The Bible on Cheating – What does it say? Cheating is a word that carries a heavyweight in any context, but most especially in relationships. The implications of cheating can cast a shadow over the most positive aspects of any relationship. It is a breach of trust and fidelity and affects both the person who cheated and the one who was cheated on.
In society today, cheating has become so common that it may seem acceptable, but as Christians, we are held to a higher standard by the One who called us. When it comes to the topic of cheating, many people wonder what the Bible has to say.
The Bible offers a deep perspective on infidelity, revealing both the biblical consequences of cheating and the pathway to redemption. In exploring the Bible on cheating, we find scriptures that offer timeless guidance on matters of morality, integrity, and the sanctity of committed relationships.
Whether you find yourself navigating the aftermath of a breach of trust or seeking insights for personal growth, this blog post will explore what the Bible says about cheating and how to handle the desires of the flesh.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.
The Bible on Cheating
Cheating is defined as being unfaithful to one’s spouse, and in Biblical times, the punishment was severe. The Bible refers to cheating as adultery. Adultery was considered a serious offense, punishable by death, and was viewed as a betrayal of the marriage covenant.
Leviticus 20:10 states “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” The Bible records stories like that of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba to illustrate the severity of cheating. David, even though he was a man after God’s own heart, faced profound consequences for his act of adultery with Bathsheba.
Although David was forgiven, he experienced the painful repercussions of his actions, including the loss of a child. From King David’s affair, we are reminded that God is full of mercy. However, actions have consequences, even for God’s children.
It’s important to note that cheating doesn’t just refer to physical infidelity. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This means that even if someone doesn’t physically cheat, but has lustful thoughts towards someone who is not their spouse, they are still sinning. The Bible is clear that cheating is a sin and is not acceptable in the eyes of God.
However, it’s important to remember that God extends grace to all, even those who have been unfaithful. If we confess our sins, do away with the practices of our old self, God is faithful and just to forgive us of such things. (1 John 1:9)
What Does the Bible Say About Cheating?
The Bible’s stance on cheating is clear and direct, with several verses that address the issue. These teachings can be found in both the Old and New Testaments
One of the most well-known is in the ten commandments, Exodus 20:14, which says, “You shall not commit adultery.” This commandment is clear and direct, and it sets the standard for how God expects us to behave in our marriages.
While specifically addressing adultery, this commandment speaks to the broader theme of faithfulness in relationships. Cheating on one’s spouse is a form of unfaithfulness that is condemned in the holy Bible. Here are some other Bible verses that touch upon the theme of cheating:
- Proverbs 6:32 (ESV): “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.”
This proverb directly addresses the act of adultery. It implies that individuals who engage in such behaviour lack moral discernment and an understanding of the potential consequences of their actions. The second part of the verse emphasizes the self-destructive nature of adultery.
In Genesis 2:24, we see the beginning of the institution of marriage. God’s design for marriage is that two people come together to become one. In this way, cheating on your spouse would be the same as defiling your own flesh. By violating the sacred bonds of marriage, an individual brings harm not only to relationships but also to their well-being.
- Hebrews 13:4 (ESV): “Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Think about a married couple facing the temptation to cheat or have sexual relations outside their marriage. This verse emphasizes the sacredness of marriage and the potential consequences of straying from its vows, reinforcing the idea that fidelity is a crucial aspect of a healthy marital relationship. Marriage is honourable and God does not condone cheating.
- Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV): “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Cheating often involves dishonesty and deception. This scripture cautions against a lying tongue and actions that undermine truth, fairness, and the well-being of relationships. God ordained marriage and He is interested in the success of our marriages. If we trust Him with our hearts, He will keep us from falling.
- Proverbs 10:9 (ESV): “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
The Bible’s perspective on cheating emphasizes the importance of honesty and maintaining a pure heart. While this scripture may not directly address cheating, it encourages us to cultivate pure hearts, guarding against lustful intent and evil thoughts. When we align ourselves with the word of God, we reject a sinful nature and become people of integrity, pursuing righteousness.
