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Monday, January 06, 2020


We know what adultery is. It is a specific "sexual immorality" aimed at the married. It would be sex between two people where one or both are married and not to each other. Not too difficult.

So Jesus came along and threw a wrench into the works.
You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt 5:27-28)
"Oh, that's nice, so ... wait ... what? 'Lustful intent' constitutes adultery??" Yep, that's what Jesus said. So now we have sex between two people or intent for sex. Yikes.

I want to make you aware of another biblical version. In Jeremiah God talks to the prophet about "that faithless one" and "all the adulteries of that faithless one" and about how He "sent her away with a decree of divorce" (Jer 3:6-10). Who was "that faithless one"? Israel. According to God, He divorced Israel because of her "whoredom." The warning to Jeremiah was that Judah hadn't learned from Israel and it didn't look any better for Judah.

This is neither the "voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse" or lustful intent for the same. This is something else. This is spiritual adultery. And it appears to me that God is not happy about it. (Let's just say that "sent her away with a decree of divorce" doesn't sound like He was pleased.) So in what sense is this "adultery"?

In the Old Testament God describes Israel as His bride (Ezek 16:8-14, 32-34; Isa 54:5; Jer 31:32; etc.). The New Testament describes the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25-27, 31-32; etc.). When a wife seeks satisfaction in another not her husband, it's called "adultery." Applying, then, the original definitions, when those who belong to God engage in intimate relations -- idolatry, covetousness, apostasy, etc. -- in place of God either by actual action or by "lustful intent," it is considered spiritual adultery. When we are spiritually unfaithful, we commit spiritual adultery. "You adulteresses," James warns, "do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).

Even in our current "sexual morality is defined by whatever I want" culture, adultery is still frowned upon. How embarrassing is it, then, when in the church we're a bit flippant about spiritual adultery? We think that friendship with the world is a virtue. We excuse our reverence for comfort, power, wealth, health, popularity, and more. We are a bit miffed when someone suggests we need to "save ourselves" for Jesus. You and I, brothers and sisters, really ought to rethink our cavalier approach to our spiritual adultery against our Bridegroom. Think of it this way. If your spouse gave you the same love and respect and attention that you give Christ in comparison to what you give to the world and all that in it is, would you be happy about it? For your consideration.

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