#138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behaviour; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labour in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.
#139: What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties
required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages;
allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives and husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.
He begins by briefly discussing the wording of the commandment:
The Hebrew word translated “to commit adultery” indicates that a person, married or unmarried, has sexual intercourse with a married person, thereby destroying the faithfulness and the marriage of his/her neighbor. This is such a heinous sin and violent assault on the family that God calls it a capital crime...This also applies to engaged people as well... (704)
Furthermore, rape is also considered a capital crime in the Bible... (705)
However, although fornication, i.e., sexual intercourse between two unmarried people, if consented to by both parties, is immoral and sinful, it is not a capital crime... (705)
What is the difference between adultery and fornication? The status of the woman or man involved: Was he/she married or engaged? Did he/she belong to another person by marriage covenant? Adultery, then, is not a crime against property. It is a crime against the marriage covenant and against the family. An adulterer destroys two marriages: his own and that of his neighbor. Above all, it is a crime against our faithful God who never breaks His covenant. (705)
The Seventh Commandment, as other commandments, mentions only one sin, but one that includes a wide range of other sins of the same species; in this case, because all sexual relationships in some way or another are related to the marriage covenant and the family. (706)
Two fundamental truths are presupposed by the Seventh Commandment. First, it presupposes that God is faithful to the covenant bond He establishes with His people in Christ. Second, marriage is an institution of God. (707)
 God is Our Faithful Covenant God:
The story of God’s relationship to His covenant people has romance about it. In the Old Testament that relationship is described as a bond of eternal intimacy and solidarity in which the Lord is the Husband and Israel is His wife. The love He has for her is completely undeserved. When she rebelled against Him, she is described as having committed spiritual and moral adultery. In the New Testament that relationship is pictured as a marriage bond in which Jesus Christ is the loving and self-sacrificing Bridegroom and the Church is the submissive Bride. God is always faithful to His Bride even when she is unfaithful to Him. (707)
 Marriage is an Institution of God:
Marriage originated with God (Gen. 1:28; 2:18–25) and therefore has a sanctity that must be respected by everyone: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Heb. 13:4, NIV). (709)
Adam says, “She is bone of my bones,—(the structure of my being is the structure of her being.” “Flesh of my flesh”—(‘the very life of me is the life of her; I find myself, I realize myself in terms of her.’) We are one-flesh. (709)
Furthermore, each partner has a divinely assigned role toward the other according to Eph. 5:22–33. The husband is to be the loving, faithful and self-sacrificing head of the woman and the wife is to be the loving, faithful and submissive helpmeet to the man.
Sexual unfaithfulness in marriage causes those roles to break down, breaks apart the bones and cuts the flesh of the one-flesh union...Unchastity in any form is an act of treason against the covenant God and against the marriage partner. (709-710)
According to the Bible, marriage has a fivefold purpose. First, marriage is a means to the end of global dominion under God (Gen. 1:28). ....
Second, marriage was instituted by God for intimate companionship (Gen. 2:18; Ps. 68:6). ....
Third, in marriage is the completion of the Divine image. Man and woman in marriage, two persons sharing one life in God’s image, complete the picture intended by the image of God. ...
Fourth, marriage was instituted by God for procreation and replenishing the earth with godly generations. ....
Fifth, marriage is intended to be a living illustration of the intimate and loving relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church, as husbands relate to their wives the way Christ relates to His Church, and as wives relate to their husbands the way the Church is to relate to Christ. (710-712)
Marital love and marital sexuality are not the impoverishing of life. Rather, they are well-springs of joy and health to a married person’s life (Prov. 5:15–20). This joy is seen in the fulfilling of the purpose of marital love and marital sexuality.
First, marital love and marital sexuality are creative. ...
Second, they are recreative. They are used by God, not only to establish this “one flesh union,” but also to assist in sustaining and nourishing it, thus making marital sexuality a renewing power in marriage. ...
Third, they are procreative. (712-713)
A self-contained, self-sufficient male or female does not exist. The life of woman is ordered, related to and directed to that of the man and of man to the woman: “Man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.… However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (1 Cor. 11:9, 11). (713-714)
"Marriage is the consummation of a growing relationship of love and personal commitment; it is the consummation of two people’s commitment to a life together. Similarly, sexual intercourse is the consummation of a growing physical intimacy.
