Heidelberg Catechism Q108 & 109

Q. 108. What is God’s will for us in the seventh commandment?

A. God condemns all unchastity.  We should therefore thoroughly detest it and, married or single, live decent and chaste lives.

Q. 109. Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?

A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why he forbids everything which incites unchastity, whether it be actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires.


At its core, adultery is an issue of unfaithfulness.  By commanding the people to not be unfaithful, God is calling attention to the importance of committed fidelity in all areas of life, particularly the realm of marriage.  Our faithfulness in personal relationships reflects our ability to be faithful to our Lord.  Read Hosea 3:1-4:19.


In our life, everything is to be faithfully devoted to the Lord.  Our speech as well as our actions and our looks as well as out thoughts must be dedicated completely to God.  We must guard against anything that even hints at the consumerism of sexuality.  Our dress must be modest without showing unnecessary skin, our language must be pure treating one another as brothers and sisters in Christ and our desires must be holy – dedicating all of life to the service of God and his advancing kingdom.  Read Ephesians 5:3-5.


The seventh commandment forbidding adultery isn’t just for the married person.  It applies to the single person as well.  As married couples each person has pledged his or her life to another until death and that promise must be honored.  As singles the individual is pledged to God until such a time as the Lord provides a mate.  Sexuality must therefore be controlled and exercised solely within the bounds of a marriage relationship and all the objects and arguments of society against this must be rejected.  There is no place for prostitution, pornography, heavy petting, etc. in the life of the believer.  Read 1Corinthians 7:1-9.


We are God’s holy possession.  Because he owns us he has called us to serve in his kingdom and further his rule.  This is why we are to live decent and chaste lives not only sexually but in all areas of our life.  We are to flee sin and pursue goodness.  Read 1Corinthians 6:18-20 and 1 Timothy 6:11.


Self-control is the first step in learning to be faithful.  Each of us has desires that well up throughout the day.  Maybe it is a desire for food or drink, to be touched or encouraged. These desires in and of themselves are not bad, but they are also not to control us.  When we consistently meet any and every desire immediately we are actually defeating ourselves spiritually. God wants us to learn self-control so that when those desires to sin come along, we have a well of strength to draw upon.  Where do you struggle controlling your desires?  Is it food?  Shopping?  Sex?  Pray to God for a renewed sense of strength and vigor within you soul to control the desires, which are actually controlling you.  Read 1Thessalonians 4:3-8.


Read Matthew 5:39.  This verse and the next are supreme examples of hyperbole.  But more than that, they are wonderful lines that describe how seriously one must take the struggle against sin and for righteousness.  Spare no cost in order to be faithful to God.  Take great lengths in order to ensure that sin doesn’t reign in your body.  These two verses are essentially an explanation of the ends to which faithfulness calls.


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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