Principles for Marriage – Part 2

1Corinthians 7:7-9 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

‘For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.’ This was Paul’s personal desire, but he was sensible enough to recognize that every man did not have his gift of self-control. Where it does not exist naturally, or by a miraculous interference or by an operation (Matt. 19:12), marriage is the answer.

‘But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.’ It is best to have the gift of self-control, but for those who don’t, “it is better to marry than to burn.”

‘Contain’ [Greek: engkrateuomai] have self-control; have command of the passions and appetites.

‘Burn’ [Greek: puroo] to burn; be aflame (7:9; 2Cor. 11:29; Eph. 6:16; 2Pet. 3:12; Rev. 1:15; 3:18). Here it means to have difficulty controlling the passions. In such a case, it would be better to marry.

Facts on Biblical marriages: It was customary for Jewish couples to remain with their parents for a considerable time after the marriage was contracted. In addition to the dowry and other details of the agreement, the contract also specified the time when the couple should come together as man and wife. Therefore, a man who was betrothed was free from military duty until he had consummated his marriage; and he remained exempt a full year afterwards, to enjoy married life (Deut. 20:7; 24:5; 28:30; Pro. 5:18-19).

By Israel’s law, if a man wanted to marry a beautiful woman among the captives of war, he had to wait a month before completing the marriage. This gave the woman time to go through certain rites and become reconciled to her new life. It also gave him time to test his affections for her. If he became indifferent, he was not to sell her as a slave or retain her as such. She was to freely go where she wanted, with the provision that he made for her. There is no indication that he had relations with her. Rejecting her after a month was humiliating since she would have had an exalted position in marriage (Deut. 21:10-14).

It was customary for parents to keep the spotted bedclothes of their daughter’s wedding night as proof of her virginity. In Egypt and Syria, they took them immediately after the marriage night. Keeping them was important in Israel because it could save the life of the virgin (Deut. 22:13-21). When disputed, there were four commands to protect an innocent wife: If a man tries to divorce his wife by falsely accusing her of not being a virgin, then her father and mother shall bring the proof of her virginity to the elders of the city (Deut. 22:14-15). The parents shall prove to the elders that she was a virgin and that her husband is slandering her for selfish reasons (Deut. 22:16-17). The elders shall chastise the man, fine him 100 shekels of silver, and give the money to his wife’s father (Deut. 22:18-19). She shall remain his wife; he may not divorce her all the days of his life (Deut. 22:19).

Principles for Marriage – Part 1

1Corinthians 7:1-6 Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

‘You wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.’ The Corinthians had written a letter asking questions about certain doctrines, sending it by the people mentioned in 1Corinthians 16:17. They had not asked about the divisions, the fornication, or other wrong conditions in the congregation. These things were reported to Paul by the men (1:11-12; 16:17).

Twelve things the letter asked about: The unmarried (7:1-9); the married and unmarried (7:10-17); circumcision – servitude (7:18-24); virgins (7:25-40); things offered to idols (8:1-13); Paul’s apostleship (9:1-27); the Mosaic and Christian dispensations (10:1-11:1); customs for women (11:2-16); the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34); the spiritual gifts (12:1-14:40); the resurrections (15:1-58); collections for the poor and his coming visit (16:1-9).

‘Every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.’ Not that every man or woman is required to be married, but those who choose to be are permitted by Christianity to get married. The gospel does not interpose any hindrance to marriage and normal creative relationship.

‘Due benevolence’ [Greek: opheile] means that the wife and husband must respect each other regarding lawful sexual needs, mutually satisfying each other.

‘The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.’ The husband and wife belong to each other. Neither of them has any authority to refuse what the other needs or demands in a normal temperate, relationship. All acts of perversion or unnatural affection must absolutely be rejected.

‘Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that satan tempt you not for your incontinency.’ What you thus owe to each other, do not refuse to pay, unless by mutual consent for a time agreed upon for fasting and prayer. Then, regardless of the spiritual blessing either one has received, come together again to defeat satan.

To be continued…

One Spirit

1Corinthians 6:17-20 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 

‘But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.’ This is the true doctrine of interpenetration and not persons entering physical into each other. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (2Cor. 7:3; Php. 1:7); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn. 2:24); men being in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts 17:28); and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach the physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc.

‘Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that committed fornication sinned against his own body.’ All sins destroy, but he who commits fornication sins against his entire constitution, even his body, soul and spirit.

