Calvary Road Baptist Church


Exodus 20.14

Turn in your Bible to Exodus 20.14. When you find that verse please stand for the reading of Godís Word: ďThou shalt not commit adultery.Ē This is the third command on the second tablet, and this along with the first two invokes a prohibition for which violation is punishable by death, and is listed before the sixth commandment by the Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 10.19.

I read from the Keil and Delitzsch commentary:

Adultery, Pan, which is used in Leviticus 20:10 of both man and woman, signifies (as distinguished from hnz to commit fornication) the sexual intercourse of a husband with the wife of another, or of a wife with the husband of another. This prohibition is not only directed against any assault upon the husbandís dearest possession, for the tenth commandment guards against that, but upholds the sacredness of marriage as the divine appointment for the propagation and multiplication of the human race; and although addressed primarily to the man, like all the commandments that were given to the whole nation, applies quite as much to the woman as to the man, just as we find in Leviticus 20:10 that adultery was to be punished with death in the case of both the man and the woman.[1]


The old Baptist pastor and scholar, John Gill, has this to say about the 7th command:

Ver. 14. Thou shall not commit adultery,] Which, strictly speaking, is only that sin which is committed with another manís wife, as Jarchi observes; but Aben Ezra thinks the word here used signifies the same as another more commonly used for whoredom and fornication; and no doubt but fornication is here included, which, though it was not reckoned a crime among some Heathens, is within the reach of this law, and forbidden by it, it being an impure action, and against a manís body, as the apostle says, (1 Corinthians 6:18) as well as sins of a more enormous kind, as unnatural lusts and copulations, such as incest, sodomy, bestiality, etc. And even all unchaste thoughts, desires, and affections, obscene words, and impure motions and gestures of the body, and whatever is in itself unclean or tends to uncleanness; as it also requires that we should, as much as in us lies, do all we can to preserve our chastity, and the chastity of others, pure and inviolate, (see Matthew 5:28), this is the seventh commandment.[2]


As you may have noticed, both Keil and Delitzsch and John Gill have woven into their comments about this 7th command explanations and applications somewhat beyond the simple prohibition against adultery that comprises the command. This is understandable, since the command forms the basis of Godís revealed will for things pertaining to both faithfulness in marriage and all types of sexual misconduct.

So that you might see the implications and ramifications of this 7th command that bears so directly on the institution that pictures the relationship of Jehovah to Israel and the anticipated relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride, I propose a three-part treatment of the subject of fidelity and faithfulness to your husband or wife in marriage.


Godís original plan for mankind is found in Genesis 2.18: ďAnd the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.Ē

Notice in that verse that God did not make a group of women for the man, a herd of brood mares, but a single woman. Notice that God did not make another man for the man, as in Adam and Steve instead of Adam and Eve, but a single woman. Finally, notice that God did not make boys or beasts for the man, but a single woman. This is because Godís plan for a man is one woman. Not an unmarried woman as opposed to a married woman, you understand, but one woman as opposed to any other possibilities. That is Godís will for today. That has always been Godís will for a man.

However, Adam sinned. The human race was plunged into the dark abyss of wickedness and depravity and everything was ruined. And by everything, I mean everything. Sin completely overturned Godís pristine environment for the race that He had created, the race that was the culmination of a series of creative acts that He described as ďvery good.Ē[3] A portion of Godís original provision for mankind is found in Genesis 2.24: ďTherefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.Ē However, instead of ďcleaving,Ē which refers to the idea of close physical proximity (husband and wife facing each other as no two others face each other), and enlarges to the idea of loyalty and affection,[4] we now oftentimes have fussing, contention, rebellion, and friction.

As well, early on appeared a gross perversion of Godís original plan for mankind, when a man named Lamech took for himself two wives, Genesis 4.19: ďAnd Lamech took unto him two wives.Ē However, that was only the beginning of the record of that manís wicked excesses. Mankindís ever deeper slide into the cesspool of sin continues without interruption to this day.


This is our text for today. In it we see God explicitly stating His desire that a husband not go beyond his own wife to seek fulfillment in marriage or outside of marriage. This command states a prohibition that anyone who has read the book of Genesis, and who has examined the lives of the patriarchs, can easily understand.

         Abraham sired his first son by a woman he was not married to (Hagar was her name), and it caused him no end of trouble. The consequences are felt throughout the world in the Arab-Israeli conflict down to this very day.

