Confident Christianity: “Sexual Revolution” (Part Two) – 1 Corinthians 7:6ff

Human Sexuality 3

Confident Christianity: “Sexual Revolution” (Part Two) – 1 Corinthians 7:6ff

space view of earthChristians should admit up front that the Bible never attempts to prove God’s existence or argue to place God’s position above that of man – it presumes those ideas to be true. Over the years of ministry, I have found that if one struggles with the first line of the Bible – “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth” – they will struggle with many concepts of the Bible. I would even argue, they will struggle with many of what have traditionally been framed as our “values” in life. They won’t see the values as important…

Stop and think about it for a moment. Isn’t it true that the highest aspirations of man were never met by the lazy, disorganized and morally ambiguous? In the annals of history, it seems clear that accomplishment – whether in the building of significant architecture, the accomplishment of some great feat in sports, some substantial development of economic wealth or the emergence of some position of significant leadership – all were accomplished by working against the natural tendencies of the body to simply fulfill temporary pleasures and keep the flesh happy in the moment. “Accomplishers” in life seem to consistently fight the not so subtle desires of their body in favor of more strict discipline and control. That discipline serves their value system.

Let’s admit it: we fight a body that repels work and we have to discipline ourselves to resist the urge for constant, instant pleasure and play. We know that inside ourselves is a natural tendency is to resist moral restraint when we would rather just operate under the “Do what feels good!” rule. Truly, the best accomplishments of human society have required sacrifice, discipline, restraint of personal desires and a sense of moral responsibility. A world without those qualities would have long ago devolved into a mess of self-serving abuses of substance and people – and it would have left little in notable accomplishments.

Here is the question: Where did these basic lessons of restraint come from in our society?

In the west, a great part of these values were unquestionably introduced through Judeo-Christian ethics taught from the Bible. We live in the benefits of that reality in our society. The pages of the Scriptures are FILLED with instructions on the importance of sacrifice, moral restraint and the necessity of discipline. It is not a waste of time for believers to publicly press that case as people desperately push to remove all remaining influences of the Bible out of our civic life. I believe that many don’t recognize what they are removing – and won’t until it is gone. They love the benefits, but don’t understand the underlying ethic from which they grow.

In relation to our own sexuality – the Bible offers much instruction – and rebuffs the idea of “doing whatever feels natural”. In the Bible the “natural” thing KILLS. Natural DEGRADES VALUES of the Bible. Natural is not to be trusted, because NATURE is still broken and awaiting its redemption. The strange this is that increasingly, we live in a world that is trying to remove these values and affirm the lowest instincts of their broken heart. They want benefits of relationships that can only be found in the values taught from the Bible, without the costs associated with discipline – but that formula won’t work. It cannot.

Applying Values to Human Sexuality

sexual rev2When God made the Heavens and the earth, the Bible recorded that He saw they were GOOD. Yet, when God made man, He designed him with an essential missing part. He said: “It is NOT good for man to be alone.” It took Adam time to name all the animals, and then Adam caught on to what God already decided – there is none like ME! God gave him a project to teach him a lesson – and human history got going. Then God made woman, and human history took a definite turn toward a new destination. No longer was Adam distracted by the desire to have one like him – a rib and a few moments in the Master’s hand shaped one that was more than pleasing to Adam. The choice for a partner was made. It was not man’s choice – for he had little knowledge and experience to design what he needed. It was GOD’S CHOICE – and God doesn’t make bad choices.

God chose one man for one woman and that same woman for that same man. He designed things to accomplish His purposes – biologically, socially and emotionally. He followed with the instructions to life. He said men and women were not designed to be the same – but were part of one another and were designed to be complementary. He said we were not designed to compete with one another, but to work together to serve His defined purposes in a family. That is the point of our study on 1 Corinthians 7…

Key Principle: The Designer knows the design, and His Word makes clear what it is.

