The Changing Nature of Worldly Things
1 Corinthians 7:31
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.

I. ALL THINGS AROUND US ARE CHANGING. The visible heavens daily vary their appearance, the seasons walk their rounds, and in each we experience a great variety in the temperature. Nature is continually diversifying her dress. Time makes observable changes in the surface of our globe. Every age introduces great alterations in the bounds of empires, in the politics and commerce of nations. Families, as well as nations, are changing. New ones are forming as elder ones pass away. The lands which have been acquired, and the property which has been accumulated, by the industry of the proprietor, are often alienated by the misfortune or folly of the descendants. The condition of every person is in continual mutation. As we advance in life, our Views and apprehensions of men and things, and our taste and inclination for the objects around us, greatly alter. The inhabitants of the world are changing. There is a mighty change which awaits us all.

II. LET US IMPROVE THE SENTIMENT. The mutable condition of the world may lead us —

1. To contemplate the immutability of the Creator (Hebrews 1:10-12).

2. To see much of the wisdom and goodness of God.

(1) The mutability of things is on the whole a source of enjoyment. We are formed to love variety. The traveller passing over a level plain where, all along, a train of similar objects meets his eyes, soon finds the scene tedious. Let a man choose his own condition, and place himself in the most agreeable circumstances; will he enjoy it? No, not for a single week. There must be something new, or every pleasure becomes insipid.

(2) As our pleasures are heightened, so our pains are mitigated, by variety. On the roughest roads there is some smooth way where we can walk with ease, Many are the troubles of the world, but they are intermixed with pleasures. And our troubles are not always the same; one passes away as another comes. We find some relief by shifting it from shoulder to shoulder.

3. To direct our thoughts to a future state of existence. One change leads to another. Each season is preparatory to the next. Youth is preparatory to manhood, and this to old age. We may naturally then conclude that death is introductory to a new state of existence. Pain, in this state, usually precedes high enjoyment; the humiliating circumstances of death are preludes to glory and immortality.

4. To rejoice as if we rejoiced not, and weep as if we wept not.

5. To remember our great change. When we see the fashion of the world passing away, it becomes us to realise that we are passing away also, and have here no continuing city. The seaman, in a feeble bark, tossed on the tumultuous ocean, surely will not imagine himself on firm ground, nor forget his danger of being swallowed up in the deep.

6. To direct our thoughts to heaven, where none of the painful vicissitudes of the present stage will attend us. Changes there will be in heaven, but they will be only changes for the better, from glory to glory, from perfection to perfection.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

WEB: and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away.

On the Use and Abuse of the World
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