Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
I could stand up here and try to shock you by quoting a long-standing static that says 50% of all marriages end in divorce and the same percentage of Christian marriages have a similar fate. However, the sources that I have looked at while researching for this message say that the numbers are much more complicated than that. The actual overall divorce rate is probably more in line with 25% of all marriages, still way too many, but professing Christians, do get divorced at similar rates as non-Christians.
But here is the good news according to an article written by Glenn Stanton from Focus on the Family, “Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes – attend church nearly every week, read their bibles and other spiritual material regularly; pray privately and together; generally, take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples – enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.
The difference between someone that professes to be a Christian and a committed, bible believing and engaged Christian makes all the difference in the world. From the same Focus on the Family article W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that active conservative Protestants who regularly attend church are 35% less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 7 starts with a shift away from Paul addressing issues within the church, to him answering questions that came from the Corinthian congregation. This continues through the end of chapter 15, and it all starts with questions on marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Read
These questions on marriage arose due to the sexual excesses of the society where they lived and which many of them had participated in before becoming believers. Divorce was common in ancient Roman culture, and it would not have been unusual for people, including many newly converted Christians, to have been married and divorced multiple times. Also, in the ancient Roman world there were a number of different types of marriages. First, there were arranged marriages that were motivated by money. Second, slaves were paired off with other slaves at their master’s discretion. In these “marriages”, the participants had little or no say in the choice of their partner or how long the “marriage” would last. It was completely controlled by their masters. Third, there was common law marriage that happened after a couple had cohabited for an established amount of time. Finally, there were traditional marriages with customs which were very much like the ones we have in our country today. This created questions and confusion for the Corinthians on the issue of marriage.
Many people in our society have the same confusion. Today society minimizes, denigrates, and dismisses marriage. It has been redefined by society over time, with people sometimes even calling it evil. Prior to 2015 and the Obergefell decision, the government recognized marriage as limited to a union between a man and a woman. That decision redefined the marriage union to include same sex couples, now some in society would like to redefine it further to include multiple partners or other deviant combinations.
In verse 1, the question is not implicitly stated by Paul, instead he jumps right into the answers. Verse 1 starts; “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote:” We don’t know the specific questions that Paul was about to answer but we do know that there was confusion in the Corinthian church over the whole issue of marriage, we can determine the questions by the answers that Paul gives. He continues; “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” Paul’s answer gives us clues as to what the Corinthians had on their minds. The next 15 verses answer those questions that were confusing the Corinthian church. Those questions are: 1. Should a believer marry or remain single? 2. Should a married believer abstain from sex? 3. Should a married believer seek a divorce? And 4. Should believers married to unbelievers seek a divorce?
Paul starts by saying that it is “good” for a man to remain celibate. Being celibate in this verse is not to be take in general terms, like we might think of it today, he was not telling men to refrain from sexual relations before marriage, that was already a given. We saw that in chapter 6 when Paul stated that fornicators would not inherit the kingdom of God. Remember that fornication is defined as sexual intercourse between people not married to each other. The first question that Paul answers here is very specific. Should a believer marry or stay single?
Paul says, “it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” or in other terms, “it is good for a man not to marry a woman”. He uses the word ”good” to describe singleness or celibacy. If you were to stop there at the first verse, then you might think that Paul is contradicting God Himself. Back in Genesis, we see God’s design for the relationship between man and woman. Genesis 2:18 says; Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Paul is not contradicting what God said about marriage, he is not making the claim that celibacy is superior to marriage, just that the choice for a believer to remain unmarried is “good” under specific circumstances which we will see later in this passage. Misinterpretation of this verse leads to the mistaken claim that clergy must be unmarried.
The verse divisions in our bible are not part of the original text. Paul starts the next sentence, verse 2, with the word “But”. Holly being a teacher, explained to me that the word “but” is a conjunction, which introduces a thought that contrasts what was earlier said. Previously, Paul stated that it was good for a man not to marry a woman”, verse 2 says; “But because of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” The Greek word for “sexual immorality” is porneia which is where we get the word pornography. While Paul says that it is good for believers not to marry, he also counseled believers to marry because of their own temptations and the immorality of the society where they lived.
