Adultery - An Act of Two, But Defeated by One

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 13, 2014 0 comments

As a man, I feel it is important to address something in this writing that is a ridiculous falsehood that has been commonly accepted for far too long. It struck me a few months ago when a good friend of mine at work had been having a discussion with several other co-workers and decided to bring it to my attention because he knew me as the “pastor” at our agency. I was speaking to my supervisor about actual work when this man came up and asked if he could interrupt for a minute. He then said, “Hey Logan, who was the ho that was about to get stoned by the well in the Bible?” I want to make it clear that his use of the derogatory term for a woman who has been promiscuous is not to be accepted. However, I feel it is important to give you the exact quote that he said because it shows just how much we have tolerated the view of adultery or promiscuity being the problem of a woman. I was able to share with this man and my supervisor that he was combining two different Bible stories – the woman caught in adultery in John 8 and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. I was also able to share that the identity of the woman caught in adultery is not revealed and that the point of the story is not who she is, but who Jesus is and the freedom and victory over sin that he offers to her.

In thinking about that conversation this week as I prepared for this writing, I remembered that my friend mentioned nothing about the man who was involved in that act of adultery. That got me thinking about how many times I have read the John 8 passage and have rarely given even a passing thought to why the man was not present on the scene. I began to realize how serious of a problem this is, going all the way back to Genesis 3:12 when Adam first blamed the woman for his own sinful choices. The blame game has been played ever since that day, and it’s no more obvious than with sexual sin. The woman is blamed for what she is wearing when a man can’t stop lusting. If a woman has multiple children out of wedlock, even other women say something like, “She just has to learn to keep her legs closed”. The actions of the man or men who impregnated her are written off as “just doing what men do”. In the book and movie “The Scarlet Letter”, who has to face public ridicule and wear the shameful letter? Hester has to face that punishment all alone while the cheating minister experiences his consequences privately.

I’m certainly not excusing women from their part in this sin, but am simply making the point that the physical act of adultery requires TWO people, not just the woman who is often blamed. Regarding the adultery of the heart that Jesus addresses in Matthew 5:28, you can look and see that he refers to a MAN who lusts! The more I think about it, I can’t think of any place in the New Testament where Jesus actually mentions adultery and he is not talking to a man or a group of primarily men. In John 8, it is the men who say they caught the woman in an act of adultery. Jesus never mentions her specific sin, but only urges, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11). He acknowledged that she was a sinner, the same as everyone else who was there and everyone who watched as he handled the situation in truth and love. The self-righteous Pharisees who prided themselves on being followers of the Law failed to adhere to a very important component of the specific law they cited. Leviticus 20:10 clearly says, “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”. I guess their strict adherence to the Law only mattered when it suited their interests and biases.

The other important truth the Pharisees missed was that Jesus has the power over sin. Regardless of whom they wanted to accuse and what they thought the just penalty was, Jesus came to defeat ALL sin. He didn’t do this through condemnation and public humiliation, but through urging people to repentance. He told the woman to “leave” her life of sin. Friends, this is the essence of repentance – to turn and go the opposite direction in your life. Jesus offered the same opportunity and urging over and over again to the Pharisees throughout his ministry on earth. Because they failed to see their own need for a Savior, they usually rejected him.

Later in John 8, Jesus speaks to the Jews who were listening to him about one of the most important truths in the entire Bible. In vv. 31-41, he talks to them about being set free by the truth as they hold to his teaching, but they can’t understand what he means because they understand freedom only from a political standpoint. Even in that, they were wrong because they had been slaves of several other nations in their history and were controlled by the Romans politically even at that very moment. But Jesus assured them, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (v. 34). However, there would be no hope if that were the end of the teaching. Because he was the only one there who was not a slave to sin but the actual Son of God, he declared, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (v. 36).

Are you walking in that freedom? Are you the woman who has been somewhat shunned by others because of your mistakes while the men involved seem to face no consequences? You can simply cry out to Jesus right where you are today. He has set you free if you believe it and is inviting you to leave your sins behind and start your new journey with him. Are you the man who knows deep down inside you are an adulterer regardless of whether others see your sin or not? You must first humbly recognize that you are a slave to your sin and that you desperately need Jesus. I promise you, he has already set you free from what you are hiding from others if you believe it. It’s time to walk in that freedom and leave your life of sin. Whoever you are, claim the victory in Jesus today!