Adultery is a serious issue that has been talked about since biblical times. In the New Testament, it is mentioned several times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, but with somewhat different implications.
What does the Bible say about Adultery in the New Testament?
In the New Testament, Jesus emphasizes that all adultery is a sin, regardless of the reasons that may be behind it. He makes it clear that adultery is something that should be avoided at all costs, and that it carries severe consequences both to the offender as well as to their family.
The Gospels include several references to adultery, but perhaps the most memorable is the story of the woman who was about to be stoned for being caught in the act of adultery. Jesus told the mob to only stone the one who was without sin. Through this story, Jesus emphasizes the seriousness of adultery and its lasting consequences.
The New Testament also explicitly states that people should not commit adultery, commanding followers to be “free from the love of money, be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I for my part will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you’” (Hebrews 13:5). At the same time, Jesus offered a compassionate view of the issue, proposing that the issue can be dealt with through repentance and forgiveness and emphasizing that the act of adultery should not define who someone is.
In addition to the explicit commands against committing adultery, the New Testament also contains several encouragements to stay faithful in a marriage. Among these are 1 Corinthians 7:9 – “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn” – as well as Colossians 3:18-19 – “And wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them.” These verses clearly emphasize the importance of remaining faithful in marriage.
The New Testament also contains explicit instructions on the consequences of committing adultery. In Matthew 5:32, Jesus says “but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” In this way, Jesus makes it clear that people who commit adultery can expect repercussions for their actions.
Finally, the New Testament contains several scriptures about the power of love and forgiveness. This is exemplified in passages like Luke 7:47-48: “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” It is important to remember that while adultery is a serious issue, it can also be dealt with through repentance and forgiveness.
The Causes of Adultery in the New Testament
The New Testament offers several possible explanations as to why someone might commit adultery. Among these are explicit temptations from Satan, as outlined in Ephesians 4:3: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” This verse is a warning to people that to succumb to Satan’s temptations will lead to God’s wrath.
Other possible reasons are outlined in 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” In other words, a person who engages in sexual activity outside of marriage is sinning against their own body and will suffer the consequences.
The New Testament also offers a number of other explanations for why someone might commit adultery. These include temptations due to the “world” such as materialism, worldliness, or a lack of understanding of God’s ways; neglect of the need for self-control and holiness; or a desire to seek pleasure apart from God. Additionally, lack of prayer and Bible study can lead people away from God’s will, as outlined in James 4:17, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
The New Testament also suggests that the roots of adultery might be based on unresolved issues from the past. Subjects such as guilt, bitterness, or fear can be a source of temptation, potentially leading to a weak defense against adultery. Finally, it is important to remember the importance of relying on God’s grace and mercy and not our own strength, as it is only through His grace we can be freed from sin and “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
The Implications of Adultery in the New Testament
The New Testament clearly outlines the implications of adultery. This is exemplified in Hebrews 13:4, which states that “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” This verse emphasizes the importance of keeping the marriage bed pure and pleasing to God.
The New Testament also outlines the consequences for people who engage in adultery. For one, a person who commits adultery can expect to receive God’s judgment, as highlighted in Matthew 5:32, which states that one who divorces his wife (except for sexual immorality) causes her to commit adultery. Also, in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Paul outlines the many consequences of engaging in sexual immorality. He emphasizes that “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?” Hence, engaging in adultery also has spiritual consequences.
The New Testament also outlines further consequences such as a person’s reputation being negatively impacted, leading to shame and a lack of respect. Furthermore, adultery can also damage relationships with family members, friends, and other members of society. Additionally, any offspring of an adulterous encounter are also affected, as they must live with the consequences of their parents’ actions.
Finally, the New Testament emphasizes that although the consequences of adultery can be serious, there is redemption and freedom, as Jesus was willing to forgive the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery. Jesus also provides hope that people should not be defined or limited by their past, but rather be open to new possibilities of growth and redemption.
Dealing with Temptation and Overcoming Adultery
The New Testament outlines a few tips and guidelines for how to deal with and overcome the temptation of adultery. Among these are 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee from sexual immorality”, which emphasizes the importance of being proactive in dealing with temptation. Additionally, Romans 8:28-31 makes it clear that if we “put to death the deeds of the body”, then we can be freed from the power of sin. This includes the power of adultery.
Galatians 5:22-23 provides further guidance in this area, as it states that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In other words, by cultivating the fruits of the spirit, one can gain the power to resist temptations. This is reinforced in 2 Corinthians 5:17, which reminds us that if we are in Christ, we are “a new creation”, meaning that we no longer have to be defined by our old life.
The New Testament also emphasizes the importance of relying on God in times of weakness through prayer and repentance. For instance, in James 5:16, it states that “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working”, which in other words, means that prayer is a powerful tool in resisting temptation. Additionally, in Psalms 51:14, David cries out to God: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of your righteousness.” This is a reminder that through prayer, repentance, and reliance on God, it is possible to be freed from the power of sin.
Adultery and Restoration in the New Testament
At the same time, the New Testament acknowledges that although it is difficult to undo what has been done, it is possible to achieve restoration. This is primarily based on relying on God for guidance and strength. In Psalms 51:12-13, David expresses this hope: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”
In addition, the New Testament recognizes that while it may be difficult to bring restoration to a broken marriage, it is possible. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:10, Paul implies that although ending a marriage due to adultery is difficult, it is still possible for people to reconcile with one another: “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband.”
Other examples of restoration in the New Testament include Hosea’s message to the people of Israel in Hosea 2:14-16: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
In summary, the New Testament emphasizes both the seriousness of adultery and its importance of repentance and restoration. While it is important to understand the consequences of adultery and resist temptation, it is equally important to remember that God can and does lead to redemption, forgiveness, and restoration. All that is required is to put our trust and faith in Him.
A husband of one wife, father of two beautiful girls, laborer of Lord, Jesus Christ, and a servant to God’s His saints. I hope to encourage you by God’s grace. Thank you for stopping by.