Faithlife Sermons

You Shall Not Commit Adultery

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I. Introduction

As we look across the moral and political landscape and how it relates to the topic of marriage, there are a great number of reasons to grieve. Roughly 40% of New Zealand marriages end in divorce. Our nation has believed a lie and advocates “so-called same sex marriage.” Moreover, nearly one-quarter of couples living together are not married, instead choosing co-habitation as an alternative. Our nation has rejected yet another of God’s good gifts to his creation. Marriage was given by God not just to the Jews, but to all those that bear his image, for their benefit. We are indeed living in a day of judgment when marriage is deemed unnecessary by some, redefined by others, and trivialized by others still. The seventh commandment, the focus of today’s sermon, was given to honour and preserve the institution of marriage.
The last time I preached in our series on the Law of God I spoke on the tenth commandment: “You shall not covet.” () Today we will take a few steps back to the seventh commandment. Throughout our series on the Decalogue, I have argued that the order of the ten words, or commands is neither arbitrary nor accidental. God purposefully gave these ten laws to his covenant people in such a way that the laws flow from one to another, each law deepening the understanding of the law previous, and setting the stage for the law that will follow. For this reason, I will begin by reading the first fourteen verses of Exodus chapter 20. ()
20 zAnd aGod spoke all these words, saying,
b“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Exodus 20:14

c“You shall have no other gods before1 me.
d“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. eYou shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am fa jealous God, gvisiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands2 of those who love me and keep my commandments.
And God spoke all these words, saying,
h“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
i“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. jSix days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the kseventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the lsojourner who is within your gates. 11 For min six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 n“Honor your father and your mother, othat your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 p“You shall not murder.3
“You shall have no other gods before me.
14 q“You shall not commit adultery.
z For ver. 1–17, see Deut. 5:6–21
a Deut. 5:22
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
b Lev. 26:13; Ps. 81:10; Hos. 13:4
c 2 Kgs. 17:35; Jer. 25:6; 35:15
1 Or besides
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
d Lev. 26:1; Deut. 27:15; Ps. 97:7; [Acts 17:29]
e ch. 23:24; Josh. 23:7
f ch. 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 6:15; Josh. 24:19; Nah. 1:2
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
g ch. 34:7; Num. 14:18; [Ps. 79:8; 109:14; Isa. 65:6, 7; Jer. 32:18]
2 Or to the thousandth generation
h Lev. 19:12; [Matt. 5:34, 35; James 5:12]
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
i Lev. 19:3, 30; 26:2; See ch. 31:13–17
j ch. 23:12; 34:21; 35:2; Lev. 23:3; Luke 13:14
k ch. 16:26; 31:15; Gen. 2:2, 3; Ezek. 20:12; See Num. 15:32–36
13 “You shall not murder.
l See Neh. 13:16–19
m See Gen. 1:1–2:3
n Lev. 19:3; Cited Matt. 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Eph. 6:2; [Jer. 35:18, 19]
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
o Eph. 6:3
p Cited Matt. 5:21; 19:18; Rom. 13:9; [Gen. 9:5, 6; 1 John 3:15]
Let us pray, and ask God to bless the preaching of His word.

II. The Commandment Explained

Each of these ten commandments means much more than what is written, but it never means less than what is written. For example, the commandment forbidding murder is explained, and expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to reveal that its true intention was to go beyond mere externals and reach into the heart issues of humanity. Many of you may be familiar with the verses that occur after Jesus’ exposition of the sixth commandment in . After teaching that hatred of brother is a violation of the command “You shall not murder” () He moves to an explanation of our topic this morning: adultery.
3 The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence
q Lev. 18:20; Deut. 22:22; Prov. 6:32; 1 Cor. 6:9; Heb. 13:4; Cited Matt. 5:27; Rom. 13:9
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ex 20:1–14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

20 zAnd aGod spoke all these words, saying,

2 b“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3 c“You shall have no other gods before1 me.

4 d“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 eYou shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am fa jealous God, gvisiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands2 of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 h“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

8 i“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 jSix days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the kseventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the lsojourner who is within your gates. 11 For min six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 n“Honor your father and your mother, othat your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13 p“You shall not murder.3

14 q“You shall not commit adultery.

