Reasons for Remaining Single, Part 1: Because of the World


1 Corinthians 7:25-31…This morning as we come to verses 25 to 40… and a very, very unusual text it is, dealing with reasons for remaining single…But now, in order to try to prod those people who have the gift of singleness to use that gift, and not to get married, he adds verses 25 to 40, and this is an encouragement to single people, to see whether or not God has not given them a gift to maintain and stay single.

The number 1 reason to stay single

Number one reason to stay single is the pressure of the system. The pressure of the system. Notice verse 26. 1 suppose therefore that this is good. What is good? That it is good for a man so to be. To be what? To be unmarried. Why? Because of the present distress. On account of the immediate necessity, might be a more literal translation.

It is better to be single because of the immediate violence. And what did he mean by this? Well, Kittel says that this denotes the tensions that exist between the new creation in Christ and the old cosmos.

Tracing the use of this word through the New Testament Kittel comes up with the idea that when a person becomes a Christian he immediately gets into a violent conflict with the system.

Now Paul is speaking of the violence and the distress, and the pain and the suffering that can come to anyone who professes Christ…Now Paul had had many experiences that would help us to understand this. Paul would go into a town and they would beat him. He would go into another town and they would stone him. He would go into another town and they would give him strifes with a whip. He would go into another town and they would put him in jail. On and on and on through the man’s life there was pain and suffering, pain and suffering.

#2 reason to not get married (trouble in the flesh)

Now, verse 28 identifies this for us. But, and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. He wants to make sure we understand that it isn’t a sin to get married. That is not what he is saying.

He doesn’t want any misunderstandings. He is not against marriage. Marriage is not an evil thing; marriage is not a sinful thing.

Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh and I would spare you from that.

Now this is very interesting. Notice the statement, “such will have trouble in the flesh.” Such is masculine in its gender and that would gather up all cases, not just virgins but bachelors as well.

Trouble. That’s an interesting word. You know one of the things that occurs when you get married? Trouble.

Trouble occurs in marriage. You say, oh–in our marriage? Yes. In my marriage. Oh, can’t believe it. It’s true. Trouble occurs. You say well where does it come from?

Trouble comes from what? The flesh. Do you know what we have realized in our marriage? Both of us are sinners. My wife is a sinner.

Now I’m not getting specific, but I’m just giving you general truth. My wife is a sinner. You know what’s ever worse than that? I’m a sinner. And you know what happens when you put two sinners together? Trouble will happen. And then when you have a whole lot of little sinners come into your house, everyone of our children are depraved.

Have you recognized that about your children? You know, as we were talking about Melinda yesterday, Melinda is especially depraved. She’s only two, but do you know that a first response to any difficult situation is to lie. It’s just automatic to lie. And now I’m in the process of trying to teach her that that isn’t the approach. It’s just automatic. Boy, we have six people in our house, all of whom are totally depraved. Now you know what that spells? Trouble. Trouble in the flesh. Any kind of marriage is going to bring about trouble. Now flesh. What does flesh mean? This is the lower nature.

Now let me give you a simple definition. This is our humanness. This is our humanness. And it is humanness in marriage that makes for trouble. Even though the Holy Spirit wants perfect unity, humanness creates problems. He has in mind the problems that come from our humanness, the ever-present troubles of married life. Now what about this idea of trouble. Let’s — this is the word thlipsisin the Greek and it means literally pressure. It comes from the Greek word meaning to pressed together and was used of squashing grapes. Now, you know, marriage is a pressure. It’s a pressing together. And, in that kind of pressing together humanness is going to rear its head”.

…You know, in a home, people say, if I could just get married that would solve my problems. My friend, if you get married all that’s going to do is magnify your problems because somebody else has to live with them.

You know we all say marriage never changes anything; it just intensifies everything you are and makes somebody else have to live with it. If you’re going to solve your problems you’re going to solve them apart from your marriage. I’ve had people say, you know, I’ve got this tremendous sexual problem and desires, and it’s to the place of sinfulness, if I could only get married. You know what happens when they get married? Nothing changes that. They still have those same lusts and evil desires, even though there is a sexual fulfillment in marriage, if that thing is a sin problem that hasn’t been dealt with there will be just as much illicit lust in the marriage as there was before you got married.

…Marriage is the solution of one thing for the Christian, and only one. And, that is the need to be obedient to God’s will

Marriage is passing away has no connection to eternity

Now, I’m going to read 29 to 31 because it all goes together:

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short.” Literally the time is shortened. The time is shortened. “It remains that both they that have wives be as though they had none. They that weep as though they wept not. They that rejoice as though they rejoiced not. They that buy as though they possess not, and they that use this world as not abusing it the schema-the state of this world is passing away.”

Now, what is he saying?

He is saying, hey, marriage is part of the schema of this world, and it is what? Passing away. Marriage has no relation–listen to this–marriage has no relation to permanent eternal interests.

Time in this world is brief

Now that’s what he’s saying. It is like human emotion. It is like human possession. It is like human pleasure. It’s all part of this system, and gone. The time is shortened, kairos, the appointed time. Kairos means the set time, the appointed time. God has set out an appointed time. It is shortened, it is rolled up. The allotted time in this world is brief. James says your life is a vapour; right.

5 examples of the Christians freedom from the passing world

In other words, it doesn’t mean you mistreat your wife or you don t fulfil your obligation. No, no. The Bible is clear about that But, it is that you remember. That it is the reality that is eternal that matters. Col. 3:2 adds a word that I thin* is important: love your wife’s, husbands. But, listens to what Col. 3:2 says, “set your affections on things” what? “Above, and not on things on the earth.” You can love your wife and at the same time keep your priorities and perspectives in the proper way. Now Paul gives five examples here, of the Christian’s freedom from the passing world. Marriage, weeping, rejoicing, buying, and worldly pleasure. They’re all part of the passing system.

…Paul is emphasizing the passing things of life

…Listen, the sons and daughters of the King should deal with marriage under the limitations of their relation to the King, whatever He wills. You should never pursue marriage outside the government of God, and you should never abuse it, so that it becomes the preoccupation. Concentrate on the eternal.

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You as the first part of a series named “Guidelines for Singleness and Marriage”

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