Of Fornication, Divorce, And Adultery

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Jesus and the Adulteress 2

Jesus and the Adulteress

Adultery (a consequence of Divorce and Remarriage) and Fornication (a consummation of lust) are distinct in nature. However, both are sexually immoral works of the flesh that preclude one from entering God’s Kingdom.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Revelation 22:14,15

FORNICATION

It is a sexual sin that is either performed by non-married individuals or by married individuals having affairs. In other words, it is sex outside the bonds of matrimony. Its literal meaning is to play the harlot.

“Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20

If a married person cheats on his/her spouse, it is not adultery. It is fornication.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

“It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” 1 Corinthians5: 1

Fornication is not befitting a Christian, no matter how one tries to spin it. See Sex and the Christian.

“Flee fornication.” 1 Corinthians 6: 18

“Now the body [is] not for fornication, but for the Lord…” 1 Corinthians 6:13

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Tim 2: 22

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints…” Ephesians 5: 3

There are ways to avoid fornication.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].” 1 Corinthians 10: 13

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3: 5

“Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7: 2

Fornication is not only forbidden, it is a sin that excludes those under its sway from any inheritance in God’s Kingdom. If you are under its spell, whether you’re a “Christian” or not, you better repent now and sin no more before death catches up with you.

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 1: 7

“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, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9, 10

DIVORCE

When Jesus was asked a question on divorce (the context), this was His answer:

“Haven’t you read, Jesus replied, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19: 4-6

The “male and female” verse Jesus was referring to was this one:

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

But what does that verse really mean?

It means that there is a duality inherent in God, Father and Son. Therefore, God created that same duality in mankind, male and female. That duality is itself God’s image in mankind.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…’ ” Genesis 1:26

So God made them male and female, a duality that mimics God’s own duality of Father and Son.

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

See The Trinity Doctrine is not in the Bible for an in-depth exposé.

The resulting process of creating mankind male and female had more to do with reproducing the image of the duality inherent in God rather than with marriage. However, like Jesus pointed out, marriage does bring the two together as one. That’s why God hates divorce.

” ‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD.” Malachi 2:16

Divorce is a terrible act that does violence to the union of male and female, who are both made in the dual image of the one God. Divorcing one’s spouse is tantamount to trying to severe God the Father from God the Son.

” ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord God, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 2:16

A man and a woman become one flesh upon marrying. When they divorce they spit on the covenant they made before God, as they attempt a vicious act to rip that one flesh apart.

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10: 9

Consequently, because of their blatant disregard, neither one can marry again – unless the woman committed fornication, which then would allow the husband to wed anew.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

In God’s eyes divorce causes one to forfeit the privilege of marrying again, because it belittles the seriousness that God imbued the marital covenant with.

ADULTERY

Adultery is a by-product of Divorce and Remarriage. When a divorcé/divorcée has casual sex, that’s fornication. However, when he/she remarries, he/she commits adultery.

Furthermore, a non-divorcé who marries a divorcée ends up committing adultery because he’s marrying someone’s wife, even if she’s an ex.

“And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Mark 10:12

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

“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

“But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32

However, we couldn’t find a bible verse that describes a non-divorcée of committing adultery if she were to marry a divorcé, and that’s because a divorced man, upon marrying another woman, commits adultery only against his (ex-)wife.

“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.” Mark 10:11

Jesus and the Adulteress

Jesus and the Adulteress

Shunning adultery is one of the 11 commandments.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20: 14

In the Old Testament when a man married another man’s (ex-)wife it was adultery as well, a sin that carried the death penalty.

“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted?” Jeremiah 3:1

“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

Consequently, even when a man divorces his wife, she’s still his wife in God’s eyes.

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10: 9

A Christian husband cannot contemplate divorce unless his wife commits fornication.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

Nevertheless, we scoured the bible trying to find a verse that allows a wife to divorce her husband if he commits fornication and couldn’t find one. The reasons there aren’t any are:

1) biblically, a man can have more than one wife; (Read Can A Man Have Many Wives?)

