Faithfulness requires an unwavering, mutual, and exclusive commitment between all parties in a structured relationship.
In marriage, adultery is traditionally defined as unfaithfulness on the part of a married partner, manifested in sexual involvement with someone else.
Jesus expanded this definition when He spoke of committing adultery by entertaining immoral thoughts (Matt. 5: 28).
Scripture compares the relationship between Jesus and His Church to marriage, portraying Jesus as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride.
The Church is not a building. The Church consists of the collective body of the human souls born again during the dispensation of the Church Age.
The Church Age began at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Israel, a few weeks after our Lord’s Ascension.
There are only a few generations of the Church here on Earth at any time. Accordingly, the majority of “the Church” is already in Heaven in interim bodies (2Cor. 5: 1). The Church will be united into one group when the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16, 17) takes place.
The Lord Jesus Christ has always been, is now, and will forever be, faithful to His Church. Sad to say, this has not always been the case on the part of His bride.
The cycles of spiritual revival and decline, reformation and revisionism, faithfulness and unfaithfulness in both doctrine and practice, will continue on both the organizational and individual levels within the Christian Community at large.
This is why He gave us the 2Cor. 13: 5 examination and the 1John 1: 9/John 8:11 remedy.
In the closing years (1Timothy 4: 1) of the Church Age, apostasy (false teachings and practices) will be at an all-time high.
There is nothing new about spiritual adultery (unfaithfulness to God in doctrine and practice) within the Christian Community (Matt. 7: 15/Gal. 3/Rev. 2: 1, 8, 12, 18).
A spiritually adulterous affair is in progress whenever a person or a thing is given greater attention and or priority over the place of God in the day-to-day life of a believer. Whoever or whatever dominates one’s thoughts and actions IS the “first” (prioritized) Iove of his or her life.
Spiritual adulterers can deceive themselves and convince others (by the good things they do) and believe that all is well in their walk with the Lord, but God thinks otherwise.
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary (Rev. 2: 2, 3 NASB).”
So far, it would seem, so good.
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love (RevNASB.”“But” is where spiritual adultery enters the picture.
Anyone can sin in many different ways, but only born-again believers can commit spiritual adultery.
Just as one has to be married before he or she can be guilty of adultery, one must be in a personal relationship with God before one can commit spiritual adultery.
A believer’s adulterous love affair with what this world has to offer begins with a distraction.
Obviously, these distractions can come in the form of temptation and blatant sin, but can also come from being focused on “…the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things… (Mark 4: 19 NASB).”
These distractions can even begin with a desire for something that would otherwise be a good thing ( Luke 14: 26) if they or it had been kept in it’s proper place on one’s list of priorities.
It matters not (to the devil) if he is able to distract an advancing disciple via prosperity (Luke 4: 6) or by adversity (See Job), as long as whatever it is takes him or her away from the plan of God.
A 2Cor. 13: 5 self examination will convict most of us of having embraced spiritual adultery at one time or another, having put aside our first love for God, and allowed people and things, both good and bad, to take God’s place of priority in our thoughts and actions.
Any thing or anyone that competes with God for our attention has the potential of leading a born again believer into the realm of spiritual adultery. Such distractions must be identified and addressed.
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