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Epistles of Paul: 14 - 1 Corinthians 7:17-40

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Epistles of Paul

14 - 1 Corinthians 7:17-40

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Epistles of Paul: 14 - 1 Corinthians 7:17-40

MP4 Video - 1080p (1.67 GB)
MP4 Video - 720p (1.01 GB)
MP3 Audio (31.61 MB)

In this class we will discuss 1 Corinthians 7:17–40 and examine the following: Paul advises believers to remain in the life situation they were in when called by God. He emphasizes contentment and encourages slaves to seek freedom if possible. Paul addresses concerns about marriage, suggesting that both marriage and singleness are gifts from God. He advises against unnecessary changes in one's status but recognizes individual circumstances. The passage underscores the importance of serving God faithfully in one's present situation, whether married or single, and highlights the benefits of undivided devotion to the Lord.


[Steve Myers] This is Epistles of Paul. We left off in 1 Corinthians 7. We've remained there for just a little bit. And hopefully we'll be able to wrap that up today in today's session. We've been talking about the various reasons that God allows divorce and then potentially remarriage. And we talked about those big three areas, whether it be porneia, an unbeliever departs, or fraud. Those three areas certainly are ones that would allow for someone to divorce and then potentially remarry. One of the things I might not have mentioned last time when you talk about this idea of porneia and that sexual immorality, don't forget we had an example of that in Chapter 5. Remember that example in Chapter 5, what happened to that person and the immorality that they were committing. What did Paul tell them to do with that man? He said, "Put him out. Put him out of the Church."

And so what that is certainly reminding us of is the fact that oftentimes, and probably most often, the sinful actions are the cause for divorce. And so, many more times often than not, when there is sexual immorality, someone is put out of the Church if they're both claiming to be Church members. And so it's certainly the Church's responsibility then to take action in those kinds of cases when that becomes evident. And then of course it's up to the one who's offended then to make that decision. Do I try to work it out or do we divorce? And so that individual has that prerogative. And so we can't put them down for, you know, let's say, getting a divorce because God certainly allows it in His Word. And so it's important to note that.

Now, as we think about this in the Church, I might also mention that we do have several doctrinal study papers on divorce and remarriage. So those are on our website. It gets into all kinds of different details in regarding these things, talking about the different aspects that we've discussed here as well. Also, we find the Church's policy when it comes to divorce and remarriage. And I think that's an important thing to keep in mind as well. If we remember that we understand that a marriage is bound by the law of God, God's law is what binds people together. We read that. If you look back at... Well, we're not quite there yet, but let's maybe just take a sneak peek ahead. I think we did the other day.

1 Corinthians 7:39 speaks to this very fact where it says, "A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives."

So it's God's law that binds us together. And of course, when one mate dies, the contract is broken. The law does no longer apply in that regard. Same thing is said over in Romans 7:2. So you might make a note of that.

Romans 7:2 "The woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives."

And so how are you bound? By law is what Romans 7:2 states. And so when we consider that, God established the criteria and the law in that sense. Now, we're not talking about civil law, man's law. We're talking about God's law in the Church is the legal authority in that regard. And of course, the biblical way is that you are bound by a covenant, by a contract, a covenant that you make with each other and with God. And so we keep that in mind as well. So a marriage in the Church is legally bound by God's law. And then the couple formally makes a covenant. When do they do that? Well, usually at a wedding that would be in the Church. And we certainly recognize God is at the heart of that connection as well. And in that case, that would certainly tie in with what Christ said in Matthew 19:6.

Matthew 19:6 Where He said, "What God has joined, let no man tear it apart, let no man put asunder."

