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The Sin of Adultery

by L. R. Shelton, Jr.

This message was delivered over THE WORD OF TRUTH RADIO NETWORK.

This message today on the SIN OF ADULTERY is part of a series on CHRIST'S TEACHINGS FROM THE GOSPELS, which is being sent forth in faith that the Holy Spirit will use it to open our hearts to the truths of God's precious Word; and to show us our need of Christ, His precious cleansing blood, His delivering power from sin, and His perfect righteousness. This He alone can and does give to every soul who bows at His feet in repentance and looks to Him by faith for all that He has promised in His precious Word.

Let us consider our Lord's teaching on sin found in Mark 7:21-23: "For from within, out of the heart of men, [that is, out of their moral being] proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Sin, you see, is in our very nature, for we are estranged from God from our mother's womb, going astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies, according to Psalm 58:3. Therefore, God must give us a new heart in salvation, and He does: a heart that will seek Him, His ways, His holiness, His love and His grace (Ezek. 36:26). In salvation He must give us a new nature, and He does: a nature like His that loves holiness and righteousness and hates sin (II Pet. 1:4). Yes, the Word of God teaches that out of the wicked, depraved heart of man flows all types of wickedness as man rebels against God and His authority which is revealed in His precious Word.

Two of the wicked sins which our Lord said proceed out of the heart of man are the sins of adultery, and fornication, which break the 7th commandment of God's holy law: "THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY" (Ex. 20:14). Our Lord told us in Matthew 5 that adultery is as much a sin of the heart as it is in the act; for listen to God's Word: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Then our Lord warns us of the consequences of this Sin if we do not constrain it, mortify it and turn from it by His grace. He says in verses 29-30: "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." What our Lord is teaching here is that sin is going to be punished in hell, and that these sins of adultery and fornication will send people to hell unless they are repented of, turned from, confessed and forsaken before God.

Remember this 7th commandment! It reads: "THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY." Dear friend, that this commandment needs to be proclaimed across the length and breadth of our land today goes without saying, because you and I are living in a day when this commandment is just about completely disregarded by our nation. This promiscuous society has thrown up the challenge to Almighty God saying: "I will do as I please, live as I please, practice what I please; therefore stay out of my life with Your Word and with Your commandments."

Yes, the sins of fornication and adultery that our Lord spoke against—the unlawful intercourse between unmarried men and women and between men and women who are married to another—have plunged our nation, our society, into a cesspool of debauchery which is drowning precious souls by the tens of millions! You see, the whole fabric of our society is so eaten up with this sin of lust until God is about ready to spue this nation out of His mouth in complete reprobation unless there is repentance, which will show itself in the forsaking of this sin and the crying unto God for mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, dear friend, God, the Bible, the sanctity of home and marriage are made fun of, laughed at, ridiculed and made the butt of a thousand and one jokes every day over the radio and television, in newspapers and magazines, and in movie houses; but God does not take sin lightly! Even though a work of judgment does not come swiftly, yet it is surely coming, for Ezekiel 18:4 tells us: "THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DIE." God's wrath will be poured out against sin, and especially this one. Remember Hebrews 13:4—"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but WHOREMONGERS AND ADULTERERS GOD WILL JUDGE." We also read in Revelations 21:8 that whoremongers—which includes adulterers—"shall have their part in the lake which bumeth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

As we go through the Bible, we see that we are warned over and over again of the sins of fornication and adultery because they are against God's holiness; they are against God's righteousness and against God's throne. These sins are against God's plan for marriage; they are against the home, and they're against everything that is pure, clean, upright, honorable and holy in God's sight.

Listen now, I want you to get this message! According to Leviticus 20:10, the death penalty was pronounced upon every man that committed adultery with another man's wife, also the woman who committed adultery with another woman's husband was sentenced to die. Even the sin of fomication—the unlawful intercourse of unmarried men and women—was punishable by death according to Deuteronomy 22. So we see that our holy and righteous God did not then, nor does He now, look lightly upon this sin; and even though this sin is not punishable by death in our day, we can rest assured that unless it is repented of, confessed and forsaken—and you, my dear soul, turn to Christ for the forgiveness of it—there will come a day when it will be punished in hell.

Dear friend, God hates the sins of fornication and adultery because they are against His plan for marriage and the beauty and blessedness of the home. As we have seen, the Bible teaches that marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled; that is, sex in the bonds of marriage is from God because our God said in I Corinthians 7:2-3: "...let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband," and let them render unto each other "due benevolence."

Today our society is so sex-obsessed that if it thinks of wrong sexual behavior at all, it thinks of it only in terms of the illicit act itself—the lustfulness of it, the uncleanness of it, the uncontrolled passion of it, and the perverted use of it. If this is the main wrong in sexual misbehavior, it is easy for men to make excuses for themselves and to sidestep the conviction of the Holy Spirit. That the Bible calls unlawful sex according to them is something merely biological and quite natural. They say it is purely arbitrary on the part of society, even of God, to draw a line and say that before a certain date—that is before marriage—the act of sex is wrong, but after that date it is right. They also say that what is done may be lustful, but it is nevertheless natural. Therefore, I would say if the primary sinfulness of this misbehavior is the lustfulness and the impurity of the act itself, it is easy for men to argue in this way.

