1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 51
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|There are four things Paul wants a single person to consider before they get married. If you’re not careful you’ll hear this as if Paul is against marriage. No, he’s not. But he very honestly wants them to think on some things before they married.|
1 Corinthians 7:25-31
What a Single Person Considers Before Marriage
Just when you thought Paul had finished with the subject of marriage and divorce and all these other things, we come to verse 25 and he picks right back up on the subject. In verse 25 look what he says. After finishing that little parenthesis there he says, “Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.”
When Paul says, “I have no command of the Lord,” he’s saying here that Jesus did not deal with this specifically. But he’s saying also something else. The word “command” is not the word we saw back in verse 19. This word is the word epitage. It stresses the authority of the one who gives a command, whereas the other word for command stresses the command itself and that which has the weight of what God says.
Jesus had given no directive on this subject when He was here on this earth. But Paul knew that the question needed apostolic guidance. So under the leadership of the Holy Spirit he tackles it. What he’s going to say doesn’t have the weight of a command behind it but because of his apostolic authority must be taken very seriously.
He says, “Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion.” The word for “opinion” is the little word gnome. In its general sense it refers to one’s capacity for judgment. Even though this is Paul’s opinion, Paul’s judgment, it is a sanctified opinion. It’s a sanctified judgment. In other words, it should not be taken lightly. He is qualified to make it not just because he is an apostle. He goes on to say in the verse, “as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.” He was certainly capable under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to deal with this question that had been asked him.
The subject that he’s going to tackle is whether virgins should marry. The Greek word for virgin is parthenos. It can be either masculine or feminine. It comes from the word parthenia, which means to lay out or set apart. In the culture of this particular time it dealt with the secluded life that a virgin girl would live in the Eastern culture, particularly in Greece. As I said, the word “virgin” could technically mean man or woman and certainly has applications both ways. Paul picks up the feminine article and carries it all the way through his discussion so as to give us the focus, not just of a man in this particular situation, although it relates to him, but of a woman, of a virgin girl never having had a sexual experience. Should she marry or not?
We must remember there was a custom in their day that’s not in our day, particularly in America, where the father would choose whether or not she would marry. This is not something that is done today but it was back then. The father would make that choice. Perhaps the question that had been asked Paul did not come from the young girls themselves. Maybe it came from the fathers. And the fathers were saying to Paul, “Should we give these daughters in marriage?”
Down in verse 38 it says, “So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.” He’s talking about fathers who give their daughters in marriage. This causes us to be very careful in our application. Today the ladies make that choice; the fathers do not. But the applications are all here and we have to sort of weed out the culture, lift the truth to the surface, and see how it applies to each of us today if we’re in that particular circumstance, being single, having never had that sexual experience and then whether or not to marry.
There are four things Paul wants a single person to consider before they get married. If you’re not careful you’ll hear this as if Paul is against marriage. No, he’s not. But he very honestly wants them to think on some things before they were married. Remember he’s single. Remember that. He’s giving his judgment that does not have the weight of a command on it but it certainly has the weight of an apostle under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s Word. So it’s something that cannot be taken lightly.
The predicament of marriage
First of all Paul says that a single person should understand the predicament of marriage, not the marriage itself, but the predicament that may occur when you include the present circumstances that a person is in. That’s the first thing you look at, the circumstances around you. Do they dictate that marriage would be a good thing at this time? Verse 26 reads, “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” You said, “I thought you were talking about women.” Well, the word for man is anthropos. That’s the generic term. In other words mankind is a species here. The focus will turn later towards the virgin women who are single and are thinking about marriage or the fathers thinking about giving them away in marriage.
Paul says, “in view of the present distress.” In verse 26 that’s a key phrase. Something’s going on here. He said that it would probably be best if they stayed single and stayed chaste before the Lord. The word “distress” is the word anagke. It’s a word that has to do with the inevitable circumstances of life. It has nothing to do with the marriage itself, although marriage could produce a real predicament here. All that will inevitably surround it, the circumstances that are going on in one’s world.
Paul referred to a present circumstance not a future one. The word for “present” there in the verse is the word enistemi. It means to be present instantly or at hand. It is in contrast to anything that is in the past or anything that is in the future. We don’t know what particular distress Paul was referencing when he said, “Due to this I would say it would be better not to marry but to remain as you are.”
