Bible Question:

If I divorce, remarry and then die, when I am living in an adulterous relationship, does the Bible teach that I will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, since I am an adulteress?  You can be forgiven for things, but there is a condition on forgiveness.

Bible Answer:

The issue of adultery, heaven and hell is a major concern to many since adultery is so common and pervasive. The acceptance of sexual sins is now wide spread and even encouraged. Therefore, it is important to understand what the Bible teaches about divorce, remarriage and forgiveness.

Can I Undo My Adultery?

Who Goes to Hell?

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 we are told that the unrighteous person will not inherit the kingdom of God. As you read these verses, notice that the sins are not verbs but nouns that describe the type of individual we are because we committed that sin. Those who are thieves and fornicators are such because at some time they committed that sin. We speak of robbers and murderers in prison not because they repented, but because they stole and murdered at some point in time.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NASB)

Who is the unrighteous person? Anyone who has committed any of these sins. Notice we are called unrighteous. If you have ever committed any one of these sins, you are called unrighteous. We are told that fornicators will go to hell. That is, anyone who has engaged in sex before marriage is a fornicator and they are an unrighteous person. The names transvestites  (or effeminate), homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers and swindlers describe people who committed these sins. If you have committed adultery, don’t forget you are also a fornicator if you have ever fornicated or engaged in sex before you were married. Therefore, you could be an adulterer, a fornicator and therefore unrighteous. God is not calling us names. He is describing who we are. Sadly, we are such proud people that the Bible offends us. We do not like these names. Instead, we need to humbly submit to God and admit our sins. If we were humble, we would agree with God that these names describe us. Anyone who has committed adultery is an adulterer. Anyone who has committed any of the sins listed in the verse bears that label.

In Romans 5:8 God calls us sinners.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Here we discover that everyone is a sinner and in Luke 5:23 and John 8:24 Jesus indicates sinners are going to hell. We can escape hell forever by believing Christ died for our sins, that is, He did everything necessary for you to go to heaven. There is nothing that you have to do but believe that He died and rose again to pay the penalty for your sins and trust Him to forgive you. Those who reject Christ are still sinners at the moment they die. They bear the label sinner at the moment they die unless they have become a Christian and had their sins forgiven.

Now notice what the apostle Paul says Christians were in the next verse, 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were  sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NASB)

Therefore, who goes to hell? Anyone who has sinned. We are sinners, which means we have been and are disobedient to God. But when Paul says, “Such were some of you,” he describes you and me, if you have ever committed any of those sins. We cannot undo the sin of coveting, adultery or being drunk, for example. We cannot undo any of the sins. Once committed, it was committed. Paul says, “such were some of you.” He says “were.” Why does he not say “are”? He gives us the answer. He says we “were justified.” That is, because we believed in Christ, we were declared to be as righteous as Christ (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Then he adds that we were washed clean and have been sanctified, that is, made holy.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is only a partial list of sins that sinners commit. Two other lists are given in Romans 1:28-32 and Galatians 5:19-21. All three lists describe us. When the apostle Paul wrote this verse he wrote it to Christians who are called saints (1 Corinthians 1:2). The Greek word for “saints” is hagiois. It means “holy ones.” This is important. Remember in 1 Corinthians 6:9 Paul said we had the label of “unirghteous” but a Christian has the new label of “holy one.” “Holy Ones” are those who inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Reversing the Sin of Adultery

Those who want their former spouse to divorce their current spouse and remarry them are committing sin. Frankly, the major problem is that they want another man’s wife, even if she was his wife in the first place. The tenth commandment states, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” The same principle is true if a woman wants her first husband back, if he is married to another woman. Matthew 5:31-32 also teaches that we are not to lust after a man or woman who is not our spouse. Covetousness and lust are sins. The same is true for someone who wants to divorce their current spouse and remarry their first spouse if their first spouse is married. Therefore, are you coveting another’s man’s wife or another woman’s husband? Are you lusting? Then you have much to confess to God. In addition, what about the current spouse? If he or she has not violated the marriage, there is no biblical basis for divorcing the current spouse, not to mention the horrible violation of the marital vows and absence of love.

Committing adultery again does not undo the first adultery. Committing a sin to correct a sin is error—a sin. It is not possible to undo the sin of adultery. Once the sin is committed, it is committed. Some individuals think that it is possible to undo the sin of adultery by divorcing their current spouse who has not violated the current marriage and then remarrying the first spouse. They think that God would be pleased if they divorced their current spouse and returned to their first wife or first husband. But there are no biblical grounds for divorcing the second spouse unless he or she has committed some sexual sin. Even if sexual sin was not committed, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 prohibits the man or woman from returning to the first spouse if they subsequently married someone else. Jesus and the apostle Paul prohibit divorce except for 1) sexual sin and 2) if an unbelieving spouse wants the divorce.


Once a true Christian is forgiven, there is no sin that will prevent them from going to heaven. Paul said, “Such were some of you.” That is, it was no longer true. The question is, are you a real Christian? If so, then all of your sins for all time have been forgiven. The old sin of adultery is already forgiven and you are living a new life and there is no more condemnation (Romans 6:6; 8:1). For an understanding as to how long adultery lasts read, “What is the Greek tense of the verb ‘commits adultery’ in Matthew 19:9?

Suggested Links:

What is the correct meaning of fornication in the Bible?
Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?
What is the Greek tense of the verb ‘commits adultery’ in Matthew 19:9?
Should I divorce my second spouse to end my adultery?
If you are divorced and remarry, are you living in adultery?
Does Deuteronomy 24:1-4 say a person can marry their ex-spouse again?
How can the sin of adultery be forgiven? – Is the sin forever?
Why does one have the “right to remarry” after a “Biblical Divorce”?
Why does God hate divorce if He allows it?
Is there a sin that God will not forgive? When does He forgive?