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An Open Letter Regarding Adultery

To any Christian who has committed or is considering adultery:

I don’t know who you are – man or woman, old or young. But here is where you stand today: you are considering committing or have already committed adultery with another person. I know no details whatsoever of what has brought this to pass – I don’t know whether things happened between you and your spouse that hurt you deeply, whether there is another person involved who influenced your decision, whether you are experiencing what is commonly called a “mid-life crisis,” or whether you have suffered from deep depression or despair.

Regardless of the cause and source, I would encourage you most strongly: do not doubt God, and do not doubt his Word.

Consider God’s Word in Malachi 2:13-16:

“You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

“Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

“‘I hate divorce,’ says the LORD God of Israel, ‘and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”

The Lord hates divorce, yet that appears to be the path you are deliberately pursuing. Hear the warning: God will not accept your offerings if you continue on this path. He will not hear you. He warns here of judgment, and encourages you twice to guard yourself in your spirit, and not to act treacherously toward your spouse.

“Guard yourself in your spirit.” Where is your spirit now? What are you feeding on? Are you feeding on the Word? Are you seeking the Lord? Or have you allowed other influences, thoughts, and emotions to slip under your guard and infect your spirit? “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith!” (I Peter 5:8-9).

Resist the devil! Resist temptation and sin! “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:6).

“Sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Consider your sin, I urge you. Take a bald look at it, and awaken your soul again to its horror:

Your sin against your spouse.  Matthew 19:6 states clearly that “what God has joined together, let no one separate.” And again in I Corinthians 7:10-11: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

Your sin against your children. Heed the warning in Matthew 18:6. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Your sin against unbelievers. Matthew 5:14-16 exhorts us that “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” People are watching you. What will they think of God and Christ if they see you choose a course of sin?

Your sin against the church. There are people who look up to you as a model and an example of a Christian spouse and parent. People who have been hurt through broken or damaging relationships and who are striving to overcome a natural bitterness. People who desperately need to see healthy Christian models so that they can learn to live in God’s grace and see with God’s eyes. If you choose to sin, Satan will take the opportunity to whisper in their ears, “See? People are untrustworthy. Nobody knows the meaning of the word ‘commitment.’ Everyone is self-centered and unfaithful.”

I warn you that God judges sin. Hebrews 4:12-13 reminds us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

You will have to give an account to God of your actions today.

Remember that, as a Christian, you do not have the right to do as you want. You gave up that right at the Cross. You belong to Jesus now, and are called to obedience to him: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

But God is a God of hope:

Psalm 43:5 … “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

Romans 5:3-5 … “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 15:13 … “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Whatever has happened, God is a God of hope. If you have sinned, forgiveness is open to you (I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”). If your spouse has sinned against you, grace is available to you to forgive him or her and be reconciled (Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”). If you are weighed down with anxiety and despair, God can lift you up (Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”)

I urge you to turn back from the path you are on. Return to grace. Return to forgiveness. Return to obedience. Return to the Word of the Lord and to the presence of God.

“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’

“And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:20-24)

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