In today’s passage, Apostle Paul dealt with the issue of marriage, divorce and relationships between husband and wife. He encouraged that each man should have his own wife and vice versa to combat sexual immorality. To this extent, he enjoined couples not to deny each other the sexual pleasure except there is mutual agreement which should be for a short time so as not to give room for temptation.
Apostle Paul in his writing was careful enough to differentiate his personal opinions on the issue of marriage and divorce from the command he received from God. This is balanced teaching.
He taught against divorce even when one of the partners is not a Christian. He explained that the exemplary lifestyle of the believing partner could eventually help to save the unbelieving partner. However if the non-Christian partner chose to leave, then the Christian partner is not under bondage.
The matter which bothers on sexuality is considered delicate and must be handled with wisdom in the home between husbands and wives. A partner who frequently excuses himself/herself from intimate sexual experiences exposes the spouse to temptations. Divorce should not be on the mind of Christian couples as they should work hard to live peaceably.
I will keep my body holy to the Lord. I honour my covenant partner in marriage and live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Reading – 1 Corinthians 7:1-24
Concerning Married Life
7 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Concerning Change of Status
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so.22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
- 1 Corinthians 7:8 Or widowers