TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

First Corinthians 7 – 8

1 Corinthians 7
1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

A wife cannot refuse her husband and a husband cannot refuse to be one with his wife; without an exceptional reason such as health issues.

All things must be done in love and consideration for each other. That means that a wife should care for the needs of her husband and that he should care for her needs, in a loving and considerate manner.

This is symbolic of a total commitment and unity between them both. The kind of commitment and unity that Jesus Christ expects spiritually from his bride!

We are to be ONE in mind, spirit and actions with our Lord at all times. Can a loving husband refuse any good thing that he has to a loving cooperative wife? Can our loving Lord refuse those who love, cooperate with and esteem him?

7:4 The wife hath not power [control of] of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power [control over] of his own body, but the wife. 7:5 Defraud [refuse] ye not one the other, except it be with [mutual] consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and [then] come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. . .

God created human beings male and female. He commanded them to come together and multiply. Paul says that some might remain unmarried due to their personal circumstances.

7:7 . . . But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

Some have a stronger desire and need for a marriage relationship than others.

Marriage is a tremendous opportunity for learning and personal development. A successful marriage can often involve considerable learning and this can be very positive in anyone’s Christian development. There are many reasons not to marry: such as no acceptable converted mate available, or health issues. 

7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

If we are a burning river of hormones, it is better to marry than to deal with a constant temptation to sin through pornea. Nevertheless, that is NOT a good reason to just marry anyone; we must find a mate who is suitable for us beyond mere sexual matters.

7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband [by God’s command: divorce is ABSOLUTELY forbidden for a couple in the faith Matthew 19:8-10]:

7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

7:12 But to the rest speak I, [Paul’s personal opinion] not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

This is speaking of people already married at baptism. Once baptized we are forbidden to marry outside the faith. It is to be understood that on occasion someone might marry a person in good faith thinking them to be converted who later falls away, and in that case the instructions regarding being married to an unconverted person at baptism hold.

7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

If a person is baptized already having an unconverted spouse, the unconverted spouse who is content to accept the baptism of their spouse, will be sanctified by that marriage as long as there is no opposition to the faith. The children are sanctified by their believing parents as long as they respect and obey their believing, obedient to God, parents. That is, the accepting unconverted spouse and the children reap the benefits of a respecting and obedient to God faithful, believing spouse or parent.

7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage [If an unconverted spouse abandon the marriage, the converted person is no longer bound by the law of marriage; for the unbeliever has departed; not the believer: and in departing also rejected the conversion of the mate; and rejected the Word of God.] in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

The purpose of marriage is to teach us about the deep loving single minded unity that Jesus Christ wants with his collective Bride. It is to teach us of the love and passion that Christ has for his Bride. Marriage is to teach us about the permanent loving unity of mind, nature, deeds and spirit that we are to have with our Husband Jesus Christ for eternity.

As we are physically united in marriage and that union develops over time into a union of mind and spirit when that initial love develops and grows; it teaches us about the nature of the relationship that Jesus Christ wants us to have with him for eternity.

Physical marriage also teaches us of the need to overcome our faults and to accommodate ourselves to the needs of our mate and that we all need to replace our own natures with the nature of Christ through our passionate love for him.

We are to LOVE our espoused spiritual Husband and to internalize his nature and keep his commandments and instructions, out of a genuine wholehearted love for him! If we love him, we will seek to please him with all our being!

We are to obey our espoused Husband – who commands us to live by every Word of God the Father – and to get into the habit of doing that for all eternity.

Those are the lessons that physical marriage is intended to teach. Therefore when the unconverted spouse leaves and takes another; we are no longer bound to them, and are free to seek the true godly kind of marriage that teaches us the true ways and lessons that God wants us to learn.

7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk [remain in the marital state in which you were when you were called of God unless the unconverted spouse rejects you]. And so ordain I in all churches.

7:18 Is any man called being circumcised [this refers to an adult and not to the command to circumcise our sons]? let him not become [physically] uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised [again referring to called adults and not to the command to circumcise our sons on the Eighth Day]. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God [obeying God is everything: Circumcision, or baptism or ordinations are only physical symbols: the essential reality is that we live by every Word of God].

