by Mike Ratliff
14 “You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 NASB)
I am firmly in line with J. Gresham Machen’s assessment that “Liberal Christianity” is a different religion from Christianity. We see this in what it has abandoned in what it abhors in “Orthodoxy” that is exactly what makes Christianity “Christian.” Genuine Christianity is Christian because it is based upon the facts about our Lord Jesus and the message from him. True Christians love and respect and hold dear the same things he loved, respected and held dear, that is, God’s truth, which is called doctrine. In our day, as it was in Machen’s day, the liberals attempt to do away with what they call “dead orthodoxy” and get back to the primitive form of Christianity that the Church missed and has messed up with all its “Orthodoxy” for these last several millennia. In fact, they insist on totally “reforming” the church top to bottom without all this emphasis on the Bible as the infallible Word of God, which we call Sola Scriptura. The move towards that are seen in the teachings and sermons of men who keep moving their churches closer and closer to things such as tolerance for the “gay agenda” or “unmarried couples” or even looking the other way while their members and leaders have adulterous affair after adulterous affair.
One such “so-called” Christian leader in the midst of this is Andy Stanley whom my friend Ken Silva wrote about here. I found it amazing that all of this about that particular sermon hit just as I began preparing to write on Matthew 5:27-30, which deals with lust and adultery. Listening to men like Andy Stanley and those who emulate him it would seem that all this fuss about morals in the Bible is really no big deal. Really? Let’s see what our Lord Jesus had to say about that.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone looking upon a woman with a view to desire her has committed adultery already with her in his heart. 29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it our and throw it from you. For it is better for you that one of your members be lost and not your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you . For it is better that one of your members be lost and not that your whole body may go into Gehenna.” (Matthew 5:17-30 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)
Our Lord was not de-emphasizing the seriousness of the command to not commit adultery, but that the looking upon another with a view to desire that person has committed adultery with that person in his or her heart already. This is a willful, calculated stare that arouses sexual desire. Our Lord Jesus is telling us that this is a form of adultery even if it is only “in the heart.” It is so serious that he gives us graphic hyperbole in v29 to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire. Sin must be dealt with drastically because of its deadly effects.
All through 1 John we are told that those who practice such sins are not in Christ and that Christ is not in that person. Yes, we all sin, but those who are truly born again, those who abide in Christ will not live a life that is patterned after a lifestyle of lust and adultery and evil desire. To live that way is a marker of one who is living in the flesh, whose father is the devil, who is not regenerate.
The move in our time to open wide the doors of fellowship of our churches to same sex couples and couples who are not married, but living together, et cetera, saying that God is love and is a God of grace so those things don’t matter, obviously are ignoring Matthew 5, Romans 1,2 and of course Galatians 5:16-25.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-25 NASB)
As stated in yesterday’s post and earlier in this post, “Liberal Christianity” is a different religion from Christianity. For those reading this who are genuinely in Christ, rejoice with me that we have been made free from the bondage of our flesh and, of course, been made alive in Christ as God had mercy on us, saving us by grace through faith. He justified us as his gift to us that no one may boast. On the other hand, if you believe you can be a Christian by your own merit or according to your own religiosity on your own terms then the enemy of your soul has indeed deceived you. I pray that God will have mercy on you before it is too late.
Soli Deo Gloria!