Tuesday, 15 July 2014
…but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.1 Corinthians 7:9
This is the second half of the previous thought to the unmarried. Paul said that it was good if they remained even as he was (meaning unmarried), “but if they cannot exercise self control, let them marry.” This is obvious. If someone who is unmarried is filled with the desires that come about in such a state, they should then get married.
The surety is that desire leads to action and action in this case is sin because sex is to be between a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage. Referring back to Paul’s statements in chapter 6, a Christian is “in” Christ and therefore to engage in illicit sex is to sin against Christ directly.
And so Paul goes on by saying, “For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” To understand this in a way not evident in the English, the Pulpit Commentary provides an analysis of the Greek tense of the verbs –
“The ‘marry’ is in the aorist – ‘to marry once for all,’ and live in holy married union; the ‘burn’ is in the present – ‘to be on fire with concupiscence.’ Marriage once for all is better than continuous lust; the former is permitted, the latter sinful.”
Paul’s words here follow on the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:27, 28 –
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The Bible teaches that intent to sin is sin. We are given a remedy for the sins we face concerning sexual desire in today’s verse. However, there are instances where the physical needs cannot be met for whatever reason. In those cases, additional prayer and communion with the Lord is needed. This is no different than an alcoholic or drug addict who must learn to focus on Christ and to rely on Him. We are given our instructions and we need to strive to conduct our lives in holiness and in a manner which is honoring to the Lord.
Life application: The Bible shows us that we need to make decisions that may be difficult, but they are never unattainable. By staying in the word, walking closely with the Lord, and fellowshipping with other believers, we can be victorious over our sinful actions and desires.
Heavenly Father, how often I fail You! Were it not for the cross of Jesus, that eternal void between You and me would be a horrifying thought to contemplate. But because of what He did there at Calvary, there is hope, there is forgiveness, and there is the wondrous surety that I am forgiven and free. What kind of love is this! You are beyond glorious in how You have dealt with Your wayward child. Thank You, O God. Amen.