1 Corinthians 7:17-24
But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.…
Personal Christianity —
I. MAY BE POSSESSED BY BOTH BOND AND FREE (ver. 22). Many slaves were in connection with the Corinthian Church. Naturally enough some would desire their emancipation, and the more so as Christianity gave them a sublime sense of their manhood. Paul's advice is not to be too anxious about their enfranchisement, but rather to be anxious to "abide" in their "calling," their religion. Christianity is for man as man, not for him as bond or free; it comes to him as outward nature comes to him, with equal freeness and fitness for all. The physical, civil, or ecclesiastical condition of a man, therefore, in this life is no excuse for his not becoming a Christian; though bound in chains, his soul is free, and it is with the soul that Christianity has to do. Slaves were members of many of the first Churches, and religion reigned amongst a large number of American slaves.
II. ITS POSSESSION, WHETHER BY THE BOND OR THE FREE, INVESTS MAN WITH THE HIGHEST LIBERTY. He is the "Lord's freeman," however manacled his bodily limbs. There is no freedom like this from the dominion and consequences of moral wrong — the "glorious liberty of the children of God."
III. THIS HIGHEST LIBERTY AUGMENTS MAN'S OBLIGATION TO SERVE CHRIST (ver. 23). No creature owns itself. The highest angel has nothing in him that he can call his own. Man is not merely the property of God on the ground of creatureship, but on the ground of Christ's interposition (1 Corinthians 6:19). This being the case, however free and independent of men, you must ever serve Christ heartily, faithfully, loyally, and for ever. His service is perfect freedom, it is heaven.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.