Paul says “Let not the State or Condition of your calling detour you in faithfulness to Christ”
1 Corinthians 7:25-40
Paul continues on to urge and exhorts every person to remain in the very same walk of life they were in when they encountered the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul addresses the question or concern about what was right and proper for virgins that must have been raised by the Corinthian believers when they wrote to him previously as Paul has already documented for us with these words, “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). Paul informs them that our Lord Jesus has not given him a commandment about virgins, but Paul is going to provide them with wise counsel concerning what he deems to be righteous and virtuous before our Heavenly Father. What Paul meant when he wrote this, “Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is” (1 Corinthians 7:25-26) he answers this or gives his opinion by telling them that if one desires to remain a virgin and is given the grace gift of celibacy by our Lord Jesus Christ, then that woman or man is not to be looked down upon but treated just as any other sister or brother in Christ Mystical Body.
Likewise if any virgin girl desires to be married she has not sinned against our Lord Jesus, for if she does marry it surely was ordained by our Lord to be so. Paul makes it clear to them that his desire for them is to maintain their individual and collective focus on the Lord Jesus Christ making Him alone the focal point of everything they do in the remaining time of their earthly lives, not their marriage or lack of a marriage. This is exactly why Paul asks and answers his own question as it is written here, “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you” (1 Corinthians 7:27-28). Paul uses the English word trouble in warning them and it is translated by the Greek word thlipsis which means to have pressure or literally or figuratively to be afflicted or suffer affliction, to be in anguish or to be burdened. Paul warns them as he stated earlier from the result of his own perception and learning and reasoning as we declared in a previous study, this man Paul was married (during his days without Christ as a Jewish member of the Sanhedrin) but he still remembers what it was like having his devotions constantly divided between religion (for him at that time) and being pleasing to his wife. Paul now that he is “in Christ” and loosed from his wife by virtue of her death or her leaving him when he was converted to Christ (Paul does not tell us) has no divided allegiances with worldly matters but is free to have his heart solely devoted to Christ Jesus our Lord and His cause as he asked the Lord Jesus this on the road to Damascus, “And he trembling and astonished said, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ And the Lord said unto him, ‘Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do’ (Acts 9:6).
Paul from that very day to the day he wrote this letter to the Corinthian believers has gone about to be obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what, when, or where our Lord Jesus sent him to do His Will. Paul wanted to keep them from those “present distresses” he knew would surely be the result of someone having a divided allegiance to the cause of Christ or the will of God. Paul was always living in the expectancy of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and wanted everyone else who professed to “love Him” to be also likeminded realizing that the temporal things of this world is just that temporary. Paul drives home his longing for them to maintain Christ at the center of their lives with these words, “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). It was the Apostle John that so warned us of keeping ourselves untangled from this world and all that it appears to have to offer us and to gratify us with when he said this, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul is directing these Corinthian believers to do and that is to let nothing detour them away from faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather live in such a way that your marriage or children or job or house or any other persons or things take second priority to your devoted love for Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul gives a striking contrast of the two devotions that can result when a man or a woman is bound (not by force but choice) in a marriage relationship when he says, “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). Paul says this to awaken every one of the Corinthian believers and us today to understand fully that to be “holy both in body and spirit” is the single most important thing that a servant of Christ or a child of God can seek in their daily lives as pilgrims and sojourners and aliens passing through this earth in the vapor of time we are given. Paul has reminded them on several occasions already in this very epistle or letter that they and we are “bought with a price” and they and we are “the temple of God” and they and we are to “glorify God in our body and spirit.”
Paul declares that he tells them and us this for our own benefit or good or advantage and not to force them or us into some ritualistic, religious, or routine practices or observances that will never honor or please our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul goes back to the words he wrote earlier when he said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Is marriage lawful before God the Father, you bet it is because He ordained it and married Adam and Eve from the beginning, but Paul is declaring that even that which is good, lawful, and honorable before God can become unprofitable if it saps either the husbands or the wife’s devotion and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says the virgin can marry without being under condemnation and likewise the man or woman who is loosed from a marriage can lawfully remarry “in the Lord” or to put it plainly “another born again believer”, but Paul declares that the virgin or the man or the woman would be “blessed” if they were to remain in their single status, providing they have the gift of celibacy from the Lord Jesus Christ. Guess what? this English word “happier” Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word makarios which means blessed or happy or fortunate or well-off and it is the exact same word our Lord Jesus Christ used nine times in a row at the beginning of the “Sermon on the Mount” or “The Beatitudes” Wow! Selah, or think about that!
“We have but little time to continue in this world; but a short season for possessing and enjoying worldly things; kairos sunestalmenos. It is contracted, reduced to a narrow compass. It will soon be gone. It is just ready to be wrapped up in eternity. Therefore do not set your hearts on worldly enjoyments. Do not be overwhelmed with worldly cares and troubles. Possess what you must shortly leave without suffering yourselves to be possessed by it. Why should your hearts be much set on what you must quickly resign?” Matthew Henry
“It matters not that we are married or single but what does matter utmost is that we are devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ with a burning and passionate love for Him far above anyone else. (Luke 14:26)” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…