God made the principles and standards clear – but it is up to the church to teach them and the believer to choose to live them. God’s truth will clarify our choices and clear the path to pleasing Him with our lives…

In our last time together we made several notes about this passage:

First, Paul was responding in the letter to an apparent question list sent to him by the church at Corinth. We attempt to apportion the text first by using the phrase “Now concerning” seen in places like 1 Corinthians 7:1 or 12:1.

Second, we looked at the reality that Corinth was a Roman city, under Roman laws. God’s timeless truths were not directly transferrable without looking at the specifics of the Roman situation, where we found that the text was directed at different groups: Married, unmarried, divorced and alone, divorced and remarried, widowed and alone, etc.

Third, we noted that there were FOUR kinds of Roman marriage, making the text more complicated than our own day in this regard:

• Contubernium: “tent marriage” mating of slaves for desired characteristics of a new breed. This was non-contractual as slaves were considered property.

• Usus: “common law marriage” accomplished by one year together. This practice was common, though not legally contractual.

• Coemptio en manum: “pleasurable service women” – the purchase of a woman from her father, particularly to fulfill his debt. This may be a “second mate” for the purchaser. In some cases, the woman was free to leave the house after several years of “pleasurable service”.

• Confarretio: a contractual public ceremony from which we get our own.

Finally, we noted before that Paul began the “Q and A section” with the issue of relationships – because that is the first and most pronounced area where values and character are revealed. We stated that:

1. The Bible defined marriage as one man to one woman in 1 Corinthians 7:2. Earlier the Bible allowed for polygamy for specific purposes, but that allowance ended with the change in human conditions. Revelation is progressive, so our rules are not Abraham’s rules.

2. The Bible defined the proper places and participants for sexual expression.

3. Believers were called to base their practice on God’s Word – not the culture, or even the LAW of the LAND.

4. Men and women are equal in the sight of God in regards to the practice of sexual expression, and need to consult one another and care for one another (7:3-5).

Let’s continue our look at 1 Corinthians 7:

Look back at the letter once again. Paul wrote to a local church that was located at the epicenter of a sensual lifestyle that stretched every value of the Roman Empire. In another study, we will look at what the situation was at that time, but for now, let’s summarize the problem this way: the first century was a time of social change and sexual revolution – not dissimilar to what has happened in my lifetime. The marriage bed was eroded during that time, and the family was slowly disintegrating as the century rolled on. Eventually, the family was broken and courts took over – as the strength of Rome dried up.

Into that climate, Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to answer their questions. As Paul continued in 1 Corinthians 7 he made rules for them in their situation. From those rules we extract a series of principles concerning this subject of relationships and sexuality that apply to our time and place. Let’s sample each principle, and pick out a key phrase form the verses:

For some people, marriage is the best option – even when persecution grows (7:8-9).

1 Corinthians 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

If I could add a simple statement to make this clear, it would be this: “Know Thyself”: Paul makes the case that marriage is perfectly acceptable, and God’s normal idea for most people – but the time of persecution may make them think twice. Here, he cautions about denying the sexual desires exist and pretending. Some people were meant to be married. It isn’t simply that they “can’t control themselves” – but rather that they have this intense longing telling them they were meant for marriage, and denying that would be foolish and dangerous to their testimony in an environment soaked with promiscuity.

Before we go on, it is important that we not get the wrong idea about the idea of “burning with passion”. This is not what you would read about in a cheap Harlequin novel – it is more than just sensual desire. The old Greek notion was a phrase lifted from Aeschylus and Pindar – famous Greek script writers of theatre. In their works it meant an emotional reference for “to burn with fire, to set on fire, or to kindle a fire”. In the Christian Scriptures, it is used only in the passive form – a “take off” of the original well known phrase that was used more like “to be set on fire” – as from an outside source. It is sometimes used of passionate response (2 Peter 3:12); sometimes used for the “powerful sensations of grief” (2 Corinthians 11:29). The point I am making is this phrase isn’t simply “hungering sexual expression” – it is a passion to be married in spite of the dangers that persecution presented to them. It was a strong emotional desire from God (the outside source) – hence the passive form.

