Issues of Life

Is Adultery An Unforgivable Sin?


To begin to answer this question, we need to know what adultery is.  Contrary to popular belief, adultery is a consequence of divorce, and not a cause of divorce.  Often, marital unfaithfulness is equated with adultery, when in fact it is simply sexual immorality within marriage, which may lead to divorce and then adultery.

In my study on marriage based on 1 Corinthians 7, I learnt that adultery is the ultimate forsaking and dissolution of the marriage covenant, and the seal of this is remarriage, because remarriage makes reconciliation after separation or divorce impossible.  Because of the abomination of adultery, Paul instructs Believers who divorce to not remarry, but to remain open to reconciliation.  It is worth asking, therefore; would a breach of this Biblical instruction to remain alone (so as not to commit adultery) after the sin of divorce, make such a person unforgivable?

The concept of ‘living in sin’, which is used to describe Christians who are living with sexual immorality and cohabiting, is usually extended to people who have breached this command to not remarry.  By so judging, their second (or third, fourth…) marriage is considered to be unholy and sinful, because their first covenant marriage was not broken by death, but by unfaithfulness.  It is for this reason that I present the question, is adultery an unforgivable sin?  Certainly, if it is forgivable, then the new marriage should be holy too.

I know divorce is a sin.  Adultery is an abomination.  Divorce and adultery are every bit as distasteful to God as murder, homosexuality and pedophilia.  However, I think everyone believes that murder, homosexuality and pedophilia are forgivable sins, the same as hatred, deceit and fornication.  They may be harder to forgive, but they are forgivable nonetheless.  We expect that those who are forgiven from these sins can live whole lives, filled with the same peace, liberty and grace as other Believers, if they are repentant and committed to walk no longer in sin.

However, I feel that the stain of adultery on a Christian’s conscience and soul can be harder to overcome, because of the scourge of the accusation of ‘living in sin’, though one is renewed in their commitment to abide in love and obedience.  Like the single mother living with the evidence of her sin of fornication, the truth is ever before you that you messed up.  Big time.  You sinned, and people may always judge you based on your past failure, because the evidence is plain for all to see.

I think it is by reason of this guilt and condemnation that Jesus warned us to be careful how we judge.  He said:

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt 7:2).

I remember as a young Christian, I was always hard on what I considered right and wrong, and spoke harshly about those who fell short.  I also believed in my own strength so much that I thought that if ever I was to do anything so abominable, it would certainly mean the end of my faith!  Not that I would give up the faith as a result, but that it would only take me giving up the faith to be so wicked.  And then I fell.

I didn’t lose my faith, but my sin was ever before me, and I lost my self-righteousness.  I desperately needed God’s grace.  But I had been so judgmental, that my own judgments were taunting me!  It was a long time before I could accept God’s forgiveness.  I eventually came to see that “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (Prov 24:16).  God was able to make me rise again, despite the spiritual death sentence I had spoken over myself years before…

I couldn’t bare the burden of abiding alone, to fulfill all righteousness, as the burning I felt was evidence that a life of celibacy was not my gift.  By understanding the better covenant that I have been called into, I learnt that adultery, though abominable, is not an unforgivable sin.  However, it has been hard for me to confess this new found belief.  I certainly do not want to cross over from being overly judgmental to becoming an abuser of the grace of God.  I am not in the ministry of teaching people that divorce is OK. Or that remarriage is an option.  But I know that we all sin – even after we have come to the knowledge of God and have been saved by the blood of Christ – and we are all forgivable.

Ultimately, it came to the point for me that I either accept the grace of God, that no sin is too big for Him to cleanse, and no fall is too great for Him to redeem…or I walk away in my shame and guilt, and deny Him and His power to save (which is the real unforgivable sin as, by so doing, I exempt myself from forgiveness).  Accepting the grace of God has truly helped me to be so much more gracious (Luke 7:47).  He has continued to teach me so many things, through the great love He has shown me.  I truly hope that anyone else going through such a crisis of faith will humble themselves before God and accept His forgiveness and redeeming love.

Photo credit: http://www.romancatholicman.com

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23 replies »

  1. Hey Ufuoma. Good post. I like the conclusion you reached there. Yes, adultery and divorce are huge sins, as you pointed out as big as any others. God hates divorce right? He said so directly. Really the only thing not ultimately forgivable is the final rejection of the offer of salvation.

    You probably don’t know this, but I am the product of a divorce. My wife and I divorced after almost 25 years of marriage, while I was still not a believer. I didn’t even know at the time that God had an issue with it. Now, I know.

    I am also remarried, this time to a wonderful Godly woman and we are serving the Lord together. But, the remarriage is an issue in some ways. Obviously, it meets the Biblical definition of adultery, but at the same time, God is clearly using it for His glory. And we certainly don’t make things right by dissolving another covenant union. Difficult eh?

    But, it does prove, as Joseph told his brothers, even evil can be ultimately used for God’s purpose.

    Thought provoking post Sister, thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your comments, Wally. It was hard for me to write this post, because there’s only one other post that I revealed my marital status. But the point of my piece is that as shameful and abominable as adultery is, it is still a sin that Christ died and cleansed me from. So, as I can never profess to be a liar (though I’ve obviously lied in the past), I do not profess to be an adulterer. I sinned. I was forgiven. And I walk in newness of life with God. That’s God amazing grace. And He has used this failure to teach me so many things that I would never have learnt in rebellion or condemnation.

