1 Corinthians 7:3–5
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Marriage of Priests
Does not Paul command here that those who do not have the gift of self-control should marry? After all, he interprets himself a little later when he says, “For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (1 Cor 7:9). Christ has also clearly stated, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given” (Matt 19:11). Ever since sin entered the world, natural desire and the lust that inflames it have combined. So, there is more need of marriage now than when in a pure nature. Accordingly, Paul speaks of marriage as a remedy, and commands us to marry because of these passions.
Pulling It Together: Since the fall of Adam, the temptation to sin in general has been difficult (Rom 7:19) but the struggle with lust may be at the top of the list. Self-control is a hard habit to master. Consider sins that involve food, drink, anger, pride, and others too numerous to name in this short space. If we have serious trouble with these, imagine our difficulty with sexual appetite. There are some who are able to say “no” but this seems to be a special gift from God (1 Cor 7:7b). If one finds himself or herself in such a predicament, it is better to marry than to burn—physically or eternally (1 Cor 7:9). Paul makes no distinction; his commanding advice is for priests and pastors, as well as the laity.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the good gifts you have given. Amen.
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