“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3
The pain is indescribable! You and I can’t even begin to calculate it. I’m talking about the pain that comes to a spouse when he or she discovers that his or her spouse has violated something very precious and sacred – the sexual bond that exists in marriage.
When the Bible talks about the “one-flesh” relationship, it’s signifying that, in marriage, a couple agrees to experience sexual closeness and intimacy only with each other. That physical oneness is part of the marriage bond and covenant.
The apostle Paul substantiates the sacredness of that oneness by asking:
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her body?” 1 Corinthians 6:15-16
The sex act in marriage makes two become one. To break that oneness by having sex with someone else is to break faith with both God and one’s husband or wife.
Why do people commit adultery? Apart from selfishness, which is the root cause of every sin, there are several other reasons:
1. Lack of sexual satisfaction.
While this is not an excuse to seek sex elsewhere, it somewhat explains why some people – especially men – commit adultery. Unrealistic expectations are often at the heart of such dissatisfaction.
2. A person’s own sinful, sexual desire.
The Bible sayss:
“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
3. Others are driven into adultery by a demanding, scolding, or critical spouse.
Some seek to take revenge against such a spouse by sleeping with someone else.
4. Loneliness and a sense that no one cares.
Some end up committing adultery in a desperate attempt to find intimacy with another human being.
5. Sexual addictions.
Sometimes adultery is committed by someone overtaken by sexual addiction. Such addictions often go back years, to one’s youth. If you have committed adultery, God’s Word has some clear answers for you.
COUNSEL FROM GOD’S WORD
1. Understand from Scripture where adultery begins.
Adultery begins in our minds and hearts – as we think about sexual immorality and entertain lust for the opposite sex.
Jesus taught this when He said:
“For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean.” Matthew 15:19-20
2. Agree with what the Lord says about adultery.
What does God think of adultery? Does He wink at it? Does He ever excuse it? The seventh commandment is clear: “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
The Mosaic law also says:
“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbor – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10
Elsewhere we read: “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32
God calls adultery a “horrible” thing:
“And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14
3. Confess your sin to God and forsake it immediately.
It’s important for us to let God know we’re willing to call adultery the same thing He calls it – sin. True repentance compels us to abandon the sin, forsake it, and get away from everything that would remind us of it. The Bible says:
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
4. Apologize and ask forgiveness from all whom you have offended.
Confessing sin to God is essential, but it’s not enough. We must go back to the people we sinned against and ask their forgiveness. The Lord Himself instructs us:
“Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
I know it says if “your brother has something against you.” But whether or not the other persona has something against you, or you have something against him or her or in any way have offended that person, you still need to go and make it right.
Some would disagree with this advice, believing that we need to “let sleeping dogs lie.” This is a very controversial issue. For instance , if you committed adultery against your spouse years ago, might it not be destructive to tell him or her now, after all these years? It could be. This is a judgment call a person has to make after earnestly praying for God’s wisdom:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
5. Focus on God and His Word rather than your sin.
I know of no one who has committed adultery who just woke up one morning and decided to cheat on his or her spouse. Instead, it was in the “think tank” long before it ever becomes a physical reality. Jesus sternly warns us against adulterous thoughts:
“You have heard that is was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery wither her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27
Someone has said:
So a thought, reap an act. So an act, reap a habit. So a habit, reap your character. Sow your character, and reap your destiny.
That is well said, and true! I suggest you write it in the flyleaf of your Bible or notebook.
If you want to never fall into the trap of adultery again, it will require that you “have the mind of Christ.” But one doesn’t suddenly get the mind of Christ. It comes by focusing and meditating on His Word.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2
There is only one way to set your mind on things above. Get into God’s Word daily, and allow that Word to shape and mold and direct your thinking.
6. Bask in God’s forgiveness!
We are told in Scripture that Jesus’ blood covers all our sins – past, present, and daily (1 John 1:7). If you have fallen into sexual sin, Christ’s blood avails for even that. His cleansing and forgiveness are waiting to pour into your life, like water waits to pour out of a faucet.
The apostle John reminds us:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
If you’re not sure how to pray to God and ask for His forgiveness, please use this prayer:
Dear God, I have sinned, violating your law and the purity You gave me in Christ. I confess my sin of adultery to You and ask Your forgiveness for it. Cleanse me, Lord, of all impurity, and enable me to appropriate the power You have made available for me to go and sin no more. Amen.
More Biblical counsel