The Bible is clear about the sinfulness of cheating, but it also calls us to forgive. If a spouse is unfaithful, the Bible teaches that they can ask God for forgiveness, and He will forgive them. When it comes to cheating, forgiveness can be difficult, but it is still necessary.
If a spouse has been unfaithful, it can be painful and traumatic, but God calls us to forgive them if they ask for forgiveness. In Colossians 3:13, we are told to “forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” This means that we should forgive as God forgives us, without holding onto grudges or seeking revenge.
In the New Testament, Jesus discusses cheating and divorce, emphasizing the sacredness of marriage and expressing disapproval of divorce. In Matthew 19:3-9, the Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’
He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so.
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.'” Divorce is not in line with the ideal God has for marriage, but an exception is made for cases of sexual immorality.
While infidelity is a legitimate ground for divorce, as Christians we are called to seek God’s guidance and wisdom as we navigate difficult situations, trusting that He will provide for us and guide us in the right direction.
The verse states: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight” (Proverbs 11:1, ESV).Proverbs 11:1, therefore, serves as a timeless reminder of the importance of honesty and righteousness in relationships. Some versions says dishonest scales.
It conveys the message that cheating, with its deceptive nature, is contrary to the principles of justice and fairness upheld by God. By staying true to the virtues of integrity and faithfulness, individuals can cultivate relationships that bring delight to the Lord and stand as a testament to the values outlined in this wise proverb.
5. Exodus 20:14
In the context of relationships and fidelity, God’s commandments play a crucial role in guiding individuals towards righteous behavior and moral conduct. When it comes to the act of cheating, these commandments serve as a moral compass, providing clear guidelines on how individuals should conduct themselves within the sanctity of a committed relationship.
The seventh commandment in the King James Version reads, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), directly addresses the sin of cheating within the framework of God’s divine laws.
This commandment serves as a foundational principle for the preservation of marital fidelity. Adultery, which encompasses when a person cheats, is viewed as a betrayal of the marriage covenant . These sexual sins is a violation of the sacred bonds established by God.
The commandments, including the prohibition against adultery, are designed to protect the integrity and sanctity of relationships. They set a standard for faithfulness, trust, and commitment within the covenant of marriage. Cheating, as a violation of God’s commandments, disrupts the harmonious design intended for marital unions.
The Bible consistently emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s commandments in various passages. In 1 John 5:3, it states, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” This underscores the idea that following God’s commandments, including the prohibition against adultery, is an expression of love and obedience to the divine will.
When individuals engage in the ground of sexual immorality, they deviate from the righteous path outlined by God’s commandments. The act of infidelity not only harms the relationship between partners but also represents a departure from the values and principles set forth by God for the well-being of individuals and society by succumbing to our own evil desire.
Final Thoughts on What Does the Bible Say About Cheating?
The Bible on cheating is clear that it is a sin, this works of the flesh goes against God’s plan for marriage. The Bible defines cheating as being unfaithful to one’s spouse, and in the Old Testament, the punishment for adultery was severe, including death.
It is important to note that divorce is permitted on the grounds of sexual immorality. However, Jesus calls us to forgive and to show grace to others, even if they have sinned against us.
While the Bible strongly condemns adultery, it acknowledges that there are circumstances where divorce is permissible. In Matthew 5:32, Jesus states, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
This exception recognizes the devastating impact of infidelity on marriage and allows for divorce in cases of unrepentant adultery. However, divorce should not be taken lightly, and every effort should be made to reconcile the marriage.
Ultimately, the Bible teaches us to value and honour the covenant of marriage and to remain faithful to our spouses. As people of faith, the pursuit of the right thing aligns us with the kingdom of Christ, offering the promise of eternal life. If we do fall into sin, we can turn to God for forgiveness and restoration.
If you are navigating a painful situation of cheating, trust that God is able to help you through. Trust Him for the grace to heal and He will lead you in the right direction, preparing for the kingdom of God.