That God has joined by His law. And so that, I hope, becomes clear in that regard. And so, all of these various things that we've talked about in the last couple of sessions has to have an application. How does it work in the Church in that regard? What happens? I mean, I think there's been times that the Church has been accused of being soft on marriage. "Well, I guess you can get divorced for whatever reason because I know this couple that live over here and they just got divorced and now they're remarried." "Well, I don't think the Church stands for marriage very strongly because, you know, I've heard about this situation or that situation." First of all, you know the details of those situations? Probably not. Are appearances of things always the whole truth? You know everything about the situation that brought about some type of decision? You don't. You don't. Oh, maybe you heard part of a story or one side of a story or a different thing.

Please don't think that the United Church of God is soft on marriage. We're not. We have a whole policy in dealing with situations like we've outlined, these three situations, whether it be fraud or whether it be porneia or whether it be the unbeliever departs. We actually have a divorce and remarriage committee that reviews situations like this when a couple is divorcing and they want to be considered for remarriage. And so we have a whole procedure that comes into play if that's the case. And it's one actually based in Scripture. So if you want to turn with me for just a moment, go over to Ezekiel. And in Ezekiel 44, we find a whole chapter that's dealing with the worship of God, worshiping at the temple, looking at what God considers holy and what is not. And He outlines all kinds of different things here. He talks about different things, the way people are clothed. He talks about marriages, and different kinds of things are addressed here. But it's interesting as He talks about the leaders, as He talks about the priests.

Ezekiel 44:23-24 He says, "They shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. In controversy, they shall stand as judges and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws, My statutes, and all My appointed meetings. They shall hallow My Sabbaths."

So here God is getting to a basic outline that, yes, the priest in that day had that responsibility, judged between the clean and the unclean. The ministry today has that responsibility and in this case, when it comes to divorce and remarriage. I mean sometimes it's very clear. You know, you've got an unbeliever that actually left and is no longer faithful to the marriage. Pretty straightforward. But boy, there's other situations that are just so convoluted between two people that are supposed to be Church members. And it becomes very difficult to sort out the details, what in the world is going on here. And he said, she said, and wow, it just becomes a mess.

Well, who's going to discern then in that regard? As I mentioned, we have a divorce and remarriage group of ministers, pastors who have been around for a long, long time to help with that discernment. And so policy in the United Church of God, let's say a couple is going to divorce or they have divorced and they want to be considered to be remarried. I mean should they automatically remarry? No, we read what Christ said. If you divorce and you just get remarried, He says you could be living in sin. That could be adultery according to what Christ taught. So you'd certainly want to get the Church's perspective on things. And so we have a policy in place that if someone were to get divorced, that they should then be considered for remarriage or not be considered for remarriage.

And so what happens, we actually have an assessment that the couple would take, or at least hopefully they both would, if not, one would do this, and basically outline what falls under biblical reasons that would be allowing you to be remarried. And what were those reasons? Well, porneia, unbeliever departs, or fraud. So what in your relationship constituted a biblical reason that you should be thought to or consider remarriage? And so they actually fill out a form that the committee on divorce and remarriage can actually go through and ask questions and try to discern whether or not this falls under one of those reasons to be remarried. And so they go through quite a process.

Now, there's some that are obvious and it just goes to the pastoral level. You know, I've worked with some people over the years and there's just a situation that came up where this individual obviously is totally inundated with pornography and doesn't want anything to do with the marriage and they're gone, they leave, it's over. Obvious. So basically, the pastor just writes up a short form, fills out this form, and then it becomes obvious then this person is eligible to remarry. And so there's some pretty straightforward ones. But I'll tell you, there's others that are just horrible to try to work through, just very, very difficult. And so then the committee has to try to deal with those things and so it keeps kind of moving up the ladder.

And so what I'm trying to say by all of these kinds of things is that there is a policy, there is a procedure. It's not just a free for all within the Church that you can just divorce and get remarried. No, that is not the case. Now, do some people do that? Oh, there's some people that try to play the game, no doubt. Well, they're married, they don't get along, they have whatever minor reasons for not wanting to be together. And you might find a situation where there's irreconcilable differences that they're not willing to reconcile. That's sometimes the case. And they split up. Sometimes both of them leave the Church. A couple years later, wow, one shows up with a different mate. Wait a second, that's not right. That's not biblical. That's not the accepted standard outlined in the Bible. I call it playing the game. They play the game. "I don't want to be married to this person anymore, so I'm out of here." And, you know, not really anything the Church can say at that point. They're gone. But then they come back. You know, I think that's a time certainly for counseling, talking to that individual. They're going to have to face the fact that they didn't want to look at what God's direction is. They didn't want to follow God's guidance. And that's something they're going to have to account for before God.

