Having a Narrow View of the 6th Commandment

The world we live in has a very narrow view of adultery. This view of adultery is the same view I had when I was in college. Adultery only really occurs when a man and woman are married, and one of them engages in sexual intercourse outside that marriage. This viewpoint should be avoided at all costs. A narrow view of adultery only leads to justifying sexual sins.


I took my narrow view of adultery with me to college. I engaged in what I would today call, rampant adultery. Sex before marriage, pornography, and habitual lusting after women didn’t fall into my narrow view. I was living my life, having fun, and sadly doing what a lot of college kids do. I was an easy target. The devil, the world and my flesh knew what I wanted. There wasn’t anything to stop this narrow view of adultery.

My view widens…just a little.

Luckily I met someone whose view of adultery wasn’t so narrow. My wife, having grown up in a more confessional Lutheran church body, was though a wider view of adultery. At the time I wasn’t happy about waiting, but it was exactly what I needed. If she had not insisted, I may have gotten bored and repeated past sins. I very well could have fallen back into that rampant sin and missed out on the best thing to ever happen to me, my marriage. Unfortunately years into our marriage, my view on adultery was still very narrow.

The devil, the world, and my sinful flesh.

Even being happily married to a beautiful woman didn’t stop my adultery.  The devil will tell you not to worry about lusting after that woman in the grocery store. And even when you try to look away he will remind you of your past sins. The world will shove all kinds of sexual images in your face to try to sell you something. Women struggling with their own adultery will dress provocatively and your sinful flesh won’t look away. The biggest contributor to my adultery is me. My sinful flesh doesn’t want to look away. Lord, have mercy.

 Matthew 5 – 27 & 28

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

I imagine when I first read this verse my jaw dropped. This verse helped jump start the widening my view of adultery.  Sadly, the change came many years into my marriage. I’ve heard this expression too many times. “It’s okay to look, as long as I don’t touch.” Well based on that bible passage, it clearly isn’t. This is where the devil, the world and your sinful flesh come in. The devil will tell you that your adultery is nothing compared to the next guy. You’ve already looked, why not look some more? The world will tell you that your adultery isn’t adultery at all. And you’ll tell yourself that your adultery isn’t so bad. At least I’m not cheating on my wife. All these attacks can cause you to put your adultery above or below other sinner’s adultery.

Don’t put your adultery on a scale.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad did you sin today? On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad did you commit adultery? I used to put my adultery down towards the bottom of the scale. You know, I’m not doing that bad. I haven’t looked at pornography lately, but I did look at that attractive woman at the store. I used this scale to justify my lusting. We can’t use this scale. As sinners we are always at a 10 when it comes to sin. God doesn’t look at my lusting after a woman any differently than the prostitute on the street corner. We both need to repent and turn from our sin.

Your Adulterous Sins Won’t Stick.

I’ve learned in my daily struggles with the 6th commandment that I am in constant need of the law and the gospel. The law shows us our adultery for what it is….Sin. Without that you’re back on the scale with the devil and the world trying to lower your score. The gospel shows us that adultery is forgiven because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  Jesus lived an adultery free life for us. He took all our sins to the cross. When our father in heaven looks at us, he doesn’t see our adultery. He sees Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.