The Seventh Commandment


(Exo 20:3-77 NIV)  Here are the Ten Commandments, abbreviated.

  1. {3}"You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. {4} "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
  3. {7} "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. {8} "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  5. {12} "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  6. {13} "You shall not murder.
  7. {14} "You shall not commit adultery.
  8. {15} "You shall not steal.
  9. {16} "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. {17} "You shall not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor."


The commandments are really not difficult to understand, unless of course you want to excuse yourself from their requirements. Yet as simple and short as they are they cover every conceivable manner of sin and wrongdoing. Perhaps you remember the sermon where I related all ten of the commandments to just one, “You shall not steal.” So I think I will begin today by explaining how the Seventh Commandment relates to stealing. Just so we know what we are talking about I will repeat commandment number seven.

*   {14} "You shall not commit adultery.


OK. Adultery is basically the stealing of fidelity, loyalty, or allegiance owed to someone. Most often adultery is considered to be a sexual offense but it is by no means that limited. Consider a few Bible verses for examples of the range of usage of the term, adultery.


*   (Lev 20:10 NIV)  "'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. The most common understanding.

*   (Jer 3:9 NIV)  Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. A non-sexual adultery.

*   (Ezek 23:37 NIV)  for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. A non-sexual adultery.

*   (Hosea 1:2 NIV)  When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD." A non-sexual adultery.

*   (Mat 5:28 NIV)  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. A thought type of adultery.

*   (Mark 10:11-12 NIV)  He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. {12} And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." And marriage does not necessarily remove the sin of adultery.

*   (Ezek 16:32 NIV)  "'You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! This verse is speaking of Jerusalem.


Now some people think that fornication is somehow different than adultery in some significant way, it is not. It is no more different than large is different from big or cold is different from chilly. Here is how a modern dictionary defines fornication: “Sexual intercourse between partners who are not married to each other.” Fornication is simply a bit more generic than adultery.


Remember, adultery is basically the stealing of fidelity, loyalty, or allegiance owed to someone. Let’s consider some of the ramifications of adulterous behavior.


The first and perhaps the most important is sin. Sin separates us from God and sin is not forgiven without repentance. Adultery shows a disregard for righteousness and implies that God’s word is of no effect.  Adultery is not an act of love but rather it is an act of disrespect. It’s disrespect for both God and whoever else may be involved in the act.


How about what might be considered the more practical or secular aspects of sexual adultery?

  1. STDs.
  2. Broken relationships.
  3. Disillusionment.
  4. Broken homes.
  5. Children without parents that actually want them.
  6. Children in foster care or orphanages.
  7. Aborted children.
  8. Government bureaucracies that propagate/encourage adulterous behavior.
  9. Increased taxation.
  10. Suicides.


Remember again, adultery is basically the stealing of fidelity, loyalty, or allegiance owed to someone. You would think with all the, “Education” about sex that adultery would be a thing of the past. It isn’t, as you well know. And sadly, the churches don’t appear to be much better than the rest of the world. What part of, “You shall not commit adultery” don’t we understand? How much more do we need to experience the penalties for this sin before we turn away from it?


*   (1 Cor 6:9-10 RSV)  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, {10} nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

*   (James 4:4 KJV)  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

*   (Heb 13:4 NIV)  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.


We say we are the “Bride of Christ” but if we don’t practice fidelity, loyalty, and allegiance in our relations with God and with each other what kind of bride are we? We saw in Leviticus 20:10 that the penalty for adultery was death. It still is! Do not be seduced by this world or by any person. Live a life of  fidelity, loyalty, and allegiance to God.