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Catechism Class, LD41B Q109 Singleness and Marriage


Catechism Class: LD41B, Q109 Singleness and Marriage.

Text: 1 Corinthians 7:1-11 

Q109. Does God in this commandment forbid nothing more than adultery and similar shameful sins? A Since we, body and soul, are temples of the Holy Spirit, it is God’s will that we keep ourselves pure and holy. Therefore he forbids all unchaste acts, gestures, words, thoughts, desires, and whatever may entice us to unchastity

The catechist is still dealing with the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”  How will the seventh commandment affect me, and my life?  His answer is simple.  It is God’s will that we keep ourselves pure and holy. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Now what will that involve?  The opposite to purity and holiness is impurity and filthiness, and the catechist gives us a list.  He reminds us that God forbids:- Impure acts, impure gestures, impure words. Ephesians 5:3-4, impure thoughts, impure desires, impure temptations. Matthew 5:27-29 27  So, practically speaking how do we do all of that?  Thankfully the Lord in his grace has given us a very practical way to cope with our human condition, our temptation to lust after others in a sinful and sexual manner.  It is the ordinance of marriage.  God’s unique gift to humanity.  

Praise: Psalm 51:7-17 (Tune Ottawa)   

7 Cleanse with hyssop, purify me; I’ll be whiter than the snow. 8 Let the bones you crushed be joyful; may I joy and gladness know. 9 From my failure hide your face; blot out all my wickedness.

 10 Lord, create a pure heart in me, and a steadfast mind renew. 11 Do not take your Spirit from me; cast me not away from you. 12 Give me back the joy I had; keep my willing spirit glad.

13 Then I’ll teach your ways to sinners; rebels will turn back to you. 14 Free me from blood-guilt, my Saviour, God most merciful and true. Then I’ll praise your righteousness; 15 teach my lips your name to bless.

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So we’re going to see, in Paul’s words to the Corinthians how marriage helps us with sexual temptation, but first we must be clear that:-

1. The Single Life Can be Very Blessed.  1 Cor 7. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

  • Paul was single.  Paul is meaning more that just abstaining from marriage here, he his setting a very high standard of morality indeed, in demanding that the highest estate of man is to be so highly occupied with the things of God that marriage and sex and earthly companionship are not even part of the consideration of a man’s mind! 
  • But singleness requires self-control! v8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.
  • It requires a very careful examination of our friendships and relationships.  1 Corinthians 15:33  Corinth was a pagan society, and sexual vice was one of the main industries of the city. Temptation would confront the Corinthian Christian every time he or she walked down the street.

This demand for godly focus with no earthy distractions is simply not possible for the vast majority of us! We are far too weak! There are few men like Paul! So God has made allowances for us! He has given us an institution, called marriage, so that we might have our bodily desires met, and still remain within God’s will.  The principle that Paul is teaching us here, then is this: It would be perfect for a man to be so godly that he never even thinks of a woman (or vice versa). But, since such people are so few, and since society is so corrupt and since sexual temptation is all around, every man should have one woman to be his own wife, and vice-versa.  2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

2. Marriage is Our Defence.  1 Cor 7.

Why is society crumbling around us? It is because biblical principles are being discarded in favour of modern, politically correct dogma. 2 Peter 1:4 Lust corrupts everything.  So marriage is the will of God, the plan of God, and the gift of God. It is the answer to sexual immorality.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.  Although our modern society has degraded the holy estate of marriage, it is God’s way for men and women to live in happiness, and is the proper setting for raising children. Marriage involves:-

  • Mutual love. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.  Not emotional love or sexual attraction, or even romance, although all these things do contribute to our married lives.  But our love for each other in marriage is to be like the love a Christ, – a pale reflection perhaps of that love, but a love that issues in acts, in giving, and in forgiving, in loving even when we are unlovable, because that’s how Christ loved us.  
  • Mutual Respect.  4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  In respect of our married, physical relationships we belong to each other, we are equal in every respect.
  • Mutual Agreement.  In Corinth, some people may have gone to extremes in avoidance of the prevailing sin of that society. They may have said that sexual activity is sinful in itself, and that therefore, even husbands and wives should avoid sexual contact, lest they sin. So Paul says,  5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time… They must not deny each other, except for a short time, when they have seasons of prayer and fasting. A marriage relationship needs to be complete in every respect!  The Christian marriage should be so sexually satisfying that neither party will want to go astray.
  • Mutual Commitment.  10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 … And a husband is not to divorce his wife.  Marriage is for life, till death us do part.

So, we have seen our instructor’s remedy for human lust, and the temptation within us all to drift into sin.  We are to be holy, and clean before God, and that will be a challenge for us, especially for singles, to find their identity and fulfilment in Christ. For those who cannot follow that high calling, and find themselves needful of loving, sexual comfort, (and that is the most of us) let them find a husband or wife, and live in a faithful, loving married relationship.

© BobMcEvoy November 2020

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