Monday

13 May 2019

1 Corinthians 7:25-31

For the present form of this world is passing away. (v. 31b)

Psalm: Psalm 127

Background

A friend of mine said, "Have you seen what the Bible has to say about Brexit?" I admitted I hadn’t. "You must look," he said. "It concerns the Antichrist!" Well, out of curiosity, I Googled "Brexit in the Bible". I was informed that the "Antichrist is alive rising up in the European Union, the last beast." That "the exit of Britain from the EU is a clear sign that Antichrist is rising up in the EU."

There is a problem with this suggestion that the Bible can provide detailed information about the end times. We are warned that Christ will come like "a thief in the night", that we will not know the time, that there will be no warning.

Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, assumed this judgment to be imminent. I believe it to be true as well, but not quite as he or the first Christians thought. He wrote his instructions some two thousand years ago and we’re still waiting. If his suggestions about celibacy had been taken up you and I wouldn’t be here!

So where does the truth lie? The world is still here. Generations on, so are we. Paul’s instructions seem to make little sense.

But, to be blunt, when are you going to die? I’ve been made aware of my own mortality twice in the last few years. I’ve survived cancer and a heart attack so far! Sooner or later, who knows when, we will die. Forget about the Antichrist, or Brexit. This prophecy business is a bit more personal and immediate.

Whether we believe in an after-life or a final judgment or not, we cannot but believe in death. And at that point facing a judgment or not you’ve lost the chance to put anything right. So Paul was correct to warn of the immediate need to do good, to love our neighbours, to forgive and be forgiven, not at some future time but now. Whatever happens to the rest of the world your life and mine are finite. Let’s face that and, in consequence, work out how we should live now. We have no other chance.

 

To Ponder:

  • What are you doing that you might be better not doing?
  • What actions might you take to make your life and those of others better?

Bible notes author

The Revd Andrew Pratt

Andrew is a Methodist supernumerary presbyter, Honorary Research Fellow at Luther King House, Manchester, and author. He has written over 1,450 hymns.

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