And so those kinds of situations can and have arisen occasionally. You sure hope and pray that wouldn't be the case and hopefully people would go through the process. Once they go through that process, then a decision is made. Are they free to remarry? Or looking at all the different aspects of what's happened, are they still bound together? And so ultimately in those, especially those difficult situations, a committee would come to that decision that they're either free or they're bound. If they're bound, what has to happen? Well, if they're going to stay in the Church, they either stay apart or they reconcile with their mate. They can't remarry, they can't be out dating, they can't be, you know, none of those... They've got to reconcile. That's their only option, or stay apart. That's it. That's all they can do if they're willing to follow the direction of the Church.

And so ultimately those decisions are made then, and then the decisions come back to the person. So it's a pretty organized process that we can go through if the couple is willing to, if they're willing to really face the facts and allow the Church to help discern in those situations. And so to say that the United Church of God is soft on marriage is just not true. It's just not true. And so we do have biblical guidance that we follow and we have policies that we also try to follow to put those biblical principles into use and into practice.

All right, well, let's head back then to 1 Corinthians 7. Hopefully, we can kind of leave some of this discussion of divorce and remarriage for just a moment. Paul is not quite done with marriage itself yet, and so he's still dealing with different questions that have come up. And let's see, where did we finish? We kind of left off in verse 16, you know, that you just don't get a divorce for any reason or just automatically divorce an unbelieving mate when you come into the Church. He says then in verse 17.

1 Corinthians 7:17 He says, "But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches."

Now, that applies to everything we've just read throughout this whole section. We've got to recognize the fact we live in an imperfect world. And in this imperfect world, we're looking forward to the perfect rule of Jesus Christ. So whatever condition we're in, He says, "Walk that way." Walk that way. Remember He was talking about you come into the Church and your mate is unbelieving. Just hang in there. Hang in there. Who knows if God might not call them? You find yourself in this situation, do your best. Do your best to live in this condition, you know, and live in peace. And it's interesting then, God could change those conditions but that's up to Him. So we've got to put it in His hands.

And it's also interesting, this was not just guidance and direction for the church in Corinth. What does Paul say at the end of verse 17? "So I ordain in all the churches." All the churches. And so now he kind of pivots a little bit and talks about other circumstances other than just marriage.

1 Corinthians 7:18-19 He says, "Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised." Of course, that's pretty ridiculous, isn't it? That'd be really hard. How could that even happen? Kind of calling on the ridiculous in that sense. And he turns it around. "Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised." Why? He says, "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters."

So is that physical condition the be-all and end-all of everything? He says, "No." No. Really, to God, that's pretty meaningless. His concern and His focus is how we live our lives. And this is a great passage that it ties in with being commandment keepers. Does God expect us to keep the commandments? I don't know how any clearer you could possibly be than what he says here. Keeping the commandments of God is what matters. This is absolutely critical because it shows your spiritual intention. "I want to obey God. I want to follow God. I want to do what's right in His eyes." And so that becomes important and it becomes absolutely critical. And so are our circumstances all that matter? Yeah, there are those that are single that are trying to do everything they possibly can to be married. And yeah, there's some that are married that would do anything to get out of their marriage. But he's saying that's ridiculous.

1 Corinthians 7:20-21 "Remain in the calling in which you were called." Verse 20 reminds us of that. He even says, "Were you called while a slave? Don't be concerned about it, but if you can be made free, rather use it."

