What is “Spiritual Adultery” and how does it Affect the Holy Spirit?
By: Jimmy Swaggart
WHAT IS “SPIRITUAL ADULTERY” AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE HOLY SPIRIT?
All Believers are married to Christ. We are to look to Him exclusively for all things, whatever that may be. This means that our Faith is to be in Christ and the Cross and nothing else. Failing that means that our Faith is in something else, and even though the something else may be good in its own right, still, it is not Faith in Christ and the Cross, which means that such a Believer is being unfaithful to Christ, which is “spiritual adultery.” To be sure, such affects the Holy Spirit greatly. While He doesn’t leave us, and thank God for that, still, He is greatly hindered.
Considering that the Holy Spirit works exclusively within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, meaning that it is the Cross of Christ that gives Him the legal right to do all that He does, we start to see how serious all of this is.
The Lord doesn’t require very much of us, but He does require one thing, and that is that our Faith be exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross.
EVERYTHING COMES THROUGH THE CROSS
The Believer must understand that while Christ is the Source of all things from God, it is the Cross that is the Means by which all of these things are given to us. To receive them, whatever they might be, the Cross of Christ must ever be the Object of our Faith. “Spiritual adultery,” i.e., “unfaithfulness,” is a serious sin, to say the least. Whether we realize it or not, this type of unfaithfulness actually says that the Cross of Christ was not enough and needs something added. One can well imagine, considering the price that Christ paid, how great this insult is.
THE WORD OF GOD
Paul explains this in the first five Verses of the Seventh Chapter of Romans. He said:
“Know you not, Brethren (Paul is speaking to Believers), (for I speak to them who know the Law,) (he is speaking of the Law of Moses, but it could refer to any type of religious Law) how that the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (The Law has dominion as long as he tries to live by Law. Regrettably, not understanding the Cross regarding Sanctification, virtually the entirety of the church is presently trying to live for God by means of the Law. Let the Believer understand that there are only two places he can be, Grace or Law. If he doesn’t understand the Cross as it refers to Sanctification, which is the only means of Victory, he will automatically be under Law, which guarantees failure.)”
THE MARRIAGE BOND
“For the woman which has an husband is bound by the Law to her husband so long as he lives (presents Paul using the analogy of the marriage bond); but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the Law of her husband (meaning that she is free to marry again).”
“So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress (in effect, the woman now has two husbands, at least in the Eyes of God; following this analogy, the Holy Spirit through Paul will give us a great truth; many Christians are living a life of ‘spiritual adultery’; they are married to Christ, but they are, in effect, serving another husband, ‘the Law’; it is quite an analogy!): but if her husband be dead (the Law is dead by virtue of Christ having fulfilled the Law in every respect), she is free from that Law (if the husband dies, the woman is free to marry and serve another; the Law of Moses, being satisfied in Christ, is now dead to the Believer and the Believer is free to serve Christ without the Law having any part or parcel in his life or living); so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man (presents the Believer as now married to Christ, and no longer under obligation to the Law).”
“THE BODY OF CHRIST”
“Wherefore, my Brethren, you also are become dead to the Law (the Law is not dead per se, but we are dead to the Law because we are dead to its effects; this means that we are not to try to live for God by means of ‘Law,’ whether the Law of Moses, or Laws made up by other men or of ourselves; we are to be dead to all Law) by the Body of Christ (this refers to the Crucifixion of Christ, which satisfied the demands of the broken Law which we could not satisfy; but Christ did it for us; having fulfilled the Law in every respect, the Christian is not obligated to Law in any fashion, only to Christ and what He did at the Cross); that you should be married to another (speaking of Christ), even to Him Who is raised from the dead (we are raised with Him in Newness of Life, and we should ever understand that Christ has met, does meet, and shall meet our every need; we look to Him exclusively, referring to what He did for us at the Cross), that we should bring forth fruit unto God (proper fruit can only be brought forth by the Believer constantly looking to the Cross; in fact, Christ must never be separated from the Work of the Cross; to do so is to produce ‘another Jesus’ [II Cor. 11:4]).”
