Wednesday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 7:6-11

Each Has His Own Gift from God

Once when the Pharisees were “testing” Jesus, they asked him if it were lawful to divorce one’s wife, with the intention of getting him in trouble with either the more conservative or more liberal rabbis who disagreed on the question, but even better to see how he handled Moses on the issue.  When Jesus answered that in the marriage union, “the two become one flesh” and no man should violate that union, it seemed to the Pharisees that he had taken the bait.  “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away,” they ask.  “Because of your hardness of heart,” Jesus answered, “but from the beginning it was not so.”  And in that brief response, just as in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), our Lord proclaimed his authority even over Moses. 

But more to the point of today’s passage, when the disciples, apparently in shock, said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (a sorry response at that time from the men who would one day be the very foundation upon which the Church was built, Ephesians 2:20), Jesus replied, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given” (Matthew 19:3-12).

And we should let that be the background of Paul’s discussion with the Corinthians here.  We spoke yesterday that some in the Corinthian church thought the body was basically evil and needed to be denied every pleasure and basic need, even within marriage.  We see in this passage that some were even considering divorce for no other reason than the faulty one just mentioned.  They had come to see celibacy as superior to married life because they considered intimacy as “dirty,” a hang-up some Christians even live with today.  Some even accuse the Apostle Paul of such misgivings.

But that’s untrue.  Like Jesus, Paul says here that some, indeed few, have that “gift,” yes, gift.  Sure he can say that he wishes all were like himself, but he is realistic.  So if one can remain single and celibate, then good; they’ll have more time to serve the Lord (7:32-35), but if not, then better to marry.  Nor should either husband or wife separate from the other as our Lord said himself.  But I focus here on the word, “gift.”  Both celibate life and married life are gifts of God, neither to be elevated over the other as long as each is used for the Lord.  (And “celibate” is a better word than “single” as it speaks to sexual purity.)  So rejoice over the gift that God has given you—and over the gift that God has given others—and use your gift to glorify the Giver.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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