1 Corinthians 7

* The apostle answers several questions about marriage. (1-9)

Married Christians should not seek to part from their

unbelieving consorts. (10-16) Persons, in any fixed station,

should usually abide in that. (17-24) It was most desirable, on

account of the then perilous days, for people to sit loose to

this world. (25-35) Great prudence be used in marriage; it

should be only in the Lord. (36-40)

1-9 The apostle tells the Corinthians that it was good, in that

juncture of time, for Christians to keep themselves single. Yet

he says that marriage, and the comforts of that state, are

settled by Divine wisdom. Though none may break the law of God,

yet that perfect rule leaves men at liberty to serve him in the

way most suited to their powers and circumstances, of which

others often are very unfit judges. All must determine for

themselves, seeking counsel from God how they ought to act.
10-16 Man and wife must not separate for any other cause than

what Christ allows. Divorce, at that time, was very common among

both Jews and Gentiles, on very slight pretexts. Marriage is a

Divine institution; and is an engagement for life, by God's

appointment. We are bound, as much as in us lies, to live

peaceably with all men, #Ro 12:18|, therefore to promote the

peace and comfort of our nearest relatives, though unbelievers.

It should be the labour and study of those who are married, to

make each other as easy and happy as possible. Should a

Christian desert a husband or wife, when there is opportunity to

give the greatest proof of love? Stay, and labour heartily for

the conversion of thy relative. In every state and relation the

Lord has called us to peace; and every thing should be done to

promote harmony, as far as truth and holiness will permit.
17-24 The rules of Christianity reach every condition; and in

every state a man may live so as to be a credit to it. It is the

duty of every Christian to be content with his lot, and to

conduct himself in his rank and place as becomes a Christian.

Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, not

what we are in the world. No man should think to make his faith

or religion, an argument to break through any natural or civil

obligations. He should quietly and contentedly abide in the

condition in which he is placed by Divine Providence.
25-35 Considering the distress of those times, the unmarried

state was best. Notwithstanding, the apostle does not condemn

marriage. How opposite are those to the apostle Paul who forbid

many to marry, and entangle them with vows to remain single,

whether they ought to do so or not! He exhorts all Christians to

holy indifference toward the world. As to relations; they must

not set their hearts on the comforts of the state. As to

afflictions; they must not indulge the sorrow of the world: even

in sorrow the heart may be joyful. As to worldly enjoyments;

here is not their rest. As to worldly employment; those that

prosper in trade, and increase in wealth, should hold their

possessions as though they held them not. As to all worldly

concerns; they must keep the world out of their hearts, that

they may not abuse it when they have it in their hands. All

worldly things are show; nothing solid. All will be quickly

gone. Wise concern about worldly interests is a duty; but to be

full of care, to have anxious and perplexing care, is a sin. By

this maxim the apostle solves the case whether it were advisable

to marry. That condition of life is best for every man, which is

best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and

snares of the world. Let us reflect on the advantages and snares

of our own condition in life; that we may improve the one, and

escape as far as possible all injury from the other. And

whatever cares press upon the mind, let time still be kept for

the things of the Lord.
36-40 The apostle is thought to give advice here about the

disposal of children in marriage. In this view, the general

meaning is plain. Children should seek and follow the directions

of their parents as to marriage. And parents should consult

their children's wishes; and not reckon they have power to do

with them, and dictate just as they please, without reason. The

whole is closed with advice to widows. Second marriages are not

unlawful, so that it is kept in mind, to marry in the Lord. In

our choice of relations, and change of conditions, we should

always be guided by the fear of God, and the laws of God, and

act in dependence on the providence of God. Change of condition

ought only to be made after careful consideration, and on

probable grounds, that it will be to advantage in our spiritual

concerns.

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