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The 7th Commandment: Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With?

The 7th Commandment: Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With?

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It is no secret that people are getting married—if they’re getting married at all—later in life than in generations past.

Why do you think it is? Are they waiting because they feel they can be better prepared for marriage? Perhaps during those extra years they’re memorizing Bible verses, applying biblical wisdom, and studying under long-married couples?

Not quite.

Many, especially those who profess the name of Jesus Christ, are breaking the Seventh Commandment (“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 22:14). They don’t want to commit to marriage, and thus they feel freer to have sex on their own terms.

In fact, a 2013 government study found that 48 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 had moved in with a man to whom they were not married. The study covered the years between 2006 and 2010 and discovered that cohabitation was on the rise. In 2002, it was 43 percent, and in 1995, 34 percent.

This Commandment Is for Our Blessing

There’s a universal notion in our nation that rules are bad—really bad. We love freedom in America, which is good thing, and we reason that actual freedom is essential to any pleasure. And true freedom, we imagine, comes from chucking any outside restrictions and following only the orders of our own hearts.

Two myths emerge from this line of thought:

1. “I am most free when I am liberated from all rules.” John said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Real freedom is found not in existing by our desires, but by our design in God.

2. “My desires are the top track to knowing what’s best for me.” Have you ever had a time in your life that you followed your heart and it got you into trouble (Jer. 17:9)? God’s laws are beneficial. They flow out of the intention of a good and loving God for us, not the random orders of a controlling and distant tyrant. The commandments lead to our blessing, not our unhappiness.

What Are the Restrictions of This Commandment?

The fundamental focus of the Seventh Commandment isn’t on what is banned, but what is supported. This commandment is a protection of God’s view of sex and should be ours as well.

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Why? Because God created the pleasure of sex and knows how it works best!

In the New Testament, any type of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is known in the Greek as “porneia.” This is, of course, where the current words “porn” or “pornography” originate.

(Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that even lusting is breaking this commandment.)

Several cultural responses arise from this restriction of sex outside of one man and one woman in marriage:

  • “But we love one another.” Great! Have you united in marriage? If not, it’s porneia.
  • “We are engaged and are waiting to get married.” Engagement is different in the Lord’s eyes than marriage. It’s porneia any other way.
  • What about “friends with benefits”? What harm can come?” Everything—it’s considered porneia.
  • “What about homosexual marriage?” If it isn’t between one man and one woman in marriage, it’s porneia. And it is often said, “Jesus never denounced homosexuality.” Yet 11 times in His ministry he affirmed the Old Testament’s understanding of blessed sex between a man and woman in marriage. Anything outside of that was breaking this commandment.

Okay, But Why Is Sex Outside of Traditional Marriage Bad?

According to Paul in Ephesians 5:22-33, sex is more than just biology. Since we are created in God’s image, marriage and sex are to point to something divine and eternal beyond us. Earthly marriages are given to us as a depiction of God’s relationship to us.

The 7th Commandment: Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With?

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In marriage, there’s a complete union of two persons. It’s total oneness. What’s more, there is exclusiveness in marriage. Even if you’re not married, when you’re having sex with somebody, you don’t want them out “playing the field” on you, do you? Marriage confirms there is no other person but your spouse. And, finally, in marriage there’s total acceptance. The goal is to see your spouse for who he or she is and love him or her no matter what.

Likewise, in our relationship to God, it ties Himself to us when we become Christians through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:15). Second, just like the earthly picture of marriage, we have no other gods but Him and Him alone. And, finally, God unconditionally accepts us in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. He sees us for all that we were (sinners by nature and action), in all our shame, and loves us just as we are in His Son.

Where Does This Leave You?

Sex is an echo of God’s love for all humanity. When you take it simply as a “good time,” you downplay the mystery and glory God put into us.