Let’s take a few minutes to look at the kind of society that surrounded them in Corinth. According to the Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, due to its location to major trade routes, much of Corinth’s population was mobile, made up of sailors, businessmen and government officials, therefore, it was cut off from the normal values of a settled society. (the original Sin City) To make matters worse, religious prostitution was commonly practiced in connection to the temples of the city. For instance, Strabo, a Greek historian, who lived from 63 BC to 24 AD, wrote that 1,000 slave girls or priestesses of the Temple of Aphrodite, located on the acropolis, were employed in religious prostitution. To sum it up, Corinth had a transient population, legal prostitution, gambling, it was a destination for debauchery. The word Corinthianize, a Greek verb, came to mean; “to practice sexual immorality”, and their motto could have been; “What happens in Corinth, stays in Corinth.”
Today we live in a society that rivals the sexual immorality of ancient Corinth. A report from Brigham Young University published the following statistics: (parents pay close attention)
- In 1953 Playboy published the first pornographic magazine in the United States and sold 54,000 copies of that first edition.
- In 2019, Pornhub had 42 billion visitors in a year, 115 million a day, 5 million an hour, and almost 80,000 a minute.
- In 2021, 98% of pornography accessed by young adults was internet porn, with the majority viewed on a cell phone.
- 20% of all mobile searches are for pornography.
- There are 4 million websites that feature pornographic content. Which is about 12% of all websites.
- 88.6% of the US population (axcesses) accesses the internet access on a smartphone, therefore most people have pornography available to them 24/7.
- In 2023 the Adult & Pornographic Websites industry in the US was on track to make $1.15 billion (roughly matching the revenue of the NCAA)
- Divorce rates increased when young adults introduce pornography into a previously pornography-free relationship. In a 2018 study, without pornography, a 20-year-old had a 6% chance of getting divorced or separated; with pornography, they had a 51% chance.
Just in case you thought that Christians were immune to this type of societal sexual immorality, here are just a few additional statics about Porn in the Church from Live Free Ministries (Christian pay close attention)
- 14% of all pastors and 20% of youth pastors admit to currently struggling with porn.
- 59% of married practicing Christian men have sought a pastor’s help for porn use.
- Only 19% of practicing Christians who use porn are currently trying to stop.
Pornography is just one area of decay in our society. On a daily basis we hear stories of how our society has turned away from God’s design. Here are just a few:
- People opting for cohabitation as a trial period or replacement for marriage all together.
- The normalization and celebration of homosexual marriage.
- Relationships that consist of multiple partners at the same time.
- The confusion and harm caused by the transgender movement.
- The sexualization of children in society.
- Today, modesty has been replaced by bragging over one’s “body count”.
Again, the question, “Should a believer marry or stay single?” Paul teaches that singleness is good for the believer, there is no imperative to hastily run out and find a spouse, but he also teaches that marriage for believers is good as well.
That brings us to the second question; “Should a married believer abstain from sexual relations in marriage?” In talking about marriage, Paul tells the Corinthians in verse 3 and 4; “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have rights over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. For the married believer, this verse deals with yielding authority of one’s body over to their spouse. Today, this goes against conventional wisdom in the era of the Me-Too movement, where bodily autonomy over rules all.
While looking at these verses, I think that we should take a few minutes to look at what the bible says about marriage and not rely on what we see in our society. At the start, back in Genesis 2, God created woman for Adam because there was not a suitable helper for him, verse 20. Then in verse 24 the design for the relationship between husband and wife is established; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The word “one” is the Hebrew word “echad” and has the sense of “plurality” or being “united”. We have numerous examples of its use throughout the Old Testament, including the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4; “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is “ONE” God”, which describes the unity that is found within the Trinity. In Numbers 13, the spies sent into the promised land brought back samples of the bounty found there, including a “single” (echad) cluster of grapes.
Paul also taught the churches about marriage, although it is not recorded in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul gives a beautiful picture of marriage and the relationship between husbands and wives as described in Ephesian 5:22-33. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church”; Verses 22-23. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”; Verse 25. Paul’s uses the relationship of Jesus with his church and our relationship as the church to Jesus as a pattern for the relationship that husbands and wives should have towards each other in marriage.
However, in Corinth sexual immorality was so widespread and marriages so confused that some believers began to practice a form of ascetism, depriving themselves, because they believed that sexual abstinence, even in marriage, would make them more spiritual. Paul rebukes this kind of thinking and behavior by making it clear that sexual intimacy is to be a normal and regular part of a marriage relationship.
To be clear, Paul’s teaching in these verses WAS ABOUT the negative aspects of forced celibacy within a marriage. It was NOT about sex on demand from a marriage partner, and I am mainly speaking to men here. Somehow, “loving your wife as Christ loves the church” gets lost as some men make unreasonable demands on their wives, Verses 3 & 4 are not to be used as a weapon to demand sexual gratification from your spouse. Instead, lack of sexual intimacy may be due to not following the example of how Christ loved the church, his bride.
