To marry? Or not to Marry?
Scripture reading for August 12th: 1st Corinthians 7:20-40
“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” “Brothers, each man , as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” (1st Corinthians 7:17, 23)
When we become Christians, our view of life changes from ‘self’ to ‘God’. Often this radical shift causes us to regret the choices we made or the situation that we find ourselves in. Some of the Corinthians had married unbelievers. This made it difficult for the believers to share their new life with their mates. Some Corinthians were uncircumcised Gentiles when they came to faith. Paul told them they did not need to be circumcised to belong to the church, in spite of what some Jewish believers might say! Some were slaves when God saved them, but Paul told them to wait on the Lord and serve where they were for the time being.
Paul went on to talk about virgins and others seeking mates or change in marital status. He stressed that this was his personal opinion, not from the Lord’s direct instruction. He counseled virgins at that present time in history to remain unmarried. He also counseled the married not to seek a divorce. If the person was unmarried, they should not look for a spouse. (1st Corinthians 7:25-28) His reasoning was to avoid the troubles that were present in that culture. Paul felt that the time was short for the return of Jesus and that maximum effort should be given to sharing the Gospel.
However, on the other hand, God had ordained marriage to be good. The command to be fruitful had not been rescinded and God was still blessing people who felt that they wanted to get married. Marriage is not a sin and is proper for those who have strong sexual desires. These are to be expressed only in marriage. (1st Corinthians 7:36-38)
In the case of the death of a spouse, the surviving mate is free to remarry. Death frees the person from the marriage covenant. They must be careful to marry again only within the faith. Paul’s opinion was that to remain single was best. (1st Corinthians 7:39-40) For Paul, Jesus was coming soon. The work of ministry should take precedent. However, each person should hear from God!