      Glory be to God! Have a great day, Bro 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Ufuomaee great post! Divorce or remarriage for the believer is obviously not God’s desire for us. On the other hand neither is any other sin. I like how you point this out. This subject has been taught in error in most circles i believe. The gravest error I believe is the idea that divorce is justified by adultery. Where’s forgiveness? I’ll admit in alot maybe most cases the offender wants the divorce and to pursue a “more exciting” relationship with the person they cheated with, leaving the victim hurt and alone. But on the other side the offender has become Godly sorry and through remorse actually admit to their infidelity. In other words they weren’t “caught” but couldn’t bear the guilt of their indiscretions thus telling on themselves seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. For God so loved the world that he gave, by giving he provided forgiveness of sin by faith in the completed work of the cross.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with you that the gravest error is the teachings that sexual immorality or marital unfaithfulness is grounds for divorce. *just a correction – in my post, I pointed out that this isn’t the adultery, though many refer to extra-marital affairs as adultery*

      I believe that Christ called us to a new covenant which is built on the foundation of unconditional love; as He gave us a new commandment to love others AS HE LOVED US.

      However the dissolution of my first marriage was due to emotional unfaithfulness, which some may deem worse than sexual immorality. There were other circumstances, but God has taught me that I and no other can justify me. I sinned. He is the one who judges and justifies and redeems.

      However, unfortunately, shame and confusion on this issue has kept me silent about it for too long. People need healing. They need to know that God is able.

      God bless you dear! I appreciate your contribution.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Very great piece Wifey, indeed thought provoking as said by a earlier commentator. It is forgiveable and has been forgiven, one needs to mentally forgive them selves and live a life that pleases God. Cheers.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. this is way i seen it in god word /you can get a divorce for any reason but you cant remarry// now if you commit adultry and get divorce you cant remarry/ but they one you commited adultry against can/// now you can get for given for adultry long as you do what god said/stay single not remarry and he will forgive you/but if you remarry not only do you commit adultry but cause the one you marry to commit adultry/ so every time you come together with this one you married you commit adultry/// and now you are considerd an adultress now go to revelations and it will explain you place as an adultress/ it even tells you if your spouse divorces you and remarries then they divorce not to take them back because they are defiled

    Like

    • That is unfortunately the belief that kept me quiet about this issue for so long. According to you, my marriage bed is defiled, so the only righteous thing for me to do is separate from my second husband…which will leave him and my baby in quite a pickle, as well as cause him to sin sexually…

      I once believed like you, and I’m still open to the possibility that I believe what I now believe conveniently. However, I strongly believe in the new and better convenant which tells me that no amount of works can justify me. I believe that also applies to the teaching to abide alone after divorce.

      It is certainly not impossible, and if one can do it, it is better. I do also believe as Paul and Christ agree that due to all these troubles, it is better not to marry at all.

      However, we’re not all able to accept this as not all are gifted in celibacy. I was celibate between husbands for almost six years. But it was obvious to me that it was not my gift.

      I believe that the same grace that is available for new converts (who have been divorced before coming to Christ, or converted after marriage and had their spouse leave) to marry again in the Lord, is available to me as one who is forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.

      I’m sorry that you may never see things this way… but walking in God’s grace is not a call to sin (as you may fear) but a call to life. I accepted that call, and God gives me the grace to abide.

      God bless you, and have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mel, Not for debate but to provide clarity to the hurting Christian what scriptures are you referring to? I to thought what you thought because that’s what I was taught. After studying the scriptures for myself my understanding has change. I hope you provide some verses but if not at least consider this. From the beginning God said It is not good that man should be alone. Some time later God told Adam not to eat the fruit. When Adam sinned he broke fellowship with God. God however isn’t surprised by anything and immediately after Adam’s confession of his error implemented a plan to restore fellowship. When we study the whole bible it’s clear that time and again Israel broke the covenant (marriage) by spiritual adultery. Yet God says to the return unto me and I will heal you of your backsliding. God reconciles all that repent. Jesus said he that looketh upon a woman and lusteth (with desire) has committed adultery with her in his heart. I don’t know of any man or woman who can say they have 100% righteousness in this area. So is it better that we all become eunuchs for the Gospel? I think not. I know this for sure God is still in the reconciliation business. God honors marriage it was his idea. A Godly marriage honors God and is symbolic of Christ and the church. Thanks be to God for striving with mankind instead of looking to another creation for intimate fellowship.
      Grace & Truth

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Liv4Christ4ever. You make really good arguments for the case of reconciliation. It’s interesting how Jesus chose to deal with the woman’s accusers too. He pointed them all to consider their need for mercy. You never really know the value of mercy until you need it like air! That’s why Jesus said that those who have been forgiven much love much…

        God bless you again for the defence. Have a lovely weekend.

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

        Like

  5. When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, He said: “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” One by one her accusers all dropped their stones and left.

    Then the Lord, the only one without sin (who therefore had the right to condemn her) said: ” Has no man condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In my study of grace, I learned that we can live by grace, frustrate grace by our own works, or pervert grace with the “I can do what I want because I’m saved,” attitude. I have not, nor do I expect to understand divorce seeing as I’m going on twenty eight years of marriage. However, I am an EXPERT at using the guilt hammer to bash myself over the head. It has taken awhile for me to learn that grace is a teacher and we are His students. (Titus 2:11-12)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As one who has divorced and remarried, I relate to all that you have said here. I especially agree, however, that there is no sin which is bigger than the grace of God! If we walk in His light, as He is in the Light, we have continual forgiveness through the blood of Christ. As long as we are repentant for the sin of adultery and not out to commit it again, we are forgiven for this, as with any other sin. Thank you for addressing this issue with us all. May the Lord bless you and yours…

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed the post and the contributions . wonderful write up.
    All we like sheep have gone astray. But then there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Thank you ufuomaee

    Liked by 1 person

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