In God’s design, these twin consummations are meant to converge at the point of marriage. The commitment of love is matched by the commitment of sexual intimacy." 14. Dwight H. Small, Christian, Celebrate Your Sexuality, 177. (714)
While marriage is the God-ordained sexual relationship between man and woman, it cannot be understood simply in terms of sex. Sex is but one aspect of marriage. Therefore, we must avoid two errors many today have in their attitude toward sexuality. (1) It is a necessary and embarrassing evil that must be suppressed and covered up as much as possible....(2) It is the essence of marriage with God-like powers. This is to overspiritualize, over-glamorize and to mysticize sexuality. (714)
Proverbs 5:16–17 pictures the evil of wasting one’s sexuality on another person outside of marriage: “Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone, and not for strangers with you.” These verses also forbid becoming emotionally entangled with and marrying “strangers,” i.e., non-Christians, including people who profess to be Christians, but who are “strangers” to a Christian way of life: “by their fruits you shall know them.” (715)
The person who gives himself/herself to immorality will: (1) Be enslaved by his own
sinful appetites; (2) Be held down by the chains of his sinful lusts; (3) Die in guilty ignorance; and (4) As a fool, go astray from God. (715)
So then, how can someone avoid immorality and marital unfaithfulness:
• Develop a great dread and detestation of immorality.
• Be diligent in avoiding everything that may be an occasion of unchastity or a step toward it.
• Keep watch on your own heart and mind; and do not be confident of your own strength and determination.
• Trust in the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ to enable you to resist sexual temptations and to keep you pure.
• Whatever has become a snare to you or an occasion to sin, be willing to “pluck it out” and part with it, even if it is most dear to you, rather than hazard your own soul (Matt. 5:28–30).
• Stay in a close and abiding relationship to Jesus Christ and His Church.
• Keep saturating yourself in the Word of God.
• If you are married, be diligent in loving your wife/husband. (715-716)
An important benefit of faithful marital love and sexuality is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pleasure...
Marital sexuality is parabolic (Eph. 5:23–24).....
• Marital sexuality is symbolic. ....
• Marital sexuality is communicative. ...
• Marital sexuality is a gift from God and must be received with thanksgiving and used responsibly as a stewardship.
• Marital sexuality is an offering to God. ... (716-717)
God takes great delight in observing Christian married partners “making love” with each other, therefore, we must love each other as marrieds before the eye of God, diligently and to His glory, remembering that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” If we cannot smile on marital sexuality, our perspective is not that of God’s. (717)
Therefore, we must consider the desires of our married partner above our own desires or lack thereof. (717)
Chastity in Body, Mind, Affections, Words, and Behavior:
Chastity in body, mind, affections, words and behavior begins with chastity in the heart—“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19). If our minds, affections and desires are to be morally pure, our hearts must be purified by the sanctifying work of the
Holy Spirit, our fervent love for Christ, and our disciplined obedience to the truth of God: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Pet. 1:22). (718-719)
The original meaning of the Greek word for chastity was “what awakens awe.” It came to mean “moral purity” (2 Cor. 6:6; 1 John 3:3; 1 Tim. 4:12; 5:2, 22; James 3:17); “innocence” (2 Cor. 7:11); and “chastity” (2 Cor. 11:2). (719)
A “chaste” person, then, is someone who is morally pure, decent, modest, virtuous, abstaining from unlawful sexual thoughts and behavior. (719)
We are to abstain from sexual immorality physically, mentally and emotionally....In this way, Christians are distinguished from non-Christians “whose god is their appetite” (Phil. 3:19). “Immorality,” pornea in Greek, is a noun that covers all forms of illicit sexual activity and involvement. (720)
Paul is teaching the church that the whole question of sexual relationships must be viewed in the light of the fact that the physical body of the Christian belongs to Christ, not to the Christian (1 Cor. 6:13–15, 19–20). (721)
“Possess” denotes mastery over one’s body and its God-given appetites and desires. We are to keep our bodies pure, with a modest countenance and chaste behavior in all our relationships: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). (721)
The reasons sexual immorality must be shunned and rejected are set forth in 1 Thess. 4:6–8:
(1) [v. 6a] It “transgresses,” i.e., goes beyond and overreaches the boundaries God has placed on life; therefore it “defrauds” another of his or her rights. ...
