Revealing and discussing the depths of damage caused by adultery
Ancient biblical history paints a very specific picture of the world regarding morals and ethics. In the days of the Jewish Law, there were unmistakable lines that anyone of Jewish descent knew they simply should not cross. Just as lying, stealing and murder were lines not to cross, committing adultery was one as well. Fast forward to our world today, and what do we see? Adultery not only sounds old-fashioned, it is common and even sometimes encouraged. There are websites that exist for the purpose of making it easy to find someone to have an affair with! As Christians, how should we look at all of this? Should we determine that the Law is outdated and adjust to modern-day thinking? Should we focus on the Law and what Jesus taught and condemn everyone else? Is there a middle ground?
"You shall not commit adultery" is the seventh Commandment
It is a simple, straightforward statement that leaves no ambiguity. According to the Old Testament Jewish Law, committing adultery was punishable by death. This may seem harsh to us here in the 21st century. There are several things we overlook when we quickly judge ancient laws and practices, especially those of biblical origin. First, life back then was much more basic and survival was tenuous. You became an adult and had a family. You dedicated yourself to your role in providing for that family because life and death risks surrounded you. Things like adultery were an affront to the basic survival of your family and community and were simply not tolerated. There was too much at stake!
What about spiritual adultery?
Even though we focus on the severe destruction physical adultery brings, there is another kind of adultery mentioned in the Bible - spiritual adultery. In the Old Testament, it had to do with Israel’s infidelity toward God. God spoke through the prophets about the betrayal Israel engaged in by “playing the harlot.” They worshipped and followed pagan gods while pretending to honor Him. How was this adultery? It was all about violating a sacred commitment, just like the act of physical adultery blatantly violates the sacred covenant of marriage. In both cases, there is a physical walking away from the one to whom you are bound and attaching yourself to another.
Check out our March 15, 2021 podcast, “Is Adultery Really That Wrong?” for so much more. We delve into God’s amazing justice and mercy in dealing with adulterous Israel. We open up Jesus’ words on this Commandment and find that he challenges us much more deeply than the Old Testament Commandment. Jesus speaks to the very heart of what causes adultery and raises the bar for every Christian to live up to. His words are both inspiring and daunting! We also uncover what spiritual adultery looks like in the New Testament - and it isn’t pretty. It is disturbing that the symptoms of such infidelity to God are very much present in our modern-day Christianity. Join us as we learn some of the most important faithfulness lessons of our time! Study the rest of the Commandments with us to see how they are still valid for Christians today.
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