1 Corinthians 7:31
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.
The words contain —
I. A METAPHORICAL ALLUSION to a public exhibition or a dramatic representation.
1. The state and constitution of things as they now exist pass away; not so much the world itself, as to its material substance, as its fashion with respect to us. Do we now behold a beautiful appearance of nature or art? To us they will soon be as the reminiscence of a giddy dream.
2. Our employments and pursuits here. In these we are as the actors of a drama. Some assume fictitious characters; our possessions and enjoyments change; our feelings change, not only as to their nature, but their keenness.
3. Our present ties and connections. These pass away to assume another fashion. In the world to come "we shall know no man after the flesh."
II. DOCTRINE TRUTH.
1. The present world bears evident marks of imperfection; but "God is a rock, His work is perfect."
2. The present world does not exhibit that discrimination which exists between the righteous and the wicked.
3. The grand end of all revelation is to prepare men for another life. Why have human beings an intelligent existence? Why did Jehovah style Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why select a people and inspire prophets to instruct them? Why send His Son to live, &c.? Why alarm the fears or excite the hopes? Verily there is an after state, &c.
III. A PRACTICAL APPLICATION.
1. All are equally concerned in it. Young persons of robust constitution must die as well as the greyheaded and infirm. The knowing or witty must all pass away.
2. This alone is our state of probation. Fleeting as this state is, when once gone it returns no more; "time is short," not so eternity. "Behold, now is the accepted time," &c.
3. The change of worlds, with respect to the righteous, will be highly advantageous.
4. The change of worlds to the unconverted distressing and terrible. What will become of the proud? (Malachi 4:1.) Of the worldly person? (James 5:1-3.) Of the carnally minded? (Romans 8:6.) Of the vain and giddy? (Luke 6:25.) In a word "If the righteous scarcely are saved," &c. Conclusion: Does the fashion of the world pass away? Then let us improve every occurrence which may tend to loosen our attachment to this world, and every means to prepare us for a better.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.