There are occasions within a marriage when a pause in sexual relations may occur and Paul addresses this in verse 5; “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourself to prayer; But come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Here Paul gives an example of why a couple may pause their physical relationship, the example here is for a special time to focus on prayer.
The Old Testament gives examples of where couples are told to remain apart to consecrate themselves for special purposes. Exodus 19:9-25 give the account of when God wanted to meet with the people at Mt. Sinai, He had Moses command them to consecrate themselves in preparation for that meeting. As part of the preparation, verse 15 say; “do not go near a woman” meaning that husbands should abstain from sexual relations with their wives. Also, in the book of Joel, the Lord calls Israel to repent for their great sins, in chapter 2 verse 16 He says; “consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.” Paul’s teaching in verse 5 centers on limiting the times when physical intimacy is withheld, and only when there are special circumstances and agreement between the married couple. He warns that to ignore this teaching could invite temptation by the enemy.
In verses 6&7, Paul pivots back to give some clarification on singleness. Verse 6, “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. Unfortunately, the translation here is a little awkward and can create some confusion. The NASB translates the verse slightly differently; it says, “But this I say as a way of concession, not of command.” Again, this verse starts with a “but” which points back to what was written about in the previous verses. The Greek word Paul uses which gets translated as “concession” also has the sense of agreement. Paul is saying that he agrees or confirms that sexual intimacy in marriage is good, but that it is not a command for all to marry. Marital status is not a gauge of one’s spirituality.
Verse 7 reinforces that sentiment when he says, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” Paul is unmarried at this point in his life, probably a widower. He had a desire that all could be single like him. Paul understood that with marriage and family responsibilities, married Christians would be limited in how much they could commit to building and serving God’s kingdom. Paul saw benefits from having the gift of singleness, he could focus on how to please God rather than a spouse, there was less that competed with his relationship to God, and he could fully give his life for the gospel. Without a doubt, the missionary journeys, churches he planted along with his trials and imprisonments would have been almost impossible if he had the responsibilities of marriage as well. To Paul singleness was “good”, clearly teaching that singleness is a gift that is granted by God. Just like other gifts, the gift of singleness was not for all believers.
Next, Paul turns his attention to the divorced and widows, those that had been married previously, by answering this question; “Should the divorced or widows get remarried?” It is important to note that Paul’s intended audience were people that found themselves unmarried by either a divorce prior to becoming a Christian or by death of a spouse. The word for “unmarried” in this verse only occurs 3 other times in the New Testament and all within the chapter 7 of first Corinthians, because of the way it is used, it clarifies that the unmarried addressed here are specifically divorced as opposed to virgins, those that have never been married. In verses 8&9 he addresses them by saying; “To the unmarried and the widow I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Again, here Paul teaches them that it is good for them to stay as they are, like him, unmarried. The unmarried can be of great service to the church due to the freedom that their situation afford them. They should not be rushed or feel pressured into remarriage just for the sake of finding a husband. The account of Anna the prophetess described in Luke 2, is an example of a widow that remained single for many, many years, and served in the temple daily, she was remembered in the bible for her faithfulness in waiting for the redemption of Israel by the coming of Messiah. She had the gift of singleness. However, Paul does warn that if a divorced person or a widow had difficulty controlling their passion, they should look to marry.
In verses 10 & 11, Paul once again addresses a different audience, this time, married couples that are believers. The question they were asking is the same one that still gets asked in the churches today. Should a married Christian couple divorce? As we saw earlier, the question of divorce did not always arise due to conflict or problems in the marriage, some Corinthians sought divorce thinking it would make them more spiritual or better able to serve the church. Malachi 2:15-16 states; “Take heed then to your spirit and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel”. Paul starts by stating that the answer he is about to give had already been addressed by Jesus. Verse 10 starts with; “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord)” Paul is letting the readers know that this same question was addressed by Jesus during his earthly ministry, although he addressed divorce to a more general audience, not focused on believers because the Church had not come into existence yet. Today we have Jesus’ teaching which is found in three of the four gospels. (Matthew 5:31 & 32, 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18.) This letter to the Corinthians is believed to have been written around 55 AD prior to the writing of the gospels. Paul must have drawn on oral tradition or direct revelation (Gal. 1:12) for his knowledge of Jesus’ teaching on the subject.
