Stewarton Bible School


1. Introduction

Jim X was a very successful London-based salesman. His travels often found him away from home for days at a time. One Thursday morning he caught a plane bound for the continent, where he expected to clinch an important contract over the weekend. The deal would net his company millions, not to mention Jim's substantial cut. Jim kissed his wife goodbye and set off. But when he arrived at his destination and met his prospective client he soon realised that the deal was a non-starter. There had been a big misunderstanding. You know what it is when people speak different languages. Anyway, it quickly became apparent that his journey had been a waste of time: so Jim decided to catch the next flight home. He arrived back at his London home at midnight. Not wanting to disturb his wife he quietly let himself into his house and entered the bedroom. What he saw shattered his life to smithereens. His wife was in bed with another man!

The story, with variations, is familiar. It happens every week in every country; men and women being caught in the act of adultery.

But is adultery wrong? Should Jim have been upset? And if it had been the other way around, should a returning wife be upset to find her husband in her bed with another woman? What are the moral issues involved here? Does anyone know?

2. The Law of God

Human beings are incapable of formulating moral laws. Actions considered acceptable in one country are condemned in another. Even the generations within a country have different opinions about what constitutes good moral behaviour. Parents argue with disagreeing teenagers, teachers with pupils, authorities with the population. Everyone it seems has his/her own opinion on what constitutes good moral behaviour.

But I repeat: Human beings are incapable of formulating moral laws. Because of this fact we must needs look to God - the one who created us in the first place - for guidance on what constitutes good moral behaviour. Here is what the Almighty says, yea commands, concerning this matter of adultery.
Exodus 20: 14: Thou shalt not commit adultery. (This is one of the Ten Commandments)
Leviticus 18: 20: Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
Proverbs 6: 32: But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding:
he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Leviticus 20: 10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

3. God's Reaction to Adultery

Perhaps the most well known act of adultery recorded in Scripture is when king David took Bath-sheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. The woman became pregnant and the king sent Uriah to his death. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12.

What was God's reaction to king David's sin? The Most High was extremely angry with the king David:
2 Samuel 11: 27: ... the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. God sent the prophet Nathan to David with this message: ...
2 Samuel 12: 9: Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10: Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11: Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12: For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

King David repented deeply. He confessed his sin and Yahweh forgave him: but the inevitable results of David's sin could not be reversed. Later his son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar and another son Absalom committed adultery with David's concubines on the same palace roof from which David had seen Bath-sheba bathing. David was pardoned for his sins. He will be in the kingdom of God. But he was unable to reverse God's punishment for his adultery and murder. These are facts of history.

4. Prophecies about Adultery

The Most High has not changed. Even in this generation He sees, He notices. Nothing escapes Him and He punishes those who disobey His commandments. Let all who read the following prophecies about adulterous behaviour - beware!
Jeremiah 23: 10: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.
Jeremiah 23: 14: I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
Jeremiah 29: 23: Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD.

5. Spiritual Adultery

Spiritual adultery is the act of mixing truth with error; incorporating pagan worship in the service of the LORD God of Israel. Spiritual adultery is infinitely worse than physical adultery. Alas! it was found in ancient Israel and is currently practised by almost every Christian denomination. For details see Iniquity in the Church.
Jeremiah 13: 27: I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?
Malachi 3: 5: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Revelation 2: 20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

6. Conclusion

What about practicing adulterers: is salvation possible for them? The answer is yes. Forgiveness and salvation is possible for all sinners who repent and forsake their sins: no matter what those sins may be. But no one should delude themselves into thinking that the Ten Commandments are obsolete and that acts of adultery - albeit fashionable - are going to be ignored by the Almighty God. They will not. The Day of Judgement is fast approaching when every unpardoned sin will be punished. This is the day of Salvation. Do not let it slip away and find you still sinning; because adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals etc, will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Apostle Paul writes this warning:
1 Corinthians 6: 9: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?   Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.  (Homosexuals)
10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

SBS     Vital Topics

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
1995     ... Updated: December 1999