“FLESH” AND THE “LAW”
“For when we were in the flesh (can refer to the unsaved state or to the Believer who is attempting to overcome the powers of sin by his own efforts, i.e., ‘the flesh’), the motions of sins (denotes being under the power of the sin nature, and refers to the ‘passions of the sin nature’), which were by the Law (the effect of the Law is to reveal sin, which Law is designed to do whether it’s the Law of God or Laws made up of ourselves; that doesn’t mean it’s evil, for it isn’t; it just means that there is no victory in the Law, only the revelation of sin and its penalty), did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (when the Believer attempts to live for the Lord by means of Law, which, regrettably, most of the modern church does, the end result is going to be sin and failure; in fact, it can be no other way; let us say it again! if the Believer doesn’t understand the Cross, as it refers to Sanctification, then the Believer is going to try to live for God by means of Law; the sadness is that most of the modern church thinks it is under Grace when, in reality, it is living under Law because of not understanding the Cross)” (Rom. 7:1-5).
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
All of this means in brief that we as Believers are married to Christ. As such, and as stated, He is to meet our every need simply because He Alone can meet our every need. The moment we resort to Law, which refers to placing our Faith in anything else other than the Cross of Christ, this constitutes “spiritual adultery.” Considering that the modern church knows next to nothing about the Cross of Christ as it refers to our Sanctification, i.e., how we live this life, this means that their Faith is in something other than Christ and the Cross. It doesn’t really matter too much what the other thing might be, and granted that the other thing might be something very good in its own right, still, the Lord construes such as “spiritual adultery.” In fact, this is what deceives Believers.
That in which they have placed their faith is good in its own right, and because it is good, and even Scriptural in its own way, it deceives them into believing that this is the right way to go. But, let us say it again.
Everything we receive from God comes to us by and through Jesus Christ and by the Means of the Cross. He does not give us and, in fact, cannot give us anything other than by and through the Cross. Consequently, our Faith must be registered completely in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. That being done, the Grace of God, which works exclusively by and through the Cross of Christ, can flow to us in an uninterrupted manner. Otherwise, we cut off the Grace of God, which means we cut off all Blessings. Listen again to Paul. He said:
THE “YOKE OF BONDAGE”
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free (we were made free, and refers to freedom to live a Holy Life by evidencing Faith in Christ and the Cross), and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (To abandon the Cross and go under Law of any kind guarantees bondage once again to the sin nature.)”
“CHRIST SHALL PROFIT YOU NOTHING”
“Behold (‘mark my words!’), I Paul say unto you (presents the Apostle’s authority regarding the Message he brings), that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (If the Believer goes back into Law, and Law of any kind, what Christ did at the Cross on our behalf will profit us nothing. One cannot have it two ways.)”
A DEBTOR TO THE LAW
“For I testify again to every man who is circumcised (some of the Galatian Gentiles were being pressured by false teachers to embrace the Law of Moses, which meant they would have to forsake Christ and the Cross, for it’s not possible to wed the two; as well, it’s not possible to wed any Law to Grace), that he is a debtor to do the whole Law (which, of course, is impossible; and besides, the Law contained no Salvation).”
“YOU ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE”
“Christ is become of no effect unto you (this is a chilling statement, and refers to anyone who makes anything other than Christ and the Cross the Object of his Faith), whosoever of you are justified by the Law (seek to be justified by the Law); you are fallen from Grace (fallen from the position of Grace, which means the Believer is trusting in something other than the Cross; it actually means, ‘to apostatize’)” (Gal. 5:1-4).
“SPIRITUAL ADULTERY,” THE GREATEST HINDRANCE
As unfaithfulness in the bond of marriage is so serious that most marriages never survive such, and considering that the Holy Spirit, in essence, refers to unfaithfulness to Christ as “spiritual adultery,” we should understand how serious this problem is. In fact, it is meant by the Holy Spirit for us to see the seriousness of such action.
