The Book of 1 Corinthians Bible Study Chapter 7 Part 3 Leave a Comment / Love Israel Connection Blog / By Rivka Korman We go on to 1 Cor 7:17-24 In a chapter which is predominantly about marriage we have this unique section in the text that doesn’t speak about marriage directly at all. However, as G-dly men and women, husbands and wives, it is critical that we think properly and that we understand what we are called to do. These verses lay the foundation for right thinking, having a right attitude, so that we can be pleasing to G-d and accomplish what He has called us to do. v17: G-d has distributed: He (G-d the Father) has given us (the Father provides) what we each uniquely need for what He has called us to do. This is talking about the natural/physical situation we were in when we came to salvation – our identity, our nationality, our family, our language, our culture, our ethnicity, etc. The Kingdom of G-d is diverse – it is going to be populated with people from every nation, tribe and tongue (Rev 7:9-10). G-d accepts people from every situation in life. · Each one: Speaking of believers. · The L-rd: To have a pleasing walk, a lifestyle that is G-d honouring, we need to recognize Him as L-rd (Someone we submit to, our authority, and the One we take our cues from). No matter where we are from, no matter what our backgrounds are, we are all called (as believers) to walk in a way that is pleasing to G-d. The gospel message has not been constructed for a specific ethnic group but is for all humanity. · I ordain in all the churches: When Paul went to a church this is what he taught and set into office [what Paul has taught us in this verse is a foundational and universal truth – no matter where we are from, we all need to have a lifestyle (a walk) that is pleasing to G-d] v18: Here Paul speaks about two groups of people – the circumcised and the uncircumcised (In one sense we can understand this as Jew and Gentile. Just like in his discussion on marriage, Paul addresses each group in an equal way, thereby showing equality). · Let him not become uncircumcised: Jewish believers did not have to try to hide their identity. The gospel message was not something that Judaism had embraced. It was something new, and many Gentiles were receiving it. Therefore, there was a type of social pressure for the believing Jews to want to embrace this culture that was not Jewish. Paul is saying here that this ought not to be done. · Let him not be circumcised: On the flip side, there were staunch Jewish believers (called Judaizers – Acts 15:1) who were saying that the Gentiles couldn’t receive the gospel until they had first converted to Judaism (the conversion process involved circumcision). They held the position that the gospel, and G-d’s grace, was for the Jewish people only and not for Gentiles. Paul is saying that this was also the wrong approach to the gospel. v19: In this verse Paul is not dealing with circumcision in and of itself. He is dealing (first and foremost) with the concept of: Can a Gentile be saved? Paul strongly believed that they could be – without having to go through a cultural conversion process. · But: In contrast to (circumcision and uncircumcision).· Keeping the commandments of G-d is what matters: We could look at that and say: Circumcision is a commandment! Paul would tell us that it is not the physical act that is of the utmost importance here, but it is the Biblical message of circumcision that needs to be taken to heart – the death of the flesh, the circumcision of the heart (not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law – 2 Cor 3:6). It is not the physical procedure (the work of human hands) that makes us acceptable to G-d, but the spiritual application of it in our lives (the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our lives). v20: We need to remain in the physical state we were in when we believed – Our ethnicity, our nationality, our language, etc. We don’t need to change these things to be acceptable to G-d. v21: Paul gives us an example of what he means in v20. If someone was a slave when they first believed it should not concern them or cause them to worry. G-d accepts them as a slave.· But if you can be made free: Freedom is preferrable to slavery (especially from a worldly viewpoint of slavery. Jewish law protected slaves. They received compensation from their slavery). · Use it: Take advantage of it. If freedom is an option, take it. v22: Called… while a slave… is the L-rd’s freedman: We are free in Messiah. Physically the slave was still in bondage to his owner, but spiritually he had been set free – Messiah sees him as free. · Likewise: Equality principle again. Slaves are seen as free, free men are seen as slaves – Messiah’s slave. In a sense, we are all slaves – all set free, but all servants of Messiah, in obedience and in submission to Him. v23: Bought at a price: We have been bought (redeemed) with something that is valuable, precious – the blood of Messiah. · Slaves of men: Servants of humanity. We must not become like the rest of humanity which is in bondage to the world. v24: Brethren: Paul is talking to believers. · Let each one remain: We need to remain in whatever position we were in when we were called/saved (background, nationality, language, culture group). Eg. We don’t need to learn another language to be acceptable to G-d etc. · With G-d: This is the key. Although language, nationality etc make up a part of who we are they are not our ultimate goal or passion. To be with G-d, to be pleasing to G-d, is. Note: v17-24 reminds us that we have been called to have a walk (a lifestyle) that is ‘with G-d’. When people look at our marriages do they see a couple who are ‘with G-d’ or do they see two people living separate lives in the same house – each going on separate vacations, having separate accounts etc? In a Biblically based marriage, there is going to be unity. We will want to be one with our spouse in every way. Being with our spouse gives us many opportunities to demonstrate our faith – loving, forgiving, encouraging, obeying, surrendering, sacrificing etc (denying ourselves in order to glorify G-d – this is the mindset Paul is speaking about here in this uniquely placed passage of Scripture). When we live in unity with our spouse our marital relationships will become a source of great joy.