‘What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?’ Believers are the temple of God for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit thus we cannot do harm physically or spiritually to it through a sinful life or lose the presence and unity of the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30; 1Thes. 5:19). People are now to bring themselves to God instead of sacrifices to the altar as of old. They are now to be wholly the Lord’s as were the former sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2). Righteousness cannot mix with lawlessness; light can have no communion with darkness; Christ and Belial cannot be of one accord; a believer cannot have part with an infidel, and there can be no agreement of the temple of God with idols (2Cor. 6:14-7:1).

‘For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ As the slave is the sole property of his master, so we, having been bought by the precious blood of Christ, are not our own (6:19-20; 7:23; 1Pet. 1:18-23).

Lawful, but not Expedient

1Corinthians 6:12-16 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, said he, shall be one flesh. 

‘Expedient’ [Greek: sumphero] profitable (1Cor. 6:12; John 11:50; 16:7; Acts 20:20).

‘I will not be brought under the power of any.’ I will not tolerate any thing to control me or have authority over me that is not profitable (1Cor. 9:27). If the heart of any man who hears the gospel is veiled it is definite that he is lost and fully under the power of sin and satan. Those who refuse to hear the gospel are proper subjects for Satan’s work to increase the darkness and hardness of the heart (2Cor. 4:3-4).

‘God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord…’ This is the 8th New Testament prophecy in 1 Corinthians unfulfilled. It will be fulfilled after the Millennium when there will be no more rot. Food will be consumed for pleasure and will not be a necessity to stay alive. The thought of this verse is that God has made appetite for food and food for appetite, yet He has not made the body for immoral acts, “but for the Lord.”

‘And God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.’ God has resurrected Jesus as a guarantee that He will also raise us up – at the rapture – by His own power, so that we may enjoy Him and serve Him forever. In general, anyone or any doctrine that denies Jesus’ physical death, burial, and bodily resurrection to the right hand of the Father is certainly not of God, but of satan.

‘For two, said he, shall be one flesh.’ Quoted from Genesis 2:24. Ephesians 5:31 says “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” ‘Joined unto’ [Greek: proskollao] glue on to; cemented to.

‘One flesh’ – to become one in unity and striving for the same purpose. When God looks at a married couple He sees and blesses them as one family. That is why it is so important for a man to leave his parents; otherwise, he shall never become the head and leader of his household.

Justified

1Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but you are washed, but ye are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

‘Such were some of you.’ The first five classes of 1Corinthians 6:9-10 have to do with the worst immoralities imaginable and yet it is declared that some of their kind is now saved.

‘But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.’ Three things that save the soul: [1] Washed. The Greek word apolouo from apo; away from and louo, to wash the whole being, not a part of it. It is used in Acts 22:16 for complete washing from sins; not by baptism, but by calling upon the name of the Lord, as in Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:9-14. Here it is used for complete washing from the sins of 1Corinthians 6:9-10 by calling on the name of Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:11). The Greek: louo without the preposition apo, is used for washing from all sins (Rev. 1:5); the whole feet (John 13:10); the whole body (Acts 9:37; Heb. 10:22); the whole sow (2Pet. 2:22); and all the stripes of Paul and Silas (Acts 16:33). [2] Sanctified. [Greek: hagiazo] to hallow, consecrate, separate from sin unto God (John 17:17). Note how this is put before justification (1Cor. 6:11). [3] Justified. [Greek: dikaioo] to declare righteous or not guilty; justify. It is translated “freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7); “justifier” (Rom. 3:26); “be righteous” (Rev. 22:11); and “justify” 33 times. One is justified the moment he repents and is forgiven (Luke 18:14; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:24, 28, 30; 4:5; 5:1, 9; 1Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16-17; 3:8, 24; Tit. 3:5-7).

Ten proofs when people are justified: when they are washed and sanctified (1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 5:17-18); when they repent (Luke 18:13-14); when they believe (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 3:24-31; 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 2-3); when redeemed (Rom. 3:24; 5:9); when they partake of grace (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:1-2; Tit. 2:11-14; 3:4-7); when they accept God’s call (Rom. 8:30); when born again (Tit. 3:4-7; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:1-4, 18; 2Cor. 5:17-18); when brought to Christ (Gal. 3:24; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Gal. 3:27); when reconciled (Rom. 5:9-11; 2Cor. 5:17-21; Col. 1:20-23); when all sins are blotted out (Isa. 43:25; Acts 13:38-39; 1Cor. 6:11). Justification is used of the final settlement between people (Job 11:2; 13:18; 27:5; 32:2; 33:32; Pro. 17:15; Luke 10:29; 16:15); of people clearing God of all wrong (Ps. 51:4; Luke 7:29; Rom. 3:26); and of people justifying themselves of all guilt (Jer. 3:11; Ezek. 16:51-52; Job 9:20; 13:18; 32:2; Luke 16:15). Thus the meaning is clear – to declare not guilty. The justification of man by God simply means that God washes, sanctifies the believer, and declares him no longer guilty (1Cor. 6:9-11; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Acts 13:38-39). God cannot declare one not guilty before he is cleansed from all sin and made holy by the blood of Christ. Sanctification makes the sinner not guilty; justification declares him not guilty.

