1 Corinthians 7:31
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.
I. BY THIS WORLD WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND THE VISIBLE, IN OPPOSITION TO THE INVISIBLE STATE OF EXISTENCE. For into these two the whole world, or entire system of the creation, is resolved: the world that is unseen, and is in its nature eternal; and the world that is seen, and is in its constitution temporal. And by the attention that every man pays to the one or the other, his character is determined and his lot is fixed. lie is either carnally or spiritually minded, and his recompense accordingly, death or life (Romans 8:6). Here things look quite otherwise than they are. Mourning and poverty bear the face of misery; mirth and riches appear to be happiness; fame and preferment are styled honour; slander and oppression are accounted disgrace; hypocrisy has the face of devotion; pride the mask of humility; vanity the air of greatness. In short, truth is currently counterfeited and concealed under false colours; and, as the Psalmist sings, man spends his life in a vain show. Yet, in truth, they may be blessed that mourn — they may be happy that are poor — they may be truly honourable that are in disgrace in this world — they may be great and good who look mean. And, on the contrary, they may be worthless, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked, who are accounted rich, and great, and famous among men. Here things have no solid bottom. All moves in a perpetual tendency to another state, where false appearances shall for ever vanish away, and everything appear as it really is. The whole frame of things here is continually hastening to a dissolution — continually shifting place and time.
II. THIS WORLD IS IN ITS NATURE A FLUCTUATING AND TRANSITORY STATE OF THINGS.
1. Time is the element in which all creatures below are calculated to exist; in which they begin, go on, and end: and an element continually changing; always in motion, never resting, never returning.
2. The numberless creatures that exist in time, and compose this world, are continually changing with time, and passing away.
III. THE USE WE SHOULD MAKE OF THIS IMPORTANT AND EXTENSIVE TRUTH.
1. To avoid all anxious care and immoderate concern about the things of this life.
2. To be moderate in the use of worldly enjoyments.
3. To be contented with our lot in the world.
4. Here we have read a lesson that redeems poverty from contempt, and reduces riches to little.
5. Hence we may observe the sin and folly of those who trust to their riches for supporting their life, credit, and comfort in this world.
6. From this subject we should learn patience under afflictions. They cannot last in a world continually changing and passing away. A little time longer will either end or amend them.
7. We should study to wean our affections from the things of time; to leave the world as fast as it leaves us; to be more and more indifferent about the pains or pleasures of it, the longer we live in it.
8. What we have heard serves to abate the love of life and the terrors of death, which naturally keep the mind of man under bondage.
9. Here Christians may read consolation under the loss of Christian friends, relations, or acquaintances.
10. Let us bless God with thankful hearts that we have another and a better world to look for, a state that can never know either time or change
Parallel VersesKJV: And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.