7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 7:21 Art thou called being a servant? care [don’t be concerned] not for it: but if thou mayest be made free use it rather. [avail yourself of freedom].

We are freed from bondage to sin by Christ and if we are a man’s servant for a time, we are still truly free in the spirit. Free yourself from any physical slavery or obligation if possible, otherwise be a good servant; serving Christ first and then your earthly master.

7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

It should be understood that a person can be a slave to many more things than just other men. One should not allow oneself to be enslaved by drugs, alcohol or voluntary military service. The military is very much a form of slavery; requiring absolute obedience unto death.

The issue is not military service as such, but that of being a servant to unconverted men. If there was a godly army that kept God’s Word and fought only righteously; military service would be acceptable and would teach many lessons about dedication, loyalty, perseverance, commitment etc etc: however such an army does not exist in today’s world.

7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress [in Corinth], I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

Economic or personal distresses can be reasons to put off marriage for a time.

7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed [a widower or spiritual widower] from a wife? Seek not a wife [This instruction is for that time in Corinth, because of exceptional trials, and would be a wise course during the coming tribulation as well.].

7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Paul writes about delaying marriage because of serious trials. Paul is merely warning that those who marry during times of trouble will have difficulties.

7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Today the time is short and we should be focused on God and not on physical things, but if one burns it is right to marry.

7:32 But I would have you without carefulness [worries and deep concerns] He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord [provided they are not burning with need], how he may please the Lord: 7:33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the [physical things] things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Of course this presupposes that the person is deeply converted and dedicated to God. If the person is worldly in outlook they will still be focused on the things of the flesh and will serve their own vanity.

7:35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely [suitable, appropriate], and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no [burning passion] necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep [wait for marriage] his virgin, doeth well. 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

The point being that if one refrains from marriage for a time and dedicates oneself to God; it is an honorable thing. Nevertheless Paul also commands elsewhere that a minister or deacon MUST be, or have had; the experience of marriage. See the letters to Timothy and Titus.

7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married [This is the law by which Jesus Christ could remarry after his death and resurrection. Marriages END at the death of one of the spouses.] to whom she will; only in [a person in the faith may ONLY marry in the faith] the Lord. 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide [an unmarried widow is to focus on the things of God], after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

This is Paul’s personal opinion but he believes that he is within the law and God has seen fit to preserve this as Holy Scripture.

 

1 Corinthians 8

The subject of 1 Corinthians 8 is knowledge, and how knowledge that an idol is nothing, can puff us up to participate in idolatry.

Today some will say that if we know that Christmas has nothing to do with the  birth of Jesus and has pagan origins, we can still attend Christmas [and other false] celebrations, because we know it is nothing.  Their knowledge that these things are nothing, has puffed them up to participate in falsehood and evil.  Paul teaches that it is wrong to participate in such sin.

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth [godly love builds up].

Don’t get high minded because of your supposed knowledge, for it is godly love (which is defined by the Word of God) which is true knowledge.

8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

If a person is proud of his knowledge and thinks he knows very much, he has become self-righteous (Rev 3:17). Sadly this is the predominate attitude today.

8:3 But if any man love God [is filled with godly love and lives by every Word of God], the same is known of [is known by God] him.

Don’t get high minded about how much you think you know, God knows those who love him enough to live by his Word.

8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

This whole coming argument is not specifically about eating, but about separating ourselves from idol worship and idolatrous feasts; and the need for setting an example of righteousness through living by every Word of God.

8:5 For though there be [those] that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things [Paul  says that Jesus Christ created ALL things], and we by him.

8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled..

8:8 But meat [offered to idols] commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Paul condemns knowingly eating things sacrificed to idols in an idols temple.

He argues that an idol is a meaningless nothing and the Eternal is all, but that such knowledge can puff us up and lead us into the sin of associating with idolatry which is forbidden by God’s Word.

