“In the Old Covenant you could be put to death for adultery (Levi. 20:10).
In the New Covenant, you can get divorced for adultery (Matt. 5:32, 19:9).
And, if not repented of, adultery can result in eternal damnation (1 Cor. 6:9–10).
All sin is equally damnable, but not all sin is equally devastating. The implications of adultery are far reaching, legacy altering, and covenant damaging.”
When Jesus came, He did not come to do away with “the Law or the Prophets.” Rather, He said, “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5: 17). In fact Jesus raised the bar, instead of relaxing the law: “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (5: 20). Then He adds in verses 27 to 30:
“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. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
So adultery (including the lust of the eyes) is eternally damning if not repented of. If the eyes of your hearts causes you to look with lustful intent on a woman, and you start to entertain those thoughts of stripping her naked and making love to her- and she is not your wife- then you’ve committed heart adultery. According to Jesus, you’re the same as the man who is literally sleeping around with another woman other than his wife. That is the eyes of your heart Jesus is referring to when He said: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.”
A summary of adultery statistics:
- 41% of marriages: One or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional.
- 57% of men admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had.
- 22% percent of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives.
- 14% percent of married women have strayed at least once during their married lives.
- 36% of men and women admit to having an affair with a co-worker.
- 35% of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips.
- 17% of men and women admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
- Average length of an affair: 2 years.
- 74% of men would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught.
- 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught.
- 79% of respondents said that having an affair with a taken man was never acceptable, a surprising 46% admitted to having done it.
- Men who have been divorced or separated are twice as likely to cheat (28% vs. 14%).
- Women who have been divorced or separated are also twice as likely to cheat (19% vs. 7%).
- Children of divorced parents are at least 50% more likely to get a divorce than those from an unbroken home.
- When both the husband and wife come from divorced families, the odds of divorce are 200% higher.
- More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word “Facebook,” according to a survey by Divorce Online, a UK-based legal services firm.
- The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81% of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.
- 66% of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence.
- 1 in 5 adults use Facebook for flirting. (Source: More here The Big Blog Post on Adultery)
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth (I Cor. 13: 6).
The way the Bible calls us to love is not lukewarm, fuzzy or flimsy. It doesn’t pat us on the back for sin. Ungodly friends do that. Godly friends will not always be on your side, but always on God’s side. Love is on the side of truth. In fact one of the most frank, straight-forward sermons on sexual sin ever written (1 Thess. 4:1-8) was written by Paul to Thessalonians who ““have become very dear” to him, and who “also long to see” him. Biblical truth sets free, and so we’re called to “love in truth.” Jesus, friend of sinners, is “full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14). And “the law was given through Moses; [but] grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1: 17).
One time, in John 8, the scribes and the pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to see what Jesus would do. The scripture said, they did this “to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him” (v. 6). The same happened in Luke 11: 54, where Luke said they wanted to “catch him in something he might say.” This is noteworthy, as there are many like this spirit in the bloggosphere and online forums. I used to be like this, very nit-picky, and have repented by God’s grace. It was all owing to my own lack of experience or understanding, and sometimes fear and insecurity. These folks are always on the look out for fault rather than celebrate what’s good. They are also known mostly for what they are against rather that what they are for, always fault finding. Jesus knew their hearts, so He replied: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” In other words, if you’ve never looked at a woman lustfully in your heart before, if you’ve never sinned in thought and deed; if your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the pharisees; and if you can fulfill the law- perfectly- be the first to throw stone at her. Verse 9 says, “when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones…” When we see other people’s sins it looks really big in our eyes until we see it our own hearts. The irony here is that only Jesus is without sin; only He is fit to throw the first stone and condemn her. Only He is the rightful judge- because He sees even the sinful hearts of men.
Then Jesus asked: “10. Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11. She said, “No one, Lord.” This is crucial, because Jesus’ question and the woman’s answer reveals that indeed none of them were in a rightful place to condemn anyone, let alone this woman. Hence, the only One who is in a rightful position to throw stone and condemn her said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” He said this, because Jesus would go to the cross, take the punishment for her sin (and ours) and die a death we should have died. The stones that ought to have killed this woman, and the punishment for our all our sin fell on Jesus on the cross. Conquering death, He rose bodily again that we might have new life by the Spirit as Romans 8 says:
“1. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
- We are justified by faith in Christ’s finished work in God’s courtroom. “Neither do I condemn you.” “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- We are also sanctified by faith in Christ’s finished work and set-free to live. “Go, and from now on sin no more.” “the law of the Spirit of life has set your free from the law of sin and death.” “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Truth confronts us of our sinful pride and humbles us without humiliating us, and grace sets us free us by lifting us up without puffing us up. “Grace and truth” came through Jesus Christ.