Lust, Adultery, Divorce, and Adultery
Matthew 5:27-32 (NKJV) 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
The “free sex” movement of the 60’s was anything but freedom; we are now enslaved to sexual lust, bodily passions, and sexual perversions beyond the imagination of most. The idea of having a monogamous relationship is no longer in vogue. Our nation has come to the point where it is thought that monogamy only happens in fairy tales or that there must be something missing in the lives of monogamous people.
One of the most obvious benchmarks of our sexual problem is the rate of divorce. In the United States a divorce happens every 13 seconds; that amounts to 6,646 per day. First time marriages divorce at a rate of 41%; second time at 61%, and third time at the astounding rate of 73%. The top five reasons people give for getting is a divorce is: 1. Poor communication, 2. Finances, 3. Abuse, 4. No longer attracted to one another, 5. Infidelity. Unfortunately the rate of divorce among Christians is about the same as in the society as a whole.
How does divorce start? It starts with lust for the opposite sex. In the Matthew passage above Jesus talks about men lusting after women; but in today’s culture the same applies to women. We must understand it is OK to admire someone’s personal beauty; but when admiration turns to lust a change of heart has taken place. This change of heart can and often does lead to adultery which ultimately may lead to divorce.
The only valid reason Jesus gives for divorce is sexual immorality. Notice it is not mandatory; but it is permissible to divorce for infidelity. Also notice in the stats above infidelity was the fifth reason given for divorce; considering the negative consequences surrounding divorce the first four reasons seem trivial.
It is also important to notice, except for abuse, the 3 top reasons given are obviously unconscionable spin coving the most likely; i.e. the result of being involved in adulterous relationship. The idea of no longer being attracted to one another as a cause for divorce reeks with hedonism and is total disregard for the sanctity of marriage and the mental well being of one’s spouse.
It is also important that Jesus said when you divorce your spouse you cause that spouse to commit adultery. This is based on the premise that when either party remarries, or has a sexual relationship of any kind, they are committing adultery. The point is a divorce person may be legally separated from their spouse, but in the eye of God when two have been joined together they are together for the duration and any future sex outside of that marriage is adultery.
One last thought, the secular society we live in says Christianity has failed to give valid reasons as to why adultery, fornication, lusting, and sexual perversions are wrong; especially in this era of safe sex. But this is a canard and the lack of reasonable thought demonstrates that adultery is nothing more than a sociopathology deficient of moral responsibility and/or social conscience. No one can wipe away the wrongness of sex outside the bonds of a marital relationship by saying we are now in the era of safe sex. Disease prevention and birth control are not moral standards and cannot justify promiscuous sex.
“Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.”
I would like to thank Dr. Dan Doriani and Covenant Theological Seminary for making the course, “Christian Ethics,” freely available at:
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