SOAP Study - October 8, 2020

    10.08.20 | by Rocky Shack


    1 Corinthians 7:17-24

    17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18 For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19 For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.

    20 Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. 21 Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. 22 And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. 23 God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.[a] 24 Each of you, dear brothers and sisters,[b] should remain as you were when God first called you.


    • What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
    • What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
    • How should this information impact your life?
    • What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
    • Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.

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    This is the first time in Chapter 7 that Paul said something that threw me off. It is like Paul was talking about a bigger story that is so good and so needed but added within the main story a few smaller stories that are also so good and so needed. Here is what I mean: How did we just go from marriage and sex to circumcision and slavery? That is a hard pivot. Paul does something impressive here because he talks about 4 different issues that matter to people that on the surface seem unrelated; however, what we are going to see is that Paul is not losing where he is going. That can be the danger in breaking chapters up because you just might lose the thread of where the author is going. It is like my favorite comedians. I love comedy specials! My favorites can have a big point to the show and take us down backroads and side journeys just for them to come to an end and tie every story together. It always leaves me in awe that someone’s mind can work that way.

    Look at what Paul is doing. Just in this passage, Paul repeats the same line three times: “Remain as you were when God first called you.” To put it another way, “don’t try to change the appearance you had when you became a Christian.” He says that in verses 17, 20 and 24. But why the circumcision and slavery talk? I think about Galatians 3:28. “No longer Jew nor Greek, no longer slave nor free, no longer male and female because you are all one in Jesus our Messiah” Paul is asking an important question: Why does status matter? So the Jewish Christians are under pressure to go under the knife to be uncircumcised? So the Gentile Christians need to be circumcised now? There is no shame in being a Roman slave when Jesus found you. Because the person who is called by the LORD even as a slave is the LORD’s freedman. But take freedom if you have the opportunity. Same for the free. If you were a free man when Jesus found you, you will serve cheerfully as the LORD’s slave. Why? Because we have all been bought with the heavy price of the life of Jesus on our cross. The status does not matter. But the evidence of who you are and whose you are matters greatly. Focus on being obedient to God’s great commandments where you are.


    What is the point? What is Paul getting at? Paul is trying to get us to understand something important about the result of receiving the Gospel. Your status does not define you, and it does not signal that you are acceptable to the world around you. That does not matter. Paul wants us to focus on what does matter. Status and appearance does not matter, but living a life evident of relationship with Christ does. How do we know if we are connected to Jesus? We will know because we are committed to his Way. The evidence is being obedient to God’s great commandments. For my single folks, you should not feel under any pressure from anybody to get married. For my married folks, you should not feel under any pressure from anybody to separate from your nonbelieving spouse. Don’t feel that pressure from anyone other than the LORD. We should not forsake the way the LORD has brought us to where we are, when we came to know Jesus. The LORD has brought you there for a reason, and that reason may be that you are the answer to someone’s prayer. Someone might be saved because of your love and kindness. Someone might be saved because of your endurance. You were given great wealth to give greatly to others. You were given great status to use that influence for those who go unnoticed or unfairly treated. Do not forsake where the LORD has called you; instead, be obedient where you are with what you have.


    Almighty God! You have called us to be in the world. You have made us your ambassadors. Help us to represent you where we are. In our friendships. In our marriages. With our children. At our jobs. Sometimes the pressure of pleasing people seems too great, but do not allow us to succumb to the pressures of this world. Do not let us waste our time on changing where we are to please our friends and our families. Keep us focusing on pleasing You! Keep us single-minded on your Will! Keep us hopeful for how you can use us where we are and with what you have gifted us! Help us to be courageous and compassionate! Keep us focused on You!