Before we jump to the many passages throughout Scripture that help to enlighten our hearts and minds to the full meaning of the text, we must grasp the text in its context. First, within the decalogue, the ten words. Second, within the book of Exodus. Third, within the law of God. Finally, we move to the commandment and its usage throughout the Old Testament, and its relation to the New Covenant.
Exodus 20:14 ESV
“You shall not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:14 ESV
“You shall not commit adultery.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.
Our English word adultery captures the essence of this command perfectly. Specifically forbidden in the seventh commandment is marital unfaithfulness, infidelity. Any sexual relation engaged in by a married person is forbidden by the seventh commandment. Positively stated, the command reads, “You shall be faithful to your spouse.”
Adultery was a sin worthy of death, with the laws governing its punishment occurring in .

10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
:10
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 10 “If a man commits adultery
Deuteronomy chapter 22 verse 22 repeats the punishment of death and then says that capital punishment is necessary to “purge the evil from Israel.”
Condemnations of adultery are found throughout Scripture. The book of Proverbs in particular has much to say on the topic of sexual infidelity and promiscuity.
The first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs contain wisdom from a father to his son, and chapters five through seven of the book deal extensively with fatherly advice concerning adultery. Several times within these chapters the adulteress woman is described as being enticing, having a “smooth tongue.”
Proverbs 6:23–29 ESV
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.
Proverbs 6:23-

For the commandment is qa lamp and the teaching a light,
and the rreproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24  to preserve you from the evil woman,5
from the smooth tongue of sthe adulteress.6
23  For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
25  tDo not desire her beauty in your heart,

10  And behold, the woman meets him,

sdressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.3

11  She is tloud and uwayward;

vher feet do not stay at home;

12  now in the street, now in the market,

and wat every corner she xlies in wait.

13  She seizes him and kisses him,

and with ybold face she says to him,

14  “I had to zoffer sacrifices,4

and today I have apaid my vows;

15  so now I have come out to meet you,

to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

16  I have spread my couch with bcoverings,

colored linens from cEgyptian linen;

17  I have perfumed my bed with dmyrrh,

aloes, and ecinnamon.

18  Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;

let us delight ourselves with love.

19  For fmy husband is not at home;

he has gone on a long journey;

20  he took a bag of money with him;

at full moon he will come home.”

21  With much seductive speech she persuades him;

with gher smooth talk she compels him.

22  All at once he follows her,

as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast5

23  till an arrow pierces its liver;

as ha bird rushes into a snare;

he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24  And inow, O sons, listen to me,

and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

25  Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;

do not stray into her paths,

26  for many a victim has she laid low,

and all her slain are ja mighty throng.

27  Her house is kthe way to Sheol,

going down to the chambers of death.

and do not let her capture you with her ueyelashes;
26  for vthe price of a prostitute is only wa loaf of bread,7
but a married woman8 xhunts down a precious life.
27  Can a man carry yfire next to his zchest
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
and his clothes not be burned?
28  Or can one awalk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29  So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her bwill go unpunished.
24  to preserve you from the evil woman,
q Ps. 119:105; [Ps. 13:3]
r [ch. 10:17]
5 Revocalization (compare Septuagint) yields from the wife of a neighbor
s See ch. 2:16
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
6 Hebrew the foreign woman
t [Matt. 5:28]
u [2 Kgs. 9:30]

For the commandment is qa lamp and the teaching a light,

and the rreproofs of discipline are the way of life,

24  to preserve you from the evil woman,5

from the smooth tongue of sthe adulteress.6

25  tDo not desire her beauty in your heart,

and do not let her capture you with her ueyelashes;

26  for vthe price of a prostitute is only wa loaf of bread,7

but a married woman8 xhunts down a precious life.

27  Can a man carry yfire next to his zchest

and his clothes not be burned?

28  Or can one awalk on hot coals

and his feet not be scorched?

29  So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;

none who touches her bwill go unpunished.

v [ch. 29:3]
w ch. 28:21; 1 Sam. 2:36
25  Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
7 Or (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) for a prostitute leaves a man with nothing but a loaf of bread
8 Hebrew a man’s wife
x Ezek. 13:18
y Job 31:12
z Ps. 79:12
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
a Isa. 43:2
b ch. 16:5
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 6:23–29). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
26  for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
27  Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28  Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29  So is he who goes in to his neighbour’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.