“If a man has two wives…” Deuteronomy 21:15

2) the husband is the head of the wife, so God apportions the husband some leeway, especially if in the end he also takes as his wife the woman he’s committing fornication with;

“For the husband is the head of the wife…” Ephesians 5: 23

But such leeway is by no stretch a carte blanche void of consequences. As the helpmate the wife needs to do her level best to help her husband do the right thing.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:6

If she can’t handle it and decides to divorce him, this is the Lord’s command according to the Apostle Paul:

“A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7: 10, 11

The only time a woman can remarry is when her husband or ex-husband dies.

“A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7: 39

However, there are those who say that the bible allows believers to divorce their unbelieving spouses. But the Apostle Paul clearly stated, in 1 Corinthians 7, that it was his opinion and not the Lord’s command.

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

It is quite obvious that the Apostle Paul was mostly leaning toward the spouses staying together rather than divorcing one another. And even if divorce were to occur, the following scenarios (which could apply to any couple really) would kick in:

I. The wife leaves her husband.

a) He does not want her to leave and refuses divorce. Still, she leaves and forces a divorce upon him which he does not respond to, truly does not want, and wholeheartedly does not agree with. The divorce materializes anyway by legal default. She then finds another man whom she commits fornication with, or remarries and commits adultery. Upon such fait accompli, the believing husband is now free to remarry as per biblical laws.

However, even if the wife never commits fornication or adultery after said divorce, the husband can marry again because he is not the one who put her away.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife…” Matthew 19:9

We think (because there’s no direct biblical directive) that it is quite possible that if such a man, because of dire circumstances, has to legally work on and sign divorce papers in order to protect concerns and belongings he’s worked for his whole life, that God could still allow that man to marry again, but such a man would have to really have his heart right (i.e., wholeheartedly not wanting the divorce and/or trying hard to reconcile with his wife). It goes without saying that, in said particular circumstance, such a man must really seek the Lord’s face.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

b) If the husband willingly and wholeheartedly grants his wife a divorce, the husband cannot remarry or have an affair, otherwise he will commit adultery or fornication.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

II. The husband leaves his wife.

The wife would never be able to remarry unless her ex dies.

“…let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7: 11

“A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7: 39

By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.” Romans 7:2,3

Releasing oneself from a bad marriage to an unbelieving spouse is not a blanket permission to get remarried. The Apostle Paul (not the Lord) only stipulated it as a condition to get out of bondage. He never implied or indicated that a person who divorces could remarry against biblical laws. If that person could, he definitely would have mentioned it because the laws against adultery are very clear.

Further, many believe that if a divorcé/divorcée was not a Christian when he/she got divorced, once he/she becomes a Christian he/she can remarry because salvation makes everything new. Sadly there are no verses in the bible to back that theory. It is also an egregious act of adding to God’s words.

“Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30:6

If you were married prior to becoming a Christian, you are still married when you become one. Ditto for divorce. Nothing can change or expunge that.

Otherwise, it’s like saying for instance that if a single, non-Christian teenage girl becomes pregnant and then turns to the Lord, she can expect her pregnancy to “miraculously” vanish because she’s now born again and thus everything has become new. Or better yet, if a murderer turns Christian, he can anticipate those he killed to “miraculously” rise from the dead because he’s surrendered his life to the Lord and thus everything has become new.

Sorry, but the salvation in Christ that makes everything new doesn’t work that way.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

How do new things come when one becomes a Christian?

“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” Ephesians 4:28

Things become new by living a life that is totally different than the one prior to salvation. Therefore, one’s actions as a Christian (i.e., following God’s laws) prove one’s salvation.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

“Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”  1 John 2:4

Salvation in Christ purges one’s soul of sins, but not of their temporal or earthly consequences. See The Consequences of Sin

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4

A true Christian must accept the consequences of his/her actions, even the aftermath of those that took place prior to becoming saved. In so doing, he/she denies himself/herself and carries his/her cross for the Lord.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 6:24

That’s why, even when saved, one of the consequences of sin is hardship.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” Genesis 3:19

“There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.” Psalm 38: 3

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” Hebrews 12:7

The laws are for the believer to use properly, and for the unbeliever and lawbreaker to stand condemned.

