Thou shalt not commit adultery

I. This Seventh Commandment has broad implications.

A. The basic and primary restriction is on the marriage union.

1. The Hebrew word, NA'APH, specifies the violation of sexual fidelity by a married person.

a. This word is more limiting than several broader terms.
1) ZANAH – prostitution – paid or flagrant promiscuity (NOTE: used of Israel which went “whoring after other gods”)
2) TZANUWTH – fornication; sexual promiscuity
3) Q’DESHAH – harlot – a religious prostitute
b. This behavior is simply described in Ezekiel 16:32 --“…a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband.”
c. This sin worthy of the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10).
1) This would include incest (Leviticus 20:11-14).
2) This would include homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13).
3) This would include bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16).

2. The corresponding Greek word, MOIKIA, de­scribes wanton promiscuity.

a. It describes a "wicked and adulterous" condition (Matthew 16:4, Mark 8:38, etc).
b. It is connected with "whoremongers" (Hebrews 13:4).

3. The constant primary application is for marriage fidelity.

a. God created one man and one woman for him (Genesis 1:26; 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9).
b. Adam recognized the sanctity of marriage (Genesis 2:23-25).
c. Christ verified and reaffirmed this fidelity (Matthew 5:27; 19:4-6).

B. The parallel and extended restrictions are many.

1. The commission of pre-marital sex is forbidden (Deuteronomy 22:20-21; 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; 7:2; 10:8; Numbers 25:1-9).

2. The practice of prostitution is forbidden (Leviticus 19:29).

a. There is a strong play on words in this passage.
b. “Do not “profane-defile-pollute” your daughter to cause her to be a “fornicator-harlot”; lest the land become full of “lewdness.”
c. The purpose in these “social” restrictions in the Mosaic Law is the set a clear and visible distinction between God’s people and the rest of the nations.
1) Leviticus 20:23 – God “abhorred “such behavior
2) Leviticus 18:24-28 – these sins “defile” the land

3. The perversion of homosexuality is forbidden

a. Leviticus 20:13 – it is an “abomination”
b. Romans 1:26-27 – it is a “vile affection”
c. Sodom was destroyed because of this sin
1) Genesis 13:13 – “sinners…exceedingly”
2) Genesis 18:20 – “their sin is very grievous”
d. Sodomy included in “fornication” – Jude 7

4. The practice of religious sexual rites are forbidden (Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Hosea 4:12-14).

5. The wanton lifestyle of promiscuity is forbidden (Ephesians 5:3-6).

a. PORNEIA – any out-of-marriage sexual activity
b. AKATHARSIA – any behavior with lustful thoughts
c. AISCHROTES – any obscenity or obscene practice
d. MOROLOGIA – any “moronic talk” – talk of fools  (Psalm 14:1 – The fool - “said in his heart; there is no God”)
e. Compare also Galatians 5:19 – the works of the flesh

6. The improper remarriage of divorced persons is forbidden (Matthew 5:31-32; Luke 16:18; Matthew 19:7-9).

II. This Seventh Commandment has a spiritual extension.

A. The Lord Jesus clearly equates lust and adultery (Matthew 5:28).

1. The heart is the source of all evil actions (Matthew 15:19).

2. The heart is the start of actual sin (James 1:13-15).

B. The mental lust will cause much concrete evil.

1. It is in direct and flagrant violation of Philippians 4:8-9.

2. It is a direct and flagrant promotion of Galatians 5:18-21.

3. It is the opposite of Galatians 5:22-23 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

4. It is described by three key terms in Scripture.

a. "Lasciviousness" means to be wanton, to follow the basest of instincts (2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19).
b. "Uncleanness" means to be foul, to have contamination (2 Peter 2:10 -- verse 7 "filthy behavior"; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Romans 6:19).
c. ''Lust" is the most widely used term.
1) It has a wide application, but always assumes mental fixation (Proverbs 6:25).
2) It must not be cultivated (Romans 13:14)
3) It is to be fled from (2 Timothy 2:22)
4) It wars against our soul (1 Peter 2:11)
5) It is not from the Father (1 John 2:15-17).

5. It is distributed to us through books, movies, TV, internet, music, dress and associations.  The Christian must conform to Biblical standards, not the world's tolerance or permission.

a. 1 Corinthians 6:20 – “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit” 
b. 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”
c. 2 Corinthians 6:17 – “be ye separate…and touch not the unclean”
d. Colossians 3:2 – “Set your affection on things above”
e. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – “Abstain from all appearance of evil”

III. This Seventh Commandment has spiritual applications.

A. The character of adultery is described by Scripture.

1. Adulterers are compared to horses (Jeremiah 5:7-9; 8:16; 13:27).

2. Fornicators are accustomed to do evil (Jeremiah 13:22-27; Luke 15:11-32).

3. Whoring women are brazen and forward (Proverbs 7:6-23).

4. Homosexuals are grossly evil (Genesis 19:4-10; Judges 19:22-28; Romans 1:26-29).

B. The false worship of other gods is called adultery.

1. Even though wicked, God still loved Israel (Jeremiah 3:1-11).

a. Compare the sad story of Hosea 1-3.
b. Compare the sordid story of the two women in Ezekiel 23:1-21.
c. Compare the care God expresses for Israel in Ezekiel 16:15-43.

2. Giving of “seed” to Molech is called adultery in Leviticus 20:2-5 and 18:21.

C. The New Testament considers any worldly association to be whoredom.

1. It is even called enmity with God (James 4:4).

2. It is connected with false doctrine (2 Peter 2:14).

3. It is considered a parallel to Jezebel (Revelation 2:14, 20, 21).

a. 1 Kings 21:25  -- But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
b. Revelation 2:20 – (to the church at Thyatira)  Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

IV. Adultery is forbidden by God’s Direct Command.

A. Adultery is primarily applied to marriage fidelity.

1. This specifically excludes any sexual relationship outside of the marriage bond.

2. This would include prostitution, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality.

B. Adultery is conceptually related to all sexual activity outside marriage.

1. Pre‑marital sex is forbidden              

2. Prostitution is forbidden

3. Homosexuality is forbidden

4. Religious sexual rites are forbidden

5. Promiscuity is forbidden

6. Improper remarriage of divorced persons is forbidden

C. Adultery is applied to the worship of false gods.

D. Adultery is extended even to worldly (ungodly) behavior

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