(2) [v. 6b] The Lord is the avenger in these issues; He takes action against these sins. ...
(3) [v. 7] Sexual immorality is a contradiction of the whole character of the Christian life: “God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” ...
(4) [v. 8] Sexual immorality is a sin against the Holy Spirit of God. (722-723)
It is true that “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33) (NASB); and it is equally true that “evil communications corrupt good manners” (KJV). The point is that unchaste language undermines good morals. (724)
The Preservation of Chastity in Ourselves and Others:
Not only should we diligently preserve chastity in ourselves, by avoiding all immorality and by marrying, if the opportunity allows; but we must also seek to preserve chastity in others. The best way for preserving our own and our neighbor’s chastity is “the cherishing in our minds and consciences of a continual regard, reverence and awe of the divine Majesty, and a fear of displeasing him, Prov. v:20, 21.” 28. Fisher, Fisher’s Catechism, 110. (725)
Watchfulness over our Eyes and All Other Senses
Temperance had reference to “self-control” and self-discipline in contrast to over-indulgence, i.e., giving freedom to one’s appetites, desires, and passions without restraint. (728)
Keeping Chaste Company:
The Bible reminds us time and again that, if we are to remain chaste, we must closely associate only with chaste people because “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). (729)
Therefore, as much as possible, avoid those who would encourage you to sin for pleasure (Prov. 1:15; 5:8; 1 Cor. 6:18); and stay in the company of good people (Prov. 2: 20). (730)
Modesty in Apparel:
In 1 Timothy 2:9, the Greek word translated “modest” in the KJV (“proper” in the NASB), means “respectable” and “honorable” in contrast to immodest and indiscreet. Paul’s point is that women must dress in a way that is consistent with their Christian profession and life. (730)
The word translated “discreetly” (NASB) or “sobriety” (NASB) carries the idea of “good judgment, moderation, self-control, decency, chastity.” (731)
Excess and sensuality—both of these bear on modesty. Christian women (and men, for that matter) must self-consciously control their hearts and passions, instead of arraying themselves elaborately, expensively, and/or sensuously. If they are modest, they will not draw attention to themselves in the wrong way. Their dress
will not say “SEX!” or “PRIDE!” or “MONEY!,” but “purity,” “humility,” and “moderation.” (732)
Marriage By Those That Have Not the Gift of Continency:
God has given some people “continence” with reference to sexual issues. “Continence” or “continency” is the ability to restrain the passion for sexual intimacy and intercourse. If a person does not have this self-control, he or she should marry and not live a single life, because “it is better to marry than to burn.” (733)
Sexual relations are “due” each other within marriage, because the body is not one’s possession to do with what he/ she will, it belongs to the spouse. (734)
According to verse 5, married couples may not abstain from sexual relations unless by common consent and only then under three conditions: (1) Both must agree to it; (2) It must be for a set time, and not for a long or indefinite time; and (3) It must be for the purpose of devoting themselves to prayer. Any other sexual “separation” amounts to defrauding one another. (735)
Just as wives are to be submissive to their husbands in the Lord (1 Pet. 3:5, 6), “likewise” husbands are to be submissive to Christ and to His lordship over their lives. The Lord’s two-fold mandate to husbands is: (1) “Live with your wives in an understanding way;” and (2) “Grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life.” It should be obvious that these two mandates are necessarily interrelated. (735)
1] The Greek word translated “live with” denotes “to cohabit,” “to live together as husband and wife,” “to live chastely with your wives, cohabiting with them alone.” The point is that God is calling upon husbands to make a home for their wives in which they live with their wives.
This exhortation has several implications. (1) Each marriage should have its own home and dwelling place....2) Husbands, as well as wives, should ordinarily and habitually dwell in the same house. A wife’s primary and most exalted duty is to be a “keeper at home.” Husbands, too, are bound, as much as is possible, to make their house their home and special dwelling place....A husband who is much away from home has great difficulty in discharging his family responsibilities—family worship, family instruction, family discipline, family surveillance. When a married man voluntarily and unnecessarily spends his evenings away from home, the home is put at risk.
To “live with your wife” is to spend time with her as your chosen companion and closest friend. ...