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” 1 Timothy 1: 8-11

Such air-tight laws are because God hates evil, and adultery is as such to Him. Therefore, to help prevent adultery He has thus made it almost impossible for a marriage to be dissolved.

“…you hate all evildoers.” Psalm 5:5

” ‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD.” Malachi 2:16

And you can bet that God’s hate is probably as strong as His love – okay, maybe not as strong since He gave us Jesus, but pretty strong – and that’s why marriage should not be rushed into without a clear understanding of what it entails, or without knowing how to avoid falling for the wrong person. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2: 24

Unless true repentance occurs, adultery not only destroys the soul, it also guarantees eternal damnation.

“… go and sin no more.” John 8: 11

“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” Proverbs 6: 32

“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, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9, 10

If you are already in the grip of adultery, wisdom, courage, and strength from the Holy Spirit will be fundamental, especially if you’re in a situation where you’re married to someone’s (ex-)wife and children were born from such a union.

Repentance towards all implicated parties is a good first step. Then, here’s what Jesus commanded if one were ever bitten by adultery’s venomous fangs:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say unto you, that whosoever looks upon someone’s wife to set his heart upon her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:28-30

Therefore, the Lord did command that any and all adulterous relationships ought to be cut off; one of the parts of your body (i.e., your current “wife” who’s actually someone else’s wife and who became one with you, as in the two shall become one flesh) need to be cut off in order to purge evil.

“Fear the LORD and shun evil.” Proverbs 3: 7

As such, Jesus did away with the Old Testament laws which demanded that adulterers (and fornicators who destroyed marriages) be executed.

“Both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20: 10

“If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death. You must purge the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 22: 22-24

Now, instead of the death penalty, they get a chance to repent, sin no more, and cut off their unlawful relationships as the new way of purging evil, because evil still needs to be expurgated before facing God on judgment day.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

“For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” Romans 2:13

However, children born out of said entanglements are not to be neglected.

“But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” 1 Timothy 5:8

CONCLUSION

Fornication and adultery are the works of the flesh.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5: 19 – 21

Therefore, ask yourself one simple question: would you want to risk your eternal destiny just because you want to have sex or just because you want to remarry?

“…fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8: 13

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for my sake, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39

Children born as a result of fornication and adultery are not guilty of any crime.

“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” Ezekiel 18: 20

When it comes to fornication, remember the old saying: “Flies spread disease – keep yours zipped.” And the nastiest disease fornication spreads is that of a warped soul. So, to get your mind off sex, find a way of escape by keeping yourself occupied: evangelism, helping the poor, a second job, prayer and fasting, etc. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry. However, if you really can’t get your mind off it, then get married. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.

And when it comes to divorce/adultery, remember also that other saying: “It’s cheaper to keep her.” That goes for your wallet (divorce) as well as your soul (adultery).

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment…” Hebrews 10:26,27

So be wise.

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12


ADDENDUM

Explaining Matthew 5:28

Matthew 5:28

Popular Translation:

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

Biblicism Institute Correction (in bold color):

“But I say unto you, that whosoever looks upon someone’s wife to set his heart upon her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Comment:

In the popular translation, the Greek word gune that is translated as woman really means a woman who is married or wife. In this instance someone’s wife or even an ex-wife, since an ex-wife is still her husband’s wife in God’s eyes.

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10: 9

The Greek word epithumeo that is translated as lust after has even a more powerful meaning: set one’s heart upon. Remember, Jesus looks at the heart.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

In Matthew 5: 28 Jesus was referring to someone’s (ex-)wife, just like the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3 was someone’s (ex-)wife who married another man, and Jesus told her to “go and sin no more. (John 8:11)”

Remember, adultery is the by-product of Divorce and Remarriage.

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9

When a man sets his heart upon someone’s (ex-)wife, Jesus already sees it as the foundational act which will cause that man to marry such a woman, hence that man is already in the throes of adultery.

Thus in Matthew 5:28 Jesus was really reiterating Matthew 19:9 in a more profound way, so profound that He said right after:

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30

That stark command was Jesus’s other way of saying “go and sin no more” (by cutting off the relationship), because those who are guilty of adultery will not enter the kingdom of God.

“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, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9, 10

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