Archive for the ‘7th Commandment’ Category

Matthew 5 and Sexual Sin

October 25, 2011

Matthew 5:27-32 
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

One of Rome’s laymen e-apologists recently tried to argue that “if thy right hand offend thee” refers to acts associated with sexuality.  I hope that my readers can discern what this layman has in mind without my spelling it out.  (link, caution – discussion is more explicit there)

There are reasons not to accept this theory.  For example, in a similar passage, Christ says:

Matthew 18:8  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

It seems that Christ is simply listing important body parts. 

Moreover, there is no particular reason that the use of the hand must be as this apologist suggests, but may instead refer to the act of grabbing or hailing the woman in order to act on or further the lust described.

Nevertheless, let’s assume that our Roman acquaintance is on to something in Matthew 5, for the sake of the argument.

Suppose that the reference to the right hand relates to sexual desire with respect to a woman.  But is it any woman?  No, it is to a woman that is not one’s wife.  The same goes for the eye that looks on the woman.

Is there anything wrong with a man looking on his wife to desire her sexually?  Surely not, notwithstanding the error of ascetics and those influenced by them.  Indeed, we are taught in Scripture:

Proverbs 5:18-19 
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

So then it is not the sexual desire itself that is condemned, nor the looking or touching that is condemned, but the lust directed at one who is not one’s wife that is condemned.  But this does not fit contemporary Rome’s argument on this topic.  It is not a blanket condemnation of non-procreative acts, but merely a call to abstain not only from adultery in the act but also adultery in the heart.

May God preserve us from temptations to adultery in the heart and in the act!


Sodomite Christians – Oxymoron?

November 2, 2010

Tim Challies has a recent blog item (link to item) in which he discusses Christians who struggle with the sin of desiring to engage in fornication with members of the same sex.

He writes (among other things):

Hill is a Christian and he is gay. Now I know many will get no further than this phrase: gay Christian. Hill uses that phrase as a kind of shorthand to express that he is a Christian—an evangelical who holds to the tenets of the Chrisitan faith, but he is also a man who is homosexual in what seems to be his natural orientation or inclination. He has always been attracted to men and only men. He has remained celibate through all his life, convicted and enabled by the Holy Spirit not to act out his sexuality. But hope and pray as he might, he cannot change his inability to be attracted to women.

First, I want to point out that there is really no need for men to be attracted to women. A complete absence of sexual attraction is a great gift from God, something that can permit a Christian to spend more time serving God.

Second, being attracted to “women,” isn’t particularly sanctified. In a perfect marriage, a man is attracted to a single a woman, his wife. Perfect marriages may or may not exist, but being attracted to women other than one’s wife is not a good thing. Being attracted to a plurality of women is not in itself a good thing.

Third, while sodomy is a serious sin, so are all kinds of fornication. I’m not sure how much of the subjective experience of struggling against sin can be compared between people, but a man who struggles with opposite sex fornication may be experiencing a very similar struggle to a man who struggles with same sex fornication. I think this is important for people to realize – particularly because it seems that some contemporary folks treat the sin of sodomy as abomination but wink at the sins of pre-marital sex, adultery, or lust. Sodomy may be worse, but there’s nothing at all good about adultery or any other kind of fornication. Those who struggle with sexual sins need our encouragement to put that sin to death.

Fourth, I don’t see any wisdom in using the label “gay Christian” (unless you mean happy) or “Sodomite Christian,” unless you are trying to make an oxymoron. Christians are supposed to be holy people. We all struggle with various sins, but we don’t go around calling ourselves “Murderous Christians,” or “Thieving Christians,” and so also it is not wise to call oneself by any label that involves sin. I understand that sexual sins are particularly strong, but sin is a shameful thing. Encouraging people to combine “Christian” with some designation for any sin is not a good idea, as far as I can see.

Anyhow, those are my comments. Feel free to disagree, as I am sure many will.


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