A close-up shot of an open Bible, highlighting verses on fidelity and trust, symbolizing God's disapproval of cheating, with a soft, golden light illuminating the sacred words.

What Does God Say About Cheating?

Cheating is an unfortunate yet common issue that can severely damage relationships. For those seeking religious wisdom on this topic, the Bible contains clear principles about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of faithfulness.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible makes it clear that cheating is a sin and violation of the marriage covenant. God calls us to faithfulness, integrity, and self-control.

In this comprehensive article, we will dive deeper into various biblical passages about cheating and unfaithfulness to examine what God says on this sensitive issue.

Old Testament Verses on Adultery and Unfaithfulness

Exodus 20:14 – Part of the Ten Commandments

“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14) This commandment given to Moses on Mount Sinai clearly prohibits adultery, which is sexual relations outside of marriage. Marriage is meant to be an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24), and adultery violates that sacred union.

Proverbs 6:32 – Adultery Destroys the Soul

The book of Proverbs warns that “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” (Proverbs 6:32) Adultery not only damages relationships, but also corrodes one’s conscience and damages one’s relationship with God.

King David’s adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) led to devastation in his family.

Malachi 2:14 – Unfaithfulness Breaks Covenant with God

The prophet Malachi rebuked the Israelites for dealing “treacherously” with their wives and breaking faith. He said, “the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless.”

(Malachi 2:14) Marital unfaithfulness breaks covenant not just with spouse, but with God.

Statistics from the Institute for Family Studies in 2018 show 21% of men and 19% of women admit to adultery at some point. However, God makes faithfulness in marriage possible by His grace and the power of His Spirit.

New Testament Warnings Against Sexual Immorality

Matthew 5:27-28 – Adultery in the Heart

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expanded the definition of adultery to include even lustful thoughts. He 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” (Matthew 5:27-28).

This warns us that sexual sin begins in the mind and heart before it ever becomes physical. We must guard our thought life and bring every immoral thought into obedience to Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee from Sexual Immorality

Paul commanded the Corinthians to flee from sexual immorality because it is a sin against one’s own body. He wrote, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Rather than rationalizing or flirting with sexual temptation, the Bible tells us to run from it. Take drastic measures to eliminate stumbling blocks and fill your mind with Scripture.

Hebrews 13:4 – Honor Marriage Bed

The author of Hebrews commanded believers to honor the marriage bed by remaining faithful to one’s spouse. He wrote, “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).

God takes faithfulness in marriage very seriously. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, whether premarital sex, adultery, pornography use, or lustful fantasies. We must honor marriage by maintaining purity.

Principles on Faithfulness, Self-Control, and Integrity

Proverbs 3:3-4 – Faithfulness to Spouse

The book of Proverbs encourages faithfulness in marriage. Proverbs 3:3-4 states, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Being faithful to one’s spouse is a matter of the heart and mind. It requires making a commitment to one’s partner and intentionally protecting that union.

Statistics indicate that 40% of unmarried relationships and 25% of marriages see at least one incident of infidelity (Ref: Enough.org). While reasons given for cheating vary, at the core, unfaithfulness damages trust and honesty in a relationship.

Proverbs warns that those who are unfaithful hurt themselves and their name in God’s eyes and human society.

Titus 2:11-12 – Saying “No” to Lust

The book of Titus reminds believers that God’s grace empowers people to say “no” to worldly passions: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

Saying “no” requires humility to recognize that on our own, worldly desires often overpower us.

However, through God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, Christians can resist temptations of lust or inappropriate emotional and physical connections with others. Rather than acting on fleshly impulses, believers are called to exhibit self-control and live in a way that honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – Temptation is Not an Excuse

First Corinthians 10:13 shares this encouragement, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Everyone faces temptations to be unfaithful in relationships. However, God promises to give His followers the strength to resist if they rely on Him rather than their own power.

Excuses for Cheating God’s Perspective
“I couldn’t help myself.” God promises to provide a “way out” of every temptation if we seek Him (1 Cor. 10:13).
“My partner doesn’t understand my needs.” God calls spouses to faithfully meet each other’s needs to the best of their ability (1 Cor. 7:3-5).

While people may try to justify cheating due to unmet needs or “falling into” temptation, God makes clear that He will provide the power to remain faithful if asked. Believers are called to rely on the Spirit’s strength rather than excuses.

Seeking Forgiveness and Healing After Infidelity

Psalm 51 – David’s Prayer for Forgiveness

In Psalm 51, King David poured out his heart in repentance after his adultery with Bathsheba. He pleaded for God’s mercy and forgiveness, acknowledging his own sinfulness and need for cleansing (Psalm 51:1-2).

David asked God to blot out his transgressions, wash him from his iniquity, and cleanse him from his sin (Psalm 51:1-2, 7). He recognized that what he did was ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4). David’s humility and contrition provide a model for seeking forgiveness after marital unfaithfulness.

Even when we sin grievously as David did, God promises to show compassion to the repentant heart (Psalm 51:1). However, true repentance involves a change in behavior as evidence of an inner change of heart. David prayed that God would renew a “steadfast spirit” within him (Psalm 51:10).

His hope was not just for forgiveness but for transformation.

Luke 17:3 – Forgiving Others

When confronting a cheating spouse, the natural human response is bitterness, anger, and desires for revenge. However, Jesus calls us to the higher road of forgiveness: “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

This does not condone or excuse the sin but releases the burden of unforgiveness from the betrayed spouse.

Forgiveness is a process that may take time. The hurt may be too raw to simply flip a switch and forgive instantly. But we can make the choice to forgive even if emotions lag behind. As God empowers the betrayed spouse to release the cheater from condemnation, reconciliation and rebuilding trust can begin.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Becoming a New Creation in Christ

Infidelity often reveals deeper issues needing healing for both the straying spouse and the marriage. Through genuine repentance and faith, God offers us not just forgiveness but the promise of new life in Christ: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

God specializes in re-creation.

For the straying spouse, this means examining the cracks in character that led to infidelity. Pride, selfishness, and lack of self-control often play a role. Recognition of these flaws can motivate positive change through God’s grace.

For both spouses, releasing resentment over past hurts can help re-build intimacy.

While infidelity inflicts severe wounds, God provides healing balm through forgiveness, personal transformation, and restored trust. With time and effort, marriages can become even stronger after confronting this crisis through divine grace.


In conclusion, the Bible contains uncompromising warnings against adultery, sexual immorality, and unfaithfulness in marriage. God instituted marriage and takes its covenant seriously. However, there is hope and healing available to those who have fallen into infidelity and are seeking forgiveness and restoration.

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