Now listen! The Bible does condemn this sin because of its lustfulness, impurity and perversion, as we read from I Corinthians 6: "Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind...shall inherit the kingdom of God." But this is the aspect with which the Bible—the only expression of the mind of God that we have on this subject—is least concerned! This is not where God's Word puts the emphasis. Listen to me now! God's Word puts the emphasis upon the WRONG DONE TO A LOVING AND HOLY GOD AND UPON THE WRONG DONE TO OTHERS AS WELL AS TO YOURSELF. You see, sin is self-centeredness, independence from God, and the expression of your "rights," instead of the rights of the holy and righteous One Whose creature you are, and Who commands obedience to His laws which He has set up as the criteria of your life. Sin is lawlessness—the overstepping of the bounds which God has laid down in His holy law. This is sin against Him! Therefore, this sin of sexual misbehavior that has engulfed our society today is going to be judged by God on the basis of what it has done to Him, His law, and your fellow-man.

Sins Against Yourself

First, the sins of fornication and adultery which break the 7th commandment are sins against yourself. They leave you naked before God and bring you under the terrible judgment and wrath of a sin-hating God. They rob you of your manhood and womanhood; they rob you of all that is holy, pure, clean and godly; they leave you guilty, defiled, and unclean, and lead to lying, stealing, covetousness and brokenness of body and soul. They drive you to unreasonable acts: they lead often to insanity, the breaking up of homes, wrecking the lives of husband, wife and children. These sins are horrible because of the wrong that is done against yourself.

Sins Against the Family

Second, the sins of fornication and adultery which break the 7th commandment are sins against the family. There is nothing more sacred in God's sight than marriage—motherhood, childhood, fatherhood and the family as an entity. This is God's institution; this is God's plan for His creatures. The first institution that God made was the home. He said in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for man to live alone, so He made a woman, an help meet for him; and told the first couple—the first family, the first man and wife, Adam and Eve—to be fruitful and multiply and to replenish the earth. Dear friend, that is the reason why homosexuality and lesbianism is such an abomination in the sight of God, because it is sin against the family, God's appointed means for man and woman to multiply and replenish the earth.

Therefore, when the family is destroyed by this sin of adultery, every member of that family suffers. When a man takes his neighbor's wife, he breaks up two homes; he takes another man's property and deprives him of his rights and his own wife's rights which God has given them. When a woman takes another woman's husband, she deprives her of her rights and the rights of her husband. Then the children are deprived of their rights to the love of both parents and the authority of love which should characterize that home as God's institution of discipline and instruction. Not only this, but the heartache, sorrow, suffering, tears and privation that stay for a lifetime—unless sweetened by the cross of Christ—are experienced by all the family. This is what this sin, which is being experienced by untold millions in our society today, leads to. This is certainly Satan's master stroke against our nation today, to so undermine the home that all the fabric of our society will come loose and make our nation fall into utter ruin.

Sins Against God

Third, the sins of fornication and adultery which break the 7th commandment are sins against God. This is the basic wrong in sexual misbehavior! However, it is the one which is most forgotten—the wrong done to God. If we look at the example given to us on the pages of Holy Writ concerning David and his sins of adultery and murder, we will note that this was the aspect of his sin which David ultimately came to confess more than any other; for in his great Psalm 51, we hear him cry in verse 4: "Against thee, thee only, [O God] have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight." Yes, this sin is against God's goodness Who planned marriage and the home for men and women to enjoy each other in that intimate union of love. He gives the marriage bed, and he who sins against it, sins against the goodness of God. God is the One Who, in His great love, gives the man to the woman and the woman to the man to become one flesh in marriage; and he who sins against this love of God, sins a great sin. This sin, dear friend, strikes a blow at the very heart of God; so He must by an eternal necessity exclude the abominable and the whoremongers from the new heaven and the new earth, and give them their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Oh, my dear friend, you there who are guilty of the sins described today, wake up! Down on your face before God, crying for mercy and true repentance before it is too late! Confess unto God that you have dishonored your body, that you are guilty of selfishness, that you have robbed your husband or your wife of the love due him or her, broken up your home, robbed your children of your love and support, robbed your neighbor of his wife or her husband; but most of all confess that you are guilty of sinning against the holy and righteous God Whom you have made to look upon all of your lust and uncleanness. Show that your repentance is real by breaking off every unlawful relationship right now, and begin to live in righteousness and true holiness, by God's grace, all the days of your life. And when you have done that, then take encouragement from the gospel record, that by the blood of Christ, He is able and ready to receive you, to forgive you, to cleanse you from all your sins and to give you a new heart and nature so you will be enabled to walk in this pathway of righteousness and true holiness.

So I say, dear friend, God is able to do this for you. He is able to cleanse and deliver because of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the shedding of His precious blood. So cry after Him in true repentance and look to Christ in trustful dependence upon His love, His grace and His mercy; and surely you shall be saved and delivered to walk in a new life with the holy God. He will give you a new heart and a new nature, and He will put His Holy Spirit within you, Who will enable you to walk in the way of righteousness and true holiness, by His grace and by His power day by day. He will give you a cry against sin and a cry after Him, His will, and His way.

I trust you have listened and that God has pointed His arrow and His sword at your heart, that He has put His finger there, showing you the sin of the day as He sees it, which also He is going to punish. Oh, may He call you to repentance and faith in Himself by His Spirit this day, is our cry!

This message was delivered over THE WORD OF TRUTH RADIO NETWORK.

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