The Prevalence of the Sin of Adultery
I scoured the internet to find statistics or surveys of many married people who have committed adultery. Different studies give different results. According to one study, the percentage of wives having affairs rose almost 40 percent in the past two decades to 14.7 percent in 2010. The number of men admitting to extramarital affairs held constant at 21 percent. Another study says it’s more like 15 percent to 18 percent of married people who commit old-fashioned adultery. While another study says as many as 65 percent of men and 55 percent of women will have an extramarital affair by the time they are 40. Interestingly, among octogenarians, 24 percent of men have cheated on a spouse, compared to just 6 percent of women [source] In one study they found “one in five British adults admit to having had an affair, while a third say they have thought about it. The survey also reveals that, of those who say they have had an affair, only half have stopped at one. A quarter has had two affairs, while 20% have had three or more. 8% have had five or more affairs.” In South Korea, (which has a significant Christian population) half of the married Korean men have cheated according to a report. Then we come to the issue about what constitutes cheating. Sadly, 1 out of 4 doesn’t consider one-night stands as cheating [source].
That was covering the non-Christian world (for the most part). Let’s take a look into the Christian world. Well, fidelity is just as lacking among them too. According to a survey conducted by the infamous website Ashley Madison – a website for those already in a relationship seeking another partner – one in four members who responded described themselves as “born again” Evangelist Christians. Catholics comprised the next largest group at 22.75 percent, followed by Protestants (22.7 percent). According to a report, “researchers interviewed nearly 1000 subscribers to Christianity Today who were not pastors. They found the numbers were nearly double: 45 percent indicated having done something sexually inappropriate, and 23 percent having extramarital intercourse.” A Barna study showed 4 out of 10 Americans believe that adultery is morally acceptable, for Christians, that number was 1 out of 10, which is shocking when the Bible strongly condemns adultery. What about Christians in roles of leadership? “A 1988 survey of nearly 1000 Protestant clergy by Leadership magazine found that of the 300 pastors who responded, 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse outside of marriage, and that 23 percent had done something sexually inappropriate with someone other than their spouse.” A few years ago, the Ashley Madison website was hacked and the names of the people on the website were revealed to the public. Some people on there were found to be Pastors and church leaders! Many pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past. Overall, 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admitted they currently struggle with using porn. About 12% of youth pastors and 5% of pastors say they are addicted to porn Barna reported. A report reads 50% of pastors confessed to viewing porn weekly in a recent survey (it’s 68% for Christian men in general).
How is looking at porn relevant when it is not adultery as defined by the world? Well, since most Pastors are married (as they should be according to 1 Tim. 3:2), and their indulgence of pornography involves lusting after another woman or women, that would constitute adultery in the eyes of Jesus (Matt. 5:28).
Now, whether any of the aforementioned statistics or studies are accurate I don’t know. But it is undeniable that there is a lot of sin among Christians when it comes to adultery and sexual immorality. According to a report by dating sites Christian Mingle and JDate, “61 percent of Christians said they would have sex before marriage.” This is indicative that many Christians are more influenced by cultural trends and their flesh than by scripture and the Spirit. Fornication is a serious sin condemned in the Bible: it reads to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18); that there shouldn’t be any hint of sexual immorality (Eph. 5:3); and that one should abstain from fornication (1 Thess. 4:3). With the prevalence of sexual immorality among Christians, it is no wonder many churches are weak and lack the light that they should have. I believe a lot of the body of Christ is weighed down by this sin.
Not just a married person lusting after another person constitutes a form of adultery, but remarriage can be as well. And Christians are having many divorces and remarriages. One study claims protestants are more likely to divorce than the general population (though, that study has been disputed).
Jesus said, “And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”(Mark 10:11-13). Moreover, Jesus said in Matt. 5:31-32 (also in Matt. 19:9 and Luke 16:18), “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” The only biblical allowance for divorce is sexual immorality and abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15).
Paul reaffirms Christ’s teachings about keeping one’s marriage vows and prohibiting remarriage: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife“(1 Cor. 7:10-11). One has committed adultery or in a state of adultery if one has sexual relations with another while one’s spouse or ex-spouse is still alive, however it is clear that one can remarry if the spouse dies (1 Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:2-3). That said, it is still debated among Christians if it is considered adultery in other circumstances to remarry according to scriptures (my opinion that it is). Whatever one’s view on the matter, there is no denying that many Christians are divorcing and remarrying which is not God’s ideal (Matt. 19:8).
