Suppose one robs a bank and with the proceeds he is able to buy luxury cars, yachts, mansions. The thief lives enjoying all these things and one day he wants to convert to Christianity and wants to be saved. Restitution, giving up his purchases would probably be a part of his repentance.

Now, what if the sin is adultery? Imagine a married man and a married woman meet outside of their marriages and have an affair. Spouses find out, they are kicked out from their homes but decide to live together and turn the affair into another marriage.

Then they convert to Christianity. Would the sin of adultery include some form of restitution?

Sorry for posting an incomplete question and taking so long to attend to it. I am referring specific to Evangelicalism when I ask the question.

  • 1
    I'm not aware of any denomination that gives "steps for salvation." There are general denominal teachings on forgiveness and salvation. No steps that I'm aware of. What denomination are you interested in here, by the way?
    – svidgen
    Jan 24, 2013 at 5:04
  • 4
    I'm curious about where you get your description of "what it takes to be saved." It doesn't sound like any teaching I've ever heard before. It sounds like a misunderstanding of a basic principle of what true repentance looks like. Jan 24, 2013 at 5:15
  • Hey Gustavo, this question needs a bit of work in order to fit on this site. You've asked a question that is more focused on a real life context and on "truth" than on Christianity. If this is a real example, you need to take the question to a real church and a pastor that can help counsel people through issues like this. If this is a setup in order to try to understand some part of Christianity, then the question needs to specifically call out what Christian tradition you are looking for as different sects are likely to take different things into consideration.
    – Caleb
    Jan 24, 2013 at 12:14
  • This site itself does not hold or promote a single doctrinal position, so what "true salvation" is a result of is out of our field. You need to ask about what specific Christian teachings are interested in hearing from.
    – Caleb
    Jan 24, 2013 at 12:15
  • I put in an edit in hopes of helping with a re-open. Feel free to ignore them if it changes what you had in mind for the question. Jan 24, 2013 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


The Bible does not teach that one must always make restitution for their sins in order to be saved, it's just that doing so is an attitude that is consistent with the contrite heart of repentance.

Note that King David was guilty of adultery and yet married Bathsheba after the affair. Yet, upon being confronted by Nathan the prophet, David writes Psalm 51, where he confesses his sin with a contrite heart:

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

(Psalm 51 ESV)

And what is God's response?

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

(2 Samuel 12:13 ESV)

  • 2
    How convenient! Thanks Ben. I appreciate your answer.
    – Gus
    Jan 24, 2013 at 4:58
  • "Convenient" isn't exactly the word that pops into mind. Have you heard the Gospel message, Gustvo? If not, here's good video as an introduction, though I suppose nobody on this site (including myself) can agree completely with it. youtube.com/watch?v=E8jY6wJ0gwQ Jan 24, 2013 at 11:46
  • @SanJacinto: it really is convenient.... Jan 24, 2013 at 20:21
  • 3
    @GregMcNulty or I guess a third option, that it is convenient in the sense that there is a perfect biblical example to serve as a case study. That really is convenient. Jan 24, 2013 at 20:52
  • 1
    @BenMordecai Hidden in plain sight! I read psalm 50 from a prayer book, which omits the heading. Thank you for filling me in!
    – Samantha Y
    Nov 19, 2020 at 4:22

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