We like to think that abortion or homosexuality are the two greatest sins in America, but we forget about adultery. Adultery is a far worse problem and it is legal in all 50 states to commit it or to live in it.
The divorce rate in this country has reached the 50%+ mark. In the next generation we can expect this figure to only go higher. This is going to create problems in the Lord’s church. In fact, it already has. Some churches of Christ are already overfilled with divorcees. Most of these claim that they divorced and remarried according to God’s law. What we know for sure is that their divorce was legal in the sight of men. What we may never know until judgment is how many are legal in the sight of God. Yet, many of these preach to you, teach you, and have become elders and deacons.
Many of the people we baptize are going to be unscripturally divorced and remarried. The Bible teaches that these people are adulterers (Matt. 19:9; 5:32). Repentance demands that these adulterers cease committing adultery. It becomes nearly impossible to instruct adulterers to cease their sinning when we rarely know they have committed adultery.
Adultery has penetrated most every family in the world. I know I have many in my own family and their is nothing I can do, except warn them, to get them to change their ways. They tell me I must be insane. They say they need a man or woman and they are not going to go without. They tell me God can’t be so unfair as to not want them to be happy. Some justify themselves and deny that they are even in adultery.
Many people in the church have twisted the Scriptures to allow and justify unlawful marriages. They have tried to say that the non-Christians are not subject to the laws of God and thus they are not guilty of adultery if they were divorced and remarried prior to becoming a Christian. John 3:4 teaches that all sin is lawlessness or a transgression of the law. If non-Christians are not subject to God’s law then they have not sinned and do not need baptism. They are already saved according to that theory. Others contend that since baptism takes away all sin that God forgives the couple of the unlawful divorce and remarriage. Even though baptism takes away sin it does not change a marriage relationship. God does not grant adulterers the right to continue committing adultery (Rom. 6:1-2). As Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery, “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). He never told her your sins are forgiven you, continue to commit adultery. In order to be forgiven one must stop sinning.
The fear of strife and division has caused some of our brethren to adopter compromising attitude. They have suggested a peaceful coexistence. They have suggested that we regard this question as being a matter of individual private conviction or opinion. I have heard it suggested by some that the adulterers be allowed to continue in full fellowship as faithful members of local churches and let the problem be between them and God. The church at Corinth was severely condemned by God for fellowshipping with a fornicator (Cor. 5:1-13).
As for me, I cannot tolerate a doctrine of legalized adultery. I will oppose with vigor those who teach such even to the point of a breach in fellowship. Anytime the truth of God causes division, then so be it. We cannot afford peace at any price. The price we will pay is that eventually all local churches will be filled with adulterers who continue to sin with impunity. I cannot think of anything more repulsive in the eyes of God.