Sermon on the Mount | Adultery: Part 2

We ended our last post with the Tim Keller quote: “Sex is a COVENANT good, not a CONSUMER good.”

Here is what that means. And we’ll talk more about this in different ways when we talk about the next passage on divorce, but it relates to sex too, so here we are.

When you get married, you aren’t entering into a contract, but a covenant. You’re VOWING … not AGREEING. You’re creating an entirely new reality … a new family. You’re entering into TRUE and COMPLETE VULNERABILITY for the rest of your life. And the Bible understands and teaches that SEX is a physical manifestation of that covenant reality. It’s a physical practice or sign or action between a husband and a wife that reflects and reinforces the new reality that your covenant marriage created. It’s a COVENANT good, not a CONSUMER good.

To treat sex, which is a covenant good, like it’s a consumer good, is THE definition of “sexual frustration.” What I mean by that is that if you treat sex like a consumer good instead of the covenant good that it is, your sex life will lack the integrity and joy and satisfaction that you were designed to have should you be married.

And if you’re already married, and you falsely conclude that sex is a consumer good, not a covenant good, then you’ll instantly conclude that anything you need to do to be sexually satisfied is completely justifiable and reasonable. I’ll refrain from making a list here, but the immediate one that Jesus brings up in the passage is adultery. 

CS Lewis puts it this way: “The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside of marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.” (The Joyful Christian, p. 199)

Tim Keller elaborates on this idea when he says this: “If you have sex inside a covenant, then sex becomes a covenant renewal ceremony. It becomes a commitment apparatus. You’re getting married all over again. You’re saying to your spouse, “I belong completely and exclusively to you, and I’m acting it out. I’m giving you my body as a token of how I’ve given you my life. I’m opening to you physically as a token of the fact that I’ve opened to you in every other way. When you use sex outside of marriage, you’re saying, “I love the feeling I get when I’m with you.” You’re taking, not giving. You’re receiving and holding on to your life. You’re holding on to your independence. So you’re receiving, and you’re not giving. It’s a consumer good.” (Sermon, 2012)

So, Jesus … by affirming the 7th commandment … is affirming the biblical teaching of sex within marriage. It’s a practice designed for covenant renewal and affirmation, not as a consumer “need” or experience. And if you’re married, and begin to view sex as something other than a covenantal practice, then adultery (among many other things) becomes an option on the table. 

This takes us to the second thing that Jesus does in this passage, which we’ll look at in our next post. 


Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.