I mean, even slavery. Even slavery was a situation that Paul is telling them, you know, that doesn't have to define your entire perspective. Yeah, well, if you get out of it, okay, great. But should that be our entire focus then to try to get out from being a slave even? Well, he says, "No." How you live your life is more important. Keeping the commandments of God is what's important. Following God's direction is really what's important. Being married to an unbeliever isn't all that critical if they're pleased to dwell. Obeying God is. And so he continues to make that point.

1 Corinthians 7:22 "For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freed man. Likewise, he who is called while free is Christ's slave."

Kind of cool the way he turns that right around. Are we slaves to Christ? Absolutely. If we are baptized members of the Church, we are slaves to Christ. Romans talks a lot about that. Yes, we are slaves to Christ, but if you're a slave, we're free in God is what he tells us. And how does that work?

1 Corinthians 7:23 "You were bought at a price."

Yeah, we belong to God. We belong to God because He paid for us. Don't become slaves of men. And of course, we read earlier, you know, it's by His blood that we were bought. That was the price. The sacrifice of Christ was the price. So Acts 20:28, when we referred to earlier, we read it back in Chapter 6 verse 2 as well that certainly that's the case. Christ paid His life for us. So he says, really the point he's trying to drive home.

1 Corinthians 7:24 "Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called."

And so that should be our focus. God's called us. Focus on being a godly person. That's what's most important. And some of these situations, they'll put it in God's hands. And so, he really comes to that conclusion in that regard. Now, he switches a little bit of a direction here as he begins to, what seems to be, answering another question that the Corinthians probably had written him about. And so, let's take a look at what he writes next.

1 Corinthians 7:25 He says, "Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy."

So here he's talking about being single. Maybe you can equate being a virgin with being single. Are there special orders that God gave in this regard? I mean, he already talked about celibacy. That is not a godly requirement. No, you don't have to be celibate. No, sex is a good thing. We looked all the way back at the beginning of Genesis. God made all of these things and even sex. He made Adam and Eve and it was very good, God says. And so in that regard, okay, this isn't a bad thing, but He's not promoting celibacy or anything like that. But what he does say then.

1 Corinthians 7:26 So even though he doesn't have a commandment directly from God, he says, "I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is."

So he just gets done talking about marriage and how marriage is a good thing, but now he says, "Well if you're single, that's not probably a bad thing." Why? Because of this present distress that he talks about. And in this particular situation, he says, "This is my opinion. This is what I feel is best right now." Now of course, throughout Scripture, we got all kinds of prophecy and predictions that are given, some by Christ Himself that talked about the difficulties that believers are going to face, that there would be persecution. Even Christ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. That was coming. I mean, we're a number of years before that at this point when Paul is writing this, but certainly the Roman Empire was not a good friend of Christians, right? And so there was certainly persecution. So it's hard to say exactly what this problem was, but it probably connected with some type of, you know, concern as persecution against God's people. And so this seems to be more of a potential crisis that was happening for him to give this direction because of the present distress.

And so in connecting to that issue, whatever it might have been.

1 Corinthians 7:27 He says, "Are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Don't seek a wife."

Don't seek a wife. And so under these conditions, better to be where you're at. That's the best option is what he's recommending here.

1 Corinthians 7:28 Then he says, "Even if you do marry, you have not sinned."

So he's not saying be celibate. Remember he started this whole chapter by saying it's good for a man not to touch a woman. Okay, you shouldn't have celibacy in marriage. That's ridiculous. No, that should bind you together. You shouldn't choose to be celibate in that regard either. Ultimately, that's not somehow a better spiritual state than being married.

1 Corinthians 7:28 So he says, "You can marry and that's not a sin." He says, "If a virgin marries, she is not sinned. Nevertheless, you'll have trouble in the flesh, but I'll spare you."

Yeah, being married brings its own challenges, brings its own difficulties. Yeah, no doubt about that. But it's interesting that in this idea of the present distress, he also ties in what he says in verse 29.

