Adultery As Defined By Jesus: Part 1

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. – Matthew 5:27-32

I’m going to look at Jesus’s teaching on adultery in three parts: verses 27-28, verses 29-30, and verses 31-32. This is part 1.

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

This teaching of Jesus is self-explanatory. If it is given to us, all we must do is receive it, accept this teaching as truth, and seek Jesus so we can apply it to our lives.

Adultery is rampant in Western culture.

I know of an honorable man that works in a factory setting in an adultery-filled atmosphere. He is loyal to his wife and his co-workers thought that was strange because “everyone cheats.” It took a while before his co-workers left him alone about it.

He told me a story once about a young, married man that would talk about his cheating on Saturday night then go to church Sunday morning. It was like it was no big deal. The honorable man counselled this young man and he used the above scripture to do so. Somehow, he was ignorant of the scripture. This young man later repented, I believe.

It is sad when we live in a time and culture in which marriage and loyalty are scarce and mocked. Are the people that refuse this teaching happy? Do they have quality relationships? Do they feel fulfilled in their lives? Probably not. Many have become so cavalier about sex and about marriage that they truly do not know how destructive adultery and fornication are.

Marriage is meant to join two people together as one. You are building a life together and your spouse is the one person you are meant to rely on. Your spouse is the one person who you should be able to trust in this world, as far as human beings can be trusted. Your spouse is supposed to be your source of emotional and physical support.

When that relationship is corrupted, there is no trust so working together becomes very difficult if not impossible. Grief and fear take over along with shame and hardness of heart towards one another and towards committed relationships in general.

Can a couple heal after adultery?

Maybe in some instances, but I do not think they ever fully heal. Once that bond is broken, it is broken. You can forgive and move on, learn to build trust again over many years of transparency and honesty, but something is taken away that you have to learn to deal with. The pain never really goes away after someone does this to you, and the shame never really goes away after you have done this to someone you love.

I do think that if the two become serious Christians, Jesus will make the healing process fuller.

In any case, just don’t do it. It is not worth it.

Sometimes people commit physical adultery and sometimes emotional adultery. Lust is adultery, as Jesus teaches. I also believe that when people share intimate details of their lives with the opposite sex, they are committing a form of adultery because your spouse should be the only one who shares that part of your life with you.

With literal adultery so rampant, it might seem strange to many that we should aim even higher as Christians. Lust and emotional betrayal are also forms of adultery. We know that physical adultery begins in these ways, so if we can avoid committing adultery on a small scale then we most likely can avoid in on a larger scale.

As a Christian, I also think about spiritual adultery with Satan.

If our eyes are lusting after the things of this world and sin, then we are committing adultery against Jesus because we are supposed to be espoused to Him as chaste virgins.

Many are foolish, as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish virgins teach. I wonder if their vessels are empty because they gave it all away to the world whorishly instead of keeping themselves for Jesus. I think that is the right interpretation, though I’ve never heard it taught that way. When they run out, they are told to “go to those that sell.”

Go ahead. Sell out, Christian. Sell out to the world and the prince thereof. Sell out to riches and comforts. Sell out to sin and misuse grace to do so. Be like Esau who sold out for mere pottage. That’s what the world is. Pottage. The Wedding Supper of Christ is going to be far better, but you will not be there. See what happens when you “make to yourself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.” Yes, Jesus was speaking sarcastically. It is not a sin to do so.

When it is time to wake up and trim your lamp, what will you do? Is it not already time?

There is still time to repent, thank the Lord!

There is time to repent of all forms of adultery and there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. However, we should not be so cavalier about it. We do not take adultery lightly in any sense, including our mind and heart towards God through Jesus Christ.

“Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your strength, and all your mind. This is the first commandment.”

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

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