Perhaps the problems that were going to occur in 70 AD could have been on Paul’s mind. Maybe the Holy Spirit of God had begun to trouble him and he saw it coming. Many scholars date this around 57 AD. That happened, of course, in 70 AD, just a few years later. Maybe he senses that. We know that many were persecuted and martyred during this time, so maybe it was a spiritual persecution that was going on during that time and Paul says, “During this present distress I would say remain as you are.” We just don’t know. But there was some kind of crisis that he seemed to be point to. Nothing in the past; nothing in the future; as much as but what was going on right at that time. For a virgin woman to consider marrying she must consider the predicament that marriage may cause in the midst of that present crisis, that present distress.
Let’s just say it was persecution. We don’t know that but we do know Corinth was a pretty nasty city as far as sin goes. Maybe it was persecution. You know, it’s one thing to go through persecution single. It’s another thing to go through it married, particularly when you have children. One of the first things that a young girl would have on her heart would be to have children. Paul says, “Hey, the circumstances around you have a lot to say about how God may be leading you. You consider that and it may be that you need to stay as you are.” Whatever the distress was, Paul said that in light of it, it would be good for her to remain single and chaste.
In verse 28 Paul clearly shows all he’s doing is trying to spare them some of the anguish that they might have to go through. He says in verse 28, “Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.” That’s his whole heart. It’s like a father to a child. The child has asked a question and he says, “You know, looking around you, seeing the circumstances as they are, maybe it would be better for you to stay just like you are. I don’t have the weight of a command behind this, but I’m saying this as an apostle; I’m saying this as one who is faithful and has received the mercy of God. I think you need to treat this very seriously.”
Now, we’ve got to remember that the present distress that Paul refers to is not something we have to deal with but we have our own present distress. Every age has its own problems. Every age has its own circumstances that one must consider. Paul simply says that, if you’re going to get married, look around you at your circumstances and see whether or not marriage would cause an undue predicament in the midst of it. Let that be part of making your decision, discovering what God is wanting you to do.
Second Timothy 3:1 says, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” He’s talking about in the spiritual sense here. I think that probably will be the heavier meaning of what he’s dealing with here. Of course, the word “last days,” eschatos, means the last of the last. The last days began when Jesus came to this earth. Of course, there’s going to be the last of those last days. It’s the same word used over in Hebrews 1: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” That began when Jesus came to this earth.
He’s already warned us now that every age will have its own cycle of trouble. I remember many times I would gripe about something and my daddy would say, “Son, you’ve never lived through the Depression.” He would tell me about the Great Depression and what went on. He would tell me about when World War II came. He would tell me about the troubles during that time. Those were difficult times, days of distress. We don’t have those same days today but we have our own cycles of trouble that we have to deal with.
It’s very practical, what Paul’s saying. Look around you. Look at your present circumstances. Let that weigh heavy in making your choice of whether to remain single or whether to marry. He balances the equation because if you’re not careful you can see something different in here.
In verse 27 he says, “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” In other words, somebody hearing this may say, “There are some bad things going on. I think I’ll ditch my wife. This is going to be tough.” No, no. Don’t do that, folks. I’m talking to the single ones who haven’t married. By the way, if you’ve been released from a husband, if you’ve been divorced, just stay like you are. I’m not telling you to do anything. Let this become the advice for that young virgin who’s contemplating marriage. Think about the circumstances around you, how much of a predicament marriage may bring in light of those circumstances.
Have you ever heard the expression, “That couple tied the knot”? Have you ever heard that expression? That’s biblical. That’s exactly what the Word here says when it says “bound to a wife.” If means to be tied to someone with a rope. You’re bound and what he says is don’t try to untie yourself if you’re bound. If you’ve already been untied, don’t try to tie it back. This is basically what Paul says. But you see the practical wisdom. He says, “Look around you. Consider the circumstances around you, not the marriage itself. Consider how much of a predicament may be caused if you choose to marry. This is not the weight of a command on you. But it’s something you must consider because it’s sanctified advice. It’s my judgment in the matter.” So she must understand the predicament of marriage.
