Jeremiah 23:9-10
While I have no intent to be vulgar, I do hope this title got your attention! Adultery is "sexual intercourse with the spouse of another." It is a specific type of “fornication,” by which a marriage becomes "adulterated" (altered and polluted). In our text, Jeremiah is sad because "the land is full of adulterers." I submit this is still true! The Bible reveals at least four ways this can be done! We shall consider them here...

I. Physical adultery (Mt.19:9)
A. "Physical" adultery is "literal" adultery: “sexual intercourse with the spouse of another”
B. E.g. one who divorces their lawful spouse and marries another commits adultery (the rule)
C. E.g. a lawful spouse who fornicates w/ another commits adultery (the exception clause)
D. This text shows many (most?) “civil” divorces and/or remarriages are not “lawful!” (v.3-9)

II. Mental adultery (Mt.5:27-28)
A. Physical adultery wrong (see above) – but so is mental!
B. This sin is not "acted out," but "thought out" (heart/mind)
C. Note: this sin "predates" Jesus! (cf. Ex.20:17; Pr.6:25) – i.e. His sermon did NOT make a “new” law!
D. Whether "physical" or "mental," we must NOT indulge!

III. Metaphorical adultery (Jm.4:1-4)
A. This “figurative” use of “adultery” is indicative of "moral unfaithfulness to God"
B. And, in this context, "the world" stands in contrast to "God" (cp. 1Jn.2:15-17)
C. Christians are married to God; but some get “too friendly” with the world!
D. When we dress, speak, and act like “the world,” we are unfaithful adulterers!

IV. Spiritual adultery (Jer.3:8-10)
A. Similar to the above, “spiritual adultery” is "religious unfaithfulness to God"
B. In the OT, it often refers to “idolatry” and/or “heathen religion” (cf. Ex.20:4-6)
C. In the NT, it can include "marrying" both Moses and Christ! (cf. Rm.7:1-4)
D. What about modern denominations who try to “marry” Christ and Creeds?

We must steer clear of all forms of adultery; for those who do such things will NOT inherit the kingdom (Ga.5:19-21)! Once adultery is committed, the proper response is “repentance” (Ac.2:38; 8:22). But be careful, for repentance does NOT make an unlawful deed lawful!

--Lanny Smith

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