Words of Faith 6-1-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Study in the Land of the Bible with Dr. and Mrs. Hoy. Two trips available –
December 26, 2017 to January 5, 2018
January 4-13, 2018
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1 Corinthians 7
 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Paul's next area of teaching concerned those who had been married but were no longer married. Paul will later give different direction specifically for those who were "virgins," or never married. What about those were are unmarried or widows? Should they marry again, or not? In general, Paul advised believers to remain as they are but he also realized that this is not always the best thing.
This passage addressed those who were divorced-- both male and female-- and widows as well as widowers. All those who had at one time been married, but because of death or divorce found themselves single again. Paul says it is good for them stay unmarried, "as I am." Notice that this is the group that Paul identifies himself with rather than the never married "virgins" addressed in verse 25. Apparently, Paul had been married. From the way that he speaks, he seems to know about married life.
Paul advised that there was nothing at all wrong with staying unmarried. In fact, this was good or advisable in his mind. Paul later shared some of his reasoning-- "Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are" (1 Cor. 7:26). This “crisis” was probably not due to the Lord's return, but rather because of persecution that troubled the early church.
Paul also shared this insight: "I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35).
But Paul also did not forbid remarriage for those who are widowed and, in some instances, those who were divorced. Paul later advised Timothy regarding widows, "I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander" (1 Tim. 5:14).
Paul did not forbid outright the remarriage of those who are single again because of divorce. Some of these situations would have been beyond the control and decision of the person involved. As we look more carefully at issues related to divorce, we see that there are some situations between believers where divorce is a sin that should be repented of in the hope of reconciliation, but there are other situations that are beyond the will and control of a believer.
What about a person who was married and divorced before they came to know the Lord? What about a person whose spouse was unfaithful or who was deserted by an unbeliever? Paul says that the unmarried and widows can remarry and, in fact, that they should remarry if they are having trouble controlling themselves sexually. It is better to marry than to burn with passion. If one struggles with sexual feelings, it is very likely he does not have the gift of celibacy, and should marry.
These passages have significance for us all. If we are not "single for second time", we almost certainly know someone who is. If we have not had to deal with divorce personally, we often have people close to us who have. It is important to see that Paul did not create a second-class of Christian based on a person's marital status.
There are some very important issues related to divorce and remarriage. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but He doesn't hate divorcees. Divorce is sin, but it is not an unforgivable sin. But joining in one-flesh union is not something that can be dissolved lightly and then re-entered with another.
The divorce customs at the time of Jesus were very liberal. Under rabbinical law, a man could divorce his wife for any and every sort of reason, even because she simply "displeased him" or her cooking was unsatisfactory. Jesus strongly renounced such abuses saying that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery (Matt. 5:31-32).
Jesus taught that divorce between believers was a result of hardness of heart. "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning" (Matt. 19:8). The best solution for marital strife and sin is healing and reconciliation, but this often does not happen because of hardness of heart.
God has great compassion for those who have become "unmarried" or single again against their will. Some widows and widowers will remain single and the Lord will walk with them closely. For others, the mercy of the Lord will give them a new relationship of marriage. Some of those who have become "unmarried"' against their will be righteously joined in marriage to another spouse.
Father God, help me to have Your compassion for all those who are Yours and that You are calling to Yourself. Give me a heart that is open to those who have gone through loss. Help me to see with Your eyes what You are doing in the lives of Your children.