The tragedy is that none of us quite understand that “spiritual adultery” is just as bad in the spiritual sense as physical adultery is in the natural sense. Irrespective, however, of what we say or think, the Truth cannot be denied.
Paul tells us that we are married to Christ and, as such, we are to be faithful to Him, and exclusively, which means to place our Faith and trust exclusively in Christ and the Cross, and to keep it exclusively in Christ and the Cross.
MARRIED TO CHRIST
Paul deals with this, as well, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. He said:
“Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. (In effect, the Apostle is saying, ‘indulge me.’)
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy (refers to the ‘jealousy of God’ [Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Nah. 1:2]): for I have espoused you to one husband (not jealous of the Corinthians’ affection for himself, but of their affection for Christ), that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (They must not commit ‘spiritual adultery,’ which refers to trusting in things other than Christ and the Cross.)”
“THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST”
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty (the strategy of Satan), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (The Gospel of Christ is simple, but men complicate it by adding to the Message.)”
“For if he who comes preaching another Jesus (a Jesus who is not of the Cross), whom we have not preached (Paul’s Message was ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’; anything else is ‘another Jesus’), or if you receive another spirit (which is produced by preaching another Jesus), which you have not received (that’s not what you received when we preached the True Gospel to you), or another gospel, which you have not accepted (anything other than ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’ is ‘another gospel’), you might well bear with him. (The Apostle is telling the Corinthians they have, in fact, sinned because they tolerated these false apostles who had come in, bringing ‘another gospel’ which was something other than Christ and the Cross)” (II Cor. 11:1-4).
In fact, the far greater majority of the modern church is proclaiming “another Jesus.”
WHAT DOES “ANOTHER JESUS” ACTUALLY MEAN?
“Another Jesus” means that they were proclaiming Jesus, but were ignoring the Cross. In fact, those interlopers then were promoting the Law of Moses, claiming that it must be kept alongside accepting Jesus. And, if the people did not accept the Law of Moses, meaning that the men would be circumcised, etc., they were not Saved, or else, they were not a complete Christian. Today, it’s a little different.
It is not so much the Law of Moses that’s being promoted presently, but rather, something in the place of the Cross.
The modern church, at least after a fashion, is preaching Jesus, but it is Jesus, the “good Man,” or the “Miracle Worker,” or the “great example,” or the “great teacher,” etc. All of this means that they are claiming that man can reach his potential if he will only change a few habits, etc., and, thereby, be more like Jesus. In fact, the modern church is ignoring the real problem of man, which is sin.
We must ever understand that man is in trouble, and I mean terrible trouble, not so much for what he does, even though that is very, very important, but mostly for what he is. Millions today think they are going to Heaven because they do not commit adultery, do not steal, etc. While it’s certainly good that they don’t do these things, none of that are the criteria. The criteria is that mankind is a sinner, and that his problem can be addressed only by Jesus Christ, the Saviour, meaning that man must admit what he is, a sinner, and, thereby, accept Christ as his Saviour and Lord (Jn. 3:16; Rev. 22:17).
When it comes to the Believer, we must, as well, admit that our real problem is sin, but this the modern church will not do. As stated, it claims that the real problem of the modern Christian is just that he simply needs to change his habits and become a better person.
While all of us need to be a better person, still, it’s Jesus Christ the Saviour from sin that can make us such, and only Jesus. Let me say it again.
The problem with the modern Christian is “sin.” The only cure for that problem and the only answer for that problem is that we place our Faith in Christ exclusively, and what He did for us at the Cross, understanding that the Cross of Christ is the only answer for sin. When this is done, and I might quickly add, maintained, meaning that our Faith ever remain in Christ and the Cross, then the Holy Spirit, Who Alone can bring about His Fruit within our lives, will begin to do His Work.
