Does God Forgive Adultery? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 03/15/23 •  6 min read

Many people wonder what is a sin. And although the main sins are listed in the Bible, many still have questions about whether something is a sin and how much big the sin is.

In this article, we will find out what the Bible and Church Fathers say about adultery and whether it is a serious sin. 

What is Adultery?

Does God Forgive Adultery

Adultery is a serious sin that has been condemned by most societies throughout history.

In Christianity, adultery is considered a violation of God’s commandments, and it’s one of the most serious sins that can be committed. The Church believes that this is a betrayal not only of a person but also of love, oneself, and God.

Adultery is considered the act of having relations with someone who is not one’s spouse. Mostly this word is used in the context of adultery in marriage although it can also mean a relationship without marriage.

Is Adultery A Sin?

Adultery violates the sanctity of marriage, which is considered a sacred covenant between two people and God.

Adultery is not only a violation of God’s commandments but also a betrayal. It’s condemned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

For example, it’s condemned in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14) and in many other verses in the Bible, such as Matthew 5:27-28, which says: «You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.»

This quote from the Bible refers to a relationship without marriage. Thus, Christ tells us that this sin causes a wound to our souls. A person immersed in this sin won’t able to find peace in his heart.

Read Also: Is Fear A Sin?

The Severity of Adultery

The severity of adultery as a sin is emphasized not only in the Bible but also in the works of many Church Fathers.

For example, Saint Augustine wrote in his book “The Good of Marriage” that «adultery is so grave an offense that it is considered to be in a sense a kind of sacrilege.»

Saint John Chrysostom also wrote in his homily on Matthew 5:27-28 that «adultery is a great sin, and it is not easy to receive forgiveness for it.» In this quote, we get the answer to our question. This sin is very big and it’s difficult to get forgiveness for it.

However, despite the gravity of the sin, Christianity also teaches that forgiveness is possible for those who repent and seek it.

We can find evidence for it in numerous passages in the Bible, such as 1 John 1:9, which says: «If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.» 

In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus portrays a father who forgives his wayward son despite his sins. As long as a person is alive, with sufficient repentance, humility, and faith in God, sins can be forgiven.

Repentance in Orthodoxy And Adultery

Repentance in Orthodoxy And Adultery

The Orthodox Church teaches that forgiveness can be given to those who truly repent and seek reconciliation with God and their spouse.

In Orthodoxy, confession is a sacrament in which the penitent confesses their sins to a priest, who then offers guidance.

The Church teaches that the sacrament of confession should be performed regularly, not just when a person has committed a serious sin.

Since adultery is a serious sin, the priest has the right to impose penance on a person for some time. This will help a person to realize the severity of his sin.

In cases where adultery has occurred, the Church encourages the couple to seek forgiveness from each other, to work towards restoring trust, and to make a renewed commitment to their marriage. However, the Church also believes that infidelity is a valid reason for divorce. Therefore, a person must decide for himself whether to continue living with such a spouse.

Saint John Chrysostom wrote about the importance of mutual respect, fidelity, and forgiveness in marriage, and taught that spouses should strive to love each other as Christ loves the Church.

Regarding the sin of adultery, Saint John Chrysostom wrote, «For the sin of adultery there is but one remedy: to flee and not to come near that which kindles the flame.

But if it should come upon you, then bring before you the fear of God, the love of your own soul, the zeal for your own salvation, and the love for your spouse» (Homily 25 on the Gospel of Matthew).

So, adultery is considered a serious sin in the Eastern Orthodox Church, but the Church offers a path towards forgiveness and reconciliation for those who truly repent and seek to mend their relationships.

Read Also: Is Kissing A Sin?

What is The Opinion of Other Church Fathers?

Opinion of Other Church Fathers on adultery
  1. Saint Ambrose of Milan wrote about adultery: «Let adultery be unknown among you, let no one defile the marriage bed. If anyone has sinned, let him repent; for the grace of repentance is given to us».
  2. Saint Jerome supported this opinion. He believed that a person should always repent of his sins and God will be able to forgive him: “If you have committed adultery, do not despair of the mercy of God, but make use of the medicine of repentance”.
  3. Saint Gregory of Nyssa wrote about forgiveness of sin: “When a man repents of his sin, however great it may be, and returns to the right way, he is justified, not by his own works, but by the grace of the Almighty God”.
  4. Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote that Adultery is a big sin, but just like any sin can be forgiven by repentance: «Adultery is a great sin, but it can be forgiven. For there is no sin which God cannot forgive, if the sinner repents and amends his ways».
  5. Saint John Chrysostom wrote: «It is not possible for us to avoid falling into sin, but it is possible to rise again by repentance. Let us therefore be careful not to despair, but to repent and confess our sins, that we may receive the forgiveness of God»

These quotes show that the Church Fathers acknowledged the severity of adultery as a sin, but also had an opinion that repentance is a very important thing to find forgiveness.

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Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that there are clear indications in the Bible that adultery is a sin, even if a person has sinned in his thoughts.

And although this is a very big sin, the Bible tells us that any sin can be forgiven through repentance.

The Church Fathers also support this opinion and all point out that a person must repent strongly to be forgiven.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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