If we know ourselves to have such a high degree of desire for relational intimacy both emotionally and physically, we should seek marriage (7:8-9). He isn’t arguing in favor of sexual obsession – he is arguing that some KNOW they were meant for marriage and feel incomplete without a partner. It is important to understand your own makeup and fill the needs as God enables. Yet, we are told to find fulfillment IN MARRIAGE, not in SEXUAL EXPRESSION. Sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is a guilt producing trap, with a variety of negative consequences.

God did not call a believer to leave their partner if one came to Jesus after marriage and the other partner did not (7:10-16).

1 Corinthians 7:10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. 12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Remember that many Roman citizens were USUS or common law married. They hadn’t had any official ceremony, because they couldn’t afford the various pagan superstitions and didn’t have the money to put into the banquet. As a result, many people came to Christ while engaged in a marriage form that was less than completed in their own heart. They were, in essence, in a situation of long term cohabitation without ceremonial completion – but the law afforded them the privileges of marriage “death benefits”. Two Roman stayed together more than a year with the intent of one day having the ceremony – and one came to Christ.

As the new disciple learned of Israel from Bible stories, it became clear through the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures taught in the little house church they attended that God didn’t want Israel to marry outside Israel. Further, when Israel did marry outsiders, God told them to cut those improper marriage bonds that never should have been formed – a split the families (in Ezra). God wanted a pure people, and saw danger for them inter-marrying others in the land of Promise. As such teachings were given, some early disciples in Jesus thought that meant God wanted them to leave their USUS partner – their common law spouse – but He did not. God’s intent was to make this an opportunity to reach out.

Israel and the church are both God’s people in a certain way – but it was inappropriate to use the principle of separation from Ezra in that way – even though the confusion is perfectly understandable.

The proper application of that principle would relate today to only one legal case – that of a “homosexual marriage” – since God has forbidden that altogether. If someone comes to Christ in such an arrangement and wants to follow Christ – that so-called marriage should be Biblically dissolved – since it was never real in God’s eyes. That may mean children are left with a broken home – and that seems harsh. It seemed just as harsh when God ordered it to Israel through Ezra. There simply is no other choice that would not appear to condone something heinous in the eyes of the Lord. If familial marriage of brother and sister or father and daughter become allowed – this also would come under such a ban. If marriage to an animal becomes law, it will also be under such a ban. Marriage should continue between one who becomes a believer after marriage and their non-believing partner – but NOT if that partner is a close relative, an animal, or of the same sex. Those were never marriages according to God’s Word. It isn’t an issue now, but it will be shortly as we present the Gospel to a world being soaked with paganism.

Paul instructed this:

• In every case where marriage can be preserved and relationships can be kept, believers should strive to do so (7:10-11).

• If one is common law married (USUS) or on the way to that state and the couple is not certain they desire to remain together in light of the change in one partner, the believer cannot simply engage another relationship. If they break apart, the believer should prayerfully anticipate the change in their partner (7:11).

• To “other believers” (to the rest I write, v. 12) who were married in a CONFARETTIO or ceremonial marriage, there was little doubt they should be together for life in the Roman mind, but Paul made clear God loves marriage and knows it is best not to dissolve relationship. In fact, if a believer maintains a relationship, even if it is with an unbelieving spouse, it will add blessing to all in the home (7:12-16). In fact, it may bring Christ to the unbelieving partner!

There are a few things that get “mis-taught” from this passage, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them, at least in summary form:

First, the section isn’t “just Paul’s opinion” and therefore not part of God’s directive, though some statements clearly are formed based on Paul’s opinion. What do I mean? Some would say that sentences like the one found in 7:12 sound like Paul is “making up Scripture based on his own ideas”:

1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

What Paul is saying is this: Jesus didn’t speak about this before in the context of His ministry, but I need to offer more – because I am speaking into the Roman world, not the Jewish one of Galilee and Judea of the time of Jesus. Paul IS speaking the Lord’s Word – but not repeating something Jesus already taught. Don’t be misled: the teaching of remaining with an unsaved partner who is willing to live with the believer in spite of their new commitment to Jesus and the transformation going on inside them is a teaching of God – not simply “Paul’s view” of the situation.

