We’ve been misinformed about what adultery is and who can commit it. In this sermon, we reveal God’s view of adultery.

The word adultery comes from the word adulterate which means: To corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element. If you take a clean glass of water and introduce sewage to it, the glass of water has become adulterated.

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death (Leviticus 20:10).

We see that a man involved in adultery is labeled an adulterer and the woman is labeled an adulteress.

The Bible defines adultery as: when a man has sexual relations with another man’s wife. We see this familiar and well-known description outlined in Scripture:

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her [rape], and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. 26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: 27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her (Deuteronomy 22:22-27)

Adultery always involves a married woman who willingly participated in sex with someone other than her husband.

Note: A married man who has sex with another woman other than his wife is called fornication and not adultery. A man can have multiple marriage covenants, but premarital sex is fornication, so he would be in sin if he didn’t marry the single woman before sexual intercourse. If a married man has sex with another married woman, he has committed adultery.

Adultery violates everyone involved

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. (Leviticus 18:16).

The same verse in the NLT Bible reads, “Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, for this would violate your brother.” Adultery violates the husband, it’s as if the adulterer had sex with the husband even though he had sex with his wife.

Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her (Leviticus 18:20)

The same verse in the NLT Bible reads, “Do not defile yourself by having sexual intercourse with your neighbor’s wife.” The adulterer has introduced the soul of the husband into his soul which is a defiling—that’s like homosexuality.

Remarriage after divorce can cause adultery

11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery (Mark 10:11-12).

So when a husband divorces his wife and marries another woman he is committing adultery (verse 11) and when a wife divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery (verse 12).

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery (Luke 16:18).

So we see that a divorced woman, whether she divorced her husband or he divorced her, if she get’s remarried, she is committing adultery along with the man that marries her (Luke 16:18).

Notice: If a man is divorced by his wife, he can remarry, but if a woman is divorced by her husband, she cannot remarry, for it’s considered adultery.

I know that sounds unfair to women, but men and women are different. God created wives to help husbands and it’s not good for husbands to be alone (see Genesis 2:18, 1 Corinthians 11:7-9). Therefore, if a man’s wife leaves him, he can choose to remarry without it being considered adultery. More on divorce and remarriage next.

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