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Safeguarding Moral Purity

(Proverbs 5:15-18; 6:23-35)

Lesson 5 -- second quarter 2009
October 4, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

Which of the Ten Commandments apply here?

What should our response be to another's beauty?

Do I ever act like the answer to verses 27 and 28 is "Yes"?

How does adultery -- physical or mental -- reveal a lack of understanding?

Has my moral standard and sensitivity trended downward with the culture's?

Help from above

Whether or not I want to safeguard my own moral purity, God wants me to. So He provides me with instructions and commandments designed to keep me away from any woman not my wife.

"Drink waters out of thine own cistern" (Proverbs 5:15). If she isn't mine, I shouldn't take from her any satisfaction of any sexual need or desire.

"Rejoice with the wife of thy youth" (Proverbs 5:18). If she isn't my wife, she isn't mine to enjoy in any sensual way.

"For the commandment is a lamp...To keep thee from...a strange woman" (Proverbs 6:23,24). When I focus on and live by God's ways and instructions, no other woman will draw me away from my wife.

"Lust not after her beauty in thine heart" (Proverbs 6:25). Just because she is attractive in body or character is no reason to desire her for myself.

"But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul" (Proverbs 6:32). No pleasure and no person is worth that price!

I thought it; I'm guilty; I just as well do it.

In Matthew 5:28, Jesus discloses how serious God is about immorality: "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." When it comes to sexual purity, God sets the standard very high. Even a lustful look ranks as adultery. God sees and judges our spiritual activity just as tangibly as we see and judge our own physical activity. Where we would draw a line between the spiritual and the physical, God says no distinction exists in terms of accountability.

Unfortunately, the Deceiver has used this verse to lead countless people further into sin. The lie goes something like this: "Since you are already guilty of adultery for merely looking and thinking, what further difference will it make if you go further by acting? If you are already guilty anyway, you just as well get some further fun out of it. Not doing it will not make you any less guilty." Such logic seems reasonable and even difficult to refute. What would you say to defeat such a lie? Here are some suggestions:

Your deeds affect other people much more directly.

Had David not compounded his sin by acting on his lustful thoughts, Bathsheba, Uriah, the whole nation of Israel and David's own family would not have suffered the effects they did. How can we possibly believe the Devil, then, when he assures us that we just as well sin physically since we're already judged guilty for our spiritual sin? He's a liar, I'm telling you!

Your deeds add more sin to the record.

OK, so David looked where he shouldn't have and he thought what he shouldn't have. We can total two sins there, to keep it simple. So far so bad. Then he sends for Bathsheba. This is getting worse; add another sin. Then comes the adultery. Add yet another sin. Could it possibly get worse? It did! Somehow the Devil gets many folks to believe that one plus one plus one plus one will equal no more than the first one. He's a liar, I'm telling you!

Your deeds bring more bondage and accountability.

Suppose David had gone no further than his lustful looking and thinking. That alone could have kept him in mental and spiritual bondage. But he would have been accountable only for that. Following through with the actual adulterous deed, put him further into bondage and led to greater and greater accountability. Yet the Devil would have us believe that looking, thinking and doing are really no different no matter what. He's a liar, I'm telling you!

Your deeds affect your testimony more directly.

David's lustful thoughts were known only to him and to God. That alone is enough. But at least no one else knew and would know that the man after God's own heart had sinned in this fashion. His deeds first tainted his testimony before those in the palace, and then with his general, and from there it spread further. How can we possibly believe that acting on the sin of our hearts makes no further difference?! The Devil is a liar, I'm telling you!

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