“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #74
“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you” (1 Cor. 7:27-28).
We now get into some of Paul’s applications that have the capacity to cause consternation among the pious, and so we must proceed carefully. We have to remember that our responsibility is that of being biblical, which is not necessarily the same thing as being “strict.”
Remember again the context of these exhortations, which is very much present in these recommendations. That context is the “present distress,” mentioned in the previous verse. Because of the impending persecution, Christians need to make a point of traveling light if they can do so without falling into immorality.
That said, Paul says that the present distress is not grounds for seeking a divorce. Someone who is already bound in marriage should not seek to get free of his obligations (v. 27). But, in line with the previous instructions, someone who is already divorced should not seek a wife (v. 27). Again, this particular restriction on the divorced man is not because he is divorced and has cooties, but rather because of the present distress. Nevertheless, Paul goes on, if that same divorced man (that he is talking about) goes ahead and gets married, he has not sinned (v. 28). The same thing goes for a virgin, marrying for the first time (v. 28). Both the divorced man who marry again and the virgin who marry are going to have certain hardships in the flesh (again, because of the present distress), and Paul would like to spare them this.
It should go without saying that Paul is not here giving license to a divorced man whose remarriage would run contrary to the standards set out by the Lord Jesus (Matt. 19: 8-9). But this Pauline instruction here does exclude an absolutist prohibition of remarriage under all possible circumstances.