What God Says About Adultery

God declares in His Ten Commandments, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).

In Hebrews 13:4, it says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

The wise King Solomon said the adulterer "destroys his own soul." "But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away" (Proverbs 32, 33).

"It is God’s will that you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like those who do not know God.” -- 1 Thess. 4:3 (NIV)

The apostle Paul tells us "fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).

The Greek word for "adulterer" is "moichos." It is found in such passages as Luke 18:11 and 1 Cor. 6:9. An adulterer is one who has unlawful intercourse with one who is not his or her spouse.

Adultery is so bad. It causes much evil and harm because it violates God's holy standard. Modern society sometimes winks at adultery. But God will hold adulterers accountable (Revelation 21:8).

Job said, "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down over her. For that would be wickedness; yes, it would be iniquity worthy of judgment. For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase." (Job 31:9-12). In verse 11, some translations use the words "heinous crime" instead of "iniquity" to describe adultery.

Adultery is fulfilling an extremely wicked plan. It is committing an outrageous crime. It's described as an offense worthy of condemnation by both God and man.

Under the Mosaic law, adultery was punishable by death (Lev. 20:10). And under the new testament and covenant, the furnace of fire (Rev. 21:8, 'fornicators' include all sexual perversions and violations). Figuratively, it is a fire that consumes the whole person, body, soul, and spirit (cf. Prov. 6:20-35; ch. 7).

Leviticus 20:10 says the adulterer and the adulteress shall both be put to death.

Adulterers are covenant breakers. When a couple gets married, they enter into God's divine covenant (Malachi 2:14). The seductress is one who "forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God" (Proverbs 2:17).

Marriage vows are a covenant between the man, the woman and God. The man and woman vow their faithfulness to each other and promise to "forsake all others" as long as they both shall live. Adulterers break this promise and are therefore liars and deceivers. They have lied to their spouse and to their God. They usually end up lying to their children as well.

Paul is able to write that fornication is a sin against the body. A fornicator aims solely at the satisfaction of his own body and he disregards the essential purpose of the human body.

One who commits adultery often first tries to deny the crime. "This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong' "(Proverbs 30:20). Then, after proof is brought forth, he or she tries to minimize the seriousness of the crime or blame someone else. The adulterer or adulteress may also speak ill of the ones who try to bring him or her to repentance.

Yet appearances are deceiving. What begins as sweet desire quickly turns bitter. Adultery destroys reputations, ruins relationships, character and marriages. The permanent costs immeasurably outweigh the temporary pleasure.

The secrecy, intrigue, and forbidden nature of adultery pretends to offer pleasure. Yet even adultery done and kept in secret is fully exposed to a God who judges.

An adulterer can be forgiven of his sin like the adulterers and homosexuals at Corinth (1 Cor. 6:9-11). However, there are lingering consequences of sin, and especially the "heinous crime" of adultery.

Is there hope for the adulterer and adulteress?

Jesus answers that question in John 8. "Go and sin no more." That requires prior repentance and complete turning away from the sin of adultery. That really is the message: that Jesus can forgive us and cleanse us and send us on our way if we repent and sin no more.

The adulterer or adulteress may feel so unworthy. It doesn't feel that Jesus can forgive. The sin might be too great in our hearts and in our thinking. Sometimes women can't forgive themselves for things they've done or that even have been done to them.

Jesus clearly does not condemn if one repents and begins a new life. He forgives the adulterous woman (John 8). He releases her from all the guilt, shame, and humiliation as she turns away from sin.

And so Jesus ends all of that by saying, "Go and sin no more." Those are words of hope that we can have a different life. A new beginning. Even though the sin is as heavy as adultery.


"Why Cheaters Cheat"
"When A Spouse Is Unfaithful"
"Should I Stay or Should I Go?


Anonymous said…
I'm enlightened by this. I'm troubled and guilty. But I want life and not death, am going back to God. Thanks for this.