1 Corinthians 7:29 "This I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none."

So his perspective, which was probably the perspective of all the disciples, you know, did they think that, you know, time was going to go on and on and a couple of thousand years would happen after their time? No. They specifically ask Christ, "So when is the end going to be here? When are these things going to happen?" Remember Matthew 24, when you look at Luke 21, those questions came up. They thought the time was short. They thought He was going to return pretty quickly. Here's Paul kind of in that same perspective.

1 Corinthians 7:29 And so he says, "Even now, those who have wives should be as though they had none."

Does that mean you turn your back on your wife? No, he's not saying that. "Are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be loose." He just got done saying that. So he's not giving, you know, some reason, you know, to neglect your spouse. No, he's trying to frame the issue that you need to get your spiritual act together. Don't get distracted because you're married. Don't focus on just physical things, which could be a tendency sometimes. No. He's kind of playing off that same idea that he wrote to the Romans where he said, you know, "Your salvation is nearer than it may seem." Romans 13:11 tells us that very thing. And I think that's kind of his perspective. So be sure you get your spiritual act together, draw closer to God the Father and Jesus Christ. That should be our priority, right? That should be first. And so he reminds them of that.

1 Corinthians 7:30-31 "Those who weep," he says, "as though they did not weep, those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice, but those who buy, as though they did not possess, and to those who use this world as not misusing it, for the form of this world is passing away."

And that's really the key here. None of this stuff is going to last. None of these physical things are what it's all about. So he says the spiritual is what counts. Yeah, he just got done saying, keeping the commandments is what counts. Yeah, this is important. Your spiritual relationship with God, that's what really counts.

1 Corinthians 7:32 He says, "I want you to be without care." Yeah, without care. Don't be concerned. Don't be, I think in this world we say distracted. Boy, can we get distracted today. There's so many things that can distract us from focusing on becoming more Christ-like. So he says, "That's what I want for you. I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord, that he may please the Lord."

Kind of idealistically speaking there. Hopefully that's the case. If you're single, you're in the Church, you are focused on pleasing God. That's what should come first. Yeah, if a mate comes along, great, wonderful. That's not a bad thing. He just got done saying, that's a really good thing. But if your whole focus is "I must be remarried," and you put God in second place, that's going to lead to trouble.

1 Corinthians 7:33 So he says, "He who is married cares about the things of the world, how he may please his wife."

Yeah, it changes your perspective. So he's saying, "Don't be overburdened that way. Don't get distracted in that regard. Don't let that get you spiritually off track." Otherwise, we could be in trouble. And so this whole little section here really is about focus. And it applies to everybody. It applies to everybody that we all should be focused on the spiritual side of things. And that is such a challenge because we live in a physical world and we do have physical needs and responsibilities, no doubt about that. But make sure your priorities are right. That's His message here. He's not quite done with this whole scenario of marriage and even dating and singleness and what it means to be married. In verse 34, and for the next couple of verses, there's some interesting comments that he makes and sometimes a little difficult to understand. If you remember what Peter said that Paul writes some difficult things that aren't easily understood, some of this gets into that just a little bit. Let's notice what he writes here.

1 Corinthians 7:34 He says, "There's a difference between a wife and a virgin."

And of course, my first thought is, "Duh, yeah, of course there is a difference between somebody single and somebody married." Yeah, I get it, no doubt, right? Okay, what's the difference?

1 Corinthians 7:34 Idealistically speaking, "The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord. She can have the opportunity to really focus on God's way, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world, how she may please her husband."

Or if you're married and you've got kids, "I got to take care of my kids, I got to make sure they're fed, I got to change their diapers." You got all this stuff you've got to take care of. Can you be more focused? It's really a challenge. He's not saying it's sinful. He's just saying it's difficult. It's difficult. So are there benefits to being single? He says, "Yeah." And somehow I think these days, yeah, in the Church sometimes I think people feel being single is a disease. It's not. It doesn't have to be. You don't have to look at it from that perspective. And so here he's, in a sense, trying to help those who may be single to have a better perspective that, hey, this is a good thing. You could really focus on God's way and His will in your life.