Second, having a husband or wife that is a believer doesn’t get you into Heaven. Being from a “Christian family” is not the same as having a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross at Calvary. Some suggest 7:14 sounds like a relative’s faith can get you to Heaven; it cannot.

1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband…

Paul is saying that the influence of God’s Spirit is found in the home of a believer. If you work in an office and are the only believer, you bring something of God to that place they would not have if you were not there. God is at work in you, and where you are, God is at work as well.

Third, God did not condemn children born out of wedlock, but commends that children born in His design for a home ARE blessed because of the choice of parents to follow God in the way they establish their home. Some argue the child of a non-wedded union is somehow “cursed” by God because of the end of verse 14:

1 Corinthians 7:14b … for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

Let’s be careful here, because such an attitude can persist long after the theology is corrected. Children are “unclean” in the passage, but in a very specific sense that must be explained:

This is not about “sinfulness”. The term akáthartos is an adjective – a descriptive word that was derived from wine making practices of the ancients. Conditum was a spiced wine that was mixed with other things and customarily served in the poppinae of the period (pubs). Menus found from the period had the term “conditum viatorium” – or “travelers spiced wine”. The opposite word – the antonym – is kathaírō which is translated “clean” wine. It doesn’t mean there is dirt in the mixed and not in the clean. It doesn’t mean one wine is sinful and the other not – “Clean wine” is “free from additive mixtures”, and unadulterated product that only contains what is on the label.

God isn’t condemning out of wedlock children and cursing their lives. Yes, the term “bastard” was an old English word for that child, and it carried a negative sentiment – because society was trying to deter people from inappropriate sexual encounters. At the same time, the passage is meant to say something about the challenge the child will face. Children born to two parents who are their biological forebearers will face fewer “mixing elements” in their life than children who are in any other arrangement. God is simply saying: “When you follow the design I made, things will work better than any other arrangement.” This is proverbial – it is the NORM. It doesn’t mean that there will be no anecdotal exceptions. It doesn’t mean EVERY child in EVERY home EVERYWHERE will do better with EVERY set of biological parent set. It means the design is the intended way, and other ways will add to the MIX of the child. Likewise, the term “holy” is not to be a term packed with religious significance. The term hágios implies something “set apart” and therefore “different, distinguished and distinct”.

I would therefore translate the phrase at the end of 7:14 this way:

for otherwise there will be an increasing stress on children in the MIXING of them – but with both parents they have the distinction of a specific family.”

If you were a child born out of wedlock, you probably faced specific disadvantages. They were SO significant, that God expressed it would have been better if an unsaved parent raised you in the home with an saved one. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean you are less Christian or your walk with God is somehow critically hindered. It may mean it is harder for you to grasp all the depth of meaning of the word “father” when applied to the One in Heaven. It may mean that you faced other specific learning challenges in your walk – but with the Word and Spirit and in surrender to Christ – all things are possible for you.

God’s distinct call for us is found in our birth; we are to be the person God made us (7:17-20).

1 Corinthians 7:17 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.

Your salvation doesn’t change all status marks in your life. You are still to be committed to the place God has called you, even if now it is uncomfortable (7:17-20). Paul offered specifics:

In 1 Corinthians 7:17, Paul wrote that God assigned specific parameters to each person’s life. Some were made clear at our birth. Some of that statement in the context of the passage clearly means that God assigned some to be married and others to remain celibate. Another aspect of that verse is that because some came to Christ after marriage but have a partner that does not yet know Jesus, some ministry was “off limits” to them. Clearly they were called to remain with the spouse – even if they didn’t get to do everything they wanted even in ministry for Jesus! They may have wanted to serve in an area that required a saved couple at the helm– but they didn’t have one.

