1 Corinthians 7
“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote….” (1 Corinthians 7:1)
The Corinthian Christians had apparently written Paul with some specific questions. It seems that maybe he had gotten some of their attention concerning sexual immorality so that maybe they were suggesting that they should all be abstinent even in marriage. Isn’t that just like Satan to take what Paul had been saying before and twist it to make something bad out of something good. He’s done it before! Remember Eve in the garden, where Satan takes God’s words and twists them until Eve is stumbling over her own memory on what God’s instructions were. He is so crafty and will twist words until you don’t know which way is up if we aren’t careful. That’s what I thought about as I was reading the commentary on this. Paul had in the previous chapters told them the evils of sexual immorality and before it’s all over Satan has the Corinthians believing they shouldn’t have sex inside of marriage or that maybe they should all divorce. Paul is answering their questions and giving them instructions on marriage. Paul is telling the Corinthians that if you are married you are a gift to each other and should not deprive one another. Paul does not want them to confuse the sin of sexual immorality with God’s gift of sex inside of marriage. Paul goes on to say that if you are unmarried or widowed it could be good for you to remain single. However, for some the temptations would be too great to not be married.
While studying I ran across this statement: “Satan’s great strategy, when it comes to sex is to do everything he can to encourage sex outside of marriage, and to discourage sex within marriage. It is an equal victory for Satan if he accomplishes either plan.” (David Guzik) Either way he wins a battle.
Paul also addresses those who are married to an unbeliever. It’s possible that some of the Corinthians actually saw that as less than spiritual and they thought because of their unbelieving spouse that they should just get out of the marriage. Paul is talking to the people who are already married and have an unbelieving spouse. Make no mistake that marriage between an unbeliever and a believer should not be entered into. But if this is where you find yourself, Paul is simply stating that your concern should be for your unbelieving spouse and that you do not know if you will be the means to salvation for your unbelieving spouse. This is such a hard place to be in. I have known people in this spot and it is painful and it is gut wrenching for the believer. But it is not a free ticket out of a marriage. God does not hand those out. Paul does say that if the unbelieving partner wants out that can be permitted but the marriage should not be broken by the believing partner.
Now I can’t go any further on this subject without mentioning that no where here does Paul address abuse, either mental or physical. So please do not mistake any of this for saying anyone should ever stay in an abusive situation. I do not believe that to be so. If one partner is being physically or mentally abused they should seek help immediately. If both partners will go to counseling then by all means go, and many times for safety sake there must be a separation take place. If both parties will not get counseling then by all means the believing partner should seek good Godly Christian counseling and spend a lot of time in prayer. I have seen God redeem marriages and I have seen divorces happen and God redeem in other relationships. He wants good for His children.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” 1 Corinthians 7:17
Paul has shifted his focus from marriage to calling. Paul gives the example of the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Back in those days this was a big deal. Because of Jewish traditions and the fact that now Gentiles were in the church there were arguments over which was better, to be circumcised or uncircumcised. Well if it wasn’t that argument it was something else, and yes we have addressed much of this already. But what Paul is really saying here and the application for us is serve where you are, in whatever position you have found yourself in at this time.
“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. ” (1 Corinthians 7:19-20)
How many times do we think “oh when I get beyond this ___ (job, season of life, church, school, etc.) then I will start serving.” Paul has gone on to say if you are a slave, live in the freedom of Christ and if you are free, realize you are only a slave to Christ. But serve where you are. Wherever you find yourself at this time. Serve there.
Paul wraps up the latter part of this chapter reiterating. If you are married, stay married, if you are not married so be it. Paul says those who are single are anxious in trying to please the Lord, those who are married are anxious in trying to please their spouse and that none of that should be so. But in all whether married or unmarried stay devoted to the Lord.
Oh Lord, may we all be satisfied in whatever circumstance we have found ourselves in and may we just serve You Lord Jesus.
Please pray today for the educators. There are lots of big decisions coming down and whatever camp you find yourself in, you can still pray for those making these decisions.