From The Jar – The 10 Commandments (Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery)

Exo 20:14 KJV Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Adultery, as defined by our laws, is of two kinds; double, when between two married persons; single, when one of the parties is married, the other single.

One principal part of the criminality of adultery consists in its injustice.

1. It robs a man of his right by taking from him the affection of his wife.

2. It does him a wrong by fathering on him and obliging him to maintain as his own a spurious offspring-a child which is not his.

  • The act itself, and every thing leading to the act, is prohibited by this commandment; for our Lord says, Even he who looks on a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • And not only adultery (the unlawful commerce between two married persons) is forbidden here, but also fornication and all kinds of mental and sensual uncleanness.
  • All impure books, songs, paintings, c., which tend to inflame and debauch the mind, are against this law, as well as another species of impurity, for the account of which the reader is referred to See Clarke on Gen 38:30.
  • That fornication was included under this command we may gather from St. Matthew, Mt 15:19, where our Saviour expresses the sense of the different commandments by a word for each, and mentions them in the order in which they stand; but when he comes to the seventh he uses two words,
  • μοιχειαιπορνειαι, to express its meaning, and then goes on to the eighth, c. thus evidently showing that fornication was understood to be comprehended under the command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
  • As to the word adultery, adulterium, it has probably been derived from the words ad alterius torum, to another’s bed; for it is going to the bed of another man that constitutes the act and the crime.
  • Adultery often means idolatry in the worship of God *1

Ref. Verses:

Lev. 20:10

Matthew 5:28

Notes on Matthew 5:27-28

  • Jesus said that the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sin
  • Jesus emphasized that if the act is wrong, then so is the intention
  • To be faithful to your spouse with your body but not your mind is to break the trust so vital to a strong marriage
  • Jesus is not condemning natural interest in the opposite sex of even healthy sexual desire, but the deliberate and repeated filling of one’s mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out
  • Some think, if lustful thoughts are sin, why shouldn’t a person go ahead and do the lustful actions too?

Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several ways 

1. causes people to excuse sin rather than eliminate it

2. it destroys marriages

3. it is deliberate rebellion against God’s Word

4. it always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner

  • Sinful desire is not as dangerous as sinful action,, and that is why it should not be acted out
  • Nevertheless, sinful desire is just as damaging to righteousness
  • Left unchecked wrong desires result in wrong actions and turn people away from God *2

1. Clark’s notes on Ex. 20:14

2. Thoughts from Life Application Study Bible, notes on Matt. 5:27:28


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