Proverbs 6:32

32  He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
he who does it destroys himself.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Pr 6:32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Finally, in the seventh chapter of the book of Proverbs, the seriousness of this sin is illustrated with a story of a young man trapped by the adulterous woman. Listen to the powerful writing that makes up this account. This proverb is haunting in its warning of the consequences of adultery.

Proverbs 7:10-27

10  And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
11  She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home;
her feet do not stay at home;
12  now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
and at every corner she lies in wait.
13  She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him,
and with bold face she says to him,
14  “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;
and today I have paid my vows;
15  so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16  I have spread my couch with coverings, coloured linens from Egyptian linen;
coloured linens from Egyptian linen;
17  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
aloes, and cinnamon.
18  Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.
let us delight ourselves with love.
19  For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;
he has gone on a long journey;
20  he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.”
at full moon he will come home.”
21  With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.
with her smooth talk she compels him.
22  All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast
as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast

10  And behold, the woman meets him,

dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.

11  She is loud and wayward;

her feet do not stay at home;

12  now in the street, now in the market,

and at every corner she lies in wait.

13  She seizes him and kisses him,

and with bold face she says to him,

14  “I had to offer sacrifices,

and today I have paid my vows;

15  so now I have come out to meet you,

to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

16  I have spread my couch with coverings,

colored linens from Egyptian linen;

17  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,

aloes, and cinnamon.

18  Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;

let us delight ourselves with love.

19  For my husband is not at home;

he has gone on a long journey;

20  he took a bag of money with him;

at full moon he will come home.”

21  With much seductive speech she persuades him;

with her smooth talk she compels him.

22  All at once he follows her,

as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast

23  till an arrow pierces its liver;

as a bird rushes into a snare;

he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24  And now, O sons, listen to me,

and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

25  Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;

do not stray into her paths,

26  for many a victim has she laid low,

and all her slain are a mighty throng.

27  Her house is the way to Sheol,

going down to the chambers of death.

or as a stag is caught fast
23  till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24  And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25  Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths,
do not stray into her paths,
26  for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.
and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27  Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
going down to the chambers of death.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Three times in this section, the adulteress’ house is described as the way to Sheol. This is a sin that leads to the grave, to death. Sexual relations with a married woman was to be justly punished by death. But something else is contained in that statement seen above. In the Proverbs two lifestyles are contrasted repeatedly. The first is the path of righteousness, leading to life, while the second is called the crooked path that leads to death.

Proverbs 12:28

In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Conversely, the adulterer and the adulteress are on the crooked path, where there is no life. Adultery is a sin that is repeated throughout the New Testament that describes those whose destiny is that of eternal death. A verse from the chapter we read today states that “adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God” ().
The person described here who will not inherit the kingdom of God is paralleled in .

This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”
This is a person with no remorse for their adultery. Her adultery is as normal as eating a meal, what an awful judgment of God there already is upon that person’s life that she is so blinded to her own sin that she passes it off as a necessary activity like eating or drinking.
and in its pathway there is no death.
If we are able to take a step back and examine sin, we see the foolishness of it. Why would anyone worship a God other than Yahweh? Why would anyone attempt to make an idol of a God who is Spirit, and does not have a body? Why would anyone reject their parents, the very people who gave them life and sustained them when they could not provide for themselves? Why would anyone go after another person when he or she is already married, and possesses the benefits of marriage?
So many of these sins are examples of knowing what is right, and rejecting God and his commands. would call this action suppression of the truth. Throughout human history we have claimed to be wiser than God, and yet our lives demonstrate our own foolishness. We may look around the world today and see terrible examples of this suppression, and the hatred of God’s commands, but this problem is not unique to our day. The human heart longs for that which is damaging to his soul, and to his relationships.

