Fading Away

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

This is what I mean, my brothers and sisters. The present situation won’t last long; for the moment, let those who have wives live as though they weren’t married, 

those who weep as though they were not weeping, those who celebrate as though they were not celebrating, those who buy as though they had no possessions, 

those who use the world as though they were not making use of it. The pattern of this world, you see, is passing away.

These are rather confusing verses, but Paul’s basic point here is to not get caught up in that which is passing away. He doesn’t mean the transiency of creation, but the fact that the social and business institutions as we know them, for example, have no permanence.

Do not let things that are good in and of themselves like marriage, work, school, and commerce distract you from your devotion to the Lord. May nothing, even our responsibilities, rob us of our focus on God. [Isaiah 26:3]

A few quotes from C.K. Barrett which I have found illuminating of this text:

He who can thus live, in service to God and in detachment from the world, is a free man, though his freedom is not that of the Stoic, but of the slave of Christ.

The point is that neither laughter nor tears is the last word; a man should never allow himself to be lost in either.

Christians may use the world but must not be absorbed in it…

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