To continue, verse 10&11 says; “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” Paul’s teaching is short and to the point here, married couples, where both are believers, should not divorce and if they do, then they should remain unmarried. However, for a more detailed answer to this question we can look at Jesus’ teaching on divorce that Paul references.
A complete reading of the 4 accounts of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels give additional guidance. The Lord Jesus also confirms that married couples should not divorce, a familiar verse in modern marriage ceremonies, Mark 10:9, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Jesus’ teaching also confirmed Paul’s answer that if a divorce does occur, the couple should remain unmarried. It is God’s desire for reconciliation of the marriage, which can only happen if the parties remain unmarried. There are two additional details that Paul does not address in his answer but were part of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus, like Paul, taught that if divorce happened the parties should remain unmarried, but Jesus also taught that if a divorced person was remarried to someone other than their original spouse, they would be guilty of committing adultery. The only exception to this was if the divorce was due to marital infidelity. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus teaches; And I say to you; whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
God has made marriage to be a permanent covenant, one man and one woman together for life. This covenant can only be “legally” broken in three different ways. The first one is absolute, which is when one member of the marriage covenant dies. The surviving member can choose to get married because the first marriage covenant is no longer in place. The second situation that gives one partner of the marriage the opportunity to “legally” dissolve the marriage covenant, this is when the other partner has broken the covenant through sexual immorality. (porneia or fornication) However, dissolution of this covenant is not an absolute. In this situation the marriage can be reconciled if there is true repentance, an ability to forgive the offending partner and a desire to keep the marriage covenant. But a marriage covenant broken in this manner gives the offended member that right to remarry if they desire. The third way that a marriage covenant can be dissolved is addressed in the final 5 verses that we are going to look at next.
In verses 12-16, Paul once again, directs his answer to a different group within the church. This time he is speaking to people that come to faith after being married but their spouse is not a believer. Those believers were asking; “Should a new Christian divorce their unbelieving spouse?” It looks like they were concerned that being married to an unbeliever would negatively affect their spiritual walk and ability to build a godly household. This is specifically targeted to those that were married before becoming a Christian.
Paul’s answer does NOT pertain to believers that ignore the prohibition of marrying unbelievers which was setup in the Old Testament and reinforced in the New Testament. Jake read a passage in Proverbs 31 that details the excellent qualities for a wife. The reading ended with; “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”. In Deuteronomy chapter 7, the Lord warns against intermarriage with the inhabitants of the land of Canaan after their defeat by Israel. Verse 3&4 “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods.” These are some of the many verses that point to the teaching against marrying unbelievers. The New Testament does not contradict or negate those Old Testament teaching, it reinforces them. 1 Corinthians 7:39, ”A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” Or 2nd Corinthians 6:14; “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; For what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness or what fellowship hath light with darkness?” Many believers have ignored this teaching to their detriment, thinking that they can marry an unbeliever and then by their example lead them to Christ in the future. Paul’s answer here is not applicable to them.
Just like we saw in verse 10, Paul starts by commenting on the answer he is about to give, but this time he is saying the opposite. Verse 12 starts with; “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord). Paul is letting the readers know that the answer he is about to give was never addressed by Jesus during his earthly ministry. Like we said earlier, this specific situation was not addressed before because the Church had not come into existence yet. “I, not the Lord” does not mean that this teaching can be treated as just Paul’s opinion and considered to have less authority. In 2 Timothy, chapter 3, Paul states that all scripture is inspired by God (verse 16) and in 2 Peter chapter 3, Peter confirms that Paul’s teaching is scripture (verse 16) We can’t ignore or dismiss the teaching that Paul is about to give.
To continue with verses 12&13, “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.” Paul answers the question, “Should a new Christian divorce their unbelieving spouse?” by saying, and let me paraphrase, “It depends”. The condition Paul sets here is whether the unbelieving spouse “consents” or as the NIV reads, is “willing to live with” their believing spouse. If the unbelieving spouse is willing to stay with them, divorce is not permitted. If the believer was looking for a way to avoid the kind of conflicts that inevitably happens with unequally yoked marriage partners or maybe an opportunity to get a complete “do over” under these circumstances, Paul was a definite “NO”.
