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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Thursday, July 26

Exodus 20:14 speaks of adultery as an act.  Matthew 5:28 speaks of adultery as a thought.  One takes place in bed, the other in the heart.  The same can be said of murder when Jesus refers to the heart as a place where hatred can build to such an extent that in God's eyes it is tantamount to actual murder.

What can we say to this?  To begin, God sees our hearts (the inner person) and also reads our thoughts.  Lust, in the sense of Matthew 5:28, is not simply looking at a man or woman and finding them attractive or even sexy.

Rather, the lust that commits adultery in the heart is the insatiable desire to want that person, but due to unfavorable circumstances, be unable to act upon it.  They are still sinning even though the act has not been committed, for God knows, given the opportunity, such people would gladly and literally indulge in their sexual or hateful desire to commit adultery or murder.

This is part of a larger problem of the inner heart, which Paul addresses in the book of Romans.  We will explore that following this series on the commandments.  For now, we need to understand that while these commandments are good, they can never give us the righteousness before God necessary to enter into a personal relationship with Him.

Rather, through these laws, if we are honest, we learn the dark and deeper truth about ourselves and our inner hearts - that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-23).

The good news is that God understands that what we need are not more laws but more grace!  That has been provided by Jesus who bore all our sins on the cross and did for us what the commandments could never do (Titus 3:3-7).

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