Rather Suffer

1Corinthians 6:7-10 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

‘Fault among you, because you go to law one with another.’ This again teaches that the Christian should not go to law with a brother in civil courts.

‘The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived …’ This is the 7th New Testament prophecy in 1 Corinthians (6:9-10).

Ten classes not to be saved: Fornicators (the immoral, 6:9); idolaters (false worshipers, 6:9); adulterers (the unfaithful, 6:9); effeminate (catamites, 6:9); abusers of themselves with mankind (sexual perversion, 6:9); thieves (robbers, 6:10); covetous (the lustful, 6:10); drunkards (drinkers of intoxicants); revilers (abusers of others, 6:10); extortioners (those who obtain by violence or threats, 6:10).

‘Effeminate’ [Greek: malakos] a catamite; a young man who submits his body to unnatural lewdness (cp. Joel 3:3). Used elsewhere of what is soft to the touch (Matt. 11:8; Luke 7:25). This refers to men who have feminine traits to an inappropriate degree; lacking in manly strength or aggressiveness; especially marked with weakness, softness, and love of ease; excessively affected in his emotions.

‘Abusers of themselves with mankind’ [Greek: arsenokoites] one guilty of unnatural offenses; a sodomite; homosexual; sexual pervert (1Cor. 6:9; 1Tim. 1:10; cp. Rom. 1:27).

‘Shall inherit the kingdom of God.’ Repeated to confirm the truth that these classes shall not be saved or inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor. 6:9, 10; 2Cor. 13:1; Gal. 5:21).

Able to Judge

1Corinthians 6:1-6 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 

‘Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? …’ This is the 6th New Testament prophecy in 1 Corinthians that is unfulfilled. This refers to the Millennial and eternal reign of Jesus Christ and His saints. They will reign over all nations on earth and help administer the affairs of the universe forever (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 27; Zech. 14:1-21; Matt. 19:28; Luke 2:31-32; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 11:15; 20:4; 22:5).

‘And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?’ If the saints are to judge the world, then they should be able to settle small matters among themselves on earth.

‘Judge’ [Greek: krino] to judge; make a legal decision. It does not refer to passing sentence on angels or sending them to punishment. It does mean that saints will be exalted higher than angels and will rule them, making decisions for the administration of the universe. Saints, not angels, become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to inherit all things (Rom. 8:17-18; Gal. 5:21; Heb. 6:12; Rev. 21:7). Even now saints are being examples to angels (Eph. 3:8-11; 1Cor. 4:9; 11:10). Angels are eager to learn about the plan of God for the redeemed (1Pet. 1:10-13).

‘How much more things that pertain to this life?’ If saints are to judge angels, how much more should they be capable of judging things that pertain to this life.

‘If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.’ If you have judgments and they are so complicated that believers cannot give justice, they then set them to judge that is the least esteemed in the congregation. This seems to be irony to shame them for not being willing to take the responsibility for decisions that should be made (1Cor. 6:4-6).

Not to Keep Company

1Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not you judge them that are within? But them that are without God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 

‘I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.’ Either this present epistle or one that he had already written and not sent. Now, with a report of conditions in the congregation (1Cor. 16:17), he perhaps combined the first one with this epistle, enlarging upon the subject (1Cor. 5:9-11).

‘Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world.’ Christians are not to leave the world. They must remain in it doing business with all kinds of sinners, but they are not to eat with a man claiming to be a Christian when he is a fornicator, a covetous man, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, or an extortioner (1Cor. 5:9; 15:33).