He will live with his wife “in an understanding way” or “according to knowledge.” The husband’s relation with his wife should be in harmony with and governed by knowledge derived from the Word of God in communion with God, which deepens communion with his wife. He must understand the Bible, his wife and himself so he
will not injure his wife in any way, but bless her and make her a blessing. The whole context of marriage should be one of “knowing” each other in the full, Biblical sense of the word (Gen. 4:1).
The husband must live with his wife “as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman.” “Weaker” is a comparative adjective, indicating that both husband and wife are weak instruments used by God for His purposes: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). The greater weakness of the wife does not
imply inferiority and it is not derogatory. ...
"The wife may be considered weak because of her role as wife. She, by marrying, has accepted a position where she submits herself to her husband. Such a position is vulnerable, open to exploitation. The husband is commanded not to take advantage
of the woman’s vows of submission." 47. Susan T. Foh, Women and the Word of God: A Biblical Response to Feminism (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980), 133. (736-737)
2] Wives are to “reverence” their husbands (Eph. 5:33), and husbands are to grant their wives “honor” (1 Pet. 3:7). They are continually and habitually to show them respect and to treat them with honor, dignity and love. To honor your wife is to have and to manifest a deep respect for her, not berating, despising, exasperating, frustrating or grieving her; not revealing her weaknesses and shortcomings to others, not being quick to see and criticize them yourself; but hiding her shortcomings from the eyes of others, as well as from your own eyes by love; never criticizing her more than love requires, and even then, in gentleness that flows from love.
The reason husbands should show their wives honor as they live with them is because they and their wives are “heirs together of the grace of life.” (737-738)
Christian husbands and wives believe in the same Savior, are redeemed by the same blood, live by the same grace, follow the same rule, filled with the same Spirit, members of the same Body, heirs of the same promises, and look forward to the same eternal destiny. To be fellow heirs of that grace of God that gives and enhances life in Christ is the highest position to which poor mortals may rise; and it is this spiritual height that prompts mutual honoring. (738)
Diligent Labor in our Callings:
How is diligent labour in our callings required of us by the Seventh Commandment forbidding sexual immorality?...Thomas Watson answers: “Take heed of idleness.
When a man is out of a calling, he is ready to receive any temptation. We do not sow seed in fallow-ground; but the devil sows most seed of temptation in such as lie fallow.”48...Men and women, both, like the “Proverbs 31 woman,” should diligently labor in their callings as husband and wife, father and mother, and never “eat the
bread of idleness” so married partners will trust each other and place the welfare and holiness of the family above their own pleasures and desires. 48. Watson, Body of Divinity, 338. (739)
Shunning Occasions of Uncleanness and Resisting Temptations:
If we do not give careful attention to the Word of God and to parental instruction
based on that Word, we will have neither the knowledge nor the power to resist the strong temptations of immorality. And if we do not resist immorality, it can kill us physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually and eternally. (740)
Neglect of the Duties Required
Adultery is a crime of such heinousness that its only just punishment is death (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22), because it is a vicious assault on marriage and family, and on God’s moral and social order. (743)
Whereas all pre- and non-marital sexual intercourse is forbidden, adultery is especially abhorrent.
Biblical Law is designed to encourage and protect marriage and family. Therefore a central offense against God and society is to strike at the integrity of marriage and the life of the family. (744)
One thing is certain from 1 Corinthians 6:9–10: fornicators do not go to heaven unless they repent of their sinful way of life and are cleansed of their immoral lifestyle by the power of the Holy Spirit... (744)
Fleeing immorality is not a mindless reaction; rather, because we understand its nature, heinousness and danger, we are to run away from it. (745)
Rape is a capital crime for the rapist, but not for the victim. According to this law, rape is a capital crime because it is comparable to murder. A woman is raped contrary to her will in the same way that a person is murdered contrary to his will. (746)
Marriage makes the husband and wife “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). A husband and a wife become one legally, covenantally and in love. This unity between man and woman in marriage is the basis of these laws forbidding incest. ...
