It is hard to “turn many away from iniquity” if one is not a good example himself of walking properly before God. The priesthood of Malachi’s day was doing the opposite and, consequently, was leading many into iniquity.
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That would depend on the reason for the divorce. If the first wife committed adultery then the husband is free to remarry. If she did not, then the husband by remarrying is living in adultery and the Church has a duty to get involved as long as the brother continues to claim to be a Christian and to live in an adulterous condition.
Chapter 7, however, is different in that it was a response to a letter the Corinthian brethren had written to him: “Now concerning the things [plural] whereof ye wrote unto me.” Apparently, the class had written about problems that were disturbing them, and Paul now began to address these problems.
“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” What question would have prompted this statement? Paul was asked about familiarity between the sexes, about the association of a man with a woman, before marriage. The question was something like, “In the single state, where should the line be drawn in Christian behavior?” The word “touch” needs to be defined as used in the New Testament and in this context.
This worldly spirit, the Apostle suggests, will affect the Church to some extent. Consequently some of the Lord’s people will thus come into special peril at this time, because of neglecting their Covenant with the Lord. Others will watch and pray, and, for this reason, develop in mind and heart. But these are few.
The ruler had asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus had said, “If thou wilt be perfect.” Only perfect obedience under the Law would give life, let alone consecration and following Jesus in the Gospel Age. The rich, young ruler went away sorrowfully, “for he had great possessions” (verse 22). The discussion terminated at that point, for a sensitive area had been touched.
Not many noble, wise, mighty, or rich are called (1 Cor. 1:26). The ruler’s neighbors probably considered him exemplary, but God does the calling. Usually He purposely calls those who are not so well esteemed in order to put to foolishness the wisdom of men. God can make something out of nothing, and He can make something into nothing. He calls the humble to put to nothingness that which men admire profoundly. As a result, no flesh will be able to glory in its own presence. Paul’s reasoning is like a sequel to this incident with the rich ruler. Those who know they are “sick” need a physician; those who feel whole are less likely to seek help.
. The Law gives us God’s thinking. We study the Law to learn what His thinking is on certain subjects, one reason being that the New (Law) Covenant will be in operation during the Kingdom Age. Changes will be made, but nevertheless, the New Covenant will be along natural lines. Some Christians have never studied the Law. With the cost of Bibles being so reasonable in our country today, there is no excuse for not being familiar with the Old and the New Testaments. An allowance is made for babes in Christ, the recently consecrated. The responsibility differs according to availability, the length of one’s consecration, and other factors.
Jesus continued to bolster the premise of the Unjust Steward Parable. Verses 16-18 refer to the Law and the prophets. When John the Baptist came, the last of the Law and the prophets, he pointed to Jesus as the new way. In other words, a new dispensation was opening up and every man would have to press into it—would have to exercise energy in order to secure the spiritual promise or prize. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, which follows, somewhat pictures this change of death to the Law and being made alive to the new condition. As a people, the Gentiles responded more favorably than the Jews.
The Parable of the Unjust Steward brought out the principle that no man can serve two masters. One cannot mix the Law dispensation of works with the gospel dispensation of faith.
It is dangerous for a Christian to feel he is being justified under the Law. We study the Law to know God’s thinking, but we do not expect to get life by obeying it to the letter. Therefore, a change in dispensations was pending at the First Advent, as shown in the parable by the steward’s losing his stewardship. Those Jews who were wise handled the change properly and got a far greater blessing.
The parables of Luke 15 and 16 all center around a lost stewardship, coin, sheep, etc. In each case, whatever was lost was found, restored. Luke chapter 17 is tied in too in another way.