Let’s say it this way to summarize the larger principle: God made choices for us that may not agree with our feelings or what we truly wanted Him to make – but He is Sovereign and I am His. These choices can easily conflict with our feelings – but when I declare Him as my Lord, I subject even my feelings to Him as my Master.

Applied another way, we don’t DECIDE our gender – God already did. Bruce Jenner will die a man, no matter how many operations he gets or how many “woman of the year” awards he receives. I am not being cruel – those who are entertaining his fantasy are being cruel. You are what God made you – period. You may not feel that – and as another human being I want to be sympathetic with your feelings – but that doesn’t make them the guiding force of life. In my ministry, I am sometimes with people who feel like killing themselves – that doesn’t mean they should. I have sat with people who were so hurt and angry they wanted to kill someone else – but their feelings don’t offer a license to act on them. Our feelings, even about ourselves, are inherently untrustworthy. Have you ever reacted out of a passion and then regretted it? We should all remember not to trust how we feel as the final authority.

Let me offer this as but one small evidence: In a thousand years, if Bruce’s remains were found in an archaeological dig, the DNA would reflect that he died a male. Your physical parts are not what make you male – your DNA created in the test tube we call a womb by a scientist we call Jehovah are. “Gender Dysphoria” is a legitimate disease that should be cared for, not appeased by a world bent on removing any sense of control on anyone at any time. That is lawlessness – and its spirit is growing in our country.

Because God made some of the male and some female, some of them born to Jewish parents and others to Gentile – they were additionally confused about how to become what God wanted them to be. Let’s read the verses and then unpack the problem:

1 Corinthians 7:18 Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

What is the big deal with “circumcision”? Let me explain. In the time of the early church, the message of Jesus was moving from a tiny Messianic movement within Judaism to a transformation movement of God all across the Roman world. The earliest followers of Jesus were Jewish. He was Jewish. As the message spread, it came largely through the hands of Jews. As a result, and aided by some Jews who mistakenly wanted everyone in the Gentile world to see this movement as still something within Judaism, some Gentiles were feeling pressure to enter the Jewish world as part of knowing Jesus. They felt pressured to join Jews in worship and walk because they thought it was closer to God – or at least that is what they were being told by some traveling teachers. Circumcision was the beginning point of entry to a Jewish world that called people back to the Atonement taught in the Torah. Paul wrote letters like that of Galatians designed to counter that thinking.

Here is the point: If you were called to Jesus as a Jew – don’t try to stop being one. Things God has said to Jews and for Jews are YOUR things. If you were called to Jesus as a Gentile – don’t play JEW. Don’t wrap yourself in Jewish garb and try to become something you aren’t because it will somehow be more holy or more powerful. God made you the ethnic background He intended you to be. Dare I say it: Be who God made you. Be that for God’s glory. Stop letting someone tell you that what you are isn’t good enough.

Let me bring it even one step closer. If you are a believer, celebrate your identity as a follower of the Creator. If you are a woman – don’t try to dress like a man, act like a man or imitate masculinity. I am a man – and I totally believe we have enough men in the world. Look like a woman. Act like a woman. Celebrate your womanhood. The world will tell you children are a burden – don’t believe them. Celebrate your womb and intentionally shape a life if God gives you the opportunity. It is a career – I don’t care what the world says. Don’t let the world convince you that being a man’s helper is some kind of DOG WORK – that demeans God’s Word concerning your design. At the same time, you are God’s beautiful creation whether you are 22 or 92 Don’t let the world tell you that your value is found in the outward traits of your body. It isn’t. Become within the person God is making you to be – that beautiful creation that God will take joy in watching and hearing.

That is as far as this lesson can go, so we will pick up the passage in another lesson. As I close, let me offer some words I hope to be encouraging…

Six ENCOURAGEMENTS for the Tempted Christian

First, if you struggle with sexual desires, you are normal. That doesn’t mean you are free to do what you want – it means we are all struggling with you. The battle between the flesh and the Spirit has been going on since the Fall in the Garden of Eden. We don’t need false promises, and we can’t solve it with a cheap-grace that simply “forgives my failures. God calls us to obedience and surrender of every area of life – and this is part of that call. The continued struggle of life in the fallen world is the truth, and part of the Gospel. Deeply rooted in the Gospel is this truth: All are bent toward sexual sin of some sort, because all of us entered the world with fallen DNA and a corrupt nature (Romans 5:12-21). Your struggle is common to us – so you need not feel alone!

