Overcoming Adultery and Fornication
Matthew 5:27-32 NKJV: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 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.
Here, the Lord Jesus teaches us to abstain from the sins of sexual immorality: adultery and fornication.
Adultery is committed when a married person has sex with anyone apart from their spouse.
Fornication is committed when an unmarried person has sex with anybody.
God permits sex only within the context of a marriage relationship.
In fact, the Lord tells us that even the willingness to commit fornication or adultery in your heart is accounted by God as actually doing it.
Why does God forbid fornication and adultery?
Is it because God does not want us to enjoy sex?
No! In fact God made sex and like all other things He wants us to enjoy it richly. However this is only possible in the context of a marriage relationship because sexual intercourse has deep spiritual and physical effects on our souls and bodies.
When sexual intercourse takes place between a man and woman a spiritual and physical union of their souls and bodies takes place.
This union of their souls and bodies causes a transmission of spiritual natures and forces between them.
Now, when it is done outside the will of God it is Satan that takes control of the spiritual forces and nature that are transmitted. So this can open the door to mental and emotional instability and even demonic possession.
Furthermore, it can lead to the birth of another human being which is a great and eternal responsibility that cannot be properly handled outside a marriage relationship.
When it is done in the will of God the Holy Spirit transmits a greater measure of the love of God: the fruit of the spirit and so unity and spiritual power between husband and wife.
1 Corinthians 6:13-17 NIV: The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
So adultery and fornication will destroy your soul and body and rob you of your eternal inheritance in God if you continue in them:
1 Corinthians 6:18-20: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. NIV
Sexual immorality will cause your body to be weakened like David’s body when he was 70 (1 Kg 1.1) in contrast to Caleb’s when he was 85 years old (Josh. 14.10-11). Furthermore, you can contract diseases like HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis etc.
Proverbs 6:32-33 NKJV: Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away.
Like David, God will forgive you but the reproach will remain in the memory of men and you will experience mental and emotional turmoil.
Galatians 5:19, 22 NKJV: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication…. those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How then do you overcome adultery and fornication, particularly in this day when it is so common?
Our minds are constantly being bombarded by Satan, with thoughts of sexual immorality from every available media: peer pressure, magazines, television and of course the internet. Practically every form of advertisement is sexually suggestive.
Do not despair! You can overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit using the Word of God:
Romans 8:5-13 NKJV: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
You use the written Word to set or program your mind on the things of the Spirit and not on things of the flesh or the sinful nature by reading, meditating and speaking the Word as a daily habit.
Furthermore, you abstain from all appearances of evil (1 Th.5.22): immoral books, films etc and sexually compromising situations and circumstances.Like Joseph did when he fled from Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39.7-13).
As you pray in the spirit: in tongues, the Holy Spirit releases His power into your physical body that puts to death carnal desires contrary to the will of God. In a sense He puts a ‘spiritual anesthetic’ into your body that causes you not to respond to sinful stimuli.
Now, after a while this ‘spiritual anesthetic’ wears off so you have to put more in: that’s why you need to stay in the Word and prayer diligently: in fact as a daily habit.
As you do this you will both avoid (by the Holy Spirit supernaturally manipulating men and circumstances) and when confronted with it, even at the thought level, overcome adultery and fornication.