Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.
-Hebrews 10:26, NLT
The longer someone has led a double-life of cheating, the less likely they will be able to repent and change.
What sacrifice remains to cover that lifestyle of sin as this Scripture declares?
Can God work miracles? Absolutely.
However, God does not violate our free choices to defy Him. He accepts our rejection of Him if that is what we want. In fact, He is willing to give us over to our sin despite dying for us (see Romans 1:24 and John 3:16).
Months and even years of choosing to lie and cheat are habit forming in the most diabolical way. At some point, one has to ask if the cheater even possesses the capacity to act righteously.
Is their conscience dead as Scripture describes some people (see I Timothy 4:1-2)?
This is one thing that bothers me greatly about some pastors, seminary professors, and Christian counselors. These leaders continue pressing for marriage “reconciliation” while failing to ask such an important spiritual question regarding the cheating spouse:
Has God allowed their consciences to die the death that comes with deliberately choosing sin over time?
This is not just a trust or forgiveness issue on the part of the faithful spouse.
It is also a question of moral or spiritual capability on the part of the unfaithful partner. I am convinced that long-term cheaters–i.e. those cheating for months, years, and even decades–are good at doing so because they have surrendered this moral capacity.
Lying and cheating are no longer a problem for them–if they ever were–because they have killed that voice of moral reason through their deliberate choices to ignore it over time choosing sin.
The lie has become their reality.
This sort of category of people do exist according to the Bible (e.g. Romans 1:24, 32; Hebrews 10:26; I Timothy 4:1-2; etc.). However, too often pastors fail to take this category of people into account when dealing with marriages ravaged by adultery. They fail to ask themselves about the cheaters:
Does this person still have a problem with lying and committing adultery–i.e. is his/her conscience still alive?
Does this person only have a problem with getting caught and facing (external) consequences like divorce and all the losses that comes with that?
As pastors and church leaders, we need to become shrewder in such matters and ask ourselves such questions when dealing with marital infidelity. It is so important that we do not get consumed by our attraction to the babble of “intact marriages” that we fail to investigate the deeper spiritual realities at work.