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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 77

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From the Word18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a partner similar to him.” 19 Now the Lord God formed out of the ground every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the land animals, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam, there was not found a partner like him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept. And he took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh. 22 And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, he made into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This now, is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall bond to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18–24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

The Sixth Commandment is worded in the negative, but we readily perceive that “thou shalt not” (Exod 20:14 KJV) implies we must also do something. The commandment about adultery states what we must not do, yet indicates what we are to do. Instead of wandering outside of marriage for sexual satisfaction, one is to be joined to the partner whom God has created. This is the positive way of understanding the Sixth Commandment. It is hard to find a better word here than Wycliffe’s “clefe”—updated to “cleave” in the King James Version (Mark 10:7). Clefing or cleaving is not a dividing but a unity, an adherence to someone, a holding onto a partner, a tight-fitting loyalty, a faithful devotion and holding true to what has become “one flesh.”  

Prayer: Thank you for the partnership in the gospel, Lord, which you give to all who are blessed with the vocation of marriage. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14). 

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