Adultery is defined as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse” (Oxford English Dictionary). So the seventh commandment applies only to those who commit the act, right?
Jesus explained that adultery isn’t just the physical act; it’s what begins in the thought life (Matthew 5:27-28). It involves not only what we do with our bodies, but also what we look at with our eyes, fantasize about in our minds, or lust after in our wills.
D. A. Carson says, “Imagination is a God-given gift; but if it is fed dirt by the eye, it will be dirty. All sin, not least sexual sin, begins with the imagination. Therefore, what feeds the imagination is of maximum importance in the pursuit of kingdom righteousness. Not everyone reacts the same way to all objects. But if (Matthew 5:28-29) your eye is causing you to sin, gouge it out; or at very least, don’t look!”
Today, many men and women have fallen prey to the allure of online pornography. Given its promise of anonymity, it presents a nearly irresistible lure to explore sex outside of marriage.
Morgan Bennett wrote in his article The New Narcotic, “Another aspect of pornography addiction that surpasses the addictive and harmful characteristics of chemical substance abuse is its permanence. While substances can be metabolized out of the body, pornographic images cannot be metabolized out of the brain.”
So, how do we keep the seventh commandment? By being careful where our eyes linger and by keeping the greatest commandment: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-38).
by Poh Fang Chia