Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. 1 Corinthians 7:37
These words are set in contrast to what was stated in verse 36. It is assumed from these verses, and known from the customs of the times, that the father had control over his daughter’s marriage decisions. Unlike the world today where young people fall in love and decide who they will marry, those in the Roman empire were simply told who they would marry and when. It might be that in the afternoon a father could come home and say, “Tomorrow you will marry a man I met today.” Arranged marriages were the standard, not the exception.
Paul noted previously that the father didn’t sin if he allowed his virgin daughter to marry. And now he introduces the contrast by saying, “Nevertheless…” What was said is acceptable, but there is another point to consider. And all of it is based on the “present distress” already noted in verse 26. Because of this difficulty “he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.”
By withholding marriage from his virgin daughter, he is doing well because he will keep her from the great troubles which were expected at this time of distress. Someone had to tend to her, be it him or her new husband. Because she was already in the home and because there was no external need to marry her off, they could ride this time of distress through together without causing sin. The idea here is that if keeping her from marrying would cause her to be tempted to the point of losing her virginity, then it would be sin. If this wasn’t the case, then they were doing well by having her not get married.
Life application: Paul’s words continuously show his regard for purity, holiness, and keeping sin at bay. If we can learn from his examples and his words of instruction, how much easier will our lives be and how much more pleasing to the Lord will we walk!
O wondrous God. Around me are the sounds of life. The crickets are chirping, the chimes are tinkling in the wind, and the house is stirred with morning routine. It is a comfort and a joy to have such things and I thank You for them. But should times of loss and disaster come my way, I will be unwavering in my thanks to You. My love and gratitude to You isn’t based on the present delights, but on the surety that nothing can separate me from Your love because of Christ. Thank You for this steadfast hope. Amen.