Infidelity. Adultery. Cheating. These words usually evoke strong emotions and judgements. In today’s society, cheating often seems commonplace, with celebrities and politicians making headlines for their extramarital affairs.
What Does the Bible Say About Adultery?
“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10, NKJV)
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28, NKJV)
Adultery doesn’t just refer to a physical act. Even lusting after someone who is not your spouse is a form of adultery.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…” (Galatians 5:19, NKJV)
He warns that those who practice adultery will not inherit the kingdom of God:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV)
The message is clear: cheating is a serious sin in God’s eyes. It mars the covenant between husband and wife. So what are the consequences when someone breaks that covenant? Let’s explore some biblical truths surrounding adultery.
It Damages the Oneness of Marriage
Marriage represents a holy union between husband and wife. Genesis says:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV)
Even if the affair is over, the spiritual damage may linger. The trust and intimacy shared between spouses can be difficult to rebuild after cheating. Adultery strikes at the very heart of marriage.
It Opens the Door to Jealousy, Betrayal, and Broken Families
- Why wasn’t I good enough?
- What’s so special about the other person?
- Can I ever trust them again?
Feelings of inadequacy, suspicion, and paranoia may linger long after the infidelity. Adultery also leads to betrayal. The vows and promises made are shattered. The sanctity of marriage is dishonored.
In severe cases, cheating can split apart families. Children often get caught in the middle of nasty divorce battles. Families are fractured and broken due to adultery. Studies show that couples who cheat are twice as likely to get divorced.
It Gives the Enemy a Foothold
Adultery does not occur in a vacuum. It opens the door to all kinds of spiritual attacks. As 1 Corinthians warns:
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NKJV)
Adultery gives the enemy ammunition. It enables strongholds, addiction, perversion, and darkness to take root. Targeted spiritual attacks may occur against a marriage after adultery. Without vigilance, these footholds can grow into fortresses.
It Leads to Defilement and Sin
Cheating defiles the sanctity of marriage. It drags Christ into spaces of immorality, quenching the spiritual power of a relationship. Consider these verses:
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4, NKJV)
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, NKJV)
Adultery, at its core, is a lack of self-control. It’s elevating fleshly desires above spiritual commitment. This sin opens the door to further bondage. Whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body and defiles it.
It Invites God’s Judgment
“Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? … Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me…” (2 Samuel 12:9-10, NKJV)
“Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.” (Revelation 2:22, NKJV)
While we serve a merciful God, the Bible warns His judgement and discipline comes to those who obstinately continue in sexual sin. Adultery has consequences both on earth and in eternity.
It is Not Too Late to Repent and Restore
For those currently cheating or recovering from past adultery, you need to know this – repentance and restoration are possible. By turning to Christ, anyone can receive forgiveness and healing. It starts with acknowledging the sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NKJV)
Repentance means more than just saying sorry. True repentance involves:
- Genuine remorse (2 Corinthians 7:10)
- Turning away from sin (Proverbs 28:13)
- Making restitution where possible (Luke 19:8)
Some practical tips for repenting of adultery include:
- Confessing to your spouse and asking forgiveness
- Seeking pastoral/marital counseling
- Removing influences that enabled the affair
- Protecting your eyes, mind, and body from further temptation
- Focusing on your spouse’s needs above your own
With God, restoration is possible. However, repentance is a process. Trust must be rebuilt through consistent right choices. But Jesus stands ready to forgive, heal, and renew those who turn to Him in true repentance.
Key Takeaways on the Consequences of Adultery
- Adultery deeply wounds married couples – it shatters the “one flesh” union.
- It breeds feelings of hurt, jealousy, resentment, and betrayal between spouses.
- Adultery gives the enemy a foothold and opens the door to spiritual attacks.
- It leads to defilement and further bondage through sin.
- God promises to discipline and judge those engaged in sexual immorality.
- Repentance and restoration are possible through Christ.
Cheating has devastating consequences, but God’s grace offers a way forward for those caught in adultery. Marriage can be healed. Families can be restored. With repentance and spiritual vigilance, you can rebuild trust in marriage after infidelity. But it starts with recognizing that adultery deeply grieves the heart of God.
The Bible could not be more clear – adultery wounds, defiles, and breaks trust. It oppresses those caught in its snare. But even in the ashes of adultery, God extends hope. His heart is for restoration, not condemnation. However, His grace should never be presumed upon. There are always consequences for unrepentant sin.
If you find yourself cheating or recovering from past adultery, turn to Christ in humility. Don’t justify or rationalize. Own the sin, and let it lead you to the foot of the cross. Jesus bore the penalty of sin so we could trade judgment for grace. He extends forgiveness to all who call upon His name. However, we must lay down excuses and be willing to walk the hard road of repentance.
For those whose spouses have been unfaithful, cling to Jesus as your rock and redeemer. Let Him heal your broken heart and restore what was taken. When we entrust our pain to Christ, His love brings meaning even to life’s darkest moments. No matter what stolen waters you may have drank, no matter what broken vows led you to this place, God’s grace waits with arms open wide. Today is a new beginning.