Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
“You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
The sixth of the Ten Commandments reads “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 26:14) Under the old covenant adulterers were put to death (Leviticus 20:10) In the new covenant of grace the Apostle Paul mentioned seventeen gross sins in Galatians 5:19-21, and placed adultery at the head of the list, closing with these words: “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do [make a practice of doing] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”. It might not seem necessary to warn members of the church of adultery. But Paul deemed it a necessity. Jesus also thought it necessary to warn against an adultery which need not involve the sex act itself, but may be committed through impure and lustful desires. “whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Because there is such grave danger of falling into such adultery without actual indulgence in unlawful sexual intercourse, our Saviour goes on to teach us how to escape this snare.
“And if thy right eye cause thee to sin, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell.” (vs 29). This is somewhat figurative, yet easy to understand. If your passions are excited through the sense of sight, it is better to destroy sight itself than to lose the soul through it. If you are thus tempted, take your eyes and mind away from it, and occupy them with your work and business; thus plucking the temptation our, and casting it from thee. Do not do as David did (II Samuel 11:2) when he looked from his royal housetop and saw his neighbor's wife bathing. This was a beautiful women and her charming figure attracted his attention. He gazed on her until a burning passion overtook him, and when Satan was through with him he was an adulterer and a murderer. Had he only turned from this scene (plucked out his right eye and cast it in another direction) and cried, “Lord, protect me from this temptation!” and retired again to his couch, instead of sending a messenger to bring her to him to alleviate his passions.
We have now meditated on the fall of David, which is written for our warning and instruction; now let us consider some of his better points also. God loved David, but not his wicked deeds (see I Samuel 11:27), so he sent Nathan to disclose his wickedness to him. Nathan spoke to David in a parable as you can read for yourself in II Samuel 12. When David heard his story, his “anger was greatly kindled against the man: and he said to Nathan, 'as the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.' Nathan said to David, 'You are the man.'” David evidently had not realized his condition until Nathan came right out and told him that he is the man himself on whom he pronounced this death sentence. When Nathan, as the messenger of God revealed this thing to David he came under deep conviction of his sin, and pleaded guilty right there, confessed, and repented. “David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'” (II Samuel 12:13). David confessed his sin, and bemoaned it the rest of his life.
Then our Lord continues: “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (v 30) “If thy right hand causes you to sin”: If your right hand tempts you to steal, draw it back, cut it off. Remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Do not use your hand to misuse the Sabbath by getting involved with sports, national or otherwise, or “time at the lake with the family” or what ever it may be. Use your hands in well doing, lend a helping hand. Offer yourself up to God with all that you are and posses.
When Satan tempts you to satisfy the lust of your flesh, say “No! My body is dedicated to the service of God.
“For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:13-14), and that is just what I want to be, let it cost what it may. In the Scripture quoted above God has promised me the help of His Spirit to crucify the desires of the body.” Thanks be to God for a soldier like you, if you make use of the sword of the Spirit to conquer the deeds of the flesh.
In our text Jesus warns us of adultery in the heart, and prescribes the remedy of plucking out the lustful eye, and cutting off the mischievous hand: then He goes on to warn us against divorce, which is so prevalent in the world, and not only in the world, but is very general in the Church. Many are married with no intention of living together for the duration of life in love and forbearance. The doors of our divorce courts are wide open, and the fact that it is legal, encourages the unholy practice.
“Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'” (Genesis 2:18) It is the nature of people today that they do not wish to be alone so they marry irrespective of religious faith. God instituted holy matrimony between two innocent and sinless creatures created by His omnipotent hand. “And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24)
Husbands and wives shall consider themselves as one flesh. When one suffers the other suffers also; when one rejoices the other rejoices also.
They must never engage in disputes. They should be devoted to each other with such fervent love, that nothing is more dear to them than their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (because she is of his flesh and bone, and is a part of himself.) “So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:28-31)
A bit of advice to young married couples: The young man should never forget the sacrifice his spouse made to become his life companion. She has sacrificed her parents, her brothers and sisters, her home her friends and the associates of her youth, and has invested all her confidence in him, trusting that he will provide a fortunate future that will more than repay her for all this loss. She gave him the best gift that she had-a heart filled with pure love, her very life with all that it contained. Oh dear young man, always remember what she has sacrificed for you, and make every effort, prayerfully and earnestly, to exceed her fondest expectations of your devotion to her. Maintain a pure mutual affection. Shun every appearance of disloyalty and unkindness toward one another; living only for Jesus Christ, and for each other, constantly saying with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then the Lord who has sealed your wedlock, will bless you, and protect you from damnable, unchristian divorce.