Summary: Adultery is a more heinous sin because adultery betrays the emotional-psychological intimacy that especially connects a husband and wife.
Happy Father’s Day. We continue to work our way through the Ten Words, or the Ten Commandments. These Ten Commands came from God’s lips and God’s fingers (Exodus 31:18). The first four commands pertain to our relationship with God. While the last six pertain to our relationships with one another.
Today, we come to the focus on marriage. While marriage has historically been the glue of civilization, America struggles mightily with the sin forbidden in this command. Recent wedding announcements in the NY Times describe couples finding one another after “encountering many obstacles to happy romance.” What is described in the paper, as “obstacles” are really people according to writer Jessica Pressler. She discovered that this code language was being used for adultery. In spite of the moral of our day, “the heart wants what the heart wants,” God has spoken.
Many see marriage to another person as a matter of transition on the road to happiness with another rather than a fixed and permanent vow to another. Sexual desires are out of control in our society. It is obvious to many of us that the moral fabric of our society is in great jeopardy. A survey of ancient civilizations shows that they considered adultery as “the great sin.” We have seen a cascade of men fall to this sin in recent days – Tiger Woods, former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn showed up in court with hotel maids from all over NYC chanting “shame on you.”
But we don’t have to look to the media for news of adultery. This sin has affected our community and our church in tragic ways. My aim this Father’s Day is to enlarge your vision of what marriage is. I want to restore dignity and honor to those married and especially fathers (and potential fathers one day) who hear this today. And all the way, I want to abolish the myth that staying married is about staying in love. Marriage is much larger and broader than a love between a husband and a wife. The meaning of marriage is to display the promise-keeping love of Christ and His church. Everyone, repeat these words with me: The meaning of marriage is to display the promise-keeping love of Christ and His church.
“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
In an age that claims the mantra, “Keep the government out of my bedroom,” God claims the right to dictate the rules of our sexual activity. In fact, our behavior in this area is an important indicator to our spiritual health.
1. As God Keeps His Promises, You Keep Your Promise
“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). The commandment is four words in English and two words in Hebrew. It literally says, “no adulterating” as the previous commandment was literally “no murdering.” This commandment’s seriousness is displayed when we see that God has placed it between the commandments not to murder or to steal.
Adultery occurs when a marriage partner has sexual relations with someone other than his or her spouse. No one is allowed to have sex with any married person except his or her spouse. No married person is allowed to have sex with anyone other than his or her spouse. Marriage is about loyalty. Adultery represents such a breach of faith in a marriage that it can be compared to treason. And adultery is about the violation of that loyalty. God, Himself is interested in your sexual purity. Again, God presumes the right to tell you what to do in your bedrooms. While other instructions on sex are included in the Bible, this word on adultery is here as it is the most important and basic to God’s law on sex. Marital fidelity is the most basic and important of God’s word on sex.
Adultery is a special sexual sin for two reasons.
1.1 Adultery is Heinous because it Violates Your Promise
Adultery is a more heinous sin because adultery betrays the emotional-psychological intimacy that especially connects a husband and wife. It is such an act of intimate betrayal because it violates this most sacred oath. Somewhere a woman is telling herself, “I want to get out of this marriage and start over with someone who really loves me; God knows the clod I married has given me the reason for cashing him in.” But she remembers a promise she made when she married him and she sticks with him in hopeful love.
Some people still have ships they will not abandon, even when the ship seems to be sinking. Some people still have causes they will not desert, even though the cause seems lost. Some people have loved ones they will not forsake, even though they are a pain in the neck. Your family is fragile and its entire future rests on the promise the husband makes to his wife and the wife makes to her husband. A family must be more than what the census bureau says it is: two or more persons related by blood and living under the same roof. And it is much more than this. The basic foundation of the family is not love but a promise made between a husband and wife. Everything rests on this one promise.