Marriage creates a “vertical” or “lineal” relationship in children, and a “horizontal” or “collateral” relationship between spouses. (748)
It is highly significant that the Westminster Standards use Leviticus 18 for support of their statement on incest. This shows that our Westminster fathers believed that these laws are still in effect and of abiding authority today. (748)
The reasons these laws forbidding incest are as valid today as they were when they were first written is that they are grounded, first, in the nature of the relationship and union of the husband and wife as “one flesh” (Lev. 18:16), and second, in the relation of blood between members of the same family (Lev. 18:10)....Therefore, because incest is an assault on marriage and family, it is considered by God to be a capital crime. (749)
Sodomy and all Unnatural Lusts:
Leviticus 20:13 and 18:22 are explicit in their condemnation of homosexuality. Its portrayal of homosexual activity is unmistakable. Such activity is said to be “detestable” or “abominable,” which is a term of strong disapproval, in Hebrew, of something that is intrinsically evil (e.g., Prov. 6:16). The death penalty is attached to this prohibition. (750)
As one would expect, the Bible also condemns and forbids bestiality. This filthy act is also an abominable attempt to pervert God’s moral order, an assault on marriage and family, and a transgression of God’s boundaries between man and animal; therefore, it remains a capital crime for human and animal. (752)
All Unclean Imaginations, Thoughts, Purposes, and Affections:
Environmental influences are powerful, but we are accountable regarding how we let them influence us. Jesus said that we are not what our environment makes us; we are what our heart makes us. It is what proceeds out of the heart that determines our behavior....If this battle is to be won, the believer must perseveringly resist unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes and affections, which resistance he can do because of the power of the Holy Spirit within him....The Holy Spirit has made us new people and He has taken up residence in us to help us say No! decisively to sinful desires. For this reason, we will have success in “putting to death the deeds of the body.” (753)
Corrupt and Filthy Communications:
Fornication and everything that leads to it must not only be avoided by Christians, such things must not even be the theme of our conversations with each other, because such filthy communications are not “proper among saints,” whom God has separated from the world and consecrated to be holy as He is holy. Our conversations must not contain any “filthiness and silly talk or coarse jesting,” i.e., obscenities, whatever is morally hateful, or that which is revolting in that it excites disgust, either physical or moral. (754)
One of the sins for which God severely punished Israel, was the immoral behavior, immodest apparel, sensual dancing and “seductive eyes” of the women of Israel....They are looks and gestures that are designed to stir up sexual lust in another person. “One also commits fornication with the eyes if, by ogling and casting lewd glances, one seeks to allure others to commit fornication.” 65. Wilhelmus á Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans. by Bartel Elshout, 4 vols. (Pittsburg, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1994), 3:208. (755)
Impudent and Light Behavior; Immodest Apparel
Prohibiting Lawful Marriages:
The apostle Paul condemns the prohibiting of lawful marriages in the strongest terms imaginable. (758)
Paul is condemning and refuting all forms of Dualism, the idea that physical desires and material things are base and morally contaminating; and that spiritual, contemplative, and heavenly concerns are good and uplifting. Therefore, to be holy, one must suppress and deny physical desires and needs, e.g., the sexual desire and the need for pleasure, in order to spend one’s entire life focusing on the spiritual, intellectual and heavenly things. Dualism has manifested itself detrimentally in the church in ascetic Gnosticism in the early church, monasticism in the medieval church, Pietism shortly after the Dawn of the Protestant Reformation, and much of Fundamentalism in the 20th and 21st centuries. All of these forms of dualism have their roots in Greek Neo-Platonism, which has its roots in Persian Zoroastarianism. Asceticism and monasticism considered marriage and sexuality as a morally inferior way of life to single hood and celibacy. Pietism and Fundamentalism have by their unbiblical lists of do’s and don’ts, characterized largely by a distaste for the physical, material and pleasurable, have left the impression that enjoying God-given and physical appetites and desires, and of material things and the pleasures of this life, is “worldly” and a distraction from “spiritual things” and thinking about heaven. (758-759)
Genesis 1:31a refutes all these forms of Dualism: “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”...God instituted marriage for companionship and pleasure. God placed the sexual desires in the human being to be enjoyed in marriage. (759)
Dispensing with Unlawful Marriages:
...the Seventh Commandment is transgressed when marriages forbidden by God’s Law are allowed and condoned by family, church or state. (761)
The question is what does the Bible identify as unlawful marriages?
First, marriages with unbelievers are forbidden by God.. ..
