Monday, September 6, 2010

As If Not

Something from D. A. Carson about being too connected to this world and this life.

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IN THE COURSE OF HIS treatment of “virgins” (1 Cor. 7:25–38—the word refers to the sexually inexperienced, whether male of female), Paul writes, “Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are” (1 Cor. 7:26). Thus it is good for the celibate to remain celibate, for the married not to seek a divorce, and so forth. This does not mean, Paul adds, that if a virgin marries, she is sinning. But he does insist that “the time is short” (1 Cor. 7:29). What does this mean?

[Skipping]

(3) The word rendered “crisis” simply means “necessity” or “compulsion.” What Paul is referring to is neither the return of Christ nor persecution, but the present “necessity,” the present “compulsion,” of living with the End in view. Unlike pagans and secularists, we cannot make our chief joy turn on marriage, prosperity, or any other temporal thing. They all fall under the formula “as if not”: live “as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31, emphasis added). There are responsible ways for Christians to enjoy these things, or mourn, or be happy—but never as if these things are ultimate.

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