Most of us know someone whose life has been turned upside down by the sin of adultery. Perhaps that is you. While it is not the unforgivable sin, the effect of adultery is often devastating, affecting our relationships with others, including our children, our finances, and our testimonies. But none of those things is the worst consequence.
If you’re the one who was sinned against you know those things to be true. But what if you’re the one who committed adultery? Or perhaps you’re struggling with the temptation right now?
Exodus 25 & 26
To the Adulterer or Would Be Adulterer
The Devastation of Adultery
Most of us have been affected by the sin of adultery in some way, whether personally or through family members and friends. While I have seen many marriages restored and even made better, the journey is hard and in many cases, restoration never happens. Instead, families, children, finances, and testimonies are destroyed.
If you’re the spouse who was sinned against, I don’t have to tell you about the pain, the sense of betrayal, the devastation it causes. You’re forced to watch the damage trickle down on your children, your home, and sometimes, even your trust in God.
I don’t want to offer you Christian platitudes. It’s too easy to say, “God will use everything for good,” or “this happened for a reason,” or even, “just get over it and move on.” Though those statements may be well-meant, they are often the last things you want to hear.
There is truth in the statement that “God will use everything for good” (Rom. 8.28), but when it’s isolated from a larger understanding of God and His character, it often fails to bring any peace or comfort.
Also, to say God can use all things for good does not mean that everything is good. Even for the good to take place, there are conditions to be met and the good may not be what feels good to us. For us to heal and grow from the place of betrayal, instead of becoming bitter and angry, we must gain a greater understanding of God, how He works, what He might be up to, and how He desires for you to respond to being sinned against in such a horrible way.
I would encourage you to find a biblical counselor to walk alongside you and your children. You can contact The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors to find a counselor in your area. If you live in El Paso, you can contact the Cielo Vista Church Counseling Center.
I would also like to recommend a couple of resources that can help you tremendously. The first is a slim booklet titled Bitterness: The Root That Pollutes by Lou Priolo. Don’t let its size fool you. It’s packed with truth that can set you free not just from the anger and bitterness that results from adultery, but from the multitude of sins and circumstances we’re all faced with on a daily basis.
You can read more about all three at the bottom of this post.
To the Adulterer or Would Be Adulterer
There are many sins which have the consequences already built-in. Thinking we can fool around with any kind of sexual immorality without devastating consequences is like thinking we can jump off a building and not have gravity affect us!
If there is one area where the Bible has strong warnings, it has to do with our relationships, especially the danger of sexual immorality!
Verse 32 says, “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding and he who does so destroys his own soul.”
Notice the last part of that verse.
I’d like to reread some of the earlier verses from Proverbs 6:
23 For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
24 To keep you from the evil woman,
From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
Those are strong warnings!
Solomon is writing to his son, so he addresses it to a young man, but the same principles apply whether you’re a man or a woman.
Can a man or a woman take fire to his or her bosom and not be burned? The answer is “no.” The damage done by adultery is greater than you can imagine, including serious damage to your relationships with your children and extended family, the ruin of your reputation, financial devastation, shame on the name of Christ, damage to the other person’s family and reputation, and the list goes on.
Adultery is not the unforgivable sin, but forgiveness doesn’t come without confession and repentance (including turning from our sin). As with any life dominating sin, we must not think we can continue in it willfully, which is like shaking our fists at God, and think our relationship with Him will not be affected. Guilt, anxiety, and a lack of assurance of salvation are just some of the results. And, if not repented of, it will eventually result in God’s discipline (Heb. 12.5-17).
If you have committed adultery in the past and have never confessed your sin or if you are involved in an adulterous relationship now, I urge you to repent, break off any ongoing relationship, and seek biblical counseling from a counselor or pastor so you can be restored in your relationship with God and others. (See links above.)
If you have been flirting or toying with the idea or if you are married (or the other person is) and you have been developing a friendship with someone of the opposite sex or someone with whom you have a same-sex attraction, you too, need to repent, break off that relationship immediately, and find someone to hold you accountable to live righteously from now on.
Please, don’t take this lightly! There is more riding on this than you can possibly imagine! (See Ps. 66:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; Jas. 2:26; all of 1 Jn.)
Today’s Other Readings:
Exodus 25 & 26
Not by Chance
The first thing that strikes me as I read the instructions God gave Moses for building the tabernacle, its furniture, and implements, is that our God is a God of order and planning. Nothing was made or created by chance! How that flies in the face of the theory of evolution with the premise that life began by chance. The idea that all that we see: the wonder of creation, the intricacies of the human body, the birth of a baby … happened by chance, requires more faith than I have. It requires less faith to believe the truth!
Giving from the Heart
The second thing is that those who gave to the building of the tabernacle were to do so willingly and from the heart (Ex. 25:2). 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that God loves a cheerful giver and Luke 6:38 says that we receive blessings in proportion to our generosity. With God, the heart attitude is always the important thing. We are not to give either out of compulsion or with a “what can I get in return” attitude, rather willingly and from the heart.
