THE KING’S BUSINESS
(v. 26) it was good, or beautiful, and desir able, for those who were not in marriage relations to remain single. But this would not be possible for all. If desire was strong they would better marry. It would be better to marry than to be vexed with unsatisfied desire. But if they were already married the case was perfectly clear. The Lord Jesus had expressed His mind upon that; viz., the wife should not depart (lit erally, be separated) from her own hus band, but if a separation had taken place she should not marry another (cf. Matt. 5 :32). It seems probable that there were some in Corinth that taught that a believing wife had a right to leave an unbelieving husband, and not only to leave him but to be married to another believer. In a let ter written to Paul (see v. 1) his opinion has been asked about this abominable prac tice, and he gives it with great plainness. In what follows Paul gives his opinion as an apostle inspired of God (v. 25), but the Lord Himself had not spoken when on earth on this question. .Some think that Paul wished it understood that in giving these words he was not giving the sure Word of God, only his opinion. If we should accept this position (which we do not accept as it is contrary to the con text) it only gives all the more authority to the words of Paul where this statement does not.appear; for it would show how careful Paul was when he was not abso lutely sure he had the mind of God to say so. But what Paul evidently means is that in whht he says in verse 10, it was a quotation from what the Lord, Himself, had said when here on earth; but in the rest the Lord Himself had not spoken but Paul said it; but he did not say it as his o;wn uninspired opinion but as one who had “obtained mercy with the Lord to be faithful” (v. 25). The word “faith ful” means, one who is to be believed, in other words, he gave this opinion as one who had obtained mercy to be inspired of God, and who was therefore “trustworthy,” and that absolute dependence could be put upon his word in this as in other matters.
so with the wife’s consent the man may abstain “for a season” from physical grat ification, that his mind may be wholly occupied with prayer. But even in this case the relations of husband and wife must be resumed again. If this is not done, Satan who is ever watchful for an oppor tunity, will tempt to unlawful and unholy gratification, the one who turns away from the lawful and holy gratification found in married life. The proper gratification of these desires is natural and right and pleasing to God, just as the gratification of hunger by" eating in proper time and proper way and measure is pleasing :o God (ch. 10:31). God Himself made these desires and through man’s wanton abuse they have become the occasion of unmeas ured sin and vileness, in themselves they are right and should be consecrated to God and gratified as in His sight, with prayer for His guidance and His blessing. Paul adds that he speaks this “by way of per mission, not of commandment” (i. e. he does not command that all marry and then act as described, but it is permitted to marry, God permits it, and when one uses this permission of God he should act as here described). Paul was not living in marriage relations and he would have been glad to have all men even as he was, but some had the gift that he had, the gift of freedom from all desire in that direction, and some had not. But if men had not this gift and if they were not as he was, unmarried, then they must not try to live out of their station, Le., live as if they were single. Some have taken these words, “but this I say by way of permission, not of commandment” to mean that Paul said this “by permission,” but God had not com manded him to say it and therefore it is Paul’s opinion and not God’s, but the whole context shows that this was not Paul’s thought. He was writing about a matter that was permitted and not commanded. Sunday, October 2 i. i Corinthians 7 : 8 - 17 . In the existing state of things in Cor inth, “by reason of the present distress”
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