Today’s readings.. (1 kings 21), (Jeremiah 48), (1 Corinthians 7)

Today’s chapter in Corinthians is an answer to specific situations there.  However, it contains many principles which apply to believers in all ages. Paul is responding to “matters about which you wrote” [1 Cor.7 v.1] and it is like hearing one side of a conversation.   Corinth was a very immoral city and the idolatry and fleshly living that surrounded the believers created many problems: they had been involved in this until they committed themselves to the way of life in Christ. They are encouraged to be faithful in their marriages, to avoid divorce and to be content with their situation in life, even if they are still slaves. (v.20,21)  “I want you to be free from anxieties,” he writes, “to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”  [v.35].
Maintaining marriage relationships, says Paul, is very important; he stresses that, “because of temptations to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband  … do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” [v.2,5]  This reference to a Satan is to human tempters, just as, at one stage Peter was a Satan to Jesus (Mark 8 v.33) when his spiritual vision had still not developed; he was not taking in what Jesus was saying, his mind was locked into his own perceptions; similarly, many of the converts in Corinth would have contact with individuals whose attitude was very ungodly and could tempt them – and so it is with us today – and it is increasing – so our reading and reflection on God’s word needs to increase.
Some ‘Christians’ in our days see Paul in as being against marriage, even a woman hater! This is most inaccurate; he writes, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind one of another … it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.” [v.7,9]  There were problems because some who had accepted Christ were married to unbelieving partners. The believer should not seek a divorce, the believer should hope to influence the unbeliever to believe, “but if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so.” [v.15]
Paul sensed that Corinth was facing an imminent crisis (v.31), just as we sense that this world is heading into a big crisis situation; for that reason there are many points in this chapter which have special relevance to today and the need for our “undivided devotion to the Lord.”

 

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