Do Not Commit Adultery: Commandment 7

Commandment 7 Do not commit adultery

“You shall not commit adultery.”

G.K. Chesterton said, “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” The point is that in the brevity of these commandments, both in number and in the words used, God is acting toward us in mercy. He could have easily overwhelmed us with commands, exceptions, and rules upon rules (which is what the Pharisees did), but he did not do this. He gave us ten simple commands like this one: Don’t commit adultery. Its brevity is its mercy; its universality is its severity.

Scripture presents God’s ideal of sexual union between husband and wife as an exclusive relationship. Neither the man nor the woman may be sexually active with anyone else, for the marriage bed is to be honored and kept holy. While other societies allowed for married men (but not women) to sleep around with other people (who were themselves unmarried), the God of Israel nowhere makes such allowances. The people of God, both men and women, are prohibited from all manner of sexual license. Sex is the union of a man and his wife. Everything else is considered sin.

Adultery is betrayal, and it’s a word that God used to describe Israel’s idolatry with the gods of Canaan. They cheated on him. God knows what it’s like to be made a cuckold (just as he knows what it’s like to be murdered). Marriage, like our relationship with God, is a covenant, and there are grave consequences for breaking any covenant. The effects of adultery are felt down through the generations.

The effects of adultery are felt down through the generations.

The people of God must keep their promises, especially to their spouses. We may think that sleeping with another person will make us happy and fulfilled, but that is a lie. Adultery will amplify our misery and compound our guilt. It will bring more chaos into our lives than we can possibly imagine. Worst of all, such a betrayal will devastate the people closest to us. Get rid of all adulterous thoughts by exposing them to the light of God’s truth. Turn your heart toward your spouse once again, and flee from the temptation to be with someone else.

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