Today’s passage hits right in the wheel house for all of us. At this point in his letter to the Corinthian church Paul begins to answer specific questions they had asked him (probably in a letter they had sent to him). You’ll see throughout the letter moving forward Paul says “now concerning.” This phrase is an indicator that he is going to address the next topic of their asking. This is a really cool thing and it helps us today to understand that the church of 2,000 years ago was searching for answers on how to live Godly lives just like we are today. So, we can really relate to the Corinthian believers here. Lucky for them, and for us, the man who answered their questions was supernaturally inspired and ordained to answer them perfectly according to God’s standard. Therefore, we can trust fully in Paul’s words. There’s a lot here so let’s “JumpStart” into it.
Paul describes both marriage and singleness as a gift (v.6). One is not greater than the other; one is not a blessing and the other a curse. In some instances, as in Paul’s case, singleness was the greatest way for him to live out the mission God had called him to and glorify God. For others, marriage is one significant avenue by which they are called to live on mission and bring glory to His name. Paul lists advantages and disadvantages to both here. The point here is not that a person remains single or gets married. The point is that every person, either married or single, is called to glorify God with their life, live out His will, and produce Spiritual fruit that leads to others coming to faith in Jesus. We have the ability, through Christ, to live that type of life as a single person or a married person.
Paul addresses the issue of marriage and singleness very head on because the Corinthians believers were struggling with sexual sin. Their culture was immersed in it. That’s yet another way we can relate to the church in Corinth today. Due to the vast sexual immorality facing the Corinthian believers, many had come to believe that all sexual activity was wrong and sinful (even inside a Godly marriage). This of course is a wrong view and Paul takes the opportunity to outline the Biblical purposes of sex in a covenantal Godly marriage between a man and woman. Paul gives very thorough descriptions of how honoring God in marriage and singleness must be void of all sexual immorality, and that sex was in fact created by God, can be honoring to God and be beneficial to living a Godly life when done God’s way.
Divorce is also something Paul addresses by referring the Corinthians to Jesus’ teaching on the matter (Matt 5:32, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18) and giving explanatory statements to help the believers honor God in their marriages and ultimately their lives.
Are you married and thriving in your relationship with God and your spouse? Married and struggling? Single and growing in your faith? Single and feeling like it is a curse not a gift? Struggling with sexual sin? You are not alone and you are not the first. These Corinthian believers did too. The believers of Center Point Church do too. Be encouraged today that in the gospel there is hope for all of us in all situations and stages of life. Cling to the gospel, practice repentance, seek reconciliation, ask for accountability, and commit to honoring God wherever you are today.
By: Matt Mofield