17 October 2004
Matthew 5:28 & Ephesians 5:4
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.72. What does the seventh commandment forbid?
A. The seventh commandment forbids thinking, saying, or doing anything sexually impure.
1. What does God forbid in this commandment under the name of “adultery”?
God forbids all sorts of unchastity and uncleanness. (Eph. 5:3)
2. Where can such unchastity and uncleanness take place?
Unchastity and uncleanness can take place in the thoughts and desires of the heart as taught by our Lord in Matthew 5:28. It can take place in the words we use, whether we are talking seriously or in a jesting way. (Eph. 5:4). It can take place in our actions; the actual committing of adultery.
3. Are there actions that would tend to lead us into these forbidden areas?
Yes, in this day and age especially there are many things about which we must be very watchful. To name a few of them: (1) Modern psychology with its stress upon “self-expression”, with the idea that it is alright to commit adultery if you really love a person. We must be careful we are not brainwashed in this area which would tend to lower our resistance to sin. (2) Impure books and magazines. (3) The theatre and television. It would be good for us to make a “covenant with our eyes” (Job 31:1). (4) Modern dancing or, as stated in the Larger Catechism, “lascivious dancing.”
4. Why is it so important for us to preserve our chastity and that of others?
We must preserve it because we were made in the image of God and are not beasts who are under no law. As Christians, we should walk in fear of the Lord at all times. Since our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, we are not our own.
5. What is divorce without grounds according to the Word and would one obtaining one be guilty of adultery if he remarried?
The Confession of Faith states the answer very well in Chapter 24, 6 and the person obtaining a divorce without Scriptural grounds would be guilty of adultery if he remarried.
6. In this area is the innocent party under orders from the Word to sue for divorce?
No, this is a privilege of the innocent party, not something that must be done.