Proverbs 30:20

III. The Commandment Illustrated

This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”
This is a per
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
III. The Commandment Illustrated

III. The Commandment Illustrated

There are several well-known examples of adultery recorded in the Scriptures. To begin with, however, I want to look at four cases where adultery almost took place. Three of these events are strikingly similar. First, in , Abram and Sarai travel through Egypt and Abram lies about Sarai being his wife. Next, in , Abraham and Sarah, newly renamed by God tell a similar lie to King Abimelech. Later, in , Isaac, Abraham’s son and the heir to the promises of God, lied to the descendent of King Abimelech, this King bearing the same name as his ancestor. In each situation, the husband, afraid of death, tells a lie that his wife is really his sister. The middle example sheds the most light on our topic this morning. In , when God reveals to Abimelech what has taken place he is alarmed and awakes his servants to relay the message at once. Next, he confronts Abraham saying, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin?” In each account Pharaoh, and the two King Abimelechs, terrified that they were about to commit adultery return the wives they had taken.
Notice that in , Abimelech says to Abraham that he brought on his kingdom “a great sin.” From these three events we see God’s common grace in giving godless societies the blessing of marriage, and also the fact that adultery was considered a great sin in several cultures in the surrounding area.
In the final account of ‘almost adultery’ the situation takes place in . Joesph, serving the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, was asked by Potiphar’s wife to lie with her. The first time Joseph is asked to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife he responds by saying: How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
King David infamously broke the seventh commandment with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah in Second Samuel chapter eleven. David saw Bathsheba bathing from the roof of the palace, and immediately he desired to be with her. The two go on to have an adulterous relationship, which escalates to the murder of Uriah in a grand coverup scheme. From this point forward, sexual sin invaded the King’s family. The King who is said to be a man after God’s own heart had his family destroyed by sexual sin, the punishment for his adultery.
And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’ 
Because of his murder Nathan promises him that the “sword will not depart from his house.” Three of his sons will die a violent death. And because of his sexual sin he is told that God will “take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Could David ever have thought, as he walked along the roof of his palace, that his violation of the commands of God would result in familial betrayal and tragedy? Probably not. The latter half of King David’s life is filled with the tragic consequences of sin.
Friends, the Bible’s testimony to the heinous sin of Adultery is uniform. It is equally clear, however, that anyone can commit this sin.
Abimelech, the pagan King, was outraged at his near adultery while Abraham stood idly by. The act that this pagan King called a great sin, King David indulged in.
Friends, the Bible’s testimony to the heinous sin of Adultery is uniform. It is equally clear, however, that anyone can commit this sin. Be on guard, beloved, lest you think that such a sin is beneath your fleshly nature. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
The sin of adultery was deserving of death, it leads to eternal death, it is chief among all sexual sins.

IV. The Commandment Defended

Each of the commandments represents the chief sin an any one particular area. For example, the greatest sin of violence one could commit against another is murder. The greatest sin of rebellion against human authority is to dishonour one’s own mother and father. Chief amongst dishonesty is the lie told against a neighbour in court.
Do we think of adultery like this? Are we most offended by this sin? Or do we chalk it up to that’s just how men are or that spouse was neglected, so it is only natural? NO! Certainly there are sins that are contributing factors in the eventual act of adultery, but I hope that you are repulsed by this terrible sin!
Regarding sexual sin, adultery is the most heinous sin one can commit. It damages in a way that other forms of promiscuity simply do not damage. It is an affront to the character of God in ways that other sins are not.
All deviant sexual behaviour devalues marriage, but only adultery is a direct concentrated attack upon marriage. For while all sexual sin attacks the institution of marriage, only adultery attacks a specific marriage. Only in adultery
sums up the positive moral commandment that finds its foundation in the seventh commandment:

Hebrews 13:4

Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
This is verse summarizes the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality in just two words.
Honour marriage
Any kind of sexual deviance does not honour marriage because it takes what is to be unique union of a man and a woman who have committed their lives together and makes it common, or obscene. It does not ultimately matter so much what form the departure takes, whether it is premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, you name it, it dishonours marriage by taking the unique union and treating it as common.
Adultery is a greater sin still because it breaks the covenant one spouse has made to the other.
In the book of Genesis, we see several purposes for the institution of Marriage
1. The population of the earth
Genesis 1:28 ESV
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis
2. The most basic form of Government (A restraint of Wickedness)
Genesis 2:18 ESV
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
3. Mutual Support, Strength and Companionship
1. Mutual Support, Strength and Companionship
Mutual Support, Strength and Companionship The population of the earth The most basic form of Government. (A restraint for wickedness)
Ephesians 5:30–32 ESV
because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:32 ESV
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:22–33 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
4. To illustrate the relationship between Christ and his Church
Jesus in quotes from the book of Genesis saying,
Matthew 19:4–6 ESV
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Adultery undermines each of these purposes for marriage, tearing apart the one-flesh-union, destroying the illustration of Christ and the Church, Abandoning the mutual support and companionship for which marriage was given. And undermining the family and its role as basic government. If the seriousness of the sin and its inclusion in the Decalogue is not yet clear, lets look at one of the ways God mentions this commandment throughout his word.
It is