The privilege of marriage
Secondly, a single person wanting to get married should understand the privilege of marriage. I want you to know that marriage is God’s idea. He wants us to be married, and we have the privilege to be married. It says in verse 28, “But if you should marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.” Again, he’s balancing the equation. You see, you could get out of verses 26 and 27, “Let’s just don’t marry. Celibacy is the way to go.” That’s not what he’s saying. He’s not against marriage.
He says, “If you do marry it is not a sin. I’m just trying to get you to think before you make that decision.” Some people ask about the first phrase in verse 28. He says, “But if you should marry, you have not sinned.” Does that deal only with the virgin girls or does that pretty much blanket everybody? It has to blanket everybody because of the next phrase. The next phrase says, “and if a virgin should marry, she has not sinned.” So you’ve got two groups of people here.
Now, obviously we must be quick to interject other parts of the passage and say that it’s not a sin to marry if it is a biblical divorce or widowhood. It’s got to fit Scripture. It’s not a sin to remarry. You must fit that into the equation of the person who’s freed back in the earlier part of this chapter when her unbelieving husband leaves her. If she marries, is it sin? If she’s free, she’s free. That’s the way I see Scripture. That has got to be factored in at this point.
Well, Paul’s main thrust here is having considered the present circumstances that are involved and then choosing to go ahead and be married, I want you to know you have not sinned. That’s his main thrust of what he’s saying. Now, remember the culture of that day. Usually the father decided whether you would be married or not. The verb here is aorist active. Aorist active means at a specific point and time you choose to be married. The active part of it means you choose on your own. Your daddy didn’t choose. He’s, perhaps, speaking to the fathers who are asking the question. He’s saying to the fathers, “You didn’t want her to be married, but she was married and therefore she has not sinned. Now get used to it.” You see, in their culture the fathers could put undue pressure on those children. This doesn’t in any way eradicate the fact that children should obey their parents and be submissive. Remember this. As we go through this every question will not be asked. The main thing is the plain thing. What he’s saying is that it is not a simple thing to get married if that person, in seeking the Lord, has weighed the circumstances and has chosen to do so. That marriage is now sealed in Heaven. It becomes their assigned lot in life. Don’t go around blaming that daughter.
Listen, in their culture a father who didn’t want that marriage and didn’t want that daughter to marry could make life miserable for them by putting a guilt trip on her for ever having married. Paul says, “Don’t do it. She has not sinned.” There are circumstances where parents play too much of a role in something like that. There’s got to be a choice that she makes and if she does make the choice to be married, then she has not sinned in making that choice. The key is obeying God. That’s what matters. Surely somebody can sin out of rebellion and get married. That would be a sinful type of thing that they have to deal with. But marriage itself, no. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying that you obey God and when you choose to obey God sometimes that may not line up with Mama and Daddy but that’s alright. To choose to be married is not a sinful thing. Once the decision is made, followed through with, then deal with the fact that you’re now in covenant with a man (and of course the man to the wife) and it’s not a sinful relationship. You live now and let God be honored in the midst of that relationship. She’s yoked to that husband for life. If she marries she has not sinned. So understand the privilege to marry. You can marry.
Paul’s not saying, “Hey, just because I said that it’s best for you considering the present distress not to be married, it’s not a sin if you go ahead and marry.” That’s what he’s saying. Understand it’s a privilege, not a sin.
The pressures of marriage
Thirdly, a single person should understand the pressures of marriage. You can just see this. The Apostle Paul now, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God, is giving some tremendous judgmental advice to the church there at Corinth. A single person should understand the pressures of marriage. Look at verse 28, the last phrase. “Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.” The word “such” refers to the one who considered the circumstances and chose to be married. He says, “Now, listen. When you choose to be married, that’s not a sin. However, there’s a huge responsibility that goes with it and there’s a whole new set of problems you just entered into. I want you to understand this. You have chosen it, therefore, you take what goes along with it.”
The word “trouble” there is the word thlipsis. It’s an interesting word. It means to be crushed. It means to be squeezed. If you want a word for stress and pressure, you’ve got it. That’s what it means. I mean a time when trouble just narrows you down and squeezes you.
The term “in this life” is not in this life. That is what the translations say. The word is actually “in the flesh,” sarx. It means the physical about us. It includes the emotional as well. The pressures upon a person who goes ahead and chooses to marry, believing God is in it, that’s no problem, but they have to realize that when they get into that marriage situation there are going to be pressures. There is going to be a squeezing. There’s going to be a crushing and it’s going to be emotional as well as physical. It’s an added responsibility and must be considered.
