Live As You Are Called
1 Corinthians 7 is primarily a chapter on marriage. There are many things to talk about and Paul’s teaching on marriage here needs to be understood with the rest of his words on marriage and the words of Jesus and others…not exactly a topic to tackle on a short blog post. But there is a section of this chapter that contains a principle that I want to discuss. We find it here: 17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
The word “called” or “as you were called” is found here repeatedly. The emphasis here as I understand it is that the calling of God, the fact that God has called one into a relationship with Jesus Christ, greatly outweighs any human condition that we find ourselves in. We can serve Jesus as married or unmarried, as Jewish or Gentile, as slave or free, Our emphasis needs to be on living out our faith in Christ, as a slave to Christ. Now, I don’t believe this in any way rules out trying to better our station in life and working hard with those who seek to better themselves economically or socially….as long as that “bettering” doesn’t hinder our ability to serve Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean we should say to someone who has suffered persecution or discrimination, “hey, don’t worry about it, you are called by Jesus”. It doesn’t mean that at all. What I think Paul is trying to communicate is the over-arching supremacy of the call of God in our lives, above everything else, good or bad. This call takes precedence. Everything we do or seek to do from an earthly perspective needs to be evaluated in how it affects our service to Jesus Christ. I find this challenging to live out. Please appreciate your calling and live as you are called.