The picture of Spiritual Adultery

Leviticus 20:4–6 ESV
And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech. “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
Throughout the prophets, God connects the private sin of Adultery to the public sin of Idolatry in the land of Israel.
Why does he do this? Covenant
3. The most basic form of Government. (A restraint for wickedness)
In a covenant relationship, nothing less than our total allegiance is required. In a marriage, love, sacrifice, devotion, are to be given to one’s spouse.

V. The Commandment Applied

V. The Commandment Applied

Furthermore, our Lord himself leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the seventh commandment.

Matthew 5:27-28

Matthew 5 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. “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. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
A. Lust, a violation of the seventh commandment ()
Heidelberg Catechism
108. Q. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
A. That all unchastity is condemned by God, and that we should therefore detest it from the heart, and live chaste and disciplined lives, whether in marriage or in single life. 109.
109 Q. Does God forbid nothing more than adultery and such gross sins in this commandment?
A. Since both our body and soul are a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is his will that we keep both pure and holy. Therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires, and whatever may excite another person to them.
A. That all unchastity is condemned by God, and that we should therefore detest it from the heart, and live chaste and disciplined lives, whether in marriage or in single life. 109. Q. Does God forbid nothing more than adultery and such gross sins in this commandment?
A. Since both our body and soul are a temple
Horton, Michael. The Law of Pe
Horton, Michael. The Law of Perfect Freedom: Relating to God and Others through the Ten Commandments (Kindle Locations 2873-2876). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
B. The seriousness of this sin
Horton, Michael. The Law of Perfect Freedom: Relating to God and Others through the Ten Commandments (Kindle Locations 2873-2876). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Matthew 5:29-30

29 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. 30 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.
The law of God is like the brightest of searchlights. We may run to try and escape its reach, but sooner or later it exposes us for all to see. It is at this point that no one can claim obedience to the seventh commandment. While it is good to recognize the terrible and unique nature of the sin of adultery, Jesus words in offer a caution, lest we go too far in that direction. After declaring that the commandment has already been broken at the moment of lust, he says that this breach of God’s law is enough to warrant eternity in hell.
Friends, just as premarital sex, homosexuality, and adultery dishonour marriage, so too does lust in our hearts. Do you view your lust as a sin worthy of damnation? Do you act in such a way that Jesus’ example fits your situation? Jesus is not promoting the mutilation of our bodies, rather he is speaking in hyperbole, with great exaggeration to show the measures that must be taken to deal with our sin. John Owen calls this the Mortification of Sin, using as a foundation for the principle:

13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 3:5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
We must put this sin to death.
Furthermore, We must not fool ourselves into thinking we are incapable of adultery. For this kind of thinking will make us unable to properly fight sin as we ought.

The Commandment Defended Why is adultery included in the Decalogue? The sins included in the 10 commandments are the chief sin in their respective areas (murder the chief violence, dishonouring parents the chief rebellion) Adultery, more than any other sexual sin devalues the institution of marriage All sexual sin devalues marriage in general terms Adultery devalues marriage generally, as well as specific marriages Adultery involves the breaking of covenant, this is why it is often compared to idolatry. The Positive Command: Honour Marriage ( The purposes for Marriage Mutual Support, Strength and Companionship The population of the earth The most basic form of Government. (A restraint for wickedness) To Illustrate the relationship between Christ and His Church. The ways in which we dishonour marriage None of us honours marriage perfectly, but there are other ways we fall short.

V. The Commandment Applied

VI. Forgiveness found in our Faithful God

A. Neither Adultery, nor any sexual sin is an unpardonable sin

The stain of sexual sin finds cleansing through Jesus Christ Our faithfulness to Christ, our Bridegroom, is imperfect. Christ has promised to perfectly save his people (;

B. The stain of sexual sin finds cleansing through Jesus Christ
C. Our faithfulness to Christ, our Bridegroom, is imperfect. Christ has promised to perfectly save his people (;
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV
if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:11–13 ESV
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
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