Bible Studies for Life

with Breanna Wooten

Sunday, February 14

Distinct In My Relationships

Matthew 5:27-32

In the Sermon on the Mount, we have seen again and again that Jesus emphasizes the importance of the state of the heart in addition to one’s outward actions.  In Matthew 5:20, He says, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)  Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, members of the kingdom do not just go through outward religious acts and customs; they have been reborn and have changed hearts.

Just as Jesus explained the true way to follow the sixth commandment in Matthew 5:21-26, He now goes on to address the seventh.  Exodus 20:14 states, “You shall not commit adultery.” (ESV)  Again, Jesus’ hearers had misunderstood what it looked like to obey this commandment.  Obedience was not only abstaining from a physical act of unfaithfulness.  Jesus corrects them by saying, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28, ESV)  Adultery begins in the mind and in the heart.  As Job said that he had “made a covenant” with his eyes (Job 31:1, ESV), we, too, must carefully choose what we gaze upon with both our physical eyes and our mind’s eye and keep the state of our hearts in check.

Do we take sin seriously?  Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” (ESV)  In this passage in Matthew 5, He tells us that it would be better for us to lose an eye or a hand that cause us to sin than to go to hell.  Jesus wants us to see that sin is not something to take lightly.  In regards to the specific sin of adultery, 1 Corinthians 6:18 instructs us to “flee from sexual immorality.”  (ESV)  While we may not be able to always keep temptation from coming, we do have control over how we respond to it.  God gives us the power that we need to overcome sin and flee from temptation.  He values purity and faithfulness in our relationships, and not only outwardly, but in our hearts.

Marriage is also important to God.  In the next verses, Jesus says that divorce for causes outside of sexual immorality results in adultery.  Men were able to divorce their wives with a certificate of divorce, and some thought they could do so for just about any reason.  In Matthew 19 the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Matthew 19:3, ESV) Jesus responded by reminding them that in the beginning God created male and female, and that “the two shall become one flesh.”  He says, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6, ESV)  When they questioned Him about why Moses had commanded a certificate of divorce, which is not commanded but alluded to in Deuteronomy 24, Jesus replied, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8, ESV)   While Scripture does reference divorce and recognizes that it happens, it is not God’s intention for marriage.

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church.  In Ephesians 5, Paul teaches husbands and wives how they should relate to one another.  He shows that the husband reflects the role of Christ and that the wife represents the church, His bride — “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32, NASB)  God’s best for marriage is that it would be a lasting, loving, covenantal union that would show the world the relationship between Him and His people.

Our bodies are not our own.  They belong to God, and, if married, to our spouse.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we “were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.” (ESV)  God also desires purity and faithfulness in our hearts, in our minds, and in our relationships.  If your past has not been one of purity or faithfulness, take heart.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)  You can repent and move forward by grace in obedience to God.  As His people, we have been set apart, cleansed by the blood of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, able to walk in holiness.

Wooten is a member of Morrison Heights Church, Clinton.