In today’s verse Jesus is quoting from the 7thof the 10 commandments which are found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21. Jesus has previously dealt with murder a couple of verses ago and has redefined its meaning. Now he tackles another huge subject, with a similar clarification.
The sin of adultery is mentioned many times in the bible and the dictionary definition is “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.” The bible agrees with this definition. The punishment for this sin in the Old Testament is capital punishment – death, but it is dealt with quite a bit differently in today’s society. It is the subject for many film and television plots and can often be portrayed in a positive light or at least not roundly condemned as it should. The general view is that if it is kept a secret, what harm can it do?
Today I want to look briefly at why Adultery is wrong and its consequences.
God instituted the covenant of marriage as the central building block of society. It was to be between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5) and was to be a lifelong commitment of love, devotion and intimacy. This environment was the perfect setting for bringing children into the world allowing for their safety, security and healthy development. The marriage covenant was designed as a place of safety and trust and of course adultery destroys that.
Another aspect of God’s plan that adultery taints is the picture of the faithfulness of the marriage covenant mirroring God’s love for us and also Christ’s love for his church. This is found in Ephesians 5:22-32 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (v25). It says in verse 31 that when a husband and wife get married they actually become ‘one flesh’ and this is a mystery that God does. Adultery breaks that sacred bond which God has forged.
God’s people are to reflect the character of God. They are to be; holy, faithful, loving and pure. Not thinking about themselves but always considering the needs of their partner. This was true in the Old Testament when God’s people were to show distinctiveness from the debauchery and promiscuity of the surrounding nations and it is just as important today. Our lives and especially our marriages are to reflect our heavenly father’s character so that outsiders are stirred to desire the same relationship.
The breaking of trust and sense of betrayal are two clear consequences following an adulterous relationship, but there are many other consequences to consider, such as;
· The length of time needed to bring restitution and healing.
· Even If a relationship was restored it would take a long time and great effort to gain trust, true fellowship and intimacy.
· Others closest to you would be affected, especially children and parents.
· Your witness to unbelieving family and friends would be damaged.
· It would damage the relationships of the person you have committed adultery with.
In summary; Adultery is the complete corruption of God’s good creation of marriage. Through the sin of adultery, Satan tempts us to seek sexual fulfillment in avenues other than the one God has ordained—within the bounds of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Adultery rips at the fabric of society because it tears apart marriages and families which are the building blocks of society. Adultery offers a temporary satisfaction and excitement which is completely disproportionate to the lifetime it would take to mend the damage.
Next week we will look at how Jesus further clarifies this commandment in a way which would have totally shocked His listeners.