The redeeming factor is that the verb is future active indicative, which means from time to time. It’s not going to be there all the time. Thank the Lord for that. There are going to be times when it’s not going to be a crushing pressure. But you can see Paul’s reasoning here. He’s single, celibate, and he says, “I think you just ought to be like me. There are no ties. There are no strings. But if you do get married, you’re going to have a whole new set of problems that you might not have thought about. Consider these things.” That’s all he’s saying. “Take my advice and understand the whole new set of problems when you get married.”
There are a lot of problems that go along with being married. If you are married understand what I’m talking about. We all know what he’s talking about. He says, “Hey, I’m just trying to tell you and there it is.”
Now, the pressure that he speaks of probably even goes beyond that because being an apostle he would look at the pressure spiritually that they had been going through at Corinth. Corinth, again, being a very pagan city. You know the persecution had to be rampant there. Jesus warned in John 16:33 using the same word, thlipsis. He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation [that’s the word right there], but take courage; I have overcome the world.” What he’s saying is that it’s hard enough to live in the culture of Corinth with the present distress being single, but if you marry you’re taking upon yourself even a dual responsibility, and it’s not going to lighten the pressure. It’s going to heighten the pressure. There’s going to be more upon you. Understand this going in.
He adds a fatherly concern at the end of the verse that I just love. He says, “and I am trying to spare you.” I love that out of Paul. It’s kind of like what he said back in chapter 3, “I don’t write these things to shame you but I write it as a father would write a child that he loves.” He’s just trying to help them. And he says, “I’m writing these things to spare you.” The word “trying to spare you” means to treat you with tenderness. Paul is saying, “I’m coming alongside you. I may speak like a big bear but I’m just a big teddy bear.” That’s what he’s saying. “I love you. I’m saying some tough things to you because I want to make sure you enter into it knowing the reality of what you’re entering into. You’re accepting a huge amount of problems in things that you wouldn’t have had if you had stayed single, but that’s not a sin. That’s fine because it’s God’s idea that you be married. But make sure you walk into it not blindfolded. Consider and understand the pressures that go along with marriage.”
Isn’t it amazing how when a person walks forward in a marriage ceremony they don’t know what world they’re in? I think Paul understands that and he says, “Listen. Before you get that far make sure you have considered some things, because you’re accepting something that’s going to be a lot heavier than you ever thought it was going to be and you are responsible.”
Many times we’ve had to counsel with people who ten years later say, “I made a mistake.” Do you think the legal society made that marriage legal? No sir, buddy. God made it legal. You made a mistake? Tough luck! Now, it’s your assignment under God to live under the trouble you chose to enter into. Now, that’s the way you deal with it. But I’m telling you. People throw everything back at you because they didn’t understand. They didn’t consider some of these things before they entered into that relationship. Now they’re in it and it’s too late to consider it now. It should have been considered before you did it. That’s why Paul says, “Stay like me. It’s not a command. It doesn’t have the weight of a command but I’m telling you. There’s a pressure that’s going to be upon you you wouldn’t experience any other way. So if you’re going to enter it, it’s not sin. But you better consider these things because it’s part of the turf.”
That’s an expression we used to use when I played sports. “It goes along with the turf.” Do you want the privilege of playing? Then you take what goes along with it. Basically, it sounds callous. That’s not at all how he meant it. That’s just part of it. You make the choice and, buddy, it’s like the old expression, “You made your bed. Now you’re going to lay in it.” And it goes along with the choice. Paul says, “You better consider these things. Marriage is going to put you in a predicament in light of your present distress, but you better understand it is a privilege, and not a sin to get married. But you better also consider the pressure it’s going to bring upon you, not just the outward pressure, but the pressure of the marriage itself.”
The priorities of marriage
The final thing I want to share with you is the priorities of marriage. This is so significant in what Paul is saying. I use the illustration of a triangle when I do wedding ceremonies. I put the groom over here and just kind of draw an imaginary picture. I put the bride here and I put Jesus here on the top.
I tell them straight out, “Do not have a priority of living for one another. It will never work.” That sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But see what Paul is about to say is the same priority you had when you were single is the same priority you have if you’re married and that is you live attached to Jesus Christ.