If the Believer places his faith in anything else, and I mean anything else, such as the Lord’s Supper, fasting, Water Baptism, good works, giving money to the Work of the Lord, performing good deeds, his church, his religious denomination, etc., such a Christian is, in fact, living in a state of “spiritual adultery.” While the other things mentioned are good things, and in which every true Believer will engage himself, still, the Object of Faith must always be, and without exception, and continue to be, the Cross of Christ (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:1-2, 11; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2; Gal., Chpt. 5; 6:14; Eph. 2:13-18; Col. 2:14-15).
HOW SERIOUS IS THIS MATTER OF “SPIRITUAL ADULTERY”?
I will answer that by asking another question, “How serious is unfaithfulness as it regards marriage between a husband and wife?”
If I remember correctly, it was in late winter of 1992. We were then having two prayer meetings a day, which continued for ten years, and to which I continue to personally subscribe.
That particular morning, as four or five of us gathered for prayer, I began to petition the Lord for particular things in my own personal life, which I felt I needed. In a very short period of time the Spirit of God covered me greatly.
The Lord took me away from my own personal needs, although they were many, to the condition of the church, and I speak of the church world as a whole. He took me to the First Chapter of the great Prophet Isaiah. I will quote both Text and notes from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE that which the Lord gave me as it regards the church. He said:
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O Earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me. (In this Verse, all nature is invoked to hear Jehovah make complaint of the ingratitude of His People. The invocation is cast in the same form which is so common in Deuteronomy [Deut. 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; 32:1].
“To step out of the Song of Solomon into Isaiah is to pass from sunshine to shadow. The love that exults in the one laments in the other.
“Actually, Isaiah is not the One actually speaking here, but rather Jehovah. The Prophet is only His mouthpiece.)
“The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, My People do not consider. (The meaning of this Verse seems to be, ‘My People do not consider Me, do not reflect on My relation to them as Lord and Master.’)”
“THEY ARE GONE AWAY BACKWARD”
“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children who are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. (According to Isaiah, holiness is the most essential element of God’s Nature; hence, he would call Him ‘the Holy One of Israel.’
“In their forsaking the Lord, Judah did not renounce His worship, but actually continued it; however, it was reduced to a mere formality. The people ‘honored Him with their lips, while their hearts were far from Him’ [Isa. 29:13].)”
“THE WHOLE HEAD IS SICK, AND THE WHOLE HEART FAINT”
“Why should you be stricken anymore? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. (The statement of Verses 5 and 6 not only describes moral character, or rather the lack thereof, but also the severity of future just but unavailing punishment. Israel refused to repent notwithstanding such punishment.
“The ‘head’ and ‘heart’ of Israel respectively represented the intellectual and moral natures. Israel had turned away from God in both her mind and heart.
“The deadly ‘bruises’ and ‘sores’ of Israel, while but a spiritual analogy, still, could not be cured by anything except the Lord)” (Isa. 1:2-6).
If these Passages described the condition of the church in 1992, and they most definitely did, then how much worse is the situation now? “Spiritual adultery” is the problem!
WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCHES
Regarding the Messages of Christ to the seven Churches of Asia, which, in fact, typify the Church Age from the Early Church unto the present, in every one of these Messages He closed it by the admonishment, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
The short phrase, “He who has an ear,” refers to those who truly want what “thus saith the Lord.” In other words, they are listening for the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
The modern church is now in the Laodicean Age. In other words, the Message of our Lord to the church at Laodicea describes the time in which we now live. It is the closing Message, meaning that the Dispensation of the Church is almost over. The following is the Message to this church, which, in effect, is the Message to the modern church. Our Lord said:
“And unto the Angel (Pastor) of the Church of the Laodiceans write (this is the ‘apostate church’; we do not know when it began, but we do know it has begun; it is the last church addressed by Christ, so that means the Rapture will take place very shortly); These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness (by contrast to His Church, which is not faithful and true), the beginning of the Creation of God (Jesus is the Creator of all things).”
