The Redemptive Historical Lesson of the Seventh Commandment
Pastor James Park’s sermon from Wednesday Evening Worship Service at Moriah Sanctuary on March 27, 2019
The 7th Commandment
The 7th Commandment is the commandment that says, “Do not commit adultery.” When we look at the specific laws of this commandment, it is to remember the Word of God and to keep one’s own purity (Num 15:37-40; Deut 22:12). This 7th commandment not only pertains to men and women but also to the garments and clothing one wears. In our main text, there was a woman caught in adultery at the scene. The religious leaders, the Pharisees, and Scribes brought this woman out naked in her shame and forcefully brought her before Jesus. The religious leaders began to attack Jesus, testing Him by asking questions as to what should become of this woman who was caught in the act of committing adultery.
The purpose for why God created man and woman
Man and woman are joined together to become one flesh; they are not two but one flesh (Gen 2:24-25). The Apostle Paul speaks of the relationship between a man and a woman as a relationship between the church and Christ (Eph 5:31-32). Thus, just as a man and woman become one flesh, the church and Christ must become one. This means that our church, our saints have been united with Jesus Christ and have become one with Him (Rom 6:1-10). This is truly a profound unification.
The Biblical Meaning of Adultery in the Old Testament
The word “adultery” in the Old Testament can be described as “harlotry” which speaks of all unlawful sexual relations. The word “adultery” in the Ten Commandments is naaph which has two meanings. First, the word naaph speaks of physical adultery (Lev 20:10). God consecrated the family and desired for them to be holy. Thus, through the holiness and the consecration of the family, through married relationship, adultery is strictly forbidden. Merely touching someone with sexual thoughts and purpose is a sin (Prov 6:29). Secondly, this word naaph speaks of spiritual adultery. When the covenantal people of God serve other gods, they commit spiritual adultery (Hos 4:12-13). Thus, the sin of idolatry is also the sin of adultery according to the Word of God.
The New Testament Meaning of Adultery
Jesus gave the evangelical expansion of this sin of adultery in the New Testament. First, lusting in your heart is adultery (Matt 5:27-28). The word “look” in Greek is blepo meaning a “careful observation” instead of a “simple look.” Therefore, when you continue to look at a person with lust and greed in your heart, you are committing the sin of adultery before God (Gen 3:6). Joseph, when tempted with sin, fled. Likewise, when we are tempted, we must learn to be able to flee and not sin (James 1:15). Secondly, “greed” is idolatry and just like in the Old Testament it is the sin of adultery (Col 3:5; Eph 5:3). Immorality and greed are tied together and tied to the sin of adultery. If we love money, power, and knowledge more than our husband God, then that becomes idolatry. Thirdly, to become friends with the world is the sin of adultery (James 4:4-5). We need to love the Word and through the Word, we must receive joy and gladness and not look to the pleasures of the world (1 Cor 6:18). And fourthly, to depart from the truth of the Word or having a different ideology becomes the sin of adultery (2 Cor 11:2-4). We need to avoid those who proclaim another “Jesus” or different “spirit” or “gospel” and learn how to discern between good and evil. In Christianity, we believe that Jesus was God from the very beginning (John 1:1; 14). And through the precious blood of Jesus, we were redeemed and have received the forgiveness of sin (Eph 1:7). If we have the heart of physical or spiritual adultery, we will continuously go through shame and it will continue to corrupt our souls, pierce the deepest parts of our hearts, and will give us scars that will not go away easily (1 Cor 6:18; Prov 6:32-33). Jesus is our true husband and first love. Therefore, we must remember and recover our first love (Deut 32:7; Rev 2:4-5).
Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees
When religious leaders brought before Jesus a woman caught committing adultery, Jesus reacted by stooping and writing on the ground with His finger. When He stood He said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Jesus stooped again and began to write and all of the religious leaders departed (John 8:6-9). This reminds us of Moses receiving the two tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments, which was written by the finger of God (Deut 4:13; Exod 31:18). God promised in the “new covenant” that He would engrave His Law on the tablets of our hearts which was fulfilled through Jesus Christ (Jer 31:33). Therefore, through the actions of Jesus writing on the ground (our heart), He was fulfilling the new covenant (Matt 13). This teaches us that the Law of God should not be used to kill others but should be used as a tool to reveal to us what sin is, and bring us to repentance, and lead us to Christ; for the misdeeds of others is ours as well (Matt 7:3; Rom 7:7; Rom 3:20). Therefore, the Ten Commandments are the Laws not used to judge others but rather to help us reflect on ourselves (John 8:7). The religious leaders who needed to hold onto Jesus departed and the woman caught in the act of adultery was forgiven and told not to sin again (John 8:10-11). How wide and deep is the love of God (Rom 8:1).
Conclusion: Jesus became the true husband of the woman that was naked and the true adulterers were the Pharisees and the religious leaders. Jesus covered the shame of the woman and clothed her with spiritual garments (Isa 61:10). God clothes our shame with “garments of salvation.” We are that woman that committed adultery; but in Jesus, all of our shame and embarrassment have been washed away and all of our sins have been covered. We have been clothed with the garments of salvation and righteousness (Rev 3:17-19). During this season of Lent let us put on Jesus Christ (Rom 13:4). Let us be clothed with the fine linen that is bright and clean so that with the Lamb we may overcome and stand on Mount Zion as the overcomers (Rev 19:8).