Go back and study 1:2-9 and Paul shows you what a Christian is: sanctified, and he’s devoted. He calls upon the name of the Lord in everything. He lives attached to Jesus. What was wrong with the Corinthian church? They were attached to everything but Jesus. Basically, what he’s going to say here is if you’re going to marry, it’s not a sin. Consider all these things but remember you better stay attached to Jesus. Do not let your marriage or the trouble or the pressure or anything else in any way hinder you in your surrender to Jesus Christ.
If you do, you’re very foolish. Remember in 3:13 when we stand before God one day and our works are tested? You’re going to suffer that day in the sense that if you don’t have anything remaining. Why is that? Because you attached yourself to something other than Jesus. Your priorities do not change just because you get married. You are still to live. Now in that triangle picture here, here’s Christ, here’s the groom, here’s the bride. He lives for Christ. She lives for Christ. But look how much close they’re drawn together as you move towards the point that they’re both living towards, the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t contradict. It complements. That’s what Paul is going to bring out here.
He’s warned them and now he says in verse 29, “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.” Now, when you first read that, you think he’s getting into some kind of eschatology or something. No, I do not believe that at all. Remember, translating from one language to another, sometimes words come out that seem to be pregnant with meaning but it may not be the meaning that you think that they’re talking about.
Let me say, simply, what I believe he’s saying here. He’s saying that there are four things that cannot hinder your relationship with Christ once you are married. Number one, your spouse. And in this case he mentions the wife cannot be a hindrance to the husband although it would certainly be implied the other way around. Secondly, one’s sorrow cannot hinder his relationship with Christ. Thirdly, one’s joy, his rejoicing, cannot hinder his relationship with Christ. And fourthly, one’s business and material possessions cannot hinder his walk with Christ. Marriage, without thinking about it beforehand, could afford the opportunity for one or all four of these things to stand in the way of your living attached to Jesus Christ.
Now, let’s take it slowly. Verse 29 says, “But this I say, brethren.” First of all, his spouse must not hinder his devotion. “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened.” The word “time” is the word kairos, which is different than chronos. Chronos is something you measure, like a watch. You measure time. But there’s another word for time, kairos, which means a season or an opportunity. That’s the word he uses. In other words, there’s an opportunity you have from the time you get saved until the time you die. Marriage should in no way hinder that opportunity.
“[T]time has been shortened” is in the perfect passive. Shortened has the idea of drawn together by the purpose that God has Himself. So when you look in the light of eternity, time has been shortened and certainly in light of the coming of Jesus it’s continuously getting shorter. So there’s a shortened time that we have, a shortened opportunity that we have. So in the midst of that short opportunity nothing in marriage should hinder us from being the vessel God wants us to use.
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her,” sanctifying her. All those things must blend in. Remember it doesn’t answer every question here. But the main thing is he says, “You keep your life attached to Jesus even in your marriage if that’s what you choose to do.” The whole thought is like James says that life is like a vapor. It quickly appears and then just passes away. So we must remember our first allegiance is under God.
Please understand what I’m saying. That doesn’t mean, as I’ve heard, particularly in this area, “Oh, I’ve got to be about ‘ministry’ instead of my wife.” What he’s simply saying is, “You have your love relationship with Jesus like it ought to be and He’ll make your relationship with your wife what it ought to be. Don’t put her first. Like the triangle, put Him first. It will work like it’s supposed to work.” These guys will say, “Well, I’ve got to do this ministry for God” and they kill their families. No, that’s not what he’s saying. Please understand that. His point is, don’t let your marriage in any way hinder your walk with God. May it complement it, not contradict it.
Secondly, one’s sorrow must not hinder his walk with Christ. Verse 30 reads, “and those who weep, as though they did not weep.” You know, when you get married there are a lot of things that can hinder your walk with Christ. One of these things is sorrow, sorrow in a very natural, non-sinful way. Things can happen to you that you would have never had to go through if you were single. Paul wants them to understand this. But don’t ever let that sorrow become a hindrance to your being a vessel that God can use.