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot (characterizes that which is prevalent at this present time): I would you were cold or hot (half measures won’t do).
“So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot (if a person is lukewarm towards something, it means he hasn’t rejected it, but at the same time he has by no means accepted it; in the Mind of God, a tepid response is equal to a negative response), I will spue you out of My mouth. (There is no prospect of Repentance here on the part of this church, or Restoration. In fact, there is Divine rejection.)”
“HAVE NEED OF NOTHING”?
“Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing (they equated the increase in material goods with Spiritual Blessings, which they were not); and knowest not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (the tragedy lay in the fact that while this church gloated over material wealth, she was unconscious of her spiritual poverty; again indicative of the modern church!).”
“GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE”
“I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich (what they needed to ‘buy’ could not be purchased with money, but only with the Precious Blood of Christ, which price has already been paid; but the modern church is not interested); and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear (refers to Righteousness which is exclusively of Christ and the Cross; this tells us that the Laodicean Church is extremely self-righteous; not having the Righteousness of Christ, they are ‘naked’ to the Judgment of God); and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. (The modern church is also spiritually blind.)”
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten (implies a remnant): be zealous therefore, and repent. (The modern church desperately needs to repent for its rebellion against God’s Divine Order [Christ and the Cross] and for following cunningly devised fables [II Pet. 1:16].)”
THE “VOICE” OF THE LORD
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (presents Christ outside the church): if any man hear My Voice (so much religious racket is going on that it is difficult to ‘hear His Voice’), and open the door (Christ is the True Door, which means the church has erected another door), I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. (Having been rejected by the church, our Lord now appeals to individuals, and He is still doing so presently.)”
“To him who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne (the overcomer will gain the prize of the Throne, which can only be done by one ever making the Cross the Object of his Faith), even as I also overcame, and am sat down with My Father in His Throne. (This presents Christ as our Substitute, going before us, and doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches. (In plain language, the Holy Spirit is saying, ‘Come back to Christ and the Cross!’)” (Rev. 3:14-22).
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT SAYING TO
I firmly believe, and with all of my heart, that the Message of the Cross of Christ is what the Holy Spirit is saying to this modern church. The modern church has a modicum of understanding respecting the Cross of Christ as it regards Salvation; however, it has no understanding at all as it regards how the Cross of Christ refers to our Sanctification, in other words, how we live for God on a daily basis. And yet, ninety-nine percent of the Bible is given over to telling us how to live for God. In fact, ninety-nine percent of everything that Paul wrote in his fourteen Epistles, once again, refers to how we live for God. And, it was to Paul that the meaning of the New Covenant was given.
Most definitely yes, a plethora of information is given regarding Salvation, as should be obvious, but almost all of the Bible, which is for Believers, is given over to telling us how to live for God.
Considering that, it becomes obvious as to how much the church has drifted off course, when the truth is, the modern church simply doesn’t know how to live for God. It cannot know until it properly understands the Message of the Cross as it regards Sanctification. Not understanding this Message, it is living in a state of “spiritual adultery,” which is dragging it even deeper into a morass of sin and shame.
Modern preachers simply do not know how to tell Believers to live for God. In fact, the modern church has become so inundated with humanistic psychology that, anymore, it little knows the True Word of God. Please understand the following:
One cannot have both humanistic psychology and the Message of the Cross. One or the other must go. Either one cancels out the other. Sadly, and regrettably, the modern church has opted for humanistic psychology, and in doing so, it is destroying itself. This is the reason that in the Eyes of God the modern church is “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” “Spiritual adultery” is the problem.
TO SUM UP
If the Believer doesn’t understand the Cross of Christ as it refers to Sanctification, in other words, how we live for the Lord on a daily basis, the only other alternative is “spiritual adultery.” And, to be sure, even as physical adultery destroys a marriage, likewise, “spiritual adultery” will destroy the marriage of the Believer with the Lord. It cannot be otherwise!
(This message was derived from the book, “Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Holy Spirit”.)strongp