1 Corinthians 7:23-26

In 1 Corinthians 7:23-26 Paul makes what may be the biggest understatement in all of scripture – that we were bought with a price. It wasn’t just any simple price – it was the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross – His one and only Son that He gave as a gift of grace that we might have a way to gain eternal life in spite of our sinful condition which would in and of itself prevent us from spending that eternity with God in heaven. “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” God gave it all for us. And Paul reminds us that we are never to put ourselves under the inappropriate control or influence of others.

Rather than spend our time trying to be something that we aren’t, Paul reminds us to just get on with living life as we are in obedience to God and His calling. Far too many of us spend time trying to become something we aren’t, or chasing something that isn’t our calling. Paul is clear that each of us has been called by God, and we should just pursue that with all our heart living in obedience to Him as we do. It’s not rocket science – it is just being who He made us to be and doing what He created us to do. “So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.” That is how we live out God’s purpose for our life.

After this brief diversion to explain the principle of falling our calling by using circumcision and slavery as examples, Paul returns to talking about marriage once again. He moves his focus to those who aren’t currently married – in this case those engaged to be so. “Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.” Paul deals with life-situations that differ from person to person, so he cannot, and will not, give a commandment. He gives advice specifically to each place in life, now focused on the unmarried.

His advice at that time was simple – stay single. “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.” Apparently, there was some kind of local persecution or problem in the city of Corinth, and because of this distress, Paul says there are definite advantages to remaining single. Also, because of this distress, a married man should also remain as he is. The time to make significant change to ones place in life is not in the midst of a stressful situation. Guzik wrote “What is the advantage of remaining single? We can easily imagine how in a time of persecution or great crisis, how much more of a burden a wife or a family can be for someone committed to standing strong for the Lord. We may say, “Torture me, and I will never renounce Jesus.” But what if we were threatened with the rape of our wife or the torture of our children? These may seem far away to us, but they were not far away to Christians in the first century.”

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