I remember our little daughter who is in Heaven. That was pain. It was more pain for my wife than it was for me. We men think we have pain when it comes to losing children or whatever, but I’ll tell you the wife who bore that child has more pain than anybody else could ever have. That wife, and he’s talking about virgin daughters here, if she had chosen not to get married, would never experience that. But now that the pain has come and now that the sorrow has entered into her heart. Grief is a clean wound which takes a long time to heal. Basically, what he could be saying is don’t let it lead you to bitterness. Don’t let it lead you to be hindered in any way in being a vessel of letting God use this in your life. Don’t ever do that. What sorrow has entered your life, death of a child, anything, that came as a result of your choice to be married and that sorrow entered into that relationship? Paul says, “I’m telling you. Don’t let it be a hindrance. Be as one who never sorrowed in the sense that there’s nothing standing between you and God. Be a vessel that God can use.”
Then he goes on. Not only one’s sorrow must not hinder his walk but he says don’t let your rejoicing hinder your walk. Verse 30 continues, “and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice.” He’s not saying not to rejoice. My goodness! Just living on this earth brings a lot of joy, just the beauty around us. Just enjoying what’s around us, that’s fine. But don’t let that rejoicing, don’t let that joy hinder you in your walk with Christ. There are many joys to being married. Be joyful. That’s not what he’s saying. Just don’t be so caught up in that that you let it hinder you being a vessel through which God can do His work.
But then, fourthly, don’t let your business hinder your walk. You know, men from thirty to about forty-five years old who have hit the six figure mark early in life. They’re in a Bible study here and a Bible study there and they come to church. They make their appearance and they say they’re open to walk with Christ. But when you boil it down, if what they owe and what they have, they’re not free to serve Christ. They’re bound by the very thing that they’ve worked hard to get. That’s what Paul is saying. It’s by necessity that you work. It’s by necessity you make profit. It’s by necessity you become successful to take care of your family, but don’t ever let that success be a hindrance to your walk with God.
Paul said to be as those who don’t possess anything when it comes to this world. In other words, be so free at any time you can turn it loose to do whatever God tells you to do. Don’t put that in front of you. You think about the problems that people have today in marriage. Good grief! This has to be inspired. Paul was single. How could he have known all this stuff? It had to be the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God for him to write it.
“And those who buy, as though they did not possess.” In other words, verse 31 says your priorities must be correct. They are not going to change. The same priorities you had before you got married are the same priorities you have after you get married. He says in verse 31, “and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it.” The word for “use” is a good translation of a verb that means to handle or to behave towards. We are to so use care in how we handle the priorities of our life that if we don’t we will abuse the things of the world. Rather than those things becoming for our good, they become for our harm.
Our priorities must be set when they’re married. He’s saying to be as one who has never known to be one who uses the things of the world. Even though you prioritize yourself in the world and you properly have a use of it, don’t let that become in any way a hindrance to your walk with God.
He says, “for the form of this world is passing away.” What he’s saying is the world is changing from age to age but eternity never changes. You’re anchored there when you get saved and single. You’re anchored there when you get married. Don’t let anything hinder that because eternity in its purposes never changes even though the world around you, the shape of it and everything else, will constantly be changing.
So he sits down with this young, single, virgin daughter or father who wants to give away his daughter and says, “Let me just help you here. This doesn’t have the weight of a command, but buddy, does it ever have the weight of apostolic authority. It’s a judgment, yes, but you better listen to it. Before you choose to get married understand the predicament of marriage in light of your present circumstance. Understand the privilege of marriage. Understand the pressure of marriage. And understand the priorities of marriage. If you don’t, you’re going to short-change yourself when you stand before Jesus one day. Consider these things.” Marriage is not sinful. But if you get married understand these things go along with it.
You know, in the Christian life, if you’re not observant of the things God’s told you to be observant of, it’s going to be a lot harder than you thought it was going to be. God’s the master designer. He can take your mistakes and weave them into His perfect plan, but I want to tell you, it’s a whole lot better when you pay attention to the things Paul says you better pay attention to. The bottom line, you attach yourself to Jesus and don’t let anything, marriage or being single, don’t let anything hinder from being a vessel through which God can accomplish His work so that one day when you stand before Him you won’t have to be ashamed when the works of your flesh are consumed by fire and you have nothing to cast back at the feet of Jesus. That’s the bottom line. Good advice, not with the weight of a command but the weight of an apostle who has God’s seal of approval upon him. He says, “You better listen to me.”