Lesson 26


Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

7:18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 7:20 Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called. 7:21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don't let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord's free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ's bondservant. 7:23 You were bought with a price. Don't become bondservants of men. 7:24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.


Today's Lesson 

Although it is placed in the midst of a discussion of sexual immorality and the family, today's lesson has little to do with either subject. This lesson is, however, a natural extension of Paul's main argument in both cases. Paul had been telling the Corinthians that if they were unmarried when God called them that they should stay unmarried. If they were married, they should remain unmarried. What mattered was whether they could control their sexual desires. God has given marriage to mankind as an acceptable means of controlling our sexual desires. If a man or woman could not remain celibate and control their sexual impulses, they should marry and remain faithful to their spouse for life. This is the appropriate means that God has given us to exercise our God-given desires.

 

In Today's Lesson Paul extends that same principle to other areas of life. The first area is whether a Christian should live their lives as a Jew or a Gentile. Here Paul uses the term "circumcision" to refer to living as a Jew and the term "uncircumcised" to refer to living as a Gentile. His basic premise is that if one is called to be a Christian while living as a Jew, or "in circumcision," then one should remain as a Jew. If a person is called to be a Christian as a Gentile, they should live as a Gentile.

 

Neither being a Jew nor being a Gentile is what is important to God. All that is important is whether one has faith. We are called to have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God whose sacrifice on the cross is the atonement for all our sins. If we believe in this and follow the commandments of God in our lives, then everything else will fall into place. Nothing else is of importance.

 

Now living as a Jew or a Gentile in Paul's day was a monumental decision for these Christians. This is not some small thing that Paul is minimizing here. This is a huge decision in their lives. Even so, Paul tells them that compared with the decision of faith, even this huge decision of life is not important at all.

 

And, to emphasize the thought and extend it, Paul adds another monumental decision about their lives and applies the same principle. Paul tells them that whether or not they are free or whether they were a slave is not important in God's eyes. Were they a slave when God called them to be a Christian? If so, let them serve God as a slave. Where they free? If so, let them serve God with their freedom. Paul is not encouraging slavery. In fact, he tells them that if they can gain their freedom, they should do so. He tells them that if they are free, they should not sell themselves into bondage.

 

But whether one is a slave or free is not of fundamental importance, only whether one serves God faithfully. "In whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God." God is with us in all things. God is with us in the hard times and in the good times. Whether we are poor or rich, God is with us. God wants to share our lives in all ways.

 

So, wherever you are today, God wants to be with you. Turn to God and share your life with Him. God wants to share the experiences of you life and give you the courage and the strength to overcome all things by the power of the life of Christ that lives in you. In this way Christ is resurrected each day in our lives and continues to live His life in this world.

 

The question is, will you allow Christ to share your life today? Will you allow Christ to reign and rule in your life right now? Will you let Christ be reborn in you right now and forever?

 

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