Tuesday: Adultery

(Matt 5:27-32)

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Jesus’ next example involves commandments concerning adultery. He first cites the seventh commandment, You shall not commit adultery. In the context of the law of Moses, adultery took place when a married person was sexually involved with someone other than a spouse. The law was very clear that both parties found guilty of adultery should be put to death. As with the sixth commandment, Jesus gave the deeper implications of this particular commandment.

Adultery often starts long before the acts are committed. In the same way that murder starts with the intention to inflict permanent harm on an individual, adultery begins at the very moment when an individual lustfully desires another person, married or single, to whom he or she is not married.

Read Matthew 5:29-30. How much more forceful could Jesus be in describing the danger of sin? After looking at these texts, read Romans 7:24. What important truths are found here?

Here, too, Jesus provides an instant remedy for those sins that have been exposed. The solution is not to follow through with the sin but to have a conversion of the heart. With strong metaphors, Jesus counsels the one who has the problem to do what is necessary if she or he wishes to enter the kingdom. This may mean taking a different route to work or terminating a cherished friendship, but eternal gain far outweighs the passions of the moment.

As we saw before, Moses permitted divorce even though he knew it was not a part of God’s original plan. After addressing married men with roaming eyes and admonishing them to control their impulses, Jesus encourages lifelong marriage fidelity.

The surrender of the will is represented as plucking out the eye or cutting off the hand. Often it seems to us that to surrender the will to God is to consent to go through life maimed or crippled. But it is better, says Christ, for self to be maimed, wounded, crippled, if thus you may enter into life. That which you look upon as disaster is the door to highest benefit. Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 61. What implication might these words have for you?



Tuesday: Adultery — 14 Comments

  1. Hi friends out there
    Apart from the others ten commandment this is the most violated one in our times. My question is how can we avoid the desire that really drives us to commit adultery?

    • Pray and read His Word and maybe replacing things that make us stumble with better things. Like taking away TV (it might feel like removing of an eye), and exercising instead or going for a walk. Bible memorization can be helpful too. Just focus on one or two verses a week and think of these and they will come to your mind right when you need them.

  2. The scripture affirms that adultery is a heart problem. By the time you see manifestations of adultery, it's a chronic problem. David nurtured an adulterous desire and it resulted to bitterness; interestingly, he did a root analysis of his problem and recognized that his unconsecrated thoughts caused his lustful desires. Matt 5: 29 & 30 express personal accountability to resist adultery. One must intentionally cut off himself/herself from temptations that lead to adultery. This may require relocating to another city or state, transfer to another church, don't socialize with some people, spend more quality time with your family.......... The point is we must choose to be morally pure. We cannot choose good without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Gal 5: 16 "walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."

  3. 1. Do we follow this law anymore with respect to divorce and remarriage in the church? Why or why not?

    I also wonder sometimes about this passage.

    2. Is it that divorce (for any reason besides adultery) was a sin in times past but God--through Moses--allowed the people to sin because they really, really wanted to do it (hardness of their hearts)?
    Or was this a brand new commandment establishing divorce (for any reason besides adultery) as being a sin (where it wasn't a sin before)?

    3. The same thing comes up with polygamy.
    I ask this here because so far, the answers I have gotten from people over the years, have said that polygamy is adultery. However, in David's story, he is not reproved for his polygamy, but for his adultery and murder. I have also not been able to find other texts relating to polygamy directly. So how, biblically, do we promote our standards as it relates to polygamy?

    Were David, Solomon, Elkanah and the patriarchs etc. just "doing something inadvisable" by having more than one wife? Or were they sinning?

    • RE: #3
      Polygamy was not Adultery in Old Testament times or in the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses defines both what Adultery was and what Fornication was. Adultery was when a man had sexual relations with another man’s wife, or a wife had sexual relations with another man. Fornication was when unmarried people had sexual relations or when a married man had sexual relations with an unmarried woman. Polygamy was not Adultery or fornication in Old Testament times. The Laws of Moses even had rules for men when they took on an extra wife (Ex 21:10) and in the law of levirate marriage this law may have even encouraged (in some cases) a man to take on an extra wife. (Duet 25:5-10)

      In the New Testament Christ has given us a higher standard. This is the standard of what marriage was originally and always intended to be. These Laws of Moses of which we speak were only allowances for the people in their time due to their condition and the conditions in which they lived. We now follow a higher standard and we should strive to reach it with Christ’s help.

