Put God First
1 Corinthians 7:25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress--that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away. (NKJV)
In this passage the apostle Paul continues to address relationships, both our relationships with those in the world and with God. In the previous two passages he addressed relationships between a Christian and his non-Christian spouse and a Christian and his non-Christian friends. In both instances the commandment was to remain in the relationship in order to win the non-Christian to God unless shunned by the non-Christian or the relationship makes it impossible to keep the commandments of God. The goal was to put God first.
Now, Paul addresses the relationships of those who are unmarried. He refers to the unmarried man and woman as “virgins” (v. 25a). God commands that men and women remain virgins until they are married. All sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin, according to God.
As he did previously in this chapter (v. 12), Paul states that Jesus did not specifically address this situation in His earthly ministry (v. 25b). However, the Lord has made all of Paul’s Biblical writings “trustworthy” (v. 25c). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Paul states that it is “good” that these men and women are unmarried, because of the “present distress” in the world (v. 26a). “It is good for a man (or woman) to remain as he is”, unmarried (v. 26b). The “present distress” could refer to the persecution of Christians. Christians who are unmarried have less distractions and they can better focus on the Lord. If one is married he should stay married but if one is unmarried it is better that he stay unmarried (v. 27).
However, it is not a sin to be married (v. 28a). Marriage was ordained by God in the Garden of Eden. Paul’s intention in discouraging marriage is to “spare” us of “trouble in the flesh”, a reference to the complications that accompany marriage which could take our focus off the Lord (v. 28b).
Paul has previously allowed marriage in this chapter for those who are unable to remain celibate (v. 9). Marriage would keep them from the sin of sex outside of marriage.
Our relationship with God should take precedence over anything else in this world, because “the time is short” (v.29a). We are living in the church age, the last age before the return of the Lord. There is much work to do to spread the Gospel throughout the world before the Lord returns.
Christians who are married should put God first, before their spouse (v. 29b). Christians who have cause to “weep” should put God first, before thinking of their own problems (v. 30a). Christians who have cause to “rejoice” should put God first, before rejoicing (v. 30b). Christians who “buy” things should put God first, before adding to their possessions (v. 30c). And Christians even though they are permitted to “use” the things of the world should put God first, or they will be guilty of “misusing” the things of the world (v. 31a).
The things of this world are temporary for “this world is passing away.” (v. 31b). The things of God are eternal. Eternal things should be put before temporary things for they are much more valuable.
In summary, God should be put first in our lives. We are permitted to use the things of this world for our pleasure, including marriage. But it is better not to use these things because they take our focus off God. Our focus should always be on God. Time is short and there is much work still to be done.
Online Bible Commentary