NB: With help from Charles Talbert (Reading Corinthians) and the preaching notes from the latest Currents in Theology and Mission.
“Brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short...” Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth, “...For the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7: 29 & 31b)
I don't know about you but when I hear talk like that I want to change the channel or flip the page. For me, it conjures up images of nuclear threats, wars on the other side of the world taking the lives of local men and women, financial meltdowns, continents being squeezed by poverty and drought, and ice caps melting into the Arctic Ocean. And TV preachers cheering from the sidelines as life on this planet grinds to an apocalyptic halt. It's not a pretty picture. It's not meant to be.
“But I want you to be free from anxiety,” Paul continues. Yeah, right! He talks about the imminent end of the world as we know it, and we're supposed to be OKAY with it? We're supposed to go on smiling as the planet self-destructs? We're supposed to greet death with open hearts and wider arms?
At first blush that seems to be what Paul is talking about. And it wouldn't be out of line with what others have said. In fact, that might have been what the Christians in Corinth were expecting to hear.
Paul was worried that these...(whole thing here)