Second, marriages within the degrees of sanguinity and affinity defined in Leviticus 18 and 20 are forbidden by God (WCF, XXIV, iv). ...
Third, marriages of daughters without the permission and approval of their fathers are forbidden by God....
Fourth, same-sex marriages are forbidden by God (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26–27). ...
Fifth, marriage by the guilty party after a just divorce is forbidden by God (Matt. 5:31–32). ...
Sixth, remarriage of parties in an original marriage, after divorce and the end of a second marriage by one party (Deut. 24:1–4) is forbidden by God. ...
Seventh, marriage by someone incapable of fulfilling all the conjugal duties required by marriage (Matt.19:1–12) is forbidden by God. ...
Eighth, marriage is only allowed for those who are able with judgment to give their consent (WCF, XXIV, iii). ...
Ninth, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies (WCF, XXIV, iii). ...
Tenth, polygamous marriages are forbidden by God (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5–6, 9).
Allowing, Tolerating, Keeping of Stews and Resorting to Them:
So then, not only should a person not be a prostitute, he or she should not resort to prostitutes. A nation should not even allow a brothel to exist or to tolerate its existence. The full force of family, church, state and society should be used to eradicate them. (765)
Entangling Vows of Single Life:
The point is that, normally, people ought not to make entangling vows of single life, unless they are physically incapable of fulfilling their conjugal duties to their spouse, or unless they have the gift of continence, and have dedicated themselves completely to the spread of the gospel in difficult and hazardous situations. Otherwise, it is more beneficial for a man or woman to marry. (767)
Undue Delay of Marriage:
If a man and a woman have all the prerequisites for marriage, are willing to love each other all their lives, are willing to solve life’s problems together God’s way, and have found that they are better Christians together than either is single, they should marry as soon as is reasonable, “for it is better to marry than to burn.” (768)
Polygamy is having more wives or husbands than one at the same time (Mal. 2:14). It is a perversion of the original intent for marriage instituted at the beginning of the human race by God: one man and one woman in one flesh (Gen. 2:22–25; Matt. 19:5, 6). (769)
To understand divorce from a Biblical perspective we must always view it in the light of: (1) The authority and sufficiency of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16–17); (2) The indissolubility of the marriage bond (Gen. 2:24); and (3) The centrality of reconciliation (Col. 3:12–15). And, as we shall see, some divorces are just and some are unjust. It should also be pointed out that divorce is not commanded or made mandatory, neither is it encouraged; but it is permitted as God’s legal way of dealing with sin. (769-770)
This provision is necessary because of the entrance of sin into the human race. We no longer live in a sinless world. Some hearts are as hard as rock. (770)
The law of God is addressed to men and women who love that law (Ps. 119), i.e., to covenant-keepers who want to please God by obedience to His law. Therefore, if a woman “finds no favor in his eyes,” it is with reference to the husband’s holy standards of the law, and not to his caprice. (771)
By requiring a formal bill of divorce presented to the guilty party, makes mandatory, on purpose, a cumbersome legal process, full of technicalities, including: a serious charge for divorce; a writ of separation for a woman’s protection; the involvement of a public official who might also have to judge the adequacy of the alleged grounds for divorce; and a formal dismissal. (771)
The resuming of a marriage that ends in divorce, after an intervening marriage, represents an abomination to God because the intervening marriage was a defilement. (771)
Jesus’ response to the Pharisees was threefold. (1) He endorsed the permanence of marriage. (2) He confirmed the full details of Deuteronomy 24:1–4...He teaches us that the marriage union is so inviolable that only “fornication,” i.e., sexual immorality, can qualify as grounds for breaking it....And (3) Jesus calls remarriage after divorce, save for the one exception, adultery. (773)
Paul says that divorce is permitted on the irremedial desertion of an unbelieving spouse, or at least, acting like an unbeliever. No separation other than divorce is allowed (7:10, 11). Furthermore, divorce places a man and a woman in the condition they were in prior to their marriage, and it implies the possibility, in some cases, of remarriage. (774)
“Fornication” must include malicious, irremediable desertion of the unbelieving spouse. In 1 Corinthians 7:15, Paul establishes desertion by an unbeliever as a legitimate cause of divorce, or else we must assume that Jesus and Paul contradict each other. (774)
