Your Question # 11
[#11] "You have heard that is was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery'. Could you tell me the meaning of this Scripture in Matthew 5:27?
Great question, and thank you for asking. I pray you are asking so that you may be faithful in all things to God and to your spouse.
The verse "You have heard that is was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery'.
Of 'old' refers to Exodus 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery." It is the seventh commandment. It is mentioned again in Deuteronomy 5:18. To commit adultery means: to cheat, sleep, or have an affair with another individual who is not your spouse. Our vows before God are first said to Him and then to our spouse, meaning that we intend to keep, honor, treasure, and protect our relationship to the person to whom we have married. To commit adultery is seen in Scripture as akin to cheating on our Lord by being unfaithful with idols in our life.
Adultery is a devastating sin, not only for the one who does it, but for the wounded spouse who lives with the broken trust of the one they love and believed loved them faithfully. As a couples counselor, I have seen marriages mended after the sin of adultery, but it can take many months for the hurt to subside. It may take years for the trust to return and then the wounded spouse may keep reservations deep in the back of the mind.
Adultery can be forgiven, but the hurt and damage remains. I have known of Christian spouses who have forgiven their partner but still opted for divorce because the trust was broken.
Also adultery seriously effects the one involved. The Bible says one who commits adultery 'gives their honor to others', Proverbs 5:9. Please read Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:23-29. Proverbs 7:6-23 speaks of the enticement of adultery/fornication. A 'young' man can be lured, hunted, and pursued. Verse 23 has the inevitable ending, "...he did not know it would cost his life."
Proverbs 9:17-18 "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant". What does this mean? Most people who commit adultery will confess, that it isn't that the sex was better, but it is the lure and partaking of the 'forbidden' that is most exciting. The thought they are doing something 'fun' and secretive gives added enticement...it's almost like a drug. But look at the consequences in verse 18: "But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell."
Back to your verse...Jesus said 'You have heard it said of old'. I hope I covered that part, but don't leave out verse 28: "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The Lord is giving us a holy warning for our protection. Adultery begins with the look, the look turns to lust, and the lust gives way to the action (see James 1:14-15) We all see others as we interact or pass them on the street, etc. and we can be attracted to someone because of their beauty, personality, position in life, or power they hold. We must guard ourselves and know ourselves; so, if my looking at someone is leading me to think thoughts that ONLY belong to my spouse, I need to look away or avoid interaction with those who can cause me to sin in my heart and possibly in physical action.
All men should take up the mantra of Job, 31:1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?" The word 'look' means to 'gaze intently'. Simply put, to look at someone with intentions to think upon them in a relationship that is unrighteous in nature before God.
I hope this helps. The best way to avoid the temptation and sin of adultery is to abide in the Lord, and if married, to ask God to: 'give you eyes only for her.'