The Righteousness of a Saint: Lust, Divorce and the Seriousness of Sin

Susie is standing on the sidewalk with her books in hand waiting for the school bus and Calvin walks up and says, "It must be awful to be a girl." Then looking rather philosophical as if he has been thinking about this all morning, "I'm sure it's frustrating knowing that men are bigger, stronger and better at abstract thought than women. Really, if you're a girl, what would make you go on living?" Susie turning away with a scowl on her face replies, "The thought of a jerk like you begging one of us for a date when you're 17." To which Calvin in typical fashion retorts, "Ha! Not me! Gross!"

If you are familiar with Tom Watterson's character, Calvin, you know that he has a great childish and boyish disdain for girls! Most of us did at an early age! But as Susie knew, we change and we find that in God's good design of us men and women have a deep attraction for one another. But like all things in us and in the world, sin has ruined us and our relationships with one another. 

The message of Jesus on lust, adultery and divorce have fallen out of favor in our culture, but we who belong to Him desperately need to be reminded of what it looks like to be sexual creatures under His gracious rule. Read Matthew 5:17-20 and then 27-32. The questions below are given to help you meditate on this passage. A pen or pencil will help you think more slowly and perhaps more thoughtfully.

1. Which commandment is Jesus referring to in verse 27 and where would you find it?

2. Let's define our terms: What exactly is adultery, and how would you define lust?

3. What do you think Jesus means when He says, "everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart"? Is it wrong to have a sexual thought when looking at a person of the opposite sex? Where do you draw the line between temptation and sin when it comes to thoughts or desires?

4. Does this lesson on adultery apply to women as well as men? Explain.

5. Does Jesus intend us to take verses 29-30 literally? If not, why not? What is His point?

* Would it help if all women wore burkas? If men emasculated themselves? (Mark 7:21-23) 

6. How might you apply verses 29-30 in your life? (cf., 18:7-9)

7. Where was it said, "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce"? What is the context and the point of that Mosaic instruction?

8. What is Jesus' counter to this practice of divorce (v. 32)?

9. Read Matthew 19:3-12. How would you describe Jesus' understanding of marriage and divorce? (Why did Moses give us that command?) 

* Does the exception clause demand divorce? What think ye?

* How serious is adultery?

10. Why does a man who divorces his wife who has not been unfaithful to him cause her to commit adultery? And why does a previously unmarried man who marries a divorced woman commit adultery?

11. What does it look like to be sexual creatures under Jesus' rule? What does He want from you and me?

God be with you and hope to see you on Sunday!

Dan