All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

9 April 2021 – 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. – 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 (ESV)

Richard Hays writes:

In view of Paul’s strong proclamation elsewhere of the world-transforming power of the gospel (cf. 2 Cor. 5:16-21), this may seem like a disappointingly conservative account of the social implications of the new life in Christ. We must remember, however, that Paul writes under the conviction that ‘the present form of this world is passing away’ (1 Cor. 7:31). To scramble for new social positions is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: it is a pointless exercise that only generates anxiety. His immediate pastoral concern is to set his readers free for wholehearted service of God wherever they find themselves located in the present time. The maxim “Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called” means, in effect, “Bloom where you are planted; don’t worry about trying to become something you are not.” When we consider that Paul’s immediate application of this advice to the Corinthian situation was to dissuade the Corinthians from abandoning their marital commitments, we can see that there may be more wisdom in such counsel than in utopian schemes for breaking free from human limitations. At the same time, the application of Paul’s maxim requires discernment and the ability to know when exceptions are appropriate, as his discussion throughout this chapter indicates.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 107
Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.