In Proverbs 2, we see a picture of a man being protected by godly wisdom from dangerous and destructive personal sin. Wisdom keeps godly men from joining in with the evil and violent. And, in the same proverb, we see that godly wisdom turns a man away from the tempting adulteress.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.
Notice, as you look at that text, how significant is the sin of adultery. This is a big deal, a very big deal. The author of Proverbs tells us that the adulteress forgets the covenant of her God. We see that she and her house lead to death and destruction.
There are many sins out there. All sin, of course is significant. But how pressing on our consciences should be the accusation of forgetting the covenant of our God? Such a thing should not happen. Such a thing should never be.
Of course, all sin can be forgiven in Christ. But, we must understand at the same time that a person who can willingly forget the covenant of their God is in grave spiritual danger. To willingly see the command of God, ignore his covenant, and violate his ways so willfully, so dramatically, so destructively should be terrifying.
Christians, adultery is a big deal. We are to be people who make and keep our marriage vows. God will not lead us into violation of such a sacred commitment. God wants Christians to grasp that the violation of the marriage covenant or the breaking up of a marriage is simply not what we do.
Of course, when dealing with this topic, hard cases always come up. No spouse should be subjected to abuse. God does not demand that a spouse put up with being the victim of adultery. But the beautiful thing is, if you are part of a solid church with a commitment to God’s word and to biblical church discipline, there is help and hope. God provides a path of confrontation toward restoration that is clearly prescribed in Scripture. Forgiveness and restoration will, of course, look different depending on our circumstances. I believe, though godly people disagree here, that God has provided avenues of response to certain sins against you as a spouse where divorce is allowable under his word; but those circumstances are not nearly as broad as our culture has chosen to make them. And I certainly believe that any Christian considering divorce must do so with the counsel of the elders of his or her church.
What is not a solution, however, is to leave your spouse for another person. This is simply not part of Christian character. And the word of God is clear that this is an issue of great weight, as the covenant of God is central to our behavior in this setting.
So, Christians, let this little part of Proverbs, a part we do not talk about much, ring out to you. Let it call you to see that adultery is a big deal. Let it call you to make your marriage and its preservation a priority. Let it call you to turn from any sort of media a or other forms of influence that might drag you away from your commitment to your spouse before the Lord. If things are hard, reach out to your elders in your church to ask for help, for counsel, or even for biblical church discipline if your spouse is in sin.
And if you have been guilty here, repent. Own that your choices were dishonoring to the Lord. Express genuine sorrow. Seek to do all that you can to obey the word of God as you attempt to make things right. Jesus has mercy and grace for all who are truly his. But I must add that all who are truly his will not take his grace lightly, for granted. We mourn our past sinful choices as we seek to do all we can to remember the covenant of our God and honor him through all our future behavior.