1 Corinthians 7:35 He says, "This I say for your own profit, that I may not put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."

And there he really gets down to it. You're not going to be taken astray. You won't be distracted from things. So yeah, okay, it's not a bad thing to be single. All right, but is that for everybody? He says, "No." No, it's not.

1 Corinthians 7:36 He says, "If any man thinks he's behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she's past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin. Let them marry."

What in the world is he saying there? I mean, some really try to distort this particular passage. They'll say, "All right, guys, I've got this girlfriend. She's over the hill. She's probably never going to get married. Yeah, we're misbehaving. I can do whatever I want. We could live together, you know, we can have sex, we could do whatever we want. That's what he says and it's not sin." Wrong. That's not what he's talking about here. The whole idea at the beginning of this chapter was about sexual immorality. It's good for man not to touch a woman in a sexual way before marriage. And so this would be absolutely contradictory if you tried to force that meaning into this. That's nothing to do with what the actual meaning is.

Now, of course, there is a lot of ways that we can look at this. It could be talking about a man and his girlfriend, his fiancee. It could be talking about that. It's possible. Some scholars think, well, maybe it's just talking about the man's own virginity. Now, is that what it's talking about? Or a third way of looking at this is from a father's perspective, that a father has a virgin daughter. Well, is this talking about a man and his daughter? Let's think about it for just a moment and try to sort out what exactly he's talking about. And yeah, it is definitely challenging here. So he says, "If any man thinks he's behaving improperly toward his virgin, she's passed the flower of her youth." Well, what is that referring to? Well, she's getting beyond marriageable age. And of course, it was very specific back in the day, that marriageable age. Is it okay to marry? Well, he says, "Let them marry." Let them marry. Well, what about the present distress? Well, if you can't handle it, get married. He says get married.

And I think one of the translations that brings that across pretty clearly is the Contemporary English Version. Take a look at verse 36 again. In the CEV, it says, "Suppose you're engaged to someone old enough to be married." It goes on and says, "You want her so much that all you can think about is getting married. Then go ahead and marry." There's nothing wrong with that. Is that a little clearer? Yeah, this would be taking it from the perspective of a fiance. "I've got a girlfriend. All I can think about is getting married. What about the present distress? What about, you know, my self-control?" Get married. Get married. There's nothing wrong with that. Let them marry. That's not a sin. In other words, if you take it that way, you're not sinning if you get married. And that's the context of this idea of sinning. You're not sinning if you get married. And so I think that's a very viable interpretation of this particular verse.

Now, I also think because of the customs of the day, it's possible this does apply to a father, because marriages were generally arranged back in the day, right? And who arranged the marriages? Well, the parents arranged the marriages. Does the father have a responsibility to his single daughter? Absolutely, he does. He does. And so is it right for a father during this present distress to allow his daughter to marry? You see, this passage could be referring to that. And so other translations kind of take that perspective. If you were to read verse 36 in God's Word translation, take a look at it again and I'll read it from God's Word. Verse 36, "No father would want to do the wrong thing when his virgin daughter is old enough to get married. If she wants to get married, he, the father, isn't sinning by letting her get married."

And so I think that potentially is the connotation there as well. Is it perfectly clear whether it's talking about your fiancee or is it talking about dads and their daughter? Yeah, it's a little tough to tell. But one thing we know, it's not talking about it's okay to live together. That is not what it's talking about. He's saying, because of the present distress, it's okay to be single. That's a good thing. It might be a lot better to be single because we don't know where this is going. Persecution could be coming. But if you have to get married, that's not a sin. That is not a sin. Don't take it that way. Whether you're a dad allowing your daughter to marry or whether you're going to take a wife, that is not sin. And I think that becomes really both reasonable interpretations in that regard and both saying the same thing about marriage. Marriage is a good thing. It's not sinful to marry even under those circumstances.

