Verse of the Day Devotion: Exodus 20:14
“You shall not commit adultery.” – Exodus 20:14
We move on now to the seventh commandment which we see above in our focus verse.
According to modern dictionary’s, they define adultery as voluntary sexual relations between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. In the old testament, in the law of Moses, we see a similar idea. “You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her.” Leviticus 18:20. Moses is more clear and specific about consequences in Deuteronomy. “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” Deuteronomy 22:22. It is clear from these definitions that adultery refers to a consensual sexual union. What is not explicitly clear is whether or not both partners in this illicit sexual union are married. The biblical commands prohibit a man from taking another man’s wife, but do not indicate whether or not the man is also married. Be that as it may, it is safe to say that if a person who is married willingly seeks a sexual encounter with another person, whether or not that person is also married, both people are guilty of committing adultery.
God made it clear that a man and a woman who are married to each other are to be committed completely to each other. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. These two shall be one flesh, shall be considered as one body, having no separate or independent rights, privileges, cares, concerns, etc., each being equally interested in all things that concern the marriage state. That does not mean they cannot have independent interests; they just cannot bring separation between the two which may result in a breaking of the marriage relationship.
Now, just as in the sixth commandment where what is in the heart or mind of an individual, referring there to hatred of someone being equivalent to murder, in the case of adultery, it is lust that is its equivalent activity. Jesus speaking to His disciples said, “You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28. Many people, as the Pharisees did, see no problem or sin in what is happening in the mind, as long as it is not exhibited in an external act. However, Jesus throws that idea out with declaring hatred = murder, and here lust = adultery. And this includes pornography which fuels the lust that is found in the heart. We must be careful to keep our mind free of lustful thoughts, for even though no one else knows what is going on, God knows our hearts and knows absolutely everything about us and nothing is hidden.
Adultery is in essence absolute corruption of the marriage bond which God created for out good. Through this sin, our enemy tempts us to seek fulfillment of these desires in ways outside of what God has ordained. Adultery tears the fabric of our society by ripping apart marriages and families which are the foundation of society. And through it, Satan is luring people away from what is good, true and loving; that which is of God.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.