‘For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not you judge them that are within?’ This judgement is required from all Christians to know others’ by their fruit as Christ commanded us to do in Matthew 7:16, 20.  We are not to fellowship with unsaved individuals according to many Scriptures (1Cor. 5:9-13; 2Cor. 6:14 – 7:1; 2Jn. 1:10; Ps. 1:1). ‘Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.’ Sixteen Biblical reasons for excommunication: Refusing to make peace (Mat. 18:15); causing divisions (Rom. 16:17); fornication (1Cor. 5:11-13); covetousness (1Cor. 5:11-13); idolatry (1Cor. 5:11-13); trouble making (1Cor. 5:11-13); drunkenness (1Cor. 5:11-13); extortion (1Cor. 5:11-13); refusal to love God (1Cor. 16:22); unbelief, infidelity (2Cor. 6:14); backsliding (2Cor. 13:1-2, 10); disorderly conduct (2Thess. 3:6); defying the truth (2Thess. 3:14); denying faith (1Tim. 1:19-20); false teaching (1Tim. 6:3-5; 2Jn. 1:10); being a heretic (Tit. 3:10-11).

A Little Leaven

1Corinthians 5:6-8 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavened the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

‘Glorying is not good’ Your boasting over gifts, privileges, and powers is not good. You are so busy contending over your teachers that you have let the congregation fall under scandalous corruptions that threaten its very existence.

Six things that are not good: Boasting in the face of unconfessed sin (5:6); to punish the just (Pro. 17:26); to be without knowledge (Pro. 19:2); accept the wicked and overthrow the righteous in judgment (Pro. 18:5); to have respect for persons in judgment (Pro. 24:23); for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18).

Seven things that are good: To draw near to God (Ps. 73:28); to give thanks to God (Ps. 92:1); to be afflicted (Ps. 119:71); to give praise (Ps. 147:1); to hope and wait for salvation (Lam. 3:26); to bear the yoke in youth (Lam. 3:27); to be zealous for good (Gal. 4:18).

‘Know you not that a little leaven leavened the whole lump?’ If you permit this incestuous person to continue in your midst without judgment, the whole congregation will become ruined by moral impurities.

‘Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump.’ As was the custom of the Jews before the passover to cleanse their homes from all leaven, so the congregation is here admonished to clean out the immoral practices from its midst.

‘As you are unleavened’ – You are yet unleavened; the filth of moral sin has not yet become spread among you. If you will purge this immorality out then you will be a new lump, completely free from sin.

‘Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.’ Christ has become our passover lamb and by His blood, all sin can be purged (Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:22; Rev. 1:5).

‘Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleaved bread of sincerity and truth.’ Paul means that the passover is in the past and we are now living in the days of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Destruction of the Flesh

1Corinthians 5:1-5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

‘Fornication’ [Greek: porneia] all kinds of impurity; perversion and immorality.

‘Father’s wife’ – It seems from 2Corinthians 7:12 that the father was alive, for it refers to the one “that suffered wrong” as well as the one who had “done the wrong.”

‘Puffed up’ [Greek: phusioo] You are puffed up over your gifts and powers and so full of strife and contention related to your parties and favourite teachers, you have neglected the discipline of the congregation. Had you considered the greatness of the crime you would have mourned and acted to put away the fornicator.

‘Taken away’ [Greek: airo] to put away or excommunicate the fornicator from the congregation (1Cor. 5:2, 13).

‘In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Five points in judging the fornicator: By the authority of Jesus Christ; gather in a congregational group; agree with my spirit; use the power of Jesus Christ and deliver him to satan (1Cor. 5:4-5).

‘For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ The purpose of delivering him to satan was to destroy the flesh. This required members to withdraw all fellowship and spiritual influence from him, and to quit praying for him, so as to permit satan to afflict his body thus perhaps bringing him to repentance, that his spirit might be saved in the end. This was effective, for in the second letter Paul wrote the congregation to forgive him lest he should be swallowed up in excessive sorrow (2Cor. 2:6-7). Affliction of the body by satan (Job 2:7; John 10:10; Acts 10:38) is a natural consequence for sin and will follow no matter what we do, in praying this prayer, however, consequences for the mentioned sin (in this case fornication) will come sooner and may lead to repentance for the individual.

‘Destruction’ [Greek: olethros] ruin, destruction, plague, pest (1Cor. 5:5; 1Thess. 5:3; 2Thess. 1:9; 1Tim. 6:9). The destruction was whatever consequence (Isa. 26:9-10) was capable of bringing him to repentance (2Cor. 2:7).

‘That the spirit may be saved’ – All the physical affliction that could be brought on a man could not save his spirit unless it brought him to repentance. It was not, therefore, physical trouble that saved the soul, but repentance brought about by affliction. ‘Day of the Lord Jesus’ – In the day when Christ comes to receive saints unto Himself (1Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2Cor. 1:14; Php. 1:6, 10; 2:16).