In verse 14, Paul makes it clear that there is a benefit to the unbelieving spouse that consents to stay in the marriage. “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” The word “holy” can be translated as “sanctify” which means “set apart”. This sanctification does not mean that an unbelieving spouse is saved because they are married to a believer. The benefits of staying married are that a believer gives the members of the household exposure to the Christian life, and they set an example by showing God’s grace at work. Their presence gives greater opportunity to hear the gospel through word and deeds, and overall, unbelieving spouses and children have a greater chance of coming to Christ if the marriage remains intact. The apostle Peter speaks to this concept when teaching on submitting to different types of authority. In 1st Peter 3:1, he writes, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” In his commentary, John MacArthur says, “The sanctification is matrimonial and familial, not personal or spiritual. In God’s eyes a home is set apart for himself when the husband, wife, or, by implication, any other family member, is a Christian. Such a home is not Christian in the full sense, but immeasurably superior to the one that is totally unbelieving.”
For today’s final two verses, 15&16, Paul is going to answer the question posed earlier in verses 12&13, based on the condition where an unbelieving spouse wants to leave the marriage because their spouse is a believer. Again, “Should a new Christian divorce their unbelieving spouse?” Verse 15, “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” For this verse I prefer the alternative translation from the NASB, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. The word “leave” in this context means divorce and Paul is saying “Let him leave”, he is not giving the believer permission, instead he is giving a command. While begging or making concessions to get an unbelieving spouse to stay may seem preferable, God calls for the dissolution of the marriage under these circumstances because He desires us to live in peace. Although it is not stated directly here, a divorce under this circumstance would allow the divorced believer to remarry, but only to another believer. Paul says that the believer is “not under bondage” or bound to the unbelieving partner in such cases and it is assumed that remarriage is allowed when a legitimate divorce occurs. (adultery) As we looked at earlier, this is one of the three ways that the marriage covenant (or bonds) can be broken legally where the believer is no longer bound by the original covenant and can be remarried.
There a two interpretations of verse 16, “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” The first interpretation, which I believe is incorrect, says that this verse refers back to verse 14 which gives the believing spouse reason for staying in a marriage to an unbeliever. They say that it is just one final exhortation by Paul to stay in the marriage because there is always a possibility that the unbeliever will come to faith. This interpretation basically ignores Paul’s instruction in verse 15 where he commands the believing spouse to “Let them leave” once an unbeliever has decided to divorce.
The second interpretation of Verse 16, I believe is the correct one, is related directly back to verse 15 when an unbeliever wants to leave the marriage. While there is an opportunity for the believing spouse to positively influence her unbelieving partner and potentially draw them towards faith in Jesus Christ, here Paul is saying that it is not guaranteed. It becomes even less likely when the unbeliever has made up his mind to divorce. Paul says, “we are called to peace”, trying to “tough it out” in a marriage when an unbeliever is set on leaving works against that call.
- Whether temporary or permanent, if you are single, it is good.
- Singleness is a gift from God that not all have.
- If you are married, it is good.
- Sexual intimacy between couples in a marriage is God ordained.
- For a married couple, abstaining from sexual intimacy, should be by agreement, for a short time, and for special circumstances.
- It is good for the unmarried and widows to remain unmarried but if they marry, it is also good.
- A believing spouse can be a powerful witness to their unbelieving spouse and their children. It is good to stay married.
- God calls us to peace, so if an unbelieving spouse leaves, let them leave.
- God made marriage between one man and one woman for life. There are no exceptions.
- No matter what the culture says, sexual intimacy outside of marriage is a sin, but within marriage it is a gift from God.
- If you are single, use your undivided attention to serve the Lord, pray for your future spouse and prepare yourself for marriage if you feel call to it.
- Whether married or single, neither marital status is superior. We all need to be good stewards of our time.
- If you are married, practice the principles that Paul taught in Ephesians 5:22-33.
- Husbands, follow Christ’s example for loving your wife. Sacrifice for her, serve her, protect her, cherish her, and love her unconditionally.
- Wives, love your husbands by submitting and respecting them.
- The life of a believer is an important witness to their unbelieving spouse.
- Remarriage for a believer is permitted when there is a death of the spouse, adultery, or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse.
- Pornography is not a harmless behavior. Those involved in viewing pornography are sinning against God, betraying their spouse, and putting their marriage or future marriage at risk. Whether a man or woman, if you are involved in pornography, you need to repent, then confess to a spiritual brother or sister to help keep yourself accountable.
Finally, if you are here in person or watching online and aren’t sure of what happens after your life on earth is done, but if there is a heaven, you are going to rely on your good to outweigh your bad. Let me assure you that heaven is real, hell is real, and you can’t do enough good to earn your way into heaven, you will end up in hell. The good news is that God made provision for you by having His son Jesus, the perfect man, suffer the consequences of your sin. If you feel a distance between you and God because of your sin, I urge you to reach out to him and accept the gift of salvation through His Son