by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 63 December 9, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:Spiritual adultery springs from all of the problems that lie behind the determination to be a friend to the world.
Introduction:Last week we spent our time considering the reality of the conflict that arises from the deep frustration of defeated desires. We noted that God is not interested in our living in such defeat or frustration, but that the problem rests solidly upon the problem of being committed to the wrong things.
This evening we are going to look into James' accusation of spiritual adultery as the fundamental description of believers who have set themselves to pursue anything less than the will of God.
I. The Theological Backdrop of James' Charge of Adultery.
A. Note the first elements in the lists of Galatians 5.
1. The first element listed in the fruit of the Spirit: agape.
2. The first element listed in the works of the flesh: adultery. (Only so in the Textus Receptus).
B. Review the components of man's relationship to God.
1. The heart and its values (agape).
2. The mind and its understanding (dianoia).
3. The persuasions and their foundations (pistis).
4. The volition and its determinations (boulama).
II. James' Choice to Use 'Adultery' as His Characterization of His Readers.
A. The essential nature of adultery.
1. Has its locus in the violation of integrity.
a. Sexual sins outside of covenant commitments have other names.
b. The roots of the integrity issues go all the way to the very heart of everything that has anything to do with relational life.
2. Has its "final" point of departure as sexual violation of the unity of one flesh.
a. The physical is the outer frontier... not the most critical frontier.
b. Often this is the most important to man, but it is simply the last straw to God.
B. The use of adultery in the realm of deity as Spirit.
1. There is no physical sexual relationship with God.
2. God does not operate at the levels of the outer frontier.
3. The final breakdown is at the level of choice as the outworking of determination.
III. James' Overall Concern.
A. The problem is friendship with the wrong persons.
B. The believer's standing is not that of the independent arbiter of multiple choices.
1. The grace of God does not move in the directions of total freedom.
2. There is NO place in creation for the idea of independent human ownership of God's creation.