Although Christians and forbidden to marry unbelievers, once such a marriage takes place, the Christian has no right or obligation to dissolve the marriage because his/her partner is an unbeliever, as long as the unbeliever wants the Christian partner to remain in the marriage. ...The reason is two-fold: (1) The sanctifying effect the believer can have on the unbeliever; and (2) The holy position of any children. In a marriage in which one parent is a Christian, the children belong to the Lord, are to be considered children of the covenant and have the right to be baptized. (775)
If one marriage partner acts like an unbeliever...regardless of what he professes (because faith without works is dead), and abandons his/her role as husband or wife, which is what desertion really is (which means that it is possible for one spouse to desert the other without leaving their house), then the believing partner is not obligated to remain in the bondage of that broken marriage, and is free to leave that marriage by divorce. Being the innocent party in the divorce, he/she, therefore, is free to remarry. (776)
Idleness, Gluttony, Drunkenness:
Idleness, gluttony and drunkenness are often occasions and incentives to immorality. Idleness is a deliberate wasting of our precious time, and as we are correctly told “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” (Prov. 7:7, 8). Drunkenness “deforms the image of God in the soul, by divesting a man of the right use of his reason; it leaves him defenseless against all temptations,”83 e.g., immorality. 83. Fisher, Fisher’s Catechism, 116. (777)
Gluttony is often linked with drunkenness in the Bible (Prov. 23:21; Matt. 11:19); and drunkenness is often linked to immorality (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21). In fact, gluttony in the Bible is far worse than merely overeating. Gluttony is a capital crime! (778)
So then, the phrase, “a glutton and a drunkard” was
"a reference to a worthless, vile person who drank too much and fornicated. This is why the Westminster Larger Catechism lists “gluttony” right next to “drunkenness” as a violation of the seventh commandment, against adultery, footnoting Prov. 23:30–33 (KJV).… Obviously, they saw the essence of gluttony to be vileness and fornication, not overeating." 85. Boer, “Regardless of What You Have Heard, Overeating is Not the Sin of Gluttony,” 7. (778-779)
Lascivious Songs, Books, Pictures, Dancings, Stage Plays:
A brief analysis of pornography will show that it has a revolutionary purpose.
First, pornography hates Biblical morality. ...
"pornography sees a tremendous appeal in moral evil. Morality is seen as tedious and confining, as utterly boring and restrictive, whereas evil is portrayed as man’s liberation." 98 ...
"for the pornographer morality is death. To confine men and women to the prisonhouse of morality, marriage, law, and order is seen as equivalent to a sentence of death. Since evil is life, morality is logically death, and this is the religious faith of pornography. The gospel for man is thus evil; sin is the way of salvation, the way to life and liberty.…" 99 ....
"pornography manifests a hostility to the very idea of law and morality..." 100 ...
Fifth, a definite link exists between pornography and totalitarianism. ...
"the politics of pornography is a moral anarchism whose purpose is revolution, a revolution against Christian civilization." 102
98. Rushdoony, Law and Society, 17.
99. Rushdoony, Law and Society, 17.
100. Rushdoony, Law and Society, 17–18.
102. Rushdoony, Law and Society, 19.
All Other Provocations to, or Acts of Uncleanness in Ourselves and Others
 Levirate Marriage:
The purpose of this levirate law was: (1) To protect and preserve the godly family; (2) To preserve property and inheritance in the family; and (3) To carry on the deceased father’s name. ...
Also, (4) The levirate institution provided for the widow’s future welfare and security. (792)
 Sex and Menstruation:
John Calvin, Matthew Henry and R. J. Rushdoony consider this prohibition to be morally binding in all ages. ...
While Calvin’s counsel is taken to heart, others have pointed out that that which made a woman ceremonially unclean in the Old Testament was the loss of blood (Lev. 12:1–8) as well as other bodily discharges (Lev. 15) because “the life is in the blood.”....The point is that Old Testament rituals of the sacrificial system are not morally binding on the Christian; however, he is to seek to understand the particular gospel principle symbolized in the rituals of that system.
One thing is certain: in marital sexuality anything that is morally abhorrent, aesthetically repulsive or indelicate, unpleasant or humiliating or hurtful to either partner is contrary to true marital love. (974)