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What does Paul mean... (1Cor 7:29)

Written by: Unknown    Posted on: 05/07/2003

Category: Bible Studies

Source: CCN

Question #6

In 1Corinthians 7:29, someone asked, "What does Paul mean when he says, "Those who have wives should be as though they had none."

Answer #6

Now, you can really preach on that passage and get into a lot of trouble.  Those who have wives are to be as though they had none.  What he is talking about there, is in context.  He is talking about the significance of living a godly life in an ungodly culture. 

And as the apostle Paul is talking about marriage and singleness, he says basically, verse 27, "Are you bound to a wife?  Do not seek to be released.  Are you released from a wife?  Do not seek a wife.  You're a Christian, you are living in the end times, don't seek to get married.  If you should marry, you haven't sinned.  And if a virgin marries, she hasn't sinned.  Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. 

You know what he simply says, you get married, you complicate your marriage.  Is that true?  Yes, Yes.  Now wait a minute, wait a minute, hold your wife's hand so she feels good.  You do complicate your life, because now all of a sudden you cannot do strictly what you would desire to do, you must be sensitive to the needs of a life partner.

There is a complexity.  You have introduced a very, very significant factor into the quotient of living your life.  So you are going to have some trouble.  You are going to have some distress.  I'll tell you one way you have it.  Before you were married, you had the pain, for the most part, of your own troubles, and now when you got married, you have the pain that you bear in your heart, because you bear the pain of the one you love so much.  Marry someone, and I'll make you a promise, somebody is going to live with grief, because someone in that marriage is going to die, and that's pain, deep pain.

Get married and I will tell you something else that's going to have very likely, children.  You say, "Children are a blessing."  Yes, you have children and I'll promise you something else, you'll have pain, you'll have trouble.  You'll have anxiety that you wouldn't have if you didn't have children.  It's just built into it.  Multiply the people who are in my heart and in a troubled world you multiply the trouble of my heart.

It doesn't mean that I don't love them, it's the fact that I desperately love them.  There's so much anxiety and such a burden to carry.  He says then in verse 29, "I say this brother, and the time has been shortened, so that from now on, those who have wives should be as though who had none; and those who weep, as though they didn't weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn't rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn't possess; and those who use the world, as though they didn't make full use of it, for the form of the world is passing away."

What he is saying is, "Look, if you're married, don't consume yourself in the matters of that marriage."  That's what he is saying.  "Don't get all embroiled in that."  Why?  Verse 32, "I want you to be free from concern.  One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord."  Verse 33, "One who is married is concerned about the things of the world--how he may please his wife--and his interests are divided."

So Paul is simply saying, "If you can stay single you have an undivided interest in the Kingdom.  As soon as you get married, you have a divided interest, the Kingdom and your wife; the Kingdom and your kids.  And so he is saying, "If you can do it, and you're married, try not to lose yourself in all of the details of your life.  That's what he means by, "Be as though you had no wife."  In other words, "Don't lose yourself." 

He is not saying, "Get rid of your wife; he is not saying be indifferent to your wife, because that would contradict many other Scriptures.  But what he is saying is, "Live your life as if this world and this marriage isn't the end of everything; isn't the purpose for everything.

And this is what I have been saying recently, "Consume yourself on the Kingdom together."  You know, this is such a basic point, and I shared this with you a few weeks ago.  You watch the day in which we live, and you watch how all this data about marriage is telling two people how to adjust to each other, and you spend all of your time doing that.

And when the real issue is, if I live for the Kingdom; and if I am consumed with the Glory of Christ; and if my wife is consumed for the Glory of Christ; and the will of God; and the purposes of Scripture; and we lose our lives in that, then marriage is rich and wonderful because it is not focused on us, it is focused on Christ.  And Christ pours back into that marriage all of the Spiritual Blessings that a marriage must have. 

But today the trend is to focus on each other; and find out what your husband ought to know about you; and what your wife ought to know about you; and how you can adjust; and move; and shift; and get along, and you spend your time being consumed with that.  He's simply saying, "You're married, you're married in a difficult time when the Kingdom must advance, and sin is rampant, try to keep your focus on the Kingdom, don't be consumed with the things of this life.

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