Second, sexual attraction is (and will likely long be) a part of your life -BUT that is ok. Coming to Jesus doesn’t change that. The Holy Spirit will soften you and transform your mind – but it will probably take a long time and come slowly into a changing heart. I need to be clear: surrendering to Jesus isn’t guaranteed to automatically and instantaneously take wrong desires away. We must recognize that as long as we are in this body, we stand the chance of fighting this fight. We should not be seeking a “healing” of sexual desires – because though they have been skewed – they are part of our design. In fact, this is true of those who are opposite sex attracted, and yes, those who are same-sex attracted. Jesus can do a work in us to heal us – but there is no Biblical mandate that we will lose these urges quickly any more than there is a mandate that we will stop getting hungry – so don’t hold your breath on a false promise.

Third, Jesus commanded us to flee from any sexual behavior that is not according to His holy design – no matter the context. Biblically speaking, whether this is a “one night stand” borne out of drunken promiscuity or a so-called “loving act” in committed monogamy, sexual behavior outside of marriage is a detestable evil because it is mutiny to the design God made and revealed – period. Because one situation is more acceptable to the world than the other doesn’t make one more acceptable to God. His plan is the right way. Any opposing plan in simply more rebellion – no matter how polite it appears to be to the people of our age. Consider this:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around about drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are too easily pleased.” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory)

Fourth, you must not accept the premise that your identity is found in your fallen desires. This is one of the true tragedies of the homosexual movement – they are convincing people that their very identity is bound up in their hungers and desires. We must assert anew this truth: You are not defined by your flesh – that is only the home where YOU live. The desires in this body are temporary, and our identity is tied up in Christ forever (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). In the end, Christ will come again, and your journey will be over. You be like him – beyond the clutches of sin, for “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Fifth, God will redeem every struggle against the flesh for His glory. Sexual attraction can have a divine purpose! It can humble us and make us seek Jesus for the strength to simply get through the day. It can help us become more empathetic toward the struggles and needs of others as they face their sinful desires. It may keep us from becoming Pharisees. It may help keep us in tune with a broken world we are called to reach. It is a mystery, but yet a truth: God is using even your battle with your own sexuality for the good of telling His story through your life (Romans 8:28).

Sixth, the restrictions of your sexuality are an altar on which you can sacrifice something for your Savior in His honor. Obedience entails celibacy. Celibacy requires restraint. Restraint requires denying your biological wiring in favor of your Savior’s smile. There will be deep fulfillment in loving Him more than yourself. He will also use your life in a more wondrous way. Nothing given up for Jesus gets overlooked by Him.

Perhaps it simply all “comes down to listening to the manufacturer before we void the warranty”: Max Lucado in his book 3:16 notes the following about those living in the dead zone: “God, at this very moment, issues invitations by the millions. He whispers through the kindness of a grandparent, shouts through the tempest of a tsunami. Through the funeral he cautions, ‘Life is fragile.’ Through a sickness he reminds, ‘Days are numbered.’ God may speak through nature or nurture, majesty or mishap. But through all and to all he invites: ‘Come, enjoy me forever.’ Yet many people have no desire to do so. They don’t want anything to do with God. He speaks; they cover their ears. He commands; they scoff. They don’t want him telling them how to live. They mock what he says about marriage, money, sex, or the value of human life. They regard his son as a joke and the cross as utter folly. They spend their lives telling God to leave them alone. And at the moment of their final breath… He honors their request: ‘Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew you’ (Matt. 7:23). This verse escorts us to the most somber of Christian realities: hell” (Max Lucado page 93, 94 – Book 3:16)!

The Designer knows the design, and His Word makes clear what it is.