Annotations to the Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 41
Lord's Day 41
What does the seventh commandment teach us?
That all unchastity is cursed by God.
We must therefore detest it from the heart
and live chaste and disciplined lives,
both within and outside of holy marriage.
Does God in this commandment
forbid nothing more than adultery
and similar shameful sins?
Since we, body and soul,
are temples of the Holy Spirit,
it is God's will
that we keep ourselves pure and holy.
Therefore He forbids all unchaste acts,
gestures, words, thoughts, desires,
and whatever may entice us to unchastity.
Q. & A. 108 – 109 Be God's Temple
- God created man male and female. This distinction concerns not just their physical nature, but their entire manner of existence. And God gave a beautiful gift to man in this distinction. He made it possible by this distinction that those who were two should become one. The Lord gave this distinction for that purpose as well. He gave it for the marriage state.
- Marriage is an institution of God (Gen 1:28). It is the alliance for life of one man and one woman in spiritual and physical communion. Divorce is permissible only in case of adultery (Mt 5:32).
- Marriage is designed to provide mutual help and assistance in all things that belong to temporal and eternal life. It also serves the reproduction of mankind in the fear of God. That is why it must always be “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39b). Marriage to an unbeliever is expressly forbidden (2 Cor 6:14). Only when husband and wife are one in the Lord can they, in their marriage, fulfil its purpose. That is impossible when the parties are not members of the same church.
- We must keep the gift of sexual distinction pure both before and in marriage. Boys and girls may not make lascivious sport of the gift which God gave them as boys and as girls. Frivolous association, flirtation, caressing without love, filthy language, etc., are forbidden, together with everything that can induce one to engage in such things, such as: titillating reading materials; going to movies; and provocative clothing and manners of association, which fail to take our sinful nature into account. The commandment also forbids pre-marital sex, i.e., taking already during one's engagement that which is allowed only in marriage. He who breaks the vial of love prematurely, will find it empty later in marriage.
Also in marriage we must avoid all unchastity and live holy lives. For our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. And he who profanes God's temple, profanes God.
- We must keep ourselves free from unchastity, not only in words and deeds, but also in our thoughts and desires. We must have regard to what is pure and lovely and good.
- God's anger over all unchastity is very severe, because of the filthiness of this sin and the depravity of those who commit it, and also because of the sad consequences of it. All unchastity is cursed by God (1 Thess 4:3-5; Rev 21:8).
- Permitting divorce whenever the parties wish it.
- “Free love.”
- How did God create man? What was his purpose in doing that?
- What is marriage? Is divorce permissible?
- What is the purpose of marriage? What condition must it satisfy, therefore?
- What does the commandment forbid? What does it require?
- How does God judge unchastity?