This is the first of a ten-part series on the most important set of guidelines in human existence: the Ten Commandments. I’m not covering them in numerical order or even in order of importance. This isn’t a count-down; it’s a refresher.
The Ten Commandments are as equally relevant today as they were when they were given to Moses. In fact, they’re even more relevant. The main attack against the Commandments is that they’re “old-fashioned” and out of step with current realities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
God’s truth doesn’t change. Hemlines change; beauty ideals change; scientific theories come and go, but God’s truth remains as fresh and clear and refreshing as ever. And the worse it gets down here on Earth, the more we need God’s help and guidance.
Thank God for the Ten Commandments! They’re both your first and your last line of defence. They’re meant to be memorized as a “To Do” list and a “To Don’t” list; you should know them as automatically as you know your name.
The commandments aren’t meant as a way to interfere with your pleasure, but to keep you from making choices that will lead to pain.
If you find yourself wondering what you should do, look to Jesus, because the solution to every problem we’ll ever face during our time here on Earth was modeled by something Jesus either said or did. And, as we know, Jesus based his teachings on the Ten Commandments.
THOU SHALLT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY
The commandment I want to talk about today is the one concerning adultery. We are not, of course, to commit adultery. Sounds clear enough. But what exactly is adultery?
Jesus made himself more than a few enemies and even lost some followers over his clarification of what constitutes adultery. Adultery means to engage in sexual relations with someone you are not married to. It also includes fantasizing over someone (who may or may not be aware of your existence) and becoming “emotionally involved” in a romantic way with someone who is not your spouse. Adultery extends to relationships you have after you divorce your spouse. Jesus explained that if you divorce someone and then remarry while that person you divorced is still alive, then you’ve committed adultery and the person you marry commits adultery. And if your spouse remarries while you’re alive, your spouse commits adultery, as does the person your spouse ‘marries’.
From this, we can see that divorce is wrong because it almost always leads to multiple instances of adultery. Jesus explained that divorce only became an option because the people in Moses’ time were so hard-headed and hard-hearted. In other words – it was meant to be an option for people who weren’t obedient to God, meaning mostly everyone (but that shouldn’t include us). Divorce is only acceptable in God’s eyes if the spouses involved live celibately until the other dies.
Being obedient to God is only hard when you have a disobedient mindset. God’s rules aren’t difficult either to understand or to follow; as Jesus said, his burden is light. If you find God’s commandments difficult to follow or out-of-step with today’s world, that’s because you’re out-of-step with God and Jesus.
Mainstream Christianity has, of course, embraced divorce, which essentially means they condone adultery. The Catholic organization has even tried to camouflage the sin as a ‘re-do’ by offering to annul marriages that allegedly were not consummated. Annulling means legally treating the marriage as if it had never occurred, as if the marriage vows made before God can be rescinded or made null and void. In this, Catholicism is fooling no-one, least of all God. Jesus said that what God has joined, let no-one tear apart.
Marriage is for life. That means, you stay married until you or your spouse dies. If you find yourself in an abusive or love-less marriage, you separate from your spouse and live celibately. Meanwhile, you pray that God will help you find a way to heal your marriage. But you don’t divorce and you don’t remarry, not as long as your spouse is still alive.
Jesus didn’t mince his words, and neither do I. The world will not only tell you it’s your right to divorce for any number of reasons, and then the world will seduce you into remarrying while your spouse is still alive. General rule of thumb here is: If the world encourages or approves it, it’s almost guaranteed to be the wrong choice.
Jesus explained that the sole grounds for divorce is fornication. Now, for fornication to occur, there has to be a non-marital situation, otherwise it’s adultery. A good example of fornication as grounds for divorce can be found in Jesus’ parents. Mary showed a pregnancy shortly after her marriage to Joseph but before they had consummated their union (meaning they hadn’t yet had sex). Joseph knew that Mary hadn’t had sex with him prior to their marriage, so he had clear grounds to divorce her. However, because Joseph was obedient to and loved God, God told him the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy, and he agreed to continue with the marriage. What appeared to be fornication (Mary having sex before marrying Joseph) was instead a miraculous conception. Isaiah said that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin, and so he was.
Mainstream Christianity has skewed Jesus’ sole exception (fornication) to mean adultery. Catholics readily receive permission from “the Church” to divorce as long as they can prove adultery. But adultery was NEVER meant to be grounds for divorce. We see this in John 8, where Jesus forgives the adulterous woman while warning her not to commit that sin again. He didn’t advise her husband to find a good lawyer and file for divorce; he warned the weeping and repentant woman not to sin again.
As an escaped (and hopefully soon to be excommunicated) Catholic, I can honestly state that the problem with Catholicism is, well, everything. Catholicism consistently misrepresents the gospel because those in charge of that organization and those who laid the ground rules for it are blind and deaf; they aren’t born again; they haven’t got a clue what Jesus said. People who follow the advice of Catholic or other mainstream Christian organizations regarding divorce and adultery are classic examples of the blind leading the blind.
Someone out there needs to hear this today. Someone out there is “involved” where he or she shouldn’t be. You know that Jesus says that even to look at someone with lust is already to have committed adultery with them (if you or they are married). The best way to avoid this trap is to ask God to help you, to sincerely ask God to help you. Not in a lukewarm or half-hearted way, but to sincerely ask for help. Sin is not only knowing that you’re doing something wrong; sin is consciously persisting in doing something wrong even after you’ve been warned. God gives you second chances (think of the woman in John 8), but at some point, time’s up.
If you’re being tempted to sin, ask God for help. Don’t ask a minister or a friend; ask God. Ultimately, God is the only one who can really help you, so you might as well go right to the source, just like Jesus did when he was in our shoes.