All right, this thing here has to do with people staying single. We'll begin at 1Corinthians 7:1: "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." And, of course, touch in the sense of fornication--not in the sense of just, you know, holding hands, you know, or something like that--although that can get bad too!
There's a Christian school in this country where they don't even allow them to hold hands on the campus, you know. There are a lot of jokes about that. I went to that school. I remember one day going up to the post office. I've got a friend named Jimmy Menan. He's a big old German boy about 6-feet-2. When you go into the post office, there's only one door to get into the post office, for about two thousand students. You know, some of these boyfriends and girlfriends try to hold each other's hand going into the post office. Because, going through the door, you're all packed in shoulder-to-shoulder. Ol' Jimmy Menan walked in there one day, and some guy reached out there to grab his girl's hand and got Menan's hand instead of his girl's! And held onto his hand going in there.
They got inside, and Menan turned to him and said, "Boy, you sure got a good grip!"
That word "touch" there is talking about sex. Here's how you know that, verse 2: "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication..." That's how you know it means that. "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence..." what she has coming to her "...and likewise also the wife unto the husband..." what he has coming to him.
You say, "Well, he has a smack in the mouth coming!" That doesn't mean that, you know!
There was a colored boy on trial for desertion in Mobile, Alabama once. He told the judge, "If you knowed dat woman like I knowed dat woman you wouldn't call me no deserter. I no deserter. I's a refugee!"
Verse 4: "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband." All right, if you're married, then your wife's body belongs to you. It's your body. "Likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife." If you're married, then his body is yours, and your body is his. That's the idea.
Verse 5: "Defraud ye not one the other." "Defraud" in the sense of what? It's talking about relationship. "Except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." That idea is, if the husband and wife are living together and live like normal people do and have a normal kind of life, then they can decide for a certain period, you know, to give themselves to the Lord's work. But then, come back together again, and don't wait too long, or the devil will get in there--work on the man and work on the woman. Happens all the time.
Now the verses, beginning with verse 6: "But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment." And the idea is, he gave there the permissive will of God on it. "For I would that all men were even as I myself." SINGLE! In plainer words, as a commandment, he's not saying, "I COMMAND that you do this, and COMMAND you to do that," because he said, "If I was going to give you direct commandment, I'd say, STAY SINGLE!"
Verse 1: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." That's the commandment. The permission is, to avoid fornication, let them get married, and so forth, and so on.
"But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself..." single. "But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that." Some men have an ability to stay single, and a gift to stay single.
I'll give you an example. Turn to Matthew 19, and keep 1Corinthians 7; we're not through with it yet. All right, Matthew 19. Some men just make good husbands and good fathers; some men don't. Matthew 19:10: "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." See that?
"But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." So not everybody can receive the saying of staying single. But some can.
All right, 1Corinthians 7:7:
"For I would that all men were even as I myself..." single.
"But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and
another after that." So you can't give a commandment on it. I
mean, you can't lay down a hard, fixed line. "I say therefore
to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as
I..." single! "But if they cannot contain..." (in the
sense of self-control, verse 2), "...let
them marry: for it is better
to marry than to burn..." in the sense of verse 5, incontinency, and in the sense of verse 2, burning in lust.