“If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”
-Leviticus 20:10, NLT
This verse says it all. It teaches us that God viewed adultery as a marriage ending sin.
God required the adulterous spouse to die in light of said sin. Thus, the marriage ended with the death of the adulterous party. This is what the Old Testament says is the righteous and just thing to do.
Now, I agree that we no longer kill adulterous parties for said sin in the civilized world. This is a good, merciful change.
But that does not change how seriously God views adultery (and all its accompanying sins)!
The mercy of allowing an adulterous spouse to survive does not negate the priority of God’s justice. God clearly thought preserving a marriage following adultery was less important than dealing with those who had engaged in covenant defiling behavior.
I do not see this priority of righteousness over keeping a marriage “intact” changing in the New Testament. Divorce simply replaces the death penalty (see Matthew 1:19).
Taking Adultery Seriously!
I know my position is–sadly–controversial in evangelical Christian circles. Many want to treat adultery as a side issue to a destroyed marriage. Such teachings are opposed to God’s teaching on this sin. Adultery is not treated as a side issue to a marriage’s end as we have seen here.
To be clear:
Whenever divorce avoidance is treated as more important than adultery repentance, the pastor–or other counselor– is not treating adultery seriously!
Such is a voice who has lost touch with The Good Shepherd as He would never minimize such destructive sin as adultery is.
*A version of this post ran previously.
Republished with permission from www.divorceminister.com.