Jesus said this about a poor widow who had given two small mites (about 56 cents by today’s standard):
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Lk. 21.1-4).
More Valuable than Gold
I hope you read this passage slowly and thoughtfully. If not, I urge you to go back and do so.
Look at the character qualities of God’s magnificent Word. First, it’s “perfect” and the only thing which can convert our souls—not just the one-time conversion of the new birth, but also God working through His Word and Spirit to change us into the likeness of His Son.
It is “sure,” not iffy, not just nice sounding ideas—it is sure! It makes the simple wise. It enlightens our eyes—causes us to view life clearly. It is not only sure, but it endures forever. It is just as true today as it was 2,000 or 4,000 years ago and will be just as sure 1,000 years from now!
It is more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey. The more you read it, the sweeter and dearer it becomes.
It warns us of the dangers of living to please ourselves or others and not living to please God.
And when we live according to the things written in it we have the reward of peace and joy and blessings beyond measure.
The Beginning of Sorrows
Wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, false prophets, lawlessness, the love of many growing cold … and all this is just the beginning of sorrows! In other passages, the events of the last days are compared to a woman in childbirth. The closer the event gets the stronger the pains.
But We Who Are Alive in Christ …
Soon, “… as the lightning comes from the east and flashes in the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24.27). On that day we who are alive in Christ will rise to meet Him in the air and forever be with Him (1 Thess. 4.17). What a day that will be! Pray that He would find us working to bring others into the Kingdom when He comes.
What about God’s Word? Do you see it as valuable? Do your actions back up your claim?
Do you honor it by obeying God’s commands?
Do you spend time studying, meditating, and memorizing it?
Do you run to it when you need wisdom and discernment?
What effect does it have on how you live on a daily basis?
Are you struggling in any way with the effects of adultery or sexual immorality? What do you believe God wants you to do?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below and if this post spoke to you, I would love it if you would forward it to a friend or share it on your favorite social media site.
In the coming days, we’ll talk about how to shine the light of Christ, how some of us might be trying to make minimum payments on sin when the debt has been paid, sheep and goats in the church, and what it really means to be a friend of God.
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Today’s Featured Resources:
Bitterness: The Root That Pollutes by Lou Priolo
When people treat you wrongly, insult you, or are outright sinful to you, how do you react? Are you satisfied to hold grudges against those who wrong you, as long as they don’t lead to action? Unfortunately, your decision to harbor bitterness is just as much of a sin as the one originally committed against you, and your reaction to others’ sin is a spiritual battle you are called on to win.
Lou Priolo focuses on that battle in this vital booklet that seeks to weed out the problem of bitterness. By offering a biblical definition and identifying its outward signs, the author equips you to recognize bitterness in your own life, and he lays out a scriptural plan to ensure victory.
HELP! My Spouse Has Been Unfaithful (Life-Line Mini-Book) by Mike Summers
A mini-book for the “innocent” party in a marriage where there has been adultery.
You never dreamed this would happen, but you are reeling from the news that your spouse has been unfaithful. You don’t know what to do. The emotions you are feeling are intense. Betrayal, rejection, bitterness, despair—these turn your life into a lonely journey. You stand at a crossroads: the decisions you make now will impact the rest of your life. Where can you turn?
This little book can assist you as you navigate your way through this painful time. The perspective and hope offered here come from God’s Word. What God has to say to you in your crisis is powerful and practical.
Picking Up the Pieces by Lou Priolo
When a romantic relationship is torn apart, it can wreak havoc in the lives and emotions of everyone involved. The pain is all the worse if you were not the one who wanted the relationship to end.
You may wonder, “Will the ache in my heart ever go away?”
The answer, says Lou Priolo, is yes.
You can find relief even when you feel forsaken, because true healing comes from the One who will never forsake you. If you are hurting after a broken relationship, here is much-needed counsel and biblical guidance to lead you away from heartache and into a healthier, happier, and holier relationship with Christ.
“A masterful job of applying God’s Word to the anger and agony that flow from broken relationships.” —Ken Sande, president, Peacemaker Ministries
“If someone you love has abandoned you, [here] you can find helpful biblical suggestions for dealing with the anger, hurt, bitterness, and sense of loss.”
—Ed Bulkley, president, International Association of Biblical Counselors
“A book about a problem that no one wants to acknowledge exists. . . . Thoroughly biblical, thoughtfully practical, Christ-honoring.”
—Elyse Fitzpatrick, author, Idols of the Heart
“[Lou] writes in an engaging style that blends just the right amount of humor with the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word.”
—James MacDonald, senior pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel
Lou Priolo is the director of the Center for Biblical Counseling at Eastwood Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Lou has been a full-time biblical counselor and instructor for more than twenty years and is a fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.