“If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”
-Leviticus 20:10, NLT
When I quote from the Old Testament Law about adultery, my point is not to argue for a reinstatement for the death penalty. My point is to push Christians to understand how God views the sin of adultery.
God is the same today as God was in the times of the Old Testament (see Hebrews 13:8).
-The Law teaches us what God considers the just punishment for the sin of adultery–namely, death.
-It teaches us that God does not hold faithful spouses responsible for the sin of adultery–i.e. only those who commit adultery are mentioned as liable for the punishment.
-The Law teaches us that God does not always prioritize an “intact” marriage over dealing with sin–namely, God was willing to sacrifice marriages in the Old Testament to deal with the serious sin of adultery. (He actually commanded the end of those ravaged marriages via the death penalty for the offending party.)
Any New Testament teaching that undermines these principles from the Old Testament is ungodly, IMO.
-Adultery is still taken very seriously by God (see Hebrews 13:4).
-God does not suddenly blame adultery victims for being victimized because we are now “under grace.” That would make God unjust, which He is not.
-Jesus does not treat human marriage as eternal and to be prioritized over all other concerns (see Matthew 19:9 and 22:30).
Mercy says that adulterous spouses today are spared their lives and given opportunity to repent in this life before they face God’s Judgment (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Such mercy extended towards cheaters ought not to be misconstrued as to mean less freedom and mercy extended to their victims–namely, the freedom to divorce a cheater and remarry another Christian.
Treating mercy towards cheaters as withdrawing mercy and freedom from faithful spouses would be inconsistent with God’s character and God’s word (see Matthew 19:9).