         Abrahamís grandson, Jacob, not learning much of a lesson from Abraham, married and sired children by two women, sisters Leah and Rachel, and sired a bunch more children by his wiveís handmaidens. This was one reason Jacob summed up his life with the following words: ďfew and evil have the days of the years of my life been.Ē[5] Four women under the same roof, with two of them his wives, who are sisters? Every manís dream, the unconverted would say. Jacobís lifelong nightmare, a Bible believer would point out.

         Then there was Jacobís firstborn son, Reuben, and his fourth son, Judah. Jacobís two wives were Leah and her sister, Rachel. Reuben was Leahís firstborn son.[6] However, Reuben committed sin with Rachelís handmaid, Bilhah.[7] What did fourth son Judah do? He sired twins by his dead sonís widow, a woman named Tamar, who was posing at the time as a prostitute, becoming both father and grandfather to the newborns.[8]

         Finally, there was Jacobís daughter, Dinah, who left her fatherís house to take up with a man she was not married to, provoking her brothers to slaughter an entire city for revenge before taking her back home.[9]

It is easy to see from the lives of the Jewish patriarchs that sexual misconduct not only ruins individuals, it also wrecks families and creates social disruption on a major scale. What tragedy and heartache they and their children suffered because of their unrestrained sexual escapades.

Therefore, when God brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage in the Exodus, He set them on a course that would drastically alter their attitude and behavior in this regard, and would forever separate the people of God from the heathen nations. Not only would Godís people worship the one true and living God, but they would also relate to each other in dramatically different ways than the heathen peoples do. None so different than the way God required husbands and wives to behave toward each other. He created one woman for the first man, and that is the pattern He wanted for the entire human race. Sadly, mankind abandoned Godís pattern.

The road back to Godís original plan for marriage would turn out to be a slow one, taking centuries. Though a man was forbidden by Godís written Law to commit adultery, which is prohibiting you to have sex with anyone you are not married to, some men took more than one wife. The prophet Samuelís father, for example, was married to his mother Hannah and also to another woman.[10] As well, how are we to understand Godís dealings with King David? Severely rebuked and punished by God for his adultery with Bathsheba, he was married to multiple wives and had concubines without being severely rebuked by God.[11] Solomon had even more women than his father David had. How do such things happen?

We are to understand Godís dealings in this way: Godís revelation of His will was unfolded gradually over the centuries. Sure, spiritual and insightful men knew what Godís ideal was. However, God was also retrieving His people from idolatry and accomplishing a number of other things with them while extricating them from the sexual promiscuity that characterized the surrounding heathen nations, and restoring them to the one man and one woman ideal that we see in Genesis chapter 2.


The Lord Jesus Christ explained in undeniable terms the demands of God for His people. Matthew 5.27-28:

27    Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28    But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Not only did the Lord Jesus Christ show in other passages that the right to remarry after a divorce is limited to those divorces resulting from adultery, but we see in these two verses that adultery is shown to be something more than what a person physically does. Adultery is something that can take place in the heart without so much as touching a woman. Therefore, you are guilty of the sin of adultery if you are married and have sex with someone who you are not married to. However, you are also guilty of adultery if you look upon someone with lust. Do that and you commit adultery in your heart. ďBut that means everyone is guilty, pastor.Ē I think you are getting the picture now. Yes, I am quite sure you are beginning to understand. It is almost a sure thing that unless you are a little child you are already guilty of the sin of adultery, because you have looked upon someone with lust. Where does this tendency to so quickly commit such sin come from? In Matthew 15.19, the Savior showed us the source of adulteries: ďFor out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.Ē The answer is that this tendency to sin comes from your own wicked heart. Notice that fornications was mentioned, as well. Adultery is when a married person commits sexual sin with someone he or she is not married to. Fornication is when an unmarried person commits sexual sin with anyone, and any sexual activity by an unmarried person is sinful. ďYou mean thereís something wrong with sex?Ē No. There is nothing wrong with sex . . . in marriage. That said, any and all sex outside the bounds of marriage is wicked, sinful and filthy, and Jesus forbids it.

