The Seventh Commandment
“You shall not commit adultery.”
This commandment is about intimacy. It follows the commandment where God tells us not to commit murder, because life is sacred. And this commandment is about how sacred marriage and sex are. Sex is one of man’s most powerful desires. And for this reason, sex has been the most abused of all of God’s gifts.
Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. But the enemy, whom he describes as a thief, comes to kill and steal and destroy. This is what commandments 5- 10 are about developing the right kind of relationships with others. And the right relationship with others begins with the right relationship with God which God covers in the first four commandments.
Now today I do not want to make you blush, but it is by necessity we must talk about sex. As we have been studying these commandments, we realize God made us for relationships and God desires an intimate relationship with you. God ‘s highest priority for your life is your intimacy with Him. He created us for relationship with Him and with others. We were created in His Image. God is one God, but triune. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We were made to resemble God, we are body, soul and spirit. We were set apart from all of creation. We were made with mind, will and emotion. We think, we feel, and we decide. The soul is often referred to as the heart, not the physical organ, but our mind, will and emotion. Man’s likeness to God is what sets up apart from the rest of creation. Man is a person with capacity for moral choices and spiritual growth or decline. In the beginning man was created perfect. The language used tells us God formed man from the dust of the ground. Formed means God made us and all our body parts for a purpose. He formed the parts of the body of both man and woman. They were made to fit together. God created sex and God gave us sexual desire. It was for pleasure and intimacy and reproduction. But it was for marriage. And marriage was for a man and a woman. Lust is nothing more than a strong desire. It can be for good or evil. In the beginning man loved God and hated unrighteousness. Then came the fall, the sin, the disobedience. And everything changed for the worse.
Man was still a person with the capacity for good, but his spirit was altered by sin so much that he turned away from God and loved evil more than righteousness. The account in Genesis tells us: “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let him rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over all the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures which move along the ground. God blessed the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, and told them: “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over it. Fill, subdue, and rule were God’s plans for man to rule and reign with Him in an intimate relationship.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2: 24) This is not only a description of the intimacy of marriage but also how our body parts were formed by God to fit together in pleasure and intimacy, making it one of God’s most wonderful gifts. Therefore it is the target of the enemy to distort and corrupt and pollute. Adultery steals affection, it kills relationships and brings death to a marriage. It is a strong desire- which the devil has misdirected and sent down the broad way which many enter in which leads to destruction, lost hope and despair.
Desire it one of the most powerful emotions or forces in our lives. There are God -given desires and sexual desire was one of the most powerful and wonderful given to us by God. When we speak of the soul, also called the heart, we are speaking of where desires live. For the soul is the mind, the will and the emotions. This is why we are told: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Your heart is where dreams live. To lose heart is to lose hope, to despair. Everything worth living flows from the heart: intimacy, romance, love, adventure, courage, joy, sacrifice, and purpose.
Desire can lead us to the life we were meant to live or it can get us in a lot of trouble. This is why we are told to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give us the desires of your heart. This is why we are studying these Ten Commandments for God is providing us with the blueprint for happiness. When God says you shall not- He is not being a killjoy. He is telling us this will make us unhappy. These desires filled the wrong way, will lead to destruction.
God wants to give you the desires of your heart. To desire what He desires. For He created you with desires, that only He can fill. Satan is a deceiver who wants you to question if God has your best interest at heart. God always wants the best for you. He longs to gather you as a mother hen would her chicks. He delights to order your steps. By His Divine Power He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. It will come in due season. Not before and not too late. You can’t hurry love. You just have to wait.
We are told, ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ Our hearts, our souls, need to have hope. Hopelessness is the most devastating emotions. To lose hope is to despair. Victor Hugo’s classic: Les Miserables was turned into a Broadway musical. The most haunting song from the musical is Fantine’s “I Dreamed a Dream.” “I had a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die. I dreamed that God would be forgiving. I had a dream my life would be so different from the hell I’m living. So different now from what it seemed, now life had killed the dream I dreamed.” The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. Fantine’s misery came from many sources but one could say it began with sex outside of marriage which destroyed her life.
Last week we looked at the commandment, you shall not murder. Yet the enemy of our soul is a murderer and the father of all lies. After a while we lose the innocence of youth and the school of life turns out to be difficult for we have believed the lies of the enemy. Who from the Garden has been a liar who deceived mankind by claiming I have a blueprint for a life filled with happiness and pleasure which is much better than God’s. We get hurt. We fail at something. We make wrong decisions and life kills your dream. And all of a sudden you do not want to risk getting your hopes up. You do not want to desire something which you think you might not get. If you abandon desire, you abandon hope. David said, “I would have lost hope, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say on the Lord.” (Psalm 27)
Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person not his or her spouse. It is also called infidelity, or unfaithfulness. Fornication is sexual intercourse between people not married to each other. Both are forbidden by God. The Bible is specific about this. Adultery is also used figuratively to describe idolatry.
