Questions 52 & 53


What is the seventh command?


The seventh command is: Do not commit adultery*.


Exodus 20:14Deuteronomy 5:18



What does the seventh command teach?


The seventh command teaches us that we must not have sex with someone who is not our husband or wife.

Many of the commands that God gave to Moses* tell us what not to do. We must not worship* other gods. We must not murder. And now, we must not commit adultery.


But all of the commands also tell us what we should do to please God. For example, the first command tells us that we must be devoted to God. The second command says that we must be loyal to God. The third command says that we must respect* God in the way we speak.


This command tells us that we must be faithful* to our husband or wife. We must be loyal to them.


Just as life is sacred,* sex is sacred too. God made the first man and woman so they could produce children.[1] He made their bodies so they fit together. In this way, they would feel pleasure. They would become as one.


God gave sex to our first parents as a gift. But they were to enjoy the gift only with each other. Sex was to be enjoyed between one man and one woman. And the man and the woman were to be married to one another. They were not to give their body to anyone else. They were not to try to make another man or woman desire them. And they were to be loyal to their husband or wife as long as they lived.


The nations near the place where Moses lived did not act this way. They did not think that sex was a gift from God. They acted as if it were nothing. They believed that it was just another desire. When you are hungry, you eat. When you are tired, you sleep. So, when you want sex, you satisfy that desire. It did not matter how or with whom.


But God wanted his people to be different. He did not want them to act as if sex was nothing. He wanted them to be loyal to their husband or wife. All through the pages of scripture,* God reminds his people of this. In the book of Proverbs,* God called men to be loyal to their wives. Again and again, Proverbs warns them to avoid adultery.[2]


When Jesus* came, he spoke of this command as well. But he did not only warn against adultery. Jesus warned against the desires that would lead them to commit adultery. He said that a man must not look at a woman with desire for her. If he has a desire to be with her, he has already broken the command. He has committed adultery with her in his heart.[3] Jesus tells people that they must avoid these desires. They must do anything to stop themselves from adultery.[4]


Jesus tells us that all sin* first begins in our hearts.*[5] Before I break the commands with my body, I break them in my heart.[6] So we must turn away from these evil* desires.[7]


Sex is for marriage. It is only for married people.[8] We must give our bodies to our husband or wife. Our bodies belong to them and them alone.[9]We must not try to make anyone desire us in a way that leads them to break this command.


When we break this command, we do great harm. We hurt our husband or wife. We harm the person whose body we take. We hurt ourselves. We hurt our relationship with God. This is why we must avoid adultery no matter what it costs us.


One day, some men brought a woman to Jesus.[10]


They said that they caught her in the act of adultery. They wanted Jesus to judge her. They wanted Jesus to tell them to throw stones at her so that she would die. But Jesus asked them a question instead. ‘Are any of you without sin? Then you may throw the first stone.’


They all walked away.


So, Jesus told her that she could leave too. But he told her to ‘go and sin no more.’ Jesus was not saying that her adultery did not matter. She did deserve to die for this act of adultery. But Jesus forgave her. How could he do this?


Not many days in the future, Jesus would die on a cross.* On that cross, he would take the punishment that she deserved upon himself.[11]

[1] Genesis 2:18-24
[2] Proverbs 4:23,27; Proverbs 6:20-7:27
[3] Matthew 5:28
[4] Matthew 5:29-30
[5] Matthew 15:19
[6] Colossians 3:5-6
[7] Romans 13:14
[8] Hebrews 13:4
[9] 1 Corinthians 7:4
[10] John 8:3-11
[11] 1 Peter 2:24