So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:7, NKJV)
They had brought a woman to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery (John 8:4). Desiring to accuse Jesus of wrong, His enemies tested Him by asking if He agreed with the Law of Moses that the woman should be stoned (John 8:5-6). If Jesus agreed with Moses, they could accuse Him to the Romans. If Jesus disagreed with Moses, they would accuse Him to the Jewish council. What they failed to remember is that Moses charged the witnesses of a death penalty offense to be the first ones to cast the stones (Deuteronomy 17:6-7). That is why Jesus replied as He did. He was not saying it is wrong to judge sin. He was exposing the hypocrisy of those who brought the woman to him (yet for some reason had not also brought the man with whom she was caught “in the very act” of adultery). Jesus was not a witness to her sin. When those who claimed to be witnesses departed, He had no legal ground to condemn her (John 8:9-11). But, He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus knew her sin and commanded her to stop sinning. Are you willing to let Jesus tell you to “go and sin no more?” Or, will you condemn Him for telling you that your conduct is sin?
7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds. 10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord. (Hosea 4:7–10, NKJV)
The northern kingdom of Israel was in the throes of spiritual adultery. The nation was unfaithful to Jehovah with the idols of the land. Immorality and selfish oppression of others was the order of the day. Sin increased daily, even as did the scarcity of their daily provisions. Famine, drought, plagues, pestilence, and warfare had not turned Israel back to God (Amos 4:6-11). Their hearts were set on sin. The priests taught the people what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4). So, God was ready to punish them for their sinful conduct (Amos 4:12). We must turn our hearts to God fully and be faithful to Him alone. Then He will bless us. Otherwise, judgment is certain.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13, NKJV)
More than a few times we have heard this passage misused to endorse accepting people in error and the immorality it produces. Such brethren defy the existence of absolute truth while tacitly accepting the moral relativism it produces. Since good and sincere brethren disagree on certain doctrinal issues (which they define as gray areas), they conclude each one will have to just “work out their own salvation” on the matter. This view is applied to divorce and remarriage. One of the problems with using Philippians 2:12 this way is it results in accepting adulterers as if they are faithful Christians. No longer is the sinner rebuked and called to repentance. Now he or she is tolerated and allowed to “work out their own salvation.” People “commit adultery” when they divorce and remarry in violation of Matthew 19:9. How do you “work out your own salvation” as an adulterer? God only forgives the adulterer when the sinner repents, prays and ending the adulterous remarriage. “Work out your own salvation” means to keep on obeying God (read verse 12 again). You bring your salvation to its full accomplishment by obeying God, not by remaining in disobedience.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent. (Proverbs 6:27–29, NKJV)
Just as one cannot put a firebrand to his chest without getting scorched, or walk on hot coals without burning his feet, adultery will not leave the person who yields to its temptation untouched by its pain, sorrow, and regret. Then, there is the broken trust, the broken marriages, and the lives of spouses and children that are left is tatters. And for what? For a tantalizing, momentary thrill? To fulfill fleshly lust? To escape the monotony of marriage? To follow the deceptive lie that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Adultery is a betrayal of vows made before God and of trust mutually shared. It dishonors the bodies of those involved, while shaming God who gave the body for holiness, not moral defilement (1 Corinthians 6:16-20). Guard yourself against this transgression against your own flesh (Genesis 2:23; Ephesians 5:28-31). God’s warning is clear: “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul,” and, “Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away” (Proverbs 6:32, 33). God’s command against adultery is for your protection and purity (Romans 13:9). Honor your marriage by maintaining holy sexuality (Hebrews 13:4).
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4, NKJV)
Whose friend are you – God’s, or the world’s? The world is the system of evil that opposes God and His will (1 John 2:15-17). A Christian cannot join hands with the world, doing and endorsing what the world does, without becoming God’s enemy. Simple as that. James uses adultery to make the point. The world celebrates adultery. When husbands and wives commit adultery, the world calls it a “love affair,” but there is nothing loving about it. The entertainment industry (movies, television, the internet, etc.) celebrates adultery. The porn industry persuades it. But, God is very clear: The sin of adultery is not a love affair, it is a lust affair (James 4:1-3; Hebrews 13:4). Jesus said, “You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). The worldly-minded do not love Jesus, because they do not obey Jesus. They are driven by selfish desires. They are God’s enemies. Do not be counted among them. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:6-7).
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:8–9, NKJV)
We have a moral obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. Adultery, murder, theft, lying and covetousness are adverse to this love. Take the sin of adultery as an example. It is entirely selfish and self-centered. Although the world often calls adultery a “love affair”, it is anything but that. It is a selfish, destructive affair for all involved; it is not a victimless sin. And there are always more people involved than just the two principal parties. Adultery rips marriages apart through the betrayal of trust. Children are uprooted from love’s security and placed into an uncertain world where parents pleasing themselves takes priority over protecting children from emotional trauma. Adultery is always accompanied by other sins; lust, deceit and covetousness, just to name a few. Adultery is against the God-given purpose of the body and the nature of marriage’s oneness (1 Cor. 6:15-20). Do not yield to its temptation. It is a destructive fire, consuming all who touch it (Prov. 6:25-29). If you already have, repent and put away the sin, and live holy before God and men (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18, NKJV)
Like the citizens of Corinth when the apostle Paul visited their city, many people today believe fornication (sexual immorality) is normal and natural, and no violation of social norms or divine truth. Yet, the Bible is clear. It violates God’s will. God intends us to use our bodies for holiness, not to fulfill sinful passions (1 Thess. 4:3-7). To commit sexual immorality (whether it is premarital sex, adultery – whether homosexual or heterosexual, bestiality, incest or pedophilia) is to sin against God and against the purpose He gave the body. Every sin we commit begins in the mind (“outside the body”), as Jesus taught in Mark 7:20-23. Sexually immorality is antagonistic to the very purpose God gave your body – to give glory to God as His dwelling place (1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not love when sexual activity occurs outside of God-endorsed marriage; it is dishonorable in His sight. This is God’s judgment: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Christians are “joined to the Lord,” therefore, we must not join ourselves to a harlot (1 Cor. 6:16-18). Keep both mind and body pure, and serve the Lord in holiness.
31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31–32, NKJV)
Jesus was not teaching the Law of Moses in this passage. In contrast to the legal contingencies and stipulations of the law of Moses concerning divorce stated in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Jesus spoke to the moral accountability of the person who ends a marriage. When one sends away his spouse from the marriage “for any reason except sexual immorality” (“saving for the cause of fornication,” KJV), he bears responsibility for the adultery she commits through remarriage. And, the one who marries such a person also commits adultery. These immoral realities of divorce and remarriage are rarely discussed and honored. But, they are real, and binding upon all who enter marriage (Matt. 19:3-6; Heb. 13:4). So, choose your mate carefully, and nurture your marriage wisely. Marriage is for life, and God will not accept every frivolous and selfish reason for ending what He has joined together (Matt. 19:6).
17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 6:17-18)
Read that again. It is undeniable that some marriages are not lawful in the sight of God. Herod and Herodias had married each other, but it was “not lawful” before God. You see, when they first met they already had spouses. They met, fell in love, schemed to divorce their mates and marry each other, which they did (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII:V). John the baptizer condemned their adultery and eventually lost his head for it (Mk. 6:19-28). We must remember that God-ordained marriage is for life, and God does not hold guiltless those who separate what God joins together (Matt. 19:3-6). Honor marriage by honoring the will of Him who gave us marriage (Heb. 13:4).