Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 15, 1970

Can A Person Live In Adultery?

Carol R. Lumpkin

There are many who would argue that it is not possible for a person to "live in adultery." In the Book of Genesis we are told that God made man in His own likeness. Gen. 1:26-27. He also formed woman from the rib taken from the side of man. Gen. 2:22. God then brought man and woman together, thus forming the first marriage of record.

A study of God's word reveals that God never did approve the idea of either, man having many wives or of woman having many husbands. The original joining together of man and woman in marriage is binding so long as they both shall live and there is no power of man authorized to tear it asunder. Matt. 19:6. From, Romans 7:2, we observe that marriage was and is yet binding until the death of one party, after which the one living may remarry. Rom. 7:3. Paul adds, the woman must marry in the Lord. I Cor. 7:39.

The Bible grants one reason for the marriage to be broken and for remarriage. "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Matt. 19:9. The party who commits "fornication" opens the gate for the innocent companion to be freed from the first marriage and to remarry if so desired.

The person who has been married, divorced, and remarried without the first marriage ending because of the sin of fornication is living in a state of adultery. Paul wrote: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them." Col. 3:5-7.

Some take the position that the man who has put away his wife and married another, commits adultery in his first sexual act, but that all such acts there after are not sinful. So the newly married person would need to confess and repent of his first sinful sex act and then would please God while continuing in such marriage. If this were so it would mean that a man or woman could change marriage companions as often as desired, confess and repent of the first sexual act in each case and continue such until death and be eternally saved. This is not only un-scriptural, but not even reasonable.

A study of the man who had taken his father's wife, I Cor. 5:1-5, proves the above thinking false. This man was not told to confess and repent of the first sexual relationship and then continue with her. The church was informed, "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." I Cor. 5:5. This surely would have been an appropriate time to have taught the above theory, were it true.

A consideration of the marriage of Herod to his brother's wife shows it was not lawful (scriptural) for him to have her. Read the account in Matt. 14:1-12.

Yes, a person may live in adultery. The man or woman, who has a former living companion, who is then remarried is guilty of the sin of adultery, unless the first marriage was dissolved by fornication. This adulterous state is a living, continuous, state until it is dissolved.

Let each of us be reminded that those who are guilty of either fornication or adultery shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:19-21.

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