Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting Your Adultery Permit

If a married man came to you and told you he was having sex with another woman, you would call that adultery, right?

If a married man came to you and told you he was entertaining the temptation to have sex with another woman, you'd show him that Jesus calls that adultery, right?

What if the married man shares there is no woman specifically in mind but that he regularly finds himself fantasizing for someone other than his wife? Isn't this an evidence of an adulterous heart (not to mention greed, covetousness and pride)?

You see, the pit of adultery goes much deeper than what the eye first beholds. Often, we are tempted to see adultery as beginning the moment physical contact takes place. However, Jesus said the act of adultery began long before that. In the same way, we are often tempted to think lust occurs the moment sexual thoughts cross my mind. However, the pit of lust is much wider than just sex. Lust manifests itself in any form of wanting someone else. Take a movie character, for example. The man is often (though not exclusively) tempted to want a woman who looks like a female character. On the other hand, the woman is often (though not exclusively) tempted to want a man who acts like a male character. Either situation is lust.

Therefore, if a man came to you and said he was leaving his wife because he deserves one with a better figure, you'd smack him around, right? Such a statement shows and attitude of covetousness, discontent, lust, greed and pride (probably should tell him to check out his shape in the mirror too, eh?). Obviously, the man is not justified in his desire.

Now, what if the same man said he was leaving his wife for one of a better personality? Is that excused? How about a better cookbook? Better bargain hunting skills?

What if she is a gossip? A liar? A drunk? Do any of these sins give him permission to divorce her? Even if she is an unbeliever, he is not free to divorce her. (1 Corinthians 7:12-13; Read the context as well to see that I am not calling it sin if your unbelieving spouse left you. Paul very clearly says there is nothing you can do about that.) God does not call the believer to condone their sin or facilitate it, but He does not call them to break their covenant either. You made a covenant "for better or for worse" and God will grant you the grace to endure and grow into the image of Christ as you go through the worst.

Someone who denies the Betrothal View says, Ah, but marital unfaithfulness is different, Jesus gave permission to divorce in this case. Is marital unfaithfulness really that far and away beyond other sins we are called to endure in our spouse, especially in light of Christ, who has been faithful to His unfaithful Bride since her formation?

I would argue that the Betrothal view is the best hermeneutic as well as the most consistent way of engaging sin. Tomorrow, I plan (Lord willing) to give one last example that any other view almost always is a sign of an adulterous heart in both parties.

1 comment:

Darby Livingston said...

Fine post, Danny. Keep going.