In today's study from Matthew 5:27-32, we take a look at the seventh commandment in regards to what constitutes adultery and why it happens.
The Seventh Commandment
vv.27-32 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: (28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (29) 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. (30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it 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. (31) It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: (32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
The seventh commandment is, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It just means that married people are not to have relationships outside of marriage. However, the Lord here in Matthew describes adultery as more than marital infidelity: it’s a sin of the heart and the eyes. Now before, I even proceed on the issue of adultery we must interpret the text in its context. Our Lord is warning the House of Israel against playing the adulteress like they did in the Old Testament and God had to send them away into captivity. However, the Bible does have a few things to say to the Church in regards to adultery.
1. Adultery is committed by looking (v.28).
It all starts with a look. 2Sa 11:2 “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”
2. Adultery is committed by lusting.
It’s something that we all struggle with. 1Jn 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 2Pe 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Yes, we all struggle with lust, but that does not excuse us from acting on it.
3. Adultery is fueled by the Flesh.
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Gal 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
4. Adultery is committed in the heart.
Mk 7:21-23 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.
5. Adultery is controlled by mortifying the flesh (vv.29-30).
The point is that if you had to choose between destroying a part of your body that was causing you to sin and spending eternity in hell, you’d be better off destroying the part of your body that was causing the sin. We must mortify the deeds of the flesh through the Spirit. Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. This is the self-control that Paul practiced. 1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.