27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27–28 ESV)
In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus continued to quote from the Old Testament (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:14). He amplified the extent of obedience God required. In today’s text, Jesus addressed the subject of adultery.
“Christ’s exposition of the seventh commandment in Matthew 5:27–30 indicates how the biblical teaching on adultery goes contrary to much of what our society wants to tell us about sex. Most people, at least in our culture, are unlikely to have consummated an extramarital affair. Single people are not even capable of committing adultery in the narrow sense of an affair unless they are sleeping with a married person. However, few, if any, could ever say that they have never looked at another person with lust in their hearts. We live in a pornographic society that relishes and encourages all manner of illicit sexual activity,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.
Adultery is not only the breaking of the marriage vows by engaging in sexual behavior with another individual other than one’s spouse. Adultery involves lustful, or desirous, thoughts, emotions and willful intent. The issue is not only bodily behavior but also the condition of the soul. The phrase lustful intent (Gk. pros to epithymēsai autēn) literally means “for the purpose of lusting for her.”
“Once again the Pharisees’ teaching was concerned only with the outward act. They said the only way one could commit adultery was through an act of sexual union. They correctly quoted the commandment, but they missed its point. Adultery begins within one’s heart (looking lustfully) and follows in the act. The lustful desire, in the heart, as wrong as the act, indicates that one is not rightly related to God,” explains biblical commentator.
Adultery involves any sexual activity, actual or voyeuristic, that violates God’s standard, which is a heterosexual, monogamous relationship between a binary male and female. Isn’t it interesting that such qualifications need to be made in the current secular and religious culture?
“Adultery was considered an extremely serious offense (cf. Ex. 20:14) because, in addition to violating another person, it broke the marriage covenant (Mal. 2:14) that was a reflection of the relationship between God and his people,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.
“Lust begins in the heart, the center of a person’s identity and will. It is not enough to maintain physical purity alone; one must also guard against engaging mentally in an act of unfaithfulness. Jesus is not adding to OT law but correctly interpreting it, for even in the Ten Commandments God had required purity of heart (Ex. 20:17; cf. 1 Sam. 16:7; Ps. 19:14; 24:4).”
As it is with anything God has created, including the male and female species, the fallen world seeks to remove itself from the Lord’s authority and establish its own. Any rejection by anyone to anything the sinful, woke culture advocates is met with swift and strong rebuke; this includes eventual censure of such objections. This is particularly evident in the area of sexuality.
“Lust is not sexual desire in and of itself, for sexual desire is part of God’s good creation and the consummation of it is entirely lawful within marriage (Gen. 2:23–24). Moreover, lust is not the mere recognition of physical attractiveness. The Lord made us to recognize beauty, and Scripture itself speaks, without breaking God’s law, of the beauty and handsomeness of some of the people it describes (Gen. 29:17; 1 Sam. 16:12; 25:3). Instead, lust may be defined as the desire to engage in or enjoy illicit sexual activity. Given this definition, a whole host of things qualify as lust, including the viewing of pornography, adulterous fantasies, homosexual behavior, incest, sexual abuse, rape, bestiality, and other perversions. In prohibiting lust, our Creator prohibits all of these things,” concludes Dr. Sproul.
May the Lord give each of us a spirit of repentance and faith in living for Him. This is especially so in the area of human sexuality that is obedient to God’s Word.
Soli deo Gloria!