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Almost everyone recognizes the advantages of fidelity in marriage. But adultery continues to tear families apart.

What is adultery?


In some cultures it is even seen as normal for married people, particularly men, to have sexual relations outside of marriage. And many think that marriage does not have to be for life.


The word adultery in Bible generally refers to when a married man or woman voluntarily has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse (Job 24:15; Proverbs 30:20). Adultery is disgusting to God. In fact, in the Law he gave to Israel, adultery was punishable by death (Leviticus 18:20, 22, 29). And Jesus Christ said that his disciples were not to commit adultery (Matthew 5:27, 28; Luke 18:18-20).


The adulterer breaks the solemn promise he made to his spouse on their wedding day. Furthermore, adultery is “sinning against God” (Genesis 39:7-9). Children also suffer, as they could be separated from one of their parents. For all this, the Bible warns: “God will judge fornicators and adulterers” (Hebrews 13:4).

Does adultery end a marriage?


The Bible allows a person to divorce if their spouse has been unfaithful (Matthew 19:9). The faithful spouse has the right to decide whether to continue with the adulterer or ask for a divorce. This is a personal decision; no one else can decide for him (Galatians 6:5).

But remember that God views marriage as a sacred union that should last a lifetime (1 Corinthians 7:39). He gets really upset when someone tries to get a divorce for minor reasons, like they got bored with the person they married. Therefore, it is not a matter of getting divorced for any reason (Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:3-6).

Is adultery an unforgivable sin?


No. In the Bible we read that God forgave men and women, including adulterers, who repented of their sins and gave up their immoral lives (Acts 3:19; Galatians 5:19-21). These people became friends of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

An example was King David. He was a married man and slept with the wife of an officer in his army (2 Samuel 11:2-4). The Bible says that this action by David “seemed evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27). After being rebuked, David repented and God forgave him. Even so, he could not avoid the bitter consequences of his mistakes (2 Samuel 12:13, 14). King Solomon later said: “A man who commits adultery is a total fool, for he destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32, NLT).


If you have committed adultery, you need to ask God and your spouse for forgiveness (Psalm 51:1-5). Hate adultery, just as God hates it (Psalm 97:10). Run away from pornography, sexual fantasies, flirting, and anything that might lead you to be attracted to another person (Matthew 5:27, 28; James 1:14, 15).

And if it is your spouse who has been unfaithful, you can be sure that God understands your situation (Malachi 2:13, 14). Ask him for comfort and guidance, for the Bible promises, “[God] himself will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). If you decide to forgive him and not get divorced, both of you have to work hard to rebuild your marriage (Ephesians 4:32).


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