One can commit adultery three different ways:
Paul provides us with an insight about how we commit sin in our bodies. I Corinthians 6: 15- 20 state: “Do you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make the members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two’, God says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ (Remember God created man and woman and formed their parts to be joined together to become one flesh in marriage in the act of sex.) “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.
So we see commit adultery in our bodies and in our spirit. Our bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit is where the Spirit of God resides. This is why Paul beseeches us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12: 1)
Adultery is among people who are married to another. Fornication is sex outside of marriage among single people. Sex is a gift from God which comes with strong desires which Satan has perverted.
Our soul aka as our heart is the center of our mind, will and emotions. With our minds we think, we our emotions we feel and with our will we decide. Some of us make decisions more by thinking and others more by feelings.
“Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.” (Proverbs 6: 32) Remember the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. It will rationalize and use logic to convince your mind this is okay. If you are one who operates by feeling, the enemy will conspire with your old nature and the fallen society to assure you it is okay, everyone else is doing it. And besides you love this person, have feelings for them.
In doing so, the enemy creates lust of the flesh.
Lust of the flesh always precedes adultery.
Do you know what precedes lust of the flesh? Lust of the eyes. A look. “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s (Potiphar) wife cast longing eyes on Joseph and said, “Come lie with me.” Genesis 39.
King David looked at Bathsheba as she bathed and this led to adultery and murder. In fact adultery leads to all kinds of sins- murder, coveting, lying, and stealing.
Jesus said you have committed adultery when you have looked on a woman with lust in your heart. Imagination is a gift, but is creates an image in one’s mind which can be destructive as it consumes your thoughts. Fantasy comes from unrestrained imagination, which the enemy has certainly conspired with the culture we live in to bombard us with images of sexual lust from every conceivable angle to get it in front of our eyes, so it may enter into our minds and create a fantasy. Job said he made a covenant with his eyes; he would not look upon a young woman. (Job 31)
At the time of salvation the Spirit of God comes to live within our spirit. He places His Spirit within us, so we have a Comforter, a Teacher, a Helper. Having a conscious awareness of God at all times is the key to walking in the Spirit. When we watch something we should not watch on television or our computers, when we read something we should not read, we by our very nature join the Spirit of God in that same activity. Can you imagine how it grieves Holy God to be connect your spirit, in which He resides to an unholy, demonic spirit? When you join your body and your soul to a harlot in the act of adultery, you have lost intimacy with God and with you spouse for you have joined, become one flesh with another. And you cannot join your flesh with another, without leaving the other.
Will you lose your salvation? No. But you will lose your intimacy with God and your spouse.
Do you see what the temptation is? The temptation is to enjoy the things which God has created for us to enjoy, but not in the way He intended for them to be enjoyed. Since sex is such a strong desire and urge, we are in a hurry to satisfy this desire. It consumes our thoughts and our old nature seeks out the opportunities to be tempted to entertain the thought of fulfilling those desires in ways God has not intended. Earlier I quoted from a song from the Supremes, ‘you can’t hurry love, and you just have to wait.’ But we do not like to wait. Our old nature is impatient.
You have a heart hungry for love, for sex, for fulfillment. The devil says, you do not have to wait.
Jesus was tempted in every way we were tempted but without sin. He had fasted for 40 days in the wilderness when the enemy came to tempt him. He knew Jesus was hungry. He told Jesus you do not have to wait. You have the power to turn these stones into bread. Use your ability to fulfill you desires and satisfy your hunger.
He tells you- you deserve to satisfy this desire. Now. Not wait. Not suffer. Be satisfied now.
The enemy does not what you to believe God can satisfy the desires of your heart. He wants you to take matters into your own hands. To lean to your own understanding. He does not want you to trust God to satisfy your desires.
But it is God who gave you the desires. And it is God who can satisfy those desires.
Here is the bottom line: the enemy of your soul says you do not have to take the route of suffering. There is a shortcut to fulfilled desires.
Beverly Sills the opera diva has one of my favorite quotes: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
Paul tells us: “So, I tell you this and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of their ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” (Ephesians 4)
As I have mentioned before, affluence breeds boredom. We live in a culture so fallen, so de-sensitized, so dulled and deadened we have a continuous lust for more. Television keeps adding more sex and more violence to get our attention and hold our interest. Our culture has grown accustomed, and I am afraid this includes Christians, to looking for life in all kinds of things other than God.
Our bodies, souls and spirits are out of tune with God. We need to be taught anew how to live life the way God intended it to be lived. The Law, the Ten Commandments are our tutor, our school master to show us the way to re- tune our lives to be in harmony with God.
This is why these Ten Commandments start with the first commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all our minds, all our strength, (which is our body). So we see: Body. Soul. Spirit.
“Delight yourself in God and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37
ALL THESE OTHER DESIRES FIND THEIR PLACE WHEN YOU GIVE GOD HIS PLACE. FIRST. NO OTHER GODS BESIDE HIM. YOUR DESIRES WILL BE SATISFIED!