What is Spiritual Adultery? And how Does It Affect The Holy Spirit?

Aug 2023 (Orignally printed Nov 2011)

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 for our faith to be exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at 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.

Paul explains this in the first five verses of Romans 7: “Know ye 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.)”

“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).”

“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]).”

“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 Expositor’s Study Bible).

All of this means, in brief, that we as believers are married to Christ. As such, 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 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.

What they have placed their faith in 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 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 that we cut off all blessings.

Listen again to Paul. He said, “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.)”

“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.)”

“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).”

“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, The Expositor’s Study Bible).

This article continues in the September issue of The Evangelist.

Article is an excerpt from the book Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Holy Spirit (09-114)


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