1 Corinthians 7:29-31
But this I say, brothers, the time is short: it remains, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;…
I. FOR THE DOMESTIC CONNECTIONS OF THE WORLD (ver. 29).
1. Man is the creature of the family. He is nursed and trained under its influence. When called to leave his first home the domestic instinct impels him to become the head of a family himself. And then amidst the infirmities of old age he becomes again the subject of domestic solicitude and sway. A well-organised family is earth's chief nursery and highest type of heaven.
2. But this relationship "is short." Few husbands and wives are allowed to climb the hill together, and fewer still hand-in-hand "to totter down."
3. If family connections are thus so transient, how ought the members to live in vital connection with that gospel which immortalises all human friendships.
II. FOR THE SORROWS AND JOYS OF THE WORLD (ver. 30).
1. There are a weeping and rejoicing that will never end. The lost sinner will weep for ever; and the joy of a commending conscience will never end.
2. But there is a sorrow and a rejoicing that will end with life — the tear of worldly anxiety, and the joy of worldly success. This transitoriness is —
(1) A consolatory thought to the good man; for all his sorrows end here, and all unsatisfactory joys.
(2) A terrible thought to the wicked. Many of the sorrows he has now will make way for greater ones, and all the pleasures he has now will end for ever.
III. FOR THE MERCANTILE TRANSACTIONS OF THE WORLD. "They that buy," &c.
1. The principle of commerce is adapted to unite men together; and by the exchange of the material commodities, to exchange kind and improving thoughts. Were London tradesmen all religious, they could export religion with their goods — the market would be the best Missionary Society for converting the world.
2. This material commerce will soon be over, but mental and spiritual commerce may go on for ever. Make, then, this temporary business subservient to your spiritual welfare; make the market a means of grace. In all your getting get that "wisdom which is the principal thing."
IV. FOR THE RIGHT USING OF THE WORLD (ver. 31).
1. The world is abused when it is used chiefly —
(1) With a sensuous end. To the brute, indeed, the world has no relation but to the senses.
(2) With a secular end. When men value it on account of its fruit and minerals, i.e., so far as it can be turned into money, then they abuse it.
(3) With an intellectual end. The world teems with Divine thoughts, which it is our duty and interest to study. But to make this the end is to abuse it.
2. To "use" it rightly is to use it chiefly with a religious end. Religion warrants us to use it sensuously, for we have senses; secularly, for we need worldly good; intellectually, for we require truth; but it demands that we should subordinate it to the salvation of the soul — make it the means of grace — the temple of worship.
3. This religious use of the world makes it ours. The difference between the world to the worldly and to the Christian is, that the former is possessed by it, the other possesses it.
V. FOR THE FASHION OF THE WORLD.
1. The world literally has a "fashion" that is passing away. The phenomena and forms of the world are ever shifting.
2. The fashion of the human world passeth away.
(1) The political world has its fashions which get out of fashion, and others appear on the stage to meet the times.
(2) The social world has its fashions, &c., they become obsolete, and others take their place.
(3) The religious world has its fashions. Now one ism is in vogue, and now another. Now one popular preacher, and then another. Thus, there is nothing fixed. Conclusion: Let us not, then, put our confidence in forms, but in substances. You know that though the world changes, there are certain principles that remain for ever. It is for ever true, that without virtue there is no happiness, and that without Jesus there is no virtue; that "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesses."
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;