The word “adultery” is derived from “adulterate which means to make impure by mixing two or more substances. This can apply to anything but we normally associate it with biblical language in describing immoral sexual relations between a man and a woman. It is commonly understood to relate to sexual relations between married persons and someone else who is not their companion. Broadly it is lustful desire or actions toward one of the opposite sex who is not your lawful companion.
Jesus said that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they two shall be one flesh (Matt. 19:5 and Mark 10:7). Adultery occurs when this “one flesh” relationship is violated by going outside the marriage to have sexual relations with another. This violates or breaks the seventh commandment. “Neither shalt thou commit adultery” (Deut. 5:18). The same is true when single persons have sexual relations. These relations between single people are automatically outside of marriage and thereby constitutes adultery between the two.
In the Bible when the word “adultery” is used attention to the context is required to differentiate between adultery and fornication (which we will discuss in our next article). Also the difference needs to be understood between the three aspects of adultery, which are the act, the state, and the intent. The act of adultery is the usual thought that comes to mind when this word is used and needs no further explanation.
There is also a state of adultery. This occurs when one or more divorced persons marry each other. They are living in a state of adultery by their simply being married to one another and are committing the act of adultery in their sexual relations with each other, both of which is a sin. Jesus said in Luke 16:18: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” This shows the state of adultery which always leads to the act of adultery.
The intent of adultery occurs in the heart of a person while the act and state of adultery occurs outwardly. The intent is a desire to commit the act if you have the opportunity. Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The opposite is also true if a woman looks on a man to lust.
In conclusion, remember what the Apostle Paul said about the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:21: “…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Note: those who are not worthy to inherit the kingdom of God are not worthy to become members of The Church of God.
Walter Lofton is a local pastor at the Church of God in Seth and can be reached by email at email@example.com