ANOTHER INWARD LAW
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27, 28.
If murder is more than taking someone’s life, what did Jesus have to say about adultery?
First of all, what is adultery? Is it just about having an intimate relationship with someone who is married to someone else or is it more than that?
Before we can answer that question, we have to ask another one. What is marriage? If we try to answer that question by looking at the way people interpret and experience marriage today, we will have a wrong idea about what it is.
Jesus answered questions like these by going back to God’s original purpose. When the Pharisees asked Him what the legitimate reasons were for divorce, He replied, “Divorce was not in God’s original plan. It was permitted because of your hard hearts. God’s plan from the beginning was that marriage was to be the permanent union of two people, a man, and a woman, to show the world that God is one and that He created man in His image.
“So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27.
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.
God is one. That does not mean than the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all one person. It means that they are three persons in complete unity, in who they are and in what they do. God made the whole universe to function as one – like a well-oiled machine with every part working in harmony because He is one. That’s how it functioned in the beginning until Adam and Eve destroyed the unity by disobeying God and setting up their own rules.
God’s first action after He created Eve out of Adam was to bring them together in marriage so that they could be one again. This was to be His pattern for marriage from then on. When sin interrupted and spoiled God’s plan, it also brought disunity into marriage. People are selfish. Instead of submitting to one another in love, they want their own way. This destroys unity and causes marriages and families to break up.
When someone starts looking around and sees another woman whom he thinks would be better than his own wife, he has already destroyed the unity with his wife long before he has slept with another. Adultery is much more than having sex with another person’s husband or wife. It’s about destroying the unity between oneself and one’s spouse by one’s words, actions, or attitudes.
The Apostle Paul pointed to Jesus and His church as the model for the attitudes of husbands and wives towards each other.
“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church which is His body of which He is the Saviour. Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also should wives submit to their husbands in everything.
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of His body.
“‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must also love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33.
Marriage is intended, first to be a declaration and demonstration of the unity in the Godhead. When that unity is destroyed by unloving attitudes or actions, adultery has already happened, and the rest is inevitable.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.