This is one of the passages that people have for centuries accused Paul of getting wrong. He said the End Times are here; nearly 2,000 years later we are still waiting. If Paul was so wrong about that can we believe him at all?
We must never forget that the church at Corinth was in serious trouble. Paul gave them as much leadership as he could through his letters (at least one of which is lost to us, probably more). Starting in chapter seven, Paul is answering specific questions the church has given to him. Verses 1-2; Now let me deal with the questions raised in your letter. It is a good principle for a man to have no physical contact with women. Nevertheless, because casual liaisons are so prevalent, let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband. Phillips
Read that again. Paul was writing directly to churches in America.
As you read on in the chapter, look at verses 26, 29, 31, therefore verse 26. We Christians are facing great dangers to our lives at present; our remaining time is very short; the world in its present form will soon be gone. TLB Therefore: you would do best to remain just as you are. Phillips
You know that Paul did not mean for us to remain opposed to God. Even the reluctant prophet Jonah had to do what his Master gave him to do. After a failed attempt to run away from God (there is a lesson for us right there) God again spoke to Jonah: “Go to that great city, Nineveh,” he said, “and warn them of their doom, as I told you to before!” TLB
Saul, Andrew, James and John all turned away from their fishing boats to follow Jesus. Not so much leaving their boats as following Jesus. That is the key to all these readings.
When we turn back to God, good happens. The entire country of Nineveh repented and turned to God who forgave them. Jonah did not forgive them, throwing a temper tantrum instead. Jonah believed in God, but did not want to follow God, the condition of many church goers today.
What did Jesus preach? The time has come at last—the kingdom of God has arrived. You must change your hearts and minds and believe the good news. TLB
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. NIV
The time has come for us to hold fast to that Rock. Time is short. We do not want to die outside the Fortress. We do not want our names erased from the Book of Life because we were unwilling to focus our lives on God’s business and allowing our own desires to move to the background.
Be righteous and do good.