in Him, whether you stole only a pack of gum, or actually murdered someone!   If you violate His law he must find you guilty, and you should punished accordingly.  What is the punishment?  Kevin touched on that in his last post (Romans 6:23). 

Now imagine that you are standing in front of a judge who is about to sentence you to prison for a crime you actually committed.  All of a sudden someone walks in, stands before the judge and insists that he will pay the penalty for you so that you would not have to be punished.  That would be amazing wouldn’t it!  This is exactly what Jesus did for you on the cross.  He stepped in and accepted the penalty for your sins.  He did this out of love for you, and so that you could have eternal life and not perish in the lake of fire.  “Robert, what’s the catch?”  The “catch”, you must believe and confess that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and was raised from the dead.  That is the catch.  If you believe this in your heart you will be changed forever. Now, this belief isn’t just mentally understanding this is true – it is trusting in it as your only hope for heaven… It’s placing your faith and trust in this truth just like you place your faith and trust in the pilot and the plane when you fly across the country. It’s a no holds barred type of belief.

Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus’ payment for your sin? If not, He is waiting for you to do so (Revelation 3:20) – He WANTS you to do so! If you have trusted in Jesus, please live for him and tell others about what He has done for you! Too many of us are loving “good people” straight into Hell because of our silence.

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