A Work of the Flesh

followFollow Me: Law[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 20:14, 21:1-11 [2]

God is the first one to utter the word “adultery” when he spoke the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai in the presence of the church. A person who is not faithful to a husband or wife lacks understanding and destroys his or her own soul.[3] His people must not commit adultery. He gave them a strong incentive to refrain. The death penalty.

The first judgments God gave Moses when he expanded on the Ten Commandments regarded marriage. If a Hebrew enters the service to another Hebrew with a wife, he must not be separated from his wife. If the master gives him a wife and she bears children the wife and children belong to the master. Seems unfair to me, but the servant had an option. If he loves his master, wife and children, he can choose to remain in the master’s service forever and keep his wife and children.

If a woman is sold into service she is not free to leave in seven years as the men are, but the law affords her a lot of protection. She can be redeemed, but cannot be sold to a foreign nation.  If her master gives her to his son as a wife she automatically receives the rights of a daughter. If a second wife is taken, he cannot deprive his first wife of food, clothing and sex. If he fails to provide her with any of those things she becomes a free woman.

Jesus addressed the topic marriage and adultery in a severe and compassionate manner. One can be guilty without committing the sexual act. If you simply lust for another man’s wife you are guilty of adultery.[4] When religious leaders brought a woman guilty of adultery before Jesus to inquire if she should be stoned, Jesus wisdom set her free without breaking God’s law. But he did not condone what she did. His parting words were an admonition to “sin no more.”[5]

Throughout the Bible adultery is more than a carnal act between a man and woman. The church committed adultery when she worshipped other gods in the wilderness.[6] The nation the church became committed adultery when she turned to other nations for help instead turning of God.

The theme continues in the New Testament when James calls the church adulterers and adulteresses. God is jealous to meet our needs. When we fight with one another instead of bringing that need to God we are guilty of adultery.[7]

I don’t know how anyone can keep this command. If we don’t do it, at some point we will think it, and who hasn’t turned to man instead of God for help? Paul’s calls adultery an unavoidable work of the flesh, and then offers a solution.[8] We can overcome a work of the flesh by walking in the Spirit. When we replace human wisdom and desires with God’s wisdom and desires, we will find the strength to refrain from committing adultery.

[1] In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns us that the things that happened in the wilderness were recorded as a warning to the church because Moses preached the same gospel about Jesus that was preached after Jesus resurrection. For this reason Israel/Jacob will be called the church in this series.

[2] All Scripture is from the NKJ Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Proverbs 6:32

[4] Matthew 5:27-28

[5] John 8:11

[6] Jeremiah 3:6-10

[7] James 4:1-5

[8] Galatians 5:19

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of the Westbank Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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