Throughout the Bible, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the people of God is that they view sex differently. God guards sex for our good. When adultery was rampant among God’s people, God saw it as an offense against Himself, as if He were the injured one (Jer. 5:8-9). Satan’s plan for sex is to have as much of it as possible before marriage, and as little as possible within marriage. One of the many wonderful things about the Song of Solomon is that it says sex inside the marriage covenant is supposed to be sexy.

The Bible has an extremely high view of sex. It is a part of the most intimate, vulnerable and personal parts of our body. There’re so many who resist this commandment because they are afraid of missing out on something. The Bible tells you to keep sex in marriage precisely because it doesn’t want you to miss out on something.

So, ask yourself honestly, what is your God? What commands your obedience? Is it sex? Pornography? Lust?

What you really need to do is return to the First Commandment—“no other gods before me.” Your soul isn’t right with God and so you crave all these things in sex. Remind yourself that sex is a picture. Yes, it is wonderful, but it points beyond itself to the love of God given to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God values our sexuality, more than we do. Does your view of sex line up with God’s?

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  1. Well said. In the current culture that we live in this needed to be said. But, I do have a question – if God is particular about who I sleep with, why isn’t he particular about the day that I worship him.

    • IdahoDel,

      This is an interesting question to me also. At this time, this is my understanding, take it for what you will.
      1) We are to worship at all times “pray without ceasing…” not just on one day.

      2) Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath, and therefore observing a Sabbath is to discount that He is our rest. “For we who have believed do enter that rest.” And yet, if a person does not physically rest one day a week, they will get sick for sure. I am not one who believes Sunday is a Sabbath; it is the first day of a week, to be begun in worship. Saturday is the Sabbath, yet with the churning of Jewish calendars, is our Saturday the real one? Even our calendar days are named for pagan traditions.

      3) Trying to keep the law for any reason other than simply to practice holiness, I believe makes a person under the law rather than under grace. It is my understanding that Sabbath keeping was given to Jews under the law. At the same time, I find I am annoyed by professing people who sacrifice worship times for personal fun and recreation. (my own battle with being judgmental)

      4) The Lord is most interested in the heart rather than works. “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” This verse from Hosea Jesus quoted when questioned about his disciples actions on the Sabbath.

      My conclusion is this, like a lot of things the bible teaches, I am not sure I have a full understanding of God’s will in this area. I am under the new covenant, not the law, yet still should obey His laws. I remain a learner, not a knower, and hesitate to impose what could very well be a wrong understanding on the Lord’s other people, whom He is perfectly capable of keeping according to His will. I can only continue to ask for wisdom and to be led, slowly it seems, to understanding.


      • Rsg,
        I read with interest your comments to my question above. I too, am a “New Testament” Christian, but that doesn’t excuse us from studying and following what is still relevant in the Old Testament. Remember, Jesus said, “Study the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of me”, and when He said that, the New Testament hadn’t been written yet. Jesus said also, “That not one jot or one tittle (crossing of a T and dotting of an I) shall in no wise pass from the law – speaking of course of the Ten Commandants. I read where He came to earth to fulfill the requirements of the law but have found nothing stating that He did away with the Ten Commandment Law. By fulfilling the law, Jesus took our death penalty for not being able to keep the law (although I still feel we must do our best to keep ALL the commandments.)
        Now, if I may, I’ll comment on some of you thoughts above:
        1. I can’t agree more with this.
        2. I think you’re trying to tell me that Sabbath keeping is no longer required. I can’t disagree more. See Revelation 14:12. Apparently, even in the very end, there will be those who keep ALL the commandments. Genesis 2:3 God blesses the seventh day and sanctified it – it’s a memorial to His creatorship – something to think about on the Sabbath Day. And this was long before there ever was a Jew. In other words the Sabbath is not just for Jews. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
        If you study it out, you’ll find that the “churning” of Jewish calendars is not the last word. You will find that the Julian and Gregorian calendars can be followed back to the time of Christ easily. And if something had changed prior to Christ’s birth, I’m sure he would have corrected us. Jesus went to the Temple and worshiped (as he did everyday) on the Sabbath and he is our example in everything.
        I won’t take anymore of you time going point by point. In your conclusion, you mentioned that you (as I am) are still learning. I really feel we are living in the last days and prayer and study, to build a better relationship with God is so very important. We need to know what God wants us to be (see Matt 7:21-23 and Luke 13:24-27).
        Recently, I came across a site that helped me understand all this much better. It’s a very in depth study and may help you better understand my rambleing thoughts.
        It’s a five part study and as I said, very deep.
        God Bless,

