November 16, 2006

What Is Adultery?

Matthew 5:27-30

"Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matt. 5:28


According to Jesus, adultery is not only the act of having sex outside of marriage; it is also something you do in your mind. Job, who understood this, had said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1). Job knew the danger of his heart being led by his eyes (Job 31:7).

David allowed his heart to be led by his eyes when "he saw a woman bathing"; he saw that she "was very beautiful," and then he sent for her and "slept with her" (2 Samuel 11:2-4). David first committed adultery with his eyes and then with his body.

While recognizing that sexual attraction between a man and a woman is a gift from God, we must remember that looking lustfully at another person is a sin against that person and against God. As a pastor, I have seen the destructive results of sex outside of marriage and the bitter, high price people have paid for a few moments of selfish pleasure.

What then are we to do? Jesus says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away... And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away." With the use of shocking descriptions here to get our attention, Jesus is saying we should not let our eyes lead our heart, and we should not let our hands do what is wrong.

Lord, you know the secrets of every heart. You know our weaknesses and failures. Let our eyes look to you, and let our hands do your will, we pray. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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