I do not have any commentary to make on 1 Cor. 7:12-20, but for the sake of context, the text is below. If there is anything regarding this passage that you would like for me to address, let me know. My comments resume with Verses 21-24 (see the section of the post after the line of asterisks):
1 Corinthians 7:12-20 – “To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife. However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything. Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.”
1 Corinthians 7:21-24 – “Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.”
I want to discuss the concept of being a “slave of Christ.” You might feel some discomfort with the idea of being a “slave.” But the intriguing, and ultimately liberating truth, is that if you are a believer, you are a slave of Christ whether or not you intend to be one or know that you are one.
There is a lot about yourself that is outside of your control. You were born with certain hardwired personality traits. You have a conscience that cannot be turned off. You have reactions to things that you see and hear, that often come on too quickly to be blocked.
The first key question is, where are all of these traits going to take you? As mentioned in the very first post in this series, God has ordained that certain things will be accomplished in our lives, and those things will be done. That leads to a second question, how are you going to get there?
Paul warns against becoming “slaves of human masters.” What is your ideal image for yourself and your lifestyle, and who is it coming from? If it is coming from peer pressures, religious leaders, cultural expectations, or whatever values are trendy at a particular moment, it is important to consider whether you have become a slave to them in your mind.
Now, there may be truth in what some of these people say. But as mentioned earlier, there is a lot in your personality and conscience that is outside of your control. Many people feel uncomfortable with themselves or have hidden guilt. Various influences in the world, and perhaps faulty ideas within one’s self, seize upon this discomfort or guilt by persuading people to adopt a certain view of themselves and the world around them. But these ideas often run counter to the mindset that Christ is working to impart to believers. And these problematic mindsets lead to actions that, while sometimes well-intentioned, cause behavioral patterns that counter Christ’s leading.
However, even with those problematic influences going on, what God has ordained for a believer’s life will still be accomplished, because believers’ consciences, in conjunction with their personalities, will still get them to do certain things eventually. But what will be lacking is a sense of peace with Christ’s leading.
On the other hand, to accept the fact that you are a slave of Christ, just believe that Christ is working with the aspects of yourself that you are uncomfortable with to bring you more in line with His will. Appreciate the things your conscience has gotten you to do in spite of internal opposition, and then you don’t have to worry about whether other people think you are good enough according to their worldviews.