If you’ve been following this series from the start, you may remember that we noted a cumulative sequence in the first four Commandments. There seems to be a similar layering of basic truths and concerns in the last six, too. The Fifth Commandment implies God’s basic “vertical” purpose for us: to be His disciples. Thus, the main purpose of marriage, too, is to receive and give all that’s involved with following Jesus by faith in Him. The Sixth Commandment reminds us of the basic motivation for discipleship: God created us in His image, and so we belong to Him and have inherent value only in Him. And the Seventh Commandment, “Do not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18) implies our “horizontal” purpose: godly unity with others by faithfulness. Let’s think about that.
In the video below, I outline several practical aspects of faithfulness, but it might also help to examine the nature of unfaithfulness. Read Galatians 5:13-26 and note that all of the actions and character traits in verses 19-23 fall into two basic relational categories: intimacy and power. Verses 19-21 list examples of unfaithfulness: abuses of power and/or selfish intimacy. Verses 22-23 list examples of faithfulness: godly uses of power for selfless intimacy. The applications to marriage should be clear.
But just in case, I’ll play devil’s advocate. “What’s the big deal with some ‘recreational freedoms’ if all parties are consenting adults?” That can be a legitimate question. The answer? Unfaithfulness is the very opposite of who God is. He is one God of faithfulness in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Especially in the Gospel of John 13-17, we see their eternal pure unity. There’s more than I can describe here, but I encourage you to notice the recurring allusions to their faithfulness to each other. It’s one of the most basic qualities of God. And, because He created us to live in His image, the only way to experience and express the purpose, joy, and strength of His love is to be faithful in godly relationships as He is faithful in Himself and to all who follow Christ by faith in Him.
It’s simply a matter of His good design. Consider a few of my poor examples. When I was about 13, my grandmother bought a beautiful and expensive harmonica for me because both of us loved music. Instead, I used its weight to tack posters on my walls and ruined it. A few years later, I bought my first car: a used 1967 Beetle designed to need a regular oil change, which I neglected and threw a rod. The repair costed more than the car. And in college, I began trying to earn God’s love by some of my ‘good’ deeds tainted with fear and pride. Not until years later did I realize that I had completely missed the message of God’s grace. I was trying to buy His faithfulness.
- What are some assumptions and results of “quid pro quo” relationships?
- Define unadulterated and its importance in food, software, marriage, etc.
- Look at the fruit of God’s image in Galatians 5:22-23. Discuss how only the intimacy and power of Christ can and will enable our faithfulness?
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.