Bible Reading Day 238
Day 238: August 26 (1 Corinthians 7:1-24)
Paul turns to answer a series of questions asked by the Corinthians. His answers are mainly not commands but wisdom from an apostle who knows the heart of God.
First question: is it more spiritual for a Christian couple to abstain from sex since sexual immorality is so prevalent in our society?
Answer: No. In fact it is each spouse’s privilege to fulfill the needs of the other – out of love and respect rather than mere duty.
Second question: is it more spiritual to stay single than to marry?
Answer: No. Even though Paul is now single, he must have been married at some time (he was an observant Jew who would have been expected to be married by around 20, and he was a member of the Sanhedrin which was restricted to married men). He recommends singleness, but says it is better for those attracted to another to marry rather than burn with lust.
Third question: Can a believer leave their believing spouse in order to be more spiritual as a single person again?
Answer: No. Here is a command that comes from Jesus, not Paul: you cannot leave your spouse if both are believers; that would be a betrayal of the covenant that mirrors God’s covenant with humanity. The only options for spouses who are believers are separation or reconciliation.
Question Four: If someone becomes a believer and their spouse is not a believer, should they leave the spouse?
Answer: No. God can work in a marriage through the believing spouse, so the believer must stay. If the unbeliever leaves then the believer is released from the marriage.
Then Paul lays out a principle for many decisions – stay in the condition you were in until God shows you to change. The married believer with an unbelieving spouse is to stay married unless the spouse leaves. The circumcised man is to remain circumcised and the uncircumcised likewise. Stay as you were when God called you, unless God shows you otherwise.
In all these answers, the principles Paul outlines are that God is greater than any human condition – and that He has paid a high price to make us His own. Thus there is a higher standard for us to follow; higher than the standards of the world around us, but also higher than the standards we might create as measures of holiness. Living for God is a high calling, and a costly one, but the rewards are great.
Have a great day!