    • Personally I ask myself how close do I want to follow God? I prefer to compare my life to the life in Eden and to seek answers there more than comparing it to Moses and his times. Wherever God designed in Eden was good and in Eden He created men and women and made them one in marriage. I think that sometimes God allows us to continue in one aspect of our lives while He is working on another, more important at this time. He is thee best surgeon and as a surgeon it takes lots of wisdom and skill to know which item remove first and how fast to do so.

  4. I know adultery all too well. After 34 yrs of marriage, my spouse left me for another and I know that the lust started long before the act. I see God knew what this would do to us, as his people. I pray that my lost spouse that God chose for me will someday see his wrong and come back to the Lord and restore what satan put before his eyes. The emotional pain is as bad if not worse than murder, because it lives on, on the one left behind.

  5. Matt 5:29-30 Is here speaking figuratively. Our eyes and hands have to be governed and 'kept under subjection' to the extent of suppression of lustful desires which starts through the 'eyes' which are the windows of the soul and carried out with the hands and feet. We like the apostle Paul, should follow Christ's example. He said, ''I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me''. Gal 3:20 Also he gives us another counsel, ''Whether therefore we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, do all to the glory of God''.1 Cor 10:31.
    Jesus regarded the sin problem of adultery, fornication, lustful desires, so dangerous, that preventing 'sin' would be like being blinded in the right eye or loosing your right hand, or being ''cast into hell''. Sin is so disastrous that we should avoid sinning at all cost. Jesus came to give us Eternal Life and not eternal death.

  6. There were cases in the Bible that God approved something that was not His will. Take for example when Israel cried for a King, it was not God's will that they will be ruled by a king but He gave them a king anyway. When they asked for meat in the wilderness, it was not His will but He gave them quail.

    God approved vs God's will.

    It was Moses who legislated the law on divorce but if we look at Jesus' stipulation, it suggests that though divorce was not His will, the law got His approval anyway. "I (Jesus) tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any reason other than her unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman." Matt. 19:9, 5:32. If divorce was God approved, then divorce was and is not a sin as long as you do it on the grounds mentioned.

    Not like divorce, there is no record in the Bible that God permitted polygamy. Therefore all those people who collected more than one wife committed adultery.

    May be one question also to ask is, Do we need first to get a court order on divorce before we can remarry?

  7. It seems to me that what we are dealing with here are examples where Jesus is reaching us where we are. Besides, there is the very obvious concept of progressive revelation. Things like the idea of there being an actual adversary, the devil, didn’t become part of Jewish thinking until late in Old Testament history.

    In the early parts of Jewish history just after the exodus from Egypt God was dealing with people that were rather crude, many of them operating on a social level just above animals. From there God was attempting to bring them up to the level of kings and queens which was not easy to do. By the time of Christ they still didn’t understand the foundational things concerning God or what they were to be like.

    I can see in my own life how God has been slowly trying to raise me up from a lifestyle that was not at all good and He is still working on this stubborn, cranky old man. I so often marvel at the patience of Heaven especially when Satan is trying in every way to tear down what God has been building up. Perhaps that is the reason why things seem to go so slowly and why things that are said in the New Testament appear to contradict what was said in the Old Testament – it is indeed a very slow process.

  8. In discussions about adultery we often get a lot of legalistic arguments about what it is, and what the excuse is for divorce. I am not about to give a modernistic interpretation of the adultery/divorce laws. In our own minds we need to understand that the application of the law without considering mercy leads to an unbalanced view. Sometimes, I have seen the law act like an idiot because it has been applied without reference to mercy.

    Adultery is a forgivable sin. It does not have to lead to divorce. I have great admiration for the many couples that I know who have had to work through the issues of adultery and rebuild their relationships again. It is a tribute to their Christianity.

  9. God almighty knows our thaught n inner man. Lets pray unto Him that He delivers us from the lust of the eye, of the flesh n pride of life Amen

  10. Although the recommendation of "self Mutilation" by plucking out your eye and cutting off your hand seems excessive as a means to getting rid of sin, the real issue is "keep your heart on Jesus" so that those things which might cause you to sin will not keep you out of heaven. Plucking out your eye and cutting off your hand will not stop your heart and mind or your feet to wander after sinful tendencies and practices. Only Jesus and Jesus by faith can give us grace and mercy to overcome sin.


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