Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Sixth Commandment

"You shall not commit adultery."

What does this mean?  We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

Setting aside the First Commandment, there is something unique about the Sixth Commandment's What does this mean?  That is, it leaves out what we mustn't do.  Every other What does this mean? (with the special exception of the First Commandment) begins by saying what we should not do - and then what we should.

But under the Sixth Commandment, which deals with sexual purity and marriage, Luther omits any reference to sexual sins, perhaps in the belief that it would be shameful even to mention them (Eph. 5:3, 12).  How refreshing in an age when we have forgotten how to blush (Jer. 6:15; 8:12)!

Luther focuses on the beautiful things: chastity, modesty, and a loving marriage.  This is what we should do too.

For a list of sins against the Sixth Commandment, one may consult the Explanation.  But to discover and meditate on the blessed essence of this commandment, and apply it to one's life, nothing more is needed than this:

We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Fifth Commandment

"You shall not murder."

"Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him" (Gen. 4:8).

These words record the first murder, and sadly not the last.  But have we, even as Christians, become desensitized to violence and even to murder?  We need to start there.

I once heard about a little boy who was told the story of Cain and Abel.  His reaction?  He began to cry.  His reaction was right because his heart was too.  "Turn and become like children," says Jesus.

We live in a violent, murderous world, because we live in a sinful, terribly fallen world.  God fought back by sending His Son into the world to give His life.  Christ, His love and forgiveness are the only hope for this world.

But what can WE do?  Pray for God to REsensitize our hearts to the preciousness of every human life.  After this, the Holy Spirit will show you many things you can do.  Let me give you three examples.

1. Vote for those whose positions are life-affirming (pro-life).  Encourage your friends to do the same.

2. Parents, shield your children from the violence they would otherwise see on the screen.  And do not let them play violent video games.  Violence is never a game.

3. Encourage and thank your pastor when he speaks about the sanctity of human life in all its stages.  Help your congregation to witness more actively.

Christians are called to lives of repentance, faith, and love.  Central to this life is to hold human life in the highest regard and even to revere it.