May 28, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“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. I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 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.”—1 Corinthians 7:25–28 (NKJV)
We’re progressing through Paul’s extended response to the Corinthian’s question about how their faith in Christ should affect matters such as marriage, divorce, and remarriage. These issues are just as important today as they were nearly 2,000 years ago when this was written. And confusion on these issues has never been greater as our culture continues to drift further and further from God’s purposed plan for our lives.
At this point, Paul speaks specifically to “virgins.” A little backdrop is in order here, because there’s more to that word than what we typically associate it with. It describes someone who hasn’t been sexually intimate with anyone else. But in that cultural context, it also represents young women who were eligible for marriage, yet weren’t yet committed to marriage in any way. It also helps us to understand that in that time, it was the given expectation for such a person to become married. The natural question, of course, was whether it was right or wrong for them to get married.
That’s the scenario Paul now speaks to, and he basically shifts from an explicit commandment to an implicit principle. In other words, Paul recognized that God didn’t establish a direct commandment on how a “virgin” should proceed with their future, whether they should get married or not. It would be taking things too far to answer “yes” or “no” on that. But as he often (and wisely) does, Paul applies a more general principle to guide the matter at hand.
Here’s the principle Paul unpacks for them: Whether you’re an unmarried “virgin” or a married man or woman, it’s wise to be content in the state you’re in. Again, Paul isn’t answering “yes” or “no” on this one; he’s answering that contentment is always the wisest course regardless of where you’re at in life. And you know what, he’s absolutely right. Sometimes we can seek a change, a relational change, because we think it will satisfy our deepest desires. When in fact, what we need more than anything is the contentment God gives to those who seek Him first.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”—Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
That’s not to say that relational changes are always wrong. In fact, Paul explicitly says it’s not a sin for a “virgin” to be married. But the greater point is that such changes should be led and directed by one’s relationship with the Lord, which is to always come first.
What are we seeking in life? Is it satisfaction found through another person or a new situation, or are we seeking the One who brings us contentment regardless of what’s going on around us? These are good questions to ask ourselves and our answers will reveal where we’re at and where we need to go next in our ongoing journey of becoming more like Jesus.
Pause: What was Paul’s answer when it came to whether “virgins” should get married or not?
Practice: Consider what you’re primarily seeking at this stage in your life and how that aligns with Matthew 6:33.
Pray: Father, I freely confess that I’m so easily distracted by the wants and whims that swirl around me in this life. I quickly forget that in You I have more than anything this world could ever give me. Help me to abide in You and keep me centered in the contentment that is found in You. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.