In keeping in step with the Spirit, we can’t ignore sin. But we don’t just condemn the person either. We are supposed to restore that person. And beyond that, Paul says:
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Now, this seems a little contrary to what he says just three verses later that each person should carry their own load, but I think it is not. We are responsible for ourselves. But as members of the body of Christ, we can help each other out to make things easier for our brothers and sisters.
The next paragraph is encouraging! Don’t give up – something better is coming!
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Paul wraps up this book by going back to the topic of circumcision that was causing divide.
15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
Do it or don’t do it – it doesn’t matter. We are under a new law of freedom now. This may not be an issue that causes divide amongst Christians today, but we can get trapped in other debates about things that don’t really matter. If we are new creations in Christ, we should live like it, in the freedom his sacrifice has given us, giving honor to him and our Father.
Thanks for reading this week – I hope you gained something from these devotions!
1 Corinthians 7
I hope you have enjoyed working through 1 Corinthians this week. I’m going to finish with chapter 7 today.
Up until now Paul has been telling them about all of the changes that they need to make. He has told them to set aside the worldly wisdom, and the associated status that comes with gaining it, for God’s wisdom. He has told them to seek purity because they are members of the Body of Christ, and they cannot do things anymore just because their conscience says it isn’t bad, they need to listen to the Holy Spirit. He has also instructed them to seek unity in the Body of Christ instead of handling their issues in the courts in order to “win” the argument. Several times in these instructions Paul has shifted tone between one of condemnation and rebuke, to one of conciliation and support. Again here in chapter 7 Paul is lightening the blow from all of the changes he has asked of them in these previous chapters.
Paul does not want to overwhelm them with the changes he is asking for, so in chapter 7 he clarifies about the things that he is not asking them to change, but they may have thought he wanted them to change. They do not need to get a divorce if they are married to an unbeliever, but are to do everything in their power to maintain a healthy relationship. If they are a slave then they do not need to attain freedom, although if they can that is nice, but it is not required. Contrary to what some of the Jews in the early Church were saying they do not need to be circumcised. Paul understands that these life changes would be a roadblock to some new believers and that they are not what God really wants, he says “Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” God wants them to change their hearts. And maybe some of the life changes would be wise, but those things can come later as you grow in God’s wisdom. The most important thing to work on is obeying God’s commands and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks again for reading along. I hope some of this has helped you.
Until next time,