Infidelity in marriage is a grievous sin. When a husband cheats on his wife, he violates their sacred vows and betrays the covenant they made before God. Though modern society often trivializes adultery, the Bible speaks clearly about its gravity.
Marriage is an earthly picture of Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:32). Just as Christ is faithful to His bride, husbands must be faithful to their wives. Adultery pollutes the marriage union and brings great pain. Though all sins can be forgiven through Christ, the wounds caused by infidelity can take years to heal.
The Bible contains many passages addressing unfaithful husbands. Below are key takeaways:
- Adultery violates the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14). It is a grievous sin in God’s eyes.
- Adultery often springs from lust in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28; James 1:14-15).
- Adultery causes immense harm to one’s spouse (Proverbs 6:32-33).
- Unrepentant adulterers will face God’s judgment (Hebrews 13:4).
- God forgives adulterers who repent and turn from sin (John 8:10-11; 1 John 1:9).
- Reconciliation and healing are possible for couples scarred by adultery. But the unfaithful spouse must end the affair, seek counsel, and rebuild broken trust (Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Let us now explore what Scripture teaches about cheating husbands in greater detail. Whether you are wrestling with the wounds of adultery personally or seeking to better counsel those who are, it is vital that we understand God’s heart on this issue.
Adultery Violates God’s Commands
From the very beginning, God designed marriage to be an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman. After creating Eve, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). The two became one flesh. This profound oneness is reflected spiritually, emotionally, and physically in the marriage bond.
In Exodus 20:14, God commanded, “You shall not commit adultery.” This commandment was not only given to prohibit sex outside of marriage but also to protect marriage itself. The intimacy of marital relations reflects the intimacy we have with God through Christ. Adultery corrupts that sacred bond.
The New Testament affirms the prohibition against adultery. For example, Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Cheating on one’s spouse is an abomination before the Lord.
Adultery Often Begins as Lust
Adultery usually does not happen abruptly. It begins as lust in the wandering heart and eyes. In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
We often equate adultery only with physical acts. But God sees what is happening in our hearts. He calls us to purity of thought, not just behavior.
James 1:14-15 explains how lust leads to sin:
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
When we allow lust to take root in our hearts, it grows like a weed until it “gives birth to sin.” Adultery is conceived in lust long before the physical act. If we wish to honor our marriage vows, we must guard our eyes and hearts.
Adultery Wreaks Havoc in Marriage
Betraying one’s marriage vows has devastating emotional consequences. When a husband breaks trust through infidelity, he sins against his wife in grievous ways.
Though adultery often happens in secret, it never stays hidden forever. Proverbs 5:21 warns, “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.” When cheating husbands are exposed, they wreck havoc in their marriages.
Proverbs 6:32-33 says:
“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away.”
The deceit involved in adultery destroys intimacy and fractures the oneness that God designed for marriage. The resulting wounds can last a lifetime.
According to Psalm 51:4, cheating also sins against God: “Against you [God], you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” When we break trust with our spouse, we break fellowship with God.
The Judgment for Unrepentant Adultery
Scripture pulls no punches on the judgment awaiting unrepentant adulterers.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 includes adulterers in a list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 13:4 warns that God Himself will judge adulterers. Unrepentant sin excludes us from eternal life.
In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” One day we will all stand before God and answer for how we have lived. Adultery is not a minor offense but an act with eternal consequences.
Thankfully, judgment is not God’s only response to adultery. For those who humbly repent, He offers mercy, grace and restoration.
Forgiveness and Hope for Repentant Adulterers
Though infidelity has disastrous impacts, reconciliation is possible through God’s redemptive power. Scripture provides hope for repentant adulterers.
In John chapter 8, the Pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery and brought her to Jesus. Then they asked, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5).
The Pharisees wanted to condemn the woman to death, as the Mosaic Law commanded. But Jesus replied, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). One by one, the woman’s accusers left.
After they departed, Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). Though Jesus did not condone adultery, He offered mercy, grace and a new beginning. Such is the heart of God toward sinners who repent.
1 John 1:9 contains this wonderful promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” No matter how grievously we have sinned, God will forgive us, cleanse us and redeem us if we come before Him in genuine repentance.
Psalm 51 is King David’s prayer of repentance after his adultery with Bathsheba. David cried out:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:1-2).
David’s model of repentance provides a pattern for all adulterers who desperately want to be cleansed and restored to right relationship with God and their spouses. There is hope beyond the grave wounds caused by adultery.
2 Corinthians 5:17 promises, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Through God’s power, broken marriages scarred by adultery can experience rebirth. Christian counselors have seen God perform miracle after miracle restoring shattered couples. With God, all things are possible.
Reconciliation After Adultery
When adultery comes to light, some couples immediately pursue divorce. Indeed, marital unfaithfulness provides biblical grounds for divorce (Matthew 19:9). However, Scripture encourages reconciliation when possible.
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” Though forgiveness is difficult, Christians are called to gently restore those who have fallen into sin.
That said, the path to reconciliation is difficult and requires true repentance. The offending spouse must:
- Completely end the adulterous relationship. All contact must cease.
- Enter a time of sobriety to grieve sin without distractions.
- Seek godly counsel from a pastor or Christian therapist.
- Submit to accountability and marital counseling.
- Rebuild trust steadily through complete openness and honesty.
For most couples, reconciliation takes years. The betrayer must understand the depth of damage done and patiently endure the long process of rebuilding trust.
Meanwhile, the betrayed spouse must extend grace at every turn. This does not mean staying in an abusive relationship. But it does mean giving the gift of forgiveness while prudently guarding the heart.
Christ modeled this kind of gracious forgiveness. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were His enemies, Christ laid down His life to redeem us. He is the ultimate model of forgiveness.
By following Christ’s example, Christian couples who have suffered the devastation of adultery can walk the long but beautiful road to reconciliation. Their restored marriage will stand as a living testimony of God’s amazing grace.
Adultery is a grievous trespass against one’s covenant partner and God Himself. Though modern society treats it lightly, Scripture reveals the gravity of this sin. Adultery often begins as lust in the heart. When acted upon, it reaps untold anguish. Though God stands ready to judge unrepentant adulterers, He also offers forgiveness and redemption to those who turn from sin. For Christian couples scarred by adultery, the path forward is difficult but possible by God’s grace. With humility and counseling, even the worst wounds can gradually heal through the redemptive power of Christ.
- Adultery violates God’s commands and design for marriage. It is not to be taken lightly.
- Lust, if not slain, gives birth to sinful actions. We must guard our eyes and hearts.
- Adultery inflicts severe wounds upon one’s spouse. The damage is deep and lasting.
- Unrepentant adulterers will face God’s judgment in this life and the next.
- For those who repent, God offers complete forgiveness and the hope of reconciliation.
- Rebuilding a marriage after infidelity takes much time, counsel, and God’s grace. But all things are possible for those who believe.