8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened [others will think that it is alright to accept that idol because of our example; when you truly reject the idol and are just eating meat; therefore do not do this.] to eat those things which are offered to idols;

Associating with pagans and pagan worship; is a sin against God the Father and against Jesus Christ.

8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Paul mentions meat in the market; this is not about clean and unclean meats, but about meat which might or might not have been sacrificed to an idol. In those days at Corinth the pagan temples made much of their income by selling the sacrifices brought to their temples. One could scarcely buy meat in the market that did not come from some pagan temple. Therefore this was a pressing issue.

Paul is referring to buying meat in the market, which may possibly have been sacrificed to an idol, or to eating a festive meal in a non worship situation such as at the wedding of a friend, which meat may have been sacrificed to an idol. Paul advises us not to ask for conscience sake.

Paul is also teaching that eating a sacrifice at an idol’s temple or partaking of idolatrous festivals and worship, even with the knowledge that such things are meaningless; is a grave sin.

Jesus Christ takes the matter very seriously in Revelation 2:14 and Revelation 2:20. How do we reconcile these views?

Followers of pagan religions do not worship idols. They regard the idols as REPRESENTING something real. For example: A statue of Aphrodite was understood to represent a once living and very real person who was believed to now be in the heavens and able to intercede with the chief god, for those who worshiped her.

In much the same manner a Roman Catholic will tell you that they do not worship statues. They will say that their statues REPRESENT various saints who are in heaven and are able to intercede with God for those who pray to them. They are NOT praying to the statue; they are praying to the one that the statue REPRESENTS.

An idol or a religious statue REPRESENTS a being, or the belief in a being, or a teaching. Eating meat sacrificed to an idol or a statue REPRESENTS: accepting and agreeing with that teaching [doctrine]. When one eats meat; one takes the meat internally. The eating of meat sacrificed to idols or statues REPRESENTS internalizing the doctrine of that idol [religion]; and the doctrines that the idol or statue represents.

Eating things sacrificed to idols, spiritually REPRESENTS accepting and internalizing the false doctrines!

One of the most hateful to God, of these false doctrines, is the acceptance of the Primacy of Peter blasphemy: Because this abomination exalts mere mortal men ABOVE GOD. This appalling execration has been accepted by many and has been the backbone of false religion for many years.

Paul’s conclusions regarding the eating of meat sacrificed to idols is this: the idol is nothing and therefore eating something sacrificed to it is nothing: IF we understand that. Therefore we should not worry that some piece of meat bought in the market was possibly sacrificed to an idol; or in our day blessed by an unconverted person.

Some will try to twist this to justify attending Christmas celebrations etc. However our example is most important and we should not KNOWINGLY eat things sacrificed to idols because of the example we are setting for others; for the idol worshiper will say in his heart: “he agrees with me” and the converted man who does not understand this matter will think: “he is a sinner!”

Therefore we should not knowingly partake of any false custom like Christmas, because we are partaking in what we know is wrong; and we are not avoiding the appearance of evil. 

Like circumcision this physical thing has spiritual implications. Circumcision was the symbol of the Mosaic Covenant. However if one was circumcised and then failed to keep the Covenant by not obeying the Law; such circumcision of the flesh becomes meaningless. In the same way baptism becomes meaningless if we fail to keep the Marriage Covenant with our Lord to live by every Word of God that our baptism symbolizes.

The physical eating of things sacrificed to idols is symbolic of internalizing the false things that the idol represents. If we refuse to eat meat that was sacrificed to an idol and yet embrace a false doctrine [the Primacy of Peter] or a false prophecy [the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles representing only one thousand years (2 Pet 3:8)]; we are actually doing what the idol symbolizes; and are guilty of embracing false religious teachings [the doctrines of demons].

It is the embracing of the doctrines of demons [doctrine contrary to Scripture] that is the true sin: the mere symbol is nothing at all. However the commandment is clear that we should not eat things sacrificed to idols and we should not have anything to do with idols.

The physical  symbols teach us spiritual realities.

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