The motivation behind one’s decision to accept Christ as Saviour always bears scrutiny. It seems that in the first century the people in Corinth who made such a decision viewed it as a means of escape. With a sigh of relief they began divorce proceedings against the non-Christian husband or wife. Withdrawal from society protected them from further exposure to cruelty, drunkenness, immorality, perversion, and debauchery. The slave felt that he should no longer be subject to his master.
But Paul said, “Wait! Stand where you are! Stay in the condition in which you were when you accepted Christ” (1 Cor. 7:20 ff.). In other words, be Christian where you are. If you are a slave, as the Phillips translation indicates, never mind. If you’re a Jew, stay a Jew, if you’re a Gentile, stay a Gentile. Don’t let your outward condition or status worry you.
The Main Thing In Life
Here is a great lesson. The main thing in life is not the outside condition, but rather the inner spiritual reality. In other words, it’s not the material things that count most; it’s the spiritual. A Christian is a new man under the same old conditions. Salvation is the old life made new. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). After conversion you live on the same street. You hold the same job. You go to the same school. You have the same wife or the same husband. But you are a new person in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle is not indifferent to the status of people and to their daily problems. He advises that if they get a chance to be free, they should by all means do so. But if you are a slave, recognize that there is a divine Master in your life; if you are free, know that ...1
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