Day 67…1 Corinthians 7:17-19

October 12, 2011 at 11:27 AM Leave a comment

Sorry, it has been a very long time since I have posted my ‘journey thru the Bible.’ But I am going to go back to posting at least 2 a week so we can continue to learn together. Incase you forgot or you didn’t already know: as I study the Bible I will be answering 3 simple questions: 1. What does it say? (this is the commentary at the beginning of all my JTTB posts). 2. What does it mean to me? and 3. What am I going to do about it? Love to hear from you if you found something I said helpful or got you thinking. Maybe even you disagree with me. Post away!

1 Corinthians 7:17-19: Be content where you are – part 1

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 1 of this topic.

v.17,“Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you.” I like the way the NIV Application Commentary put this verse: “Do not be in a hurry to change the external circumstances of your life simply because you have become a Christian.”  The word “situation” or “place in life” refers to ones marital, economic and physical circumstances. Paul is specifically speaking to new believers in this verse. He wants them to understand that whatever situation they were in when they came to the Lord (salvation) they should function faithfully in that place without having to make immediate changes. So you don’t need to change your job, you don’t need to divorce your spouse if they are an unbeliever, you don’t need to make immediate drastic changes unless you are blatantly sinning against God. Paul finishes this verse to say “This is my rule for all the churches.” Or “This is the rule I lay down for all the churches.” In other words this is not just a rule for the church at Corinth but a rule he lays down for all churches.

v.18-19, Paul then illustrates this “rule” or principle with the example of circumcision vs uncircumcision. “A man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it.” Many Jews would actually have a surgical procedure to make it look like they were uncircumcised to be accepted in the Roman world. “And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now.” Judaizers (false teachers) where teaching that before a Gentile could become a Christian they had be circumcised. But Paul points out “it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.” In God’s Kingdom we should stay as we are when we become believers because any outward change would make no difference. The inner change is what matters. They should focus on “keep[ing] God’s commandments” which is desiring to conform their heart and will in obedience to God. Paul is not specifically telling the new believers to observe all 613 pieces of the Mosaic Law, at least not literally. Paul is talking about the application of the Law in light of the words and work of Jesus’ teachings.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? I think there are many times where I look at another believer (or pastor) and wonder why God doesn’t have me in that situation. A number of years ago I was frustrated that God had me in ‘small’ ministries, and all my friends were in ‘big’ ones. I would even complain to God that I wanted to be somewhere other than I was. I was so focussed on wanting to do something for God somewhere else that I missed great opportunities right where God had me. Thankfully God taught me that it wasn’t how “big” or “small’ the ministry was, it was that I was where God wanted me at that time in my life that was more important. I learned every job is important when you realize your purpose in life is to honour and serve Jesus. After all, if God put you into that situation, God can certainly use you there!

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  Be thankful God has me where I am in both ministry and life. But not just be thankful, be content, be at peace where God has me and focus all my energy on pleasing him in everything I do.

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