Marriage is Sacred and Binding
Marriage is an institution established and sanctioned by God which started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and thus should be governed by His rules. Marriage is the mechanism through which God designed for the propagation of humanity and the preservation of godly offspring (Gen. 1:28, 9:1; Mal. 2:15). Marriage can be looked at as a beautiful picture of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and His church (or ekkléssia which means those called out from the world). The body of believers that make up the Church are as a whole known as the bride of Christ. As Bridegroom (Mark 2:19-20) or Husband (Isa. 54:5), Jesus gave His life for His bride (Eph. 5:25–26), and His selfless act should provide an example for all husbands, who are supposed to love their wives as themselves (Eph. 5:28). Just as Jesus is the head of the church, the husband is the head of the wife, and that is why the wife should be submitted to the husband (Eph. 5:23-24). At the return of Jesus, the body of Christ will be united with Him – Bridegroom, the official “wedding ceremony” will take place, and with it, the eternal union of Jesus and His bride will be actualized (Rev. 19:7–9; 21:1–2). Just as husband and wife should be faithful to one another, Jesus desires to have His bride be faithful, but also pure, blameless, and holy unto Him (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27).
There is a lot of significance placed on marriage, it’s no surprise God would seek to protect this oneness of the two parties from any kind of defilement (Heb. 13:4), and thus strongly prohibit adultery, which would violate the sacred marriage union, and possibly lead to divorce. Adultery is such a serious sin that under the Old Covenant, adultery was punishable by death (Lev. 20:10)! Indeed, God said he hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), and God said what He has joined together let no one separate (Mark 10:9). Since that’s the case, I wouldn’t doubt the devil is directly behind many divorces. The enemy is opposed to everything God wants. Satanist Aleister Crowley (who was considered the evilest man on earth and was demon-possessed to the core), called the family “public enemy number one”, and said “wherever the family has been strong, it has been an engine of tyranny.” As the archenemy of the family, the evil one comes to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10) marriages. I have actually come across a spirit when praying for deliverance over a woman, that said to me out of her mouth, that it was trying to break up her marriage, as there were issues between the woman and her husband. Remember, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against satan’s kingdom (Eph. 6:12).
Adultery Can Possibly Open Doors to Demonization
The sexual act, which is more than a mere physical act, has a spiritual component to it. If one party has unclean spirits those unclean spirits can jump into the other party during the sexual act [more about sexually transmitted demons]. That is part of the reason why I believe God strongly forbids adultery and fornication, and the reason why adultery is the only grounds for divorce, aside from abandonment from the spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). When two people engage in the sexual act they become one flesh, just as a person who unites with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:16-17). That said, divorce is not required if one’s spouse commits adultery, it is just biblically allowed. God can heal and restore any marriage that is falling apart.
A Spirit of Adultery?
Since this blog deals a lot with deliverance, allow me to share an interesting excerpt from the late Frank Hammond’s book, Pigs in the Parlor (p. 106):
Some persons well experienced in the deliverance ministry testify that unconfessed adultery will block ministry. It is said that the offense must be confessed to the one sinned again, as the husband confessing his unfaithfulness to the wife and vice versa. My own experience has shown that this is not a fixed requirement to deliverance since demons of lust and adultery have been cast out of persons who have not confessed to their mates. We all know that sin of whatever sort must be confessed to God before deliverance, and it is my personal conviction that one should be completely open to confess adultery to his or her spouse as the Lord directs. One’s mate may not be prepared to hear such a confession. Wisdom is needed. Our objective is to ‘give no place to the devil’, either by failure to confess or by untimely confession.
God’s Strong Prohibition Against Adultery
(Exodus 20:14) “Thou shalt not (COMMIT ADULTERY)”
(Luke 18:20) Jesus said, “You know the commandments: ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother”
(Matthew 5:27-28) Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not COMMIT ADULTERY. But I say to you that WHOEVER LOOKS AT A WOMEN TO LUST FOR HER HAS ALREADY COMMITTED ADULTERY with her in his heart”
(Romans 13:9) “For the commandments, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
(2 Peter 2:14) “having eyes FULL OF ADULTERY AND THAT CANNOT CEASE FROM SIN, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and ARE ACCURSED CHILDREN”
(Proverbs 6:32) “But whoso COMMITTETH ADULTERY with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it DESTROYETH HIS OWN SOUL”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10) “Do you not know that the unrighteous WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Do not be deceived. Neither Fornicators nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor homosexuals nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God”
(1 Corinthians 6:18) “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
(Galatians 5:19-21) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; ADULTERY, Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envying’s, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
(Hebrews 13:4) “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and ADULTERERS God will judge.”
(Revelation 21:8) “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and WHOREMONGERERS, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
(1 CORINTHIANS 5:11) “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a FORNICATOR [SEXUALLY IMMORAL], or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”