“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart… Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:27-28, 31-32 NKJV)
These verse can make me squirm. They can make me uncomfortable. They can make me feel guilt and shame. Why? Because I’m that Christian. The one who has been married, divorced, and… wait for it… remarried!
Now I don’t mean to make light of who I am and what I’ve done. I am a sinner. No doubt about it. My actions, my choices, my mistakes are deserving of death. I have not lived up to God’s holy standard. And I know it. So what do I do about it?
There was a point in my life when I thought I had to fix my sin. I thought I had to make myself and my circumstances right if I wanted to please God. But the truth is I can’t undo what I’ve done. I can’t fix or make things right. I don’t have that ability and if I tried I’d just make things worse.
I grew up in a religious culture that insisted that you could not enter the kingdom of God if you had been divorced and remarried. That if you were to even have a shot at those pearly gates you’d have to undo your second marriage and reconcile your first. Imagine how incredibly complicated this could be. Imagine it if you had children. Imagine the hurt and destruction a person could cause if they attempted to fix their sin in this situation.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t fix your sin. What is done is done. There is no going back. There is no undoing. Whether it’s divorce and remarriage, whether it’s lustful looking, whether it’s an in-your-face sexual affairs, there is no fixing.
But that’s not the end of the story.
If you were to keep reading in Matthew you would not find Jesus giving instructions on how to fix your divorce and/or remarriage situation. You wouldn’t find Him telling you how to undo your unclean thought. He just calls adultery what it is, sin and then He moves on to the next topic. Why? Because we don’t have the ability to solve our sin problem. The solution only comes from Him. And a few chapter later in Matthew He will offer that solutions fully and completely — The Cross.
You see, I can come to these verse and get all squirming and uncomfortable. I can try to come up with a way to solve my sin problem. Or I could try to ignore these verse and my sin problem all together.
Or… (And this is the best or).
Or I could turn to Jesus. I can simply repent of my sin, confess my guilt and have faith in the cleansing power of His blood. I can have faith that I am a daughter of the King, who is no longer seen as an adulterous, but rather as righteous and holy because of the saving grace of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
His blood, when I come to the foot of the cross, is the only escape I have from the penalty of death, death which I deserve.
So, what do I do about my adultery? What do I do with my sin problem? I believe that Jesus has already taken care of it. That the penalty has been paid. That “it is finished” (John 19:30). And I am His.
Lord in heaven, thank You for sending Your Son to the cross and dying for my adultery. I ask that You teach me to appreciate Your sacrifice more. I also ask that anyone who may be reading this and who believes that they must fix their sin will begin to see the truth of Your gospel. That they will be freed from guilt and shame and begin to live in the peace and rest that comes from believing in Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friends, if you are still struggling with sin that you have repented of please know that you truly are forgiven. You are loved and accepted by your Heavenly Father because of what Jesus has done on your behalf. Enjoy this good news and ask the Lord to teach to live in the His rest.
Only by grace,