Sunday, July 3, 2016 am                                                        Others 2016 Index


Sins of Society

            This year we are examining the theme of the Christian and his relationship to others.  We have examined attitudes and noted how we are to be examples in every aspect of our lives.  How we conduct ourselves has an effect on others.  Last month, we noticed a few sins of society and how they affect others (modesty, gambling, drinking, and in our last lesson we examined the sin of fornication.  Due to time constraints we were unable to complete our study of sexual sins, so this morning it is my hope that we finish this study and portion of our study concerning others.

In our last lesson we established that fornication is any unlawful sexual relations – that is any such relations outside of a God sanctioned marriage.  1 Corinthians 7:2 makes this clear that the solution to avoiding fornication is to marry.    Hebrews 13:4 notes that marriage is honorable among all, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  For a further study of this subject consult my previous lesson.

In our lesson today we want to address adultery. 

(Lord willing, in our next portion of this study of others, we shall begin an examination of the relationship of Christians to one another.)

 I.                     Adultery –

a.       There are passages that make a distinction between fornication and adultery (Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Heb. 13:4, 1 Cor. 6:9, Galatians 5:19, etc.).  

b.       Adultery is a type of fornication which involves illicit sexual relations with one other than your spouse.   The New Testament word adultery is μοιχάω (moichaō) and is defined as to be guilty of infidelity (BDAG).  It means sexual relations involving at least one partner who is married to someone else.

c.        It receives special attention (as a form of fornication) because of the sacredness of marriage vows, the bond intended to be present in marriage and the violence it does to that relationship.  When a couple enters into marriage bonds, they are entering into a SACRED covenant with God and each other. 
It is a covenant that is intended to be for life (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). 
Malachi 2:13-16 describes the treachery of one who abandons his wife of covenant.  The NKJV says that the LORD hates divorce because it covers the land with violence. 
This covenant is so sacred that under the New Law God permits the innocent party to put away the guilty party and remarry for this cause and this cause ONLY!  Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:8-9.  It is important that we understand this passage.

d.       Under the Old Law:
 It was one of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:14). 
 Adultery carried the penalty of death!  (Leviticus 20:10). 
 Proverbs 6:32 says, “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.

e.       The terms adultery and fornication were used of God to describe the unfaithfulness of Israel (His people) to idolatry that caused Him to put them away (cf. Jeremiah 3:8).  In fact, the book of Hosea describes how he was instructed to take a wife of harlotry who would be unfaithful to him.  This illustrated how Israel had been unfaithful to God and thus He had the right to put her away.  And He did. 

f.         We also note in Matthew 19:8-9 and 5:32 that for one to divorce and remarry for any other cause, was to commit adultery.  This includes putting one’s spouse in a situation where if she/he remarries they will be guilty of adultery. 
This demonstrates that unless God severs the marriage, it is binding for life.  We cannot make up our own rules and interpretations and reason that all is fine and we are the exception.

g.       Today some seek to redefine what adultery actually is and how it relates to divorce and remarriage.

                                                   i.      The act of divorce - Some have advocated that adultery is the act of breaking the covenant of marriage (the point being that if one divorces, the act of divorce is the adultery – as a result, on can “repent “of that act and resolve to never “divorce” again, but they are free to remarry.  
This is an abuse of the term for selfish reasons.
- Consider Leviticus 20:10 which as noted, calls for the death penalty for adultery.  The LXX uses the Greek term (μοιχεύσηται, moicheusētai).   Is one to be put to death for “filing papers to divorce”?
- In John 8:3, a woman was brought to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery (μοιχείᾳ, moicheia).  The people reasoned that according to the law she was to be put to death.  Why?  Was it because she sought to divorce her husband?
The argument is ridiculous and selfish. 

                                                 ii.      Mental divorce - Others advocate that when the “fornication” was committed in relation to divorce and remarriage is irrelevant.  Some describe this as mental divorce – a term that distinguishes between the legal act of divorcing and the declaration in God’s eyes.
But in Matthew 19:8-9, Jesus speaks of divorcing (putting away) FOR (a marker of cause or reason as the basis for a subsequent event or state – ‘because of, on the basis of’ – L&N, 89.27) the cause of fornication.  In other words, the reason for the severing of the marital relationship is because one’s spouse violated their marriage covenant by committing fornication.
When one divorces for another cause, fails to fulfill their marital duties or abandons their spouse and then WAITS for them to “commit adultery”, they are IN NO WAY innocent!  The divorce is NOT “for the cause of fornication” and thereby there is no right to remarry (another).  In such cases, both parties in the “remarriage” are in an adulterous relationship.

                                                iii.      Only believers - Still others teach that the results of adultery in remarriage only applies after one becomes a Christian.   They reason that the prohibitions of Matthew 19:8-9 only apply after one becomes a Christian.   In obeying the gospel, they reason that since all one’s sins are washed away, that would include past divorces and remarriage. 
This dismisses the premise of Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 where Jesus took the marriage covenant all the way back to the garden of Eden and ALL marriage.
It also fails to properly define repentance and its fruits.  Cf. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11. 

                                                iv.      All of these cheapen the warnings of scripture as to the sacredness of marriage as a lifelong covenant.  They also dismiss the plain teachings of scripture.  While my observations here only address the arguments in a superficial fashion, they give the foundation of why these views are sinful and typically selfishly motivated. 

h.       Think of the damage that is done by adultery in a marriage.  Truly, it is a sin to be avoided.

 This is an unpleasant subject and one that is particularly difficult to accept, especially in our society.  It can have devastating consequences while studying with a couple that is discovered to be in an unlawful (to God) relationship, but that doesn’t change what it says.
This is where we test our genuineness in putting to death the old man of sin and putting on the new man of God.   In an article addressing the subject of covenant breaking as a adultery, the author concluded[1], “We do not help our worldly contemporaries by contriving theories which leave them in their sins. Yet that is precisely what some of our brethren have done. May God grant us the courage to speak the truth in love; but yes, it must be the truth.”  I say amen to that!

In a recent study with some brethren, the following statement was made: “There are questions I cannot answer, but there are also answers I cannot question!”  We must accept what God teaches in this and all matters.

Our influence toward others depends upon our willingness to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17).   Just because something has become accepted without our society and culture, does not make it something that we can participate in.  As noted in the introduction, there are many other sins we could address.  In the sins we have studied today and the past few weeks, let it be clearly understood that what we do has an influence on others, for good or bad.  Let us choose to be lights for Christ and not manifesting the darkness of Satan.  Think about it!

[1] Jackson, Wayne.  What is Adultery?, June 30, 2016.