Day 68…1 Corinthians 7:20-24
I Corinthians 7:20-24: Be content where you are – part 2
Even though it seems like Paul is leaving the conversation of marriage in these few verses (up to v.24), the truth is he is highlighting the importance of living in peace or be content wherever God has you, especially in marriage. This is part 2 of this topic.
v.20, Paul repeats what he says in v.17 for emphasis and because it is his rule for all churches he has planted“Each of you should remain as you were when God called you.” This statement is speaking to believers referring to examples such as marriage, job, station in life (slave or free) and even whether they are circumcised or not. It does NOT refer to the spiritual or inward life that should always be growing and maturing as believers learn more about God and grow closer to him.
v.21, The church at Corinth had people from different stations in life, even slaves. So Paul wanted to let everyone know (even slaves) that wherever they are stationed in life they can stay there as a new believer. They need now to do whatever they do as if they were doing it for the Lord (Ephesians 6:5-9). “Don’t let that worry you…” The slaves should not feel that because they are now Christians they can no longer serve as a slave because they deserve freedom. Unfortunately they might have to keep on living as slaves, but they should do so wholeheartedly as if they were serving Jesus himself. But Paul does also say if they have “a chance to be free, take it” so they had a chance to better themselves and no longer be a slave, then they should take it. Obedience to God is what matters most.
v.22-23, Obviously slavery was very common throughout the Roman Empire, so many of the new believers in the church in Corinth were “slave when the Lord called [them].” Paul wants them to know even though they are slaves to humans, they are “now free in the Lord.” Free from the awful power of sin in their lives. Also in the same way if they “were free when the Lord called [them], [they] are now slave[s] of Christ.” The people who were free, had become slaves (or servants) of Jesus who “paid a high price” for them, higher than any rich person could ever pay for a slave, he paid with his blood! Even though it says “slaves” of Christ Paul is not speaking of the slaves that you and I know of from past history. He is letting us all know that when Jesus paid the high price we gained freedom, our obedience and service is to Christ only, not men, the world or anyone. Because all Christians are now slaves (or servants) of God, they should no longer “be enslaved by the world.” They should live in the world, but not be of it.
v.24, Paul reminds that believers at Corinth again of what he said in v.17 & 20: “remain as you were when God first called you.” Because all believers have been set free from sin and are free to live for god, they ought not to feel pride or shame in whatever station they are in life. Instead they should serve in that position as if they were serving God himself.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Obviously I am not a slave and if I were to look at these verses from only that point of view I would be missing the point. I think Paul is trying to tell me that wherever I am in life, my station, my position, my job, my lot in life I should be first content, but second do all to the glory of God. Serve and live in a way that I was doing it all for God, as if he were my boss, my wife, my kids, etc. And remember that because of Jesus’ sacrifice that paid the price for my sins I am no longer a slave to the world, but now I am a ‘slave’ to God. All my life should be an act of obedience and service to him.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Remember that God comes first, everything else is second, even my family, ministry, my job, everything else is second. I need to put my priorities in that order. The biggest way I can do this is to take some time each morning to send alone with God, I like to call this have a “date” with God. But not to just say I am going to do, but do it. Or as one my professors used to say in college “do it now!”