You shall not commit adultery.
When I was a child I remember thinking that adultery was what happened when a grownup got kidnapped. I can still remember the laughter it caused the first time I tried to use it in that manner. Now I realize just how undeserving the idea of adultery is to laughter. It’s a serious crime against the Lord and it involves more than you might imagine.
Adultery, in its simplest form, is sleeping with someone who is married to another person. As we study the Word of God more deeply it becomes apparent that this commandment is speaking to much more than just sleeping with another man’s wife. Having any sex outside of marriage falls under the heading of adultery both in the Old Testament and the New Testament alike. Jesus, in Matthew 5:27-28, says, “You have heard it said, You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that anyone who looks upon a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart.” In saying this, Jesus is reminding His followers that God is not held down to a tight definition of the five words “you shall not commit adultery”. Once again, God’s law is but a reflection of His character; anyone who even thinks a lustful thought about another has sinned against God and His commandment to abstain from adultery.
So what does this mean to you? First, let me caution you concerning the nature of your question. When I ask my wife Kristie, “What’s the speed limit?” I’m more honestly asking, “How fast can I go!” In the same manner, make sure that when approaching the Scripture or any form of biblical council that you are not simply looking for “how fast you can go”. When we approach God’s commands in this manner it is of selfish intention rather than the desire to glorify the Lord and become more like Him. With that said, the seventh commandment is a restriction against all forms of sexual impurity. This includes any sex outside of marriage, lustful thoughts towards another one of God’s children, pornography, cohabitation, and the list goes on. For a closer look at this subject, I suggest you read Tim Bredamus’ article entitled What’s The Bible Say About Sex? in our Ask Deeper Devotion section of the website.
Adultery, and greater still, any form of impure sexuality is strictly forbidden within Scripture. The culture you live has long since departed from any hint of this mindset and it is not surprising to me if this topic is one you are not totally convinced of yet. As always though, this will not be an issue concerning terms such as adultery or lust, but related to the authority you place on the Bible and how important you believe it is to remain obedient. That decision will never yield any room for questions such as “How fast can I go?”