Summary and Application
The Seventh Commandment
“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
This commandment is also far-reaching. Jesus magnified it, or expanded it, by stating in Matt. 5:27, 28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Pornography, immodest dress, viewing sexual scenes on TV or movies, listening to sexually suggestive jokes or stories, overt flirting with the opposite sex, all these actions are condemned by God. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. We are thus expressly commanded by God to avoid any enticement to sexual impurity or sexual displays. We must, through God’s power, bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Sin begins in our minds. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). God requires men to bring even their thoughts into obedience to Christ in every respect.
Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed. God longs to have the divine principle of purity of heart manifested in His people. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). We should avoid reading, seeing, speaking, or hearing anything that even suggests impurity.