Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

Sometimes adultery seems easier

Sometimes adultery seems easier

Does adultery seem like a good idea at times? The Tuesday Bible study group got on to the topic this week. Not ordinary adultery, you will be relieved to know, but adultery of a different kind.

We ran into the passage that described the followers of Jesus as “those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.” (Rev 14.4). Quite a puzzling statement at first sight since nowhere does the bible encourage everyone to stay unmarried (multiplying and filling the earth would be quite difficult if that was the case, quite apart from what appear to be various sexist and gender assumptions).

One passage that sheds light on it is Ezekiel 23. A pretty gross and explicit portrayal of unfaithfulness.

In this case God's people being unfaithful to him by all the time devoting themselves to other gods. The language is very strong – presumably because God is very upset about it.

The parallel in the book of Revelation is very up to date. There John describes powerful political and governmental power which wants people to give it their first allegiance and go along with its way of life. This power is aided and abetted by religious and ideological powers that seek to persuade people not only to engage with their ideology but to trust themselves to the powers that be.

This is not essentially about the style of government (democracy for example, although that is part of it), nor just about “the state”, but about the power to order our lives, priorities and values in a way that excludes God and is hostile to God's people following Christ. Various ideologies reinforce this and provide alternative values, priorities and absolutes that encourage people to go along with the main powers.

In Australia the takeover by powers hostile to Christianity is not yet complete. But the ideological players are hard at work. Adultery often seems the easier option. But it is always based on lies.

The servants of the Lamb can spot a lie when they hear it. And they know the truth which keeps them free.



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