“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God”
(James 4:4, NIV).
What begins as a look, progresses in fits and starts as desire lurches increasingly towards opportunity. The imagined occurrence becomes a yearning and the yearning is given life, as it obsesses and gathers focus and energy. At some given moment, what was envisioned becomes available and will be greedily taken as a possession. The after effects are seldom blissful, as the consequences begin to weigh on the evaporating and elusive vision of what was imagined. Often times what was; is lost in severed relationships and what was hoped for; becomes unwanted as reality reveals it as false illusions and empty promises. Such is the course of adultery.
Adultery is not just the sexual abandonment of a partner in a relationship. It can also be the abandonment of any covenant committed role, love or affection in any relationship for a replacement in another relationship. It doesn’t matter if the adultery occurs in marital, a familial or even spiritual relationship. Much is lost midst the false illusions and empty promises … while very little is ever found. Jesus cautions us to never allow the tiniest of looks or footholds through lusting (Matthew 5:27-30) because lusting leads to adultery and adultery to dire consequences in all relationships. It is in the heart that all unfaithfulness starts and it is fueled by our own lustful desires. It is in the heart that all premeditated actions are birthed by our own selfish focus.
Looking back over our own experiences, we often see the heartbreak of adultery in our own lives or in the lives of others. Over and over in history we see people abandon their relationship with the Living God as they lured into adultery with other gods. They become adulterous partners to evil and false gods, forsaking what was true and real for what is often empty and full of despair. Adultery always leaves a distance in what was and what is. It always leaves a void in what was promised and what is delivered. In spiritual matters, a mighty distance or a gulf is left when we abandon or forsake the Living God for the countless false gods of money, position, power, pleasure and the many others that promise much and deliver little. The gulf is our sin and it becomes mighty gulf because there is little we can do to remedy the situation.
There is a mighty gulf between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of human beings. Yet over and over we see redemption and restoration coming from in the grace from a Mighty God. Over and over, we see God reaching in grace across the vast span of this gulf to redeem and restore the people with His mighty love. He does over and over again. In a greater way we see our Lord Jesus Christ by His grace reaching across every mighty gulf of separation from sin, to redeem and restore all people for all time. God reaches across any and every gulf we have created, when we have forgotten or abandoned His ways, truth and blessing to bring us again and again back into a grace secured relationship by His steadfast and mighty love. Only a mighty love could span the mighty gulf that all sin including adultery will leave in its wake. Thanks be … to our Mighty God, for crossing the mighty gulf of all sin to save, redeem and restore us.
“There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.” (Deuteronomy 4:28-31, NIV)
Suggested Reading … James 4