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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 78

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From the Word

10 Create a pure heart in me, O God;
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence;
And do not take your Holy Spirit away from me. (Psalm 41:10–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 78

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: It has always been easy to have a polluted heart; indeed, we are born with such hearts, and are bent on folly. Consider David, who from a rooftop, looked upon Bathsheba with evil in his heart. He was a dirty, rotten, stinking sinner—whom the Lord loved. David loved the Lord too; but this did not keep him from running after a desirable woman. Nor did it keep him from covering up the sin, even when it meant taking the life of a woman’s husband, in an effort to keep his own infidelity secret.

Though God commands us to chastity, to faithfulness to one’s spouse, as he had commanded King David, our eyes wander, our lips are unclean. What are we to do? Try harder? Good luck with that, is all I can offer. History is filled with Davids, who tried hard and came up empty, of those who tried to be righteous but discovered their nature is weak (Matt 26:41). There is one thing, and one thing only, that makes the difference. “Watch and pray”; admit that you are a sinner, like David, who needs God to give you a clean heart, and make you righteous through his own pure righteousness. Throw yourself upon his mercy, begging him to give you a spirit so resolute that you run again to God, as David did, even in the face of what you imagine unforgivable. God is faithful and just to forgive you because of Christ, not because of your efforts, or even your momentary successes.

Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, a sinner. Amen.

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