LOVE AND LIVE GOD’S WAY
Sovereign God, illumine my life by the inviting, guiding, judging, redeeming light of your holy Word. Speak Lord.
Read 1 Corinthians 7:12–24
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
Concerning Change of Status
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Love? Yes, God loves us. But his love is passionate and seeks faithful, committed love in return’ (Eugene H Peterson).* Pray that, even today, your commitment to the Lord will grow.
Remember, Paul is helping God’s people know how to live God’s way (v 10). So when he writes about married couples facing difficulties, he focuses on what’s right for the Christian spouse to do, and in specific – not all – situations. For two Christians, the bottom line is ‘don’t divorce’, though there may be exceptions (‘But if she does’, v 11). If so, they should separate and stay single, or be reconciled after a break.
If a non-Christian is happy to carry on working at their marriage with a (maybe new) Christian, fine – no need for divorce (vs 12,13). Because of the Christian spouse’s faith, God will look with favor on that household (v 14), though this doesn’t mean the unbeliever is ‘saved’ by it. Of course, wonderfully, he or she may come to the Lord later (v 16). The unbeliever can of course decide that ‘enough’s enough’ (v 15). If so, separation can bring peace. Is this how you understand these verses? And what’s the big idea behind verses 17–24? Is it something like ‘how we’re living for God and how we’re letting him shape us are more immediately important than the situation in which we’re living’? Or do you see something else?
If any of this connects with you or the lives of those you know and love, ask God for wisdom; pray for them now in their struggles.
Loving Father, I lift up to you the marriages I know are in trouble. Guide these couples to make wise and godly choices during these difficult times.
From Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best, 2008, IVP
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