Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Seventh Commandment

Throughout today's reading, Calvin specifically addresses men.  But I tell you that in everything he says, women are to equally listen and apply.  This commandment is just as applicable to both genders.

Today we come to the seventh commandment, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14 NKJV).  It seems simple enough, but of course, Calvin has plenty to say about it.  God loves purity and hates uncleanness.  Calvin, in summing up this commandment, states that "we should not become defiled with any filth or lustful intemperance of the flesh."    Although God expressly forbids fornication, we should refrain from ALL uncleanness and regulate all parts of our lives.  We have all heard before that man was not made to live alone, instead we are meant to live in relationships with others.  God provided for us when he established marriage.  Calvin tells us that "any other union apart from marriage is accursed in his sight." 

Calvin turns his attention to celibacy.  Some people remain celibate their entire lives.  Calvin, like Paul, tells us that this is a gift from God.  If this gift has not been given to us, then it is a violation of God's ordinance for us to attempt to be celibate.  Therefore those who struggle with abstinence "and cannot prevail in the struggle should turn to matrimony to help them preserve chastity in the degree of their calling."  Calvin then says, "Here the Lord forbids fornication.  He therefore requires purity and modesty of us."  We should examine ourselves and our hearts.  Paul tells us, "but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9 NKJV).  Paul recognized that most people are not capable of a life of celibacy and those who are not capable should take refuge in marriage.  In fact, Paul also wrote to the Corinthians, "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband" (1 Corinthians 7:2 NKJV).  In other words, take a spouse (only 1 per customer please) and refrain from sexual immorality.

Calvin briefly addresses modesty and chastity.  We should have "sober control" in our marriages.  Spouses must still respect each other and not think that marriage is a license for any type of behavior.  A husband and wife must honor each other in their marriage.  One example of dishonor that Calvin uses is seducing another with "wanton dress and obscene gestures and foul speech."  These things are immodest and are not pleasing to God.  We should respect our spouses and our marriages that God has given us with modesty and purity.

Tomorrow's reading: 2.8.45-2.8.50

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