1 Corinthians 7:37 He goes on to say, "Nevertheless, he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his will, and is so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well."

But remember earlier he said it's better to marry than to burn. But if you have self-control and times are going to be tough, it's going to be difficult, okay, fine not to marry. That's okay. That's still okay. And so don't get the opposite idea that somehow it's sinful not to get married. So here he's saying, if that's the case, then you've got to be sure you've got self-control and make up your mind then to wait. And so that seems to be the indication here. Better to have self-control and make up your mind not to marry and that's okay in that regard as well. So as a conclusion.

1 Corinthians 7:38 "So then he who gives her in marriage does well." Who gives her in marriage? The father. Well, maybe verse 36 was about the father then. Kind of carries that idea there, doesn't it? But "Be who does not give in her marriage does better."

From Paul's perspective, facing this present distress, yeah, that would be better. Less distractions in that regard. Okay, then we find in verse 39.

1 Corinthians 7:39 "A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives."

Remember we had talked about God binding people together. How are they bound together? By God's personal supervision? Not exactly. It's by God's law. God's law binds them together in that regard. Yes, they covenant with God, no doubt about that, but the law binds them together. And what does God's law say? Once you marry, you marry until death. And don't we say that in the marriage ceremony, till death do you part? Right.

Now, a mate dies.

1 Corinthians 7:39 It says, "If her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, but only in the Lord."

But only in the Lord. So here we have a very powerful statement. Once the marriage contract is broken, the mate dies, you are now single, you can remarry. But there's a restriction. You're a baptized member of the Church, you believe God's working with you, you marry only in the Lord. You only marry other converted individuals. You marry in the faith. You marry in the Church. That's the people you would choose to marry, not someone outside. In fact, if you look back just a little bit, we find a similar similar thing that I think is pretty evident if we just look back to 2 Corinthians and take a look at Chapter 6. 2 Corinthians 6 brings out this point pretty powerfully.

2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, so you marry in the Lord." And so here's Paul writing the second letter to Corinth, the same people we're reading about right now, and he tells them, "Don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers. What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? What communion has light with darkness?"

And he goes on and on describing that. So you only marry in the... You think now for today's purposes as well. Should I just go into serious relationships with people outside the Church or in the Church? Should I date inside the Church or outside of the Church? What's the principle that he's talking about here? I think that principle applies in that situation as well. Don't be unequally yoked, right? You marry in the Lord. I think that also applies then to your relationships otherwise. You date in the Lord as well. And so in that regard I think that's so important. You probably remember that famous passage from Amos 3:3.

Amos 3:3 You know, "How can two walk together unless they're agreed?"

And even that's an interesting one because some might argue, "Oh, this isn't talking about dating. You just want to get married, you got to get married in the Church." Yeah, but what about dating? "Well, I can date anybody I want." Well, I believe this principle applies, this idea of being unequally yoked. And even when you consider what Amos says, you can't even walk together unless you're agreed. Well, should I date together if we don't agree? You know, should I get into serious relationships if we don't agree? I don't think so. I think that applies as well.

So if it goes down to the level of just walking together and you can't even walk together unless you're on the same page, which the implication is spiritually, and we shouldn't be unequally yoked, then this seems to apply in those situations as well.

1 Corinthians 7:39 So Paul says, "If your mate dies, you only marry in the Lord, only in the Church."

Then he concludes this chapter, verse 40. So if you head back to 1 Corinthians 7:40.

1 Corinthians 7:40 He says, "She's happier if she remains as she is according to my judgment. And I think I also have the Spirit of God."

And so God's reiterated some of the commandments that came directly from Christ. He gave His perspective as an apostle of Jesus Christ on different situations and certainly has tried to guide the Corinthian church to have a more spiritual perspective when it comes to marriage and divorce and then remarriage as well. So that will wrap up Chapter 7 for today. And so we'll look forward to next time and pick it up in Chapter 8.