Adultery Begins With A Simple Love Affair
One only has to take a quick glance at the history of humanity to see that we have an obsession with making rules and making sure that others are following those rules. From the first commandment that was given to us by God in the Garden of Eden, humanity couldn’t seem to stop itself from “elaborating” on the simple commands that God was giving to us.
“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” became “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”
“Neither shall you touch it?” Where did that come from, exactly?
Well, whether Adam embellished God’s original command (Eve hadn’t even been created when God gave Adam that command) or whether Eve embellished God’s command when speaking with the serpent, it’s obvious that at some point, someone added to the words of God.
And so began our love affair with rules and making people follow them.
Another Adulterous Example of Our Love Affair
On Mount Sinai, God Himself wrote 10 commandments in 2 tablets of stone for us to obey. What did humanity do? We expanded those 10 commandments into 613 laws and over hundreds and hundreds of years, we moved from worshiping the Creator and Giver of those laws to worshiping the laws themselves.
One time, a scribe came to Jesus and asked Him which of the commandments was the greatest. Jesus answered him by saying, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
God originally gave us 10 commandments. Our desire was to expand those 10 to hundreds of others that were only tangentially connected to the actual Words of God written on tablets of stone. Jesus, instead, took the original 10 (and by default all of the additional human laws that were added) and summed them all up in two simple commands. Love the Lord Your God and Love your Neighbor.
How We Commit Adultery With The Law
Committing adultery with the law is like watching a seven year old boy do something mean to his sister. We can tell the boy to say “sorry” to his sister, and maybe he will even say it, but have we addressed the condition of his heart or just his actions? What good is making him say the word “sorry” if he is not sorry in his heart? Does it truly indicate regret and sorrow? Of course not. Likewise, the law was never meant to be an end unto itself. Obeying the law of God grudgingly because we fear some sort of Divine retribution is not at all what God desires of us.
God is concerned with matters of the heart and He wants us to obey Him with joy in our hearts.
Unfortunately, there are those who take a statement like that to mean that we can act in whatever way we desire as long as we claim our hearts are right. The problem is, the Bible tells us that our actions spring forth from the desires of our hearts, so if our actions are sinful, then we can determine that the desires in our hearts are sinful.
That means that the true test of the state of our hearts at any given time is the actions that we are currently taking.
Consider another example. A husband and a wife have been married for 10 years. In all that time, neither one has ever had sexual relations with another person. The husband, however, is addicted to pornography.
Would you say that he has been 100% faithful to his wife, since he has never been with another person in real life?
Should the wife be satisfied with this level of devotion to her?
Or is the husband committing adultery in his heart, even though he has never been physically adulterous?
This husband, while perhaps (almost) obeying the letter of the law, has missed the point entirely. He is not loving his wife the way that he should. Christ would not be honored through his actions or the desires of his heart.
And the same way this husband was committing adultery in his mind and in his heart, we do the same thing to God. Through the blood of Jesus, we entered into a covenant relationship with God, a relationship just like marriage (See Ephesians 5: 22-32), but instead of trusting in the Bridegroom, we choose to trust in ourselves and the law.
We commit adultery with the law while we are betrothed to Jesus!
Victory Over The Law
We are freed from the law because we have been given something better than the law. We have been given the extraordinary gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit of God wrote the law, and we are no longer left on our own to try to keep the letter of the law. We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to be free from the law – so long as we walk in the Spirit, the very presence of God that lives inside of us, guiding us into all truth
Sometimes, I think that we want to hold on to the law because it is safe. Even knowing that we can’t obey the law, we know exactly what the law says. We think that we don’t know what the Spirit will tell us and that leaves us with uncertainty.
But we do know what the Spirit will tell us. He has revealed Himself through the words of the Bible and we only have to look there to see what we will be led by the Spirit to do.
Will it always be safe? No, because God is not safe (C. S. Lewis). But He is always good!