  2. I wouldn’t be justifying what you say with the Old Testament because in almost all laws of the Old Testament breaking them means exile or being put to death. For instance take a look at adultery, almost all laws associated to adultery end in death. Hell if you divorce your spouse you can be cast out of your land and it is determined that you will never have children again.

    Now I’m no saint but he even tells us in the bible that if we are to become closer to god then we shouldn’t even marry, that we should give in up to become closer to him. There are so many contraditicions its almost bewildering. People pick and choose what verses they use, and back it up with more verses, but how many people actually take time to read Deutoronmy, or the Maccabees, or Psalms, wisdom, Philomen? All these books that talk more about other laws and a dissolving of many of them.

    Why are we content on simply knowing the ones we recognize as “classic” and ignoring the WHOLE of the book?

  3. I am curious as there is one flaw in your reading.

    Who’s belief, or who’s god? because there are many different gods and beliefs, and some beliefs do not follow the commandments, like Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism.

    I am not attempting to begin a fight, but how do you justify the Will of god on American’s when Americans (from the US anyways; as we often forget there is a second America to the south of US) are allowed to believe in whatever they wish to believe.

    Food for thought.

    • KrazK,

      Thanks for your reply and question.

      We believe the starting point for biblical religion is this: there is a God, and he’s the only God. We would say, as Christians, this is only the God of the Bible. Before creation there was no void, no emptiness. There was only God. God was all. The entire universe is utterly secondary. Only God is primary. All of it depends moment by moment on his thought. All men know not merely that a god exists, but they know that God, the true God, the only God, exists.

      We believe all religions and philosophies say, “This is the way.” Only Jesus says, “I am the Way.” The story of God being born of a virgin and killed by men is the most unbelievable story ever told, and one only God himself could tell. Adam is our problem, but Moses is not our remedy. Only Christ’s grace can unravel the harm Adam did to us (Romans 5:12-21). Only Jesus, full of grace and truth, can save hard-hearted, hard-headed sinners and empower them for a life of grace and truth. Because only Jesus’ performance is acceptable to God and your performance is always tainted by sin, the cross is your only hope.

      So what is difference between Christianity and all other religions? The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If He really rose again—and we believe He did—then what He says, especially in the Bible, goes as all authority.

      If you remove the death and resurrection from Christianity you disembowel it. Without the resurrection of Christ, the church is just a social club going to hell. The resurrection means that Jesus is more than a historic figure way back when. He is a present reality, and no one can stop him. The resurrection of Jesus proves that we can trust him with everything wrong with us. He bore it all, and rose up from it all. The Resurrection is a giant receipt stamped across history saying your debt has been paid for and you don’t have to pay it ever again. The resurrection of Christ is proof of God’s power to raise the believer to walk in newness of life.

      So, to answer your question: “Whose god?” We would say the biblical God. Because He is the only true God, we are to follow the above.

      Hope that is helpful.

      In Christ,

  4. A very good article and solid answers to the comments! Thanks.

  5. Two singles (man and woman) living together and sleeping together (without being married) is NOT Adultery–it is Fornication.

    Two singles who are married (to each other) but going outside their marriage to cheat/have affairs is Adultery.

    Two married people (who are married to others) but are having an affair with each other are committing Adultery.

  6. For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.

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