First off I suppose I should say that I have absolutely no experience of adultery in any shape or form, apart from my father committing it when I was all of 14 or so. But thankfully no personal experience in my own marriage. However, I doubt this is something any of us truly needs to have such enormous personal experience of, to appreciate the horrendous damage it causes to a personal relationship and thus it’s something in our spiritual lives we equally need to take more heed of.
Listening to a sermon today on the many times in scripture that God uses marriage as a foundation for teaching multiple lessons and the ultimate importance of it in respect of the Rapture and the coming Messianic Age.
From the outset God determines that man would cleave to woman in a personal one on one relationship, which He would ordain and maintain, and which would provide each with the fuller completion of their own selves (woman was ‘created’ from man after all, and man lost a part of himself to the woman). However, right from the start Satan used the woman to provoke man’s fall through Adam – whether Adam could have committed this particular sin on his own we don’t know, but he put his wife before God, and thus enabled Satan to achieve his aim in his attempt to change God’s foreordained plan to destroy him. Since that point, relationships have become one of the biggest areas Satan operates in, in his battle to take as many people away from God as possible. Probably the most notable case of open and yet equally deceitful adultery in scripture is the situation of David with Bathsheba. He not only lusts after her, but happily gets her husband who trusted him as a friend, killed in battle so that he could have her to himself. But while God judges Him and he repents and is forgiven, he still has to pay a high price for his infidelity – the death of his son to Bathsheba. Sadly I suspect too many nowadays can identify with his story on all fronts – the papers are rife with similar modern day stories with equally similar outcomes. Only difference is the huge lack of true repentance ever shown by the guilty party – in fact, it would appear that once they’ve managed to escape obvious judgement in some cases, they’re more than happy to repeat the offence in the next relationship, heaping yet further coals on their heads. But like David – their day will come, when they will be unable to run from God any longer.
However, a more important spiritual lesson is woven into marriage: Throughout scripture God talks about His people being His “Bride” – in the Old Testament, and He makes mention repeatedly about how Israel has become an adulterous wife to Him, by chasing after foreign gods, creating idols, and generally not putting Him in His rightful position given how their existence depended fully on Him. Later in the New Testament, we find Jesus continuing on this theme, but it takes on a new significance. Jesus calls His Church the “Bride” and in Matthew 25:1-13 He talks very clearly about how His return to claim His Bride is implicitly embedded in the customs of the Jewish wedding (which ultimately He ordained to His own people).
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
But then we have to think about our own personal walk with the Lord and apply this teaching to it. It’s easy to almost ignore the teaching when it’s big and applied to the whole church in general, but tonight I was just thinking about what the implications would be, if God had instead mandated that He would leave us if we were equally ‘adulterous’ in our relationship with HIM! Got me to thinking how we’d be totally on our knees, begging Him to stay with us, and promising to behave (just as Israel’s prophets did many times!). While He may not state that He would ever leave us, and in fact Jesus continually reassures us that He won’t, I think we still have a huge responsibility to be careful that we don’t commit spiritual adultery by allowing the world to have too big a claim on our lives. Idolatry is still a huge issue now and perhaps more so, as we continue to find more and more things to take God’s place in our lives. From the TV through to the internet, and everything in between, God ends up getting squeezed out to the periphery. And you only have to think about your own relationships and how you would feel if that was how your partner treated you – eventually you’d do the same to them, and the relationship would grow cold. God never willingly pulls away from us, but we do so to Him so many times, and sometimes stay there so long that it seems a natural place to be. Or we find that our idols provide us with something tangible which we maybe feel God doesn’t. Whatever the reason, He will absolutely not condone it in our lives, and His “judgement” on us may be hard and heavy. While we are absolutely forgiven for all our sins, we still have to suffer the consequences of them, just like David and his adultery with Bathsheba. God forgave him, but he lost his son through his sin. It’s better to remain a faithful partner from the start, and to cleave only to Him, and your spiritual walk will grow stronger day by day.
And finally when the appointed time comes, God will send our Bridegroom to collect us and bring us Home to heaven for our marriage feast which will be one utterly awesome event. Trust I’ll be meeting YOU there! 🙂