Add to that what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, and we begin to see how wicked your sinful heart truly is. First Corinthians 6.9-10:

9     Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10    Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Sexual sins are sins very characteristic of those who are not converted, in this list of what you might call marker sins. Galatians 5.19-21:

19    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20    Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21    Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Again, sexual sins are included in the catalog of sins characteristic of those who are not Christians. If you are an adulterer or a fornicator you are almost certainly bound for Hell. It is clear that Godís Word has fully revealed, in explicit detail, His demands with regard to sexual behavior. It is also clear that the completed revelation of Godís Word is in full accord with Godís original purpose for one man and one woman in marriage.

About twenty years ago the governor from Arkansas was running for the office of president of the United States. At some kind of town hall meeting a young person asked candidate Clinton what kind of underwear he wore. He said, ďI wear boxer shorts.Ē How the main stream media loved him for fielding that question. Over time it became pretty clear to the American public, and to the world, that the reason President Clinton wears boxer shorts is to keep his feet warm.

Many people laugh at that comment, but the great tragedy in our country is that there are people who think a man can act like President Clinton behaves and still expect folks to think him a Christian. It is a testimony to the fact that we are living in the great apostasy that so many who claim to be Christians do think a person can live like that and reasonably maintain his claim to be a Christian. Of course, they will justify their claim by saying, ďKing David committed adultery and he was a Christian.Ē Yes, and David also had multiple wives and at least ten concubines. Will you allow a man to do that and claim to be a Christian? I did not think so. Folks show by such comments their extreme bias in favor of licentiousness, their ignorance of Godís differences in His dealings with His people over the centuries, and their unwillingness to admit that God has gradually unfolded His will in different areas of life.

What God was mercifully willing to tolerate when only a small portion of His Word had been revealed He is no longer willing to put up with these days. We now have no excuse for not knowing what God wants and who He wants it from. As Paul told the Athenians, in Acts 17.30-31, ďAnd the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.Ē What does this mean? This means that a new day has dawned. From His creatures He now demands sexual purity; fidelity in marriage, and complete abstinence outside of marriage. It is clear that those who do not comply with Godís demands are clearly shown to be unconverted. As well, He demands that men turn to this risen Savior Who will someday judge this world and be saved.

Those who object and claim to already be converted while being adulterers or fornicators, and those who are apologists for those who do such things, are simply antinomians.[12] They turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness, Jude 4. They do not seem to realize that Godís people are neither adulterers nor fornicators. Perhaps some of Godís people used to commit such sins as those, First Corinthians 6.11, ďAnd such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.Ē

ďBut what can a person do about this command that prohibits adultery, if you are in violation of the prohibition whenever you have lustful thoughts? Doesnít this mean that virtually everyone is guilty?Ē Yes. Virtually everyone is guilty of this sin, and everyone is guilty of some sin. That is why everyone needs Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins that comes only when He is your Savior. Those who turn from their sins and come to Jesus by faith are transformed by the power of God. Old things are passed away and all things are become new. Additionally, the Christian becomes part of the bride of Christ, that company of redeemed souls whose relationship with Jesus Christ is pictured by the relationship of a godly Christian husband and his godly Christian wife.[13]

Thus, it is easy to see how adultery does so much damage to distort the wonderful picture of Christís relationship to believers that is shown in Christian marriage. It is tantamount to idolatry, which is frequently described in the Bible in terms of spiritual adultery.[14] Committing adultery should be seen as so much more than a terribly wicked sin committed against a husband or a wife, and something that destroys a marriage and causes severe spiritual damage and scarring to the children of adulterers. It is also a terrible, terrible sin against God. Thankfully, the blood of Jesus Christ, Godís precious Son who shed His blood on Calvary, washes sins away so that God remembers them no more.[15]

Turn to Jesus now.

[1]C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT, Vol I, (Peabody, MA: reprinted by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), page 401.

[2]John Gill, The Baptist Commentary Series Volume I, John Gillís Exposition Of The Old And New Testaments, Vol 5 (Paris, Arkansas: the Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., reprinted 2006), page 431.

[3] Genesis 1.31

[4]Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: 1979), page 179.

[5]Genesis 47.9

[6]Genesis 29.32

[7]Genesis 29.29; 35.22

[8]Genesis 38.11-30

[9]Genesis 34

[10]First Samuel 1.2

[11]Second Samuel 15.16

[12] See my sermon ďAntinomianism: Is it Really So Bad?Ē at www.CalvaryRoadBaptist.Org/sermon.php?sermonDate=20120304a

[13] Ephesians 5.18-32

[14] Jeremiah 3.8-9; 5.7; 23.14; Ezekiel 16.15-34

[15] Hebrews 8.12

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