Adultery

(Flower arrangements).
(Flower arrangements).

Coming spiritual adultery:

See how the faithful city

has become a harlot!

She once was full of justice;

righteousness used to dwell in her –

but now murderers!

Your silver has become dross,

your choice wine is diluted with water. –  NIV Isaiah 1:21-22

“The faithful city” refers to Jerusalem, representing all of Judah. God compares the actions of his people to a harlot.  The people had turned from the worship of the true God to worshipping idols.  Their faith was defective, impure, and diluted.  Idolatry, outward or inward, is spiritual adultery, breaking our commitment to God in order to love something else.  Jesus described the people of his day as adulterous, even though they were religiously strict.  As the church, we are the “bride” of Christ (Revelation 19:7), and, by faith, we can be clothed in his righteousness.  Has your faith become impure?  Ask God to restore you.  Keep your devotion to him strong and pure.

Committing mental adultery:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  –  NIV Matthew 5:27-28

The Old Testament law said that it is wrong for a person to have sex with someone other than his or her spouse (Exodus 20:14). But Jesus said that the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sin.  Jesus emphasised that if the act is wrong, then so is the intention.  To be faithful to your spouse with your body but not your mind is to break the trust so vital to a strong marriage.  Jesus is not condemning natural interest in the opposite sex or even healthy sexual desire, but the deliberate and repeated filling of one’s mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out.

How lust can lead to:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  –  NIV Matthew 5:27-28

Some think that if lustful thoughts are sin, why shouldn’t a person go ahead and do the lustful actions too? Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several ways: (1) it causes people to excuse sin rather than to stop sinning; (2) it destroys marriages; (3) it is deliberate rebellion against God’s word; (4) it always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner.  Sinful action is more dangerous than sinful desire, and that is why desires should not be acted out.  Nevertheless, sinful desire is just as damaging to righteousness.  Left unchecked, wrong desires will result in wrong actions and turn people away from God.

And divorce:

“No-one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  –  NIV John 8:11

Jesus didn’t condemn the woman accused of adultery, but neither did he ignore or condemned her sin. He told her to leave her life of sin, Jesus stands ready to forgive any sin in your life, but confession and repentance mean a change of heart.  With God’s help we can accept Christ’s forgiveness and stop our wrongdoing.

 

©Kingsway International 1973.

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