The Shortness of Time
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
But this I say, brothers, the time is short: it remains, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;…

"The time is short." To the serious Christian there is much of consolatory as well as exhortatory nature in this solemn declaration. There is much that meets the anxious sorrows of the weary and heavy laden; and much that meets the circumstances of a sleeping, loitering pilgrim on the road to Zion.

I. IT REMAINETH THAT THEY THAT HAVE WIVES BE AS THOUGH THEY HAD NONE. The apostle would here caution Christians against the undue encroachment of domestic cares. We must take care that our affection does not degenerate into idolatry; that we love our partners and our children with a subordinate regard; fearing lest our hearts should be overcharged with the cares of this life, and so the day of our departure come upon us unawares. We must only sip at the stream as we hasten through the valley, and beware how we linger on its banks.

II. THE SHORTNESS OF TIME SHOULD LEAD THOSE THAT WEEP TO BE AS THOUGH THEY WEPT NOT. There must be weeping of one kind or other in such a world as this. We must weep over the death of relatives: we must mourn the failure of our favourite projects, the treachery of professed friends, the pains and diseases of a corruptible body, the weariness and helplessness of old age. And however free we may be from immediate causes of distress, we must often mourn from sympathy, "weep with those that weep." But the most fruitful source of a Christian's tears is his sin. But the time is short; and it remaineth that those that weep be as though they wept not. I might well weep rivers of tears on the very possibility of losing my immortal soul and an eternity of bliss; but for the loss of everything in this world, surely there should be a sorrow commensurate with the narrow limits of its duration. What though we witness the departure of friends? They are only called home a little before ourselves, and soon we shall be for ever with each other and the Lord. What though we feel the adversities of life? Who can fret over a momentary privation, who has a good hope through grace of an inheritance in heaven? What though we feel the earthly house of this tabernacle dissolving? We have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, where the inhabitants no more say, I am sick.

III. THE SHORTNESS OF TIME SHOULD LEAD THOSE THAT REJOICE TO BE AS THOUGH THEY REJOICED NOT. To a certain extent many have a real enjoyment of human life. There is a temporary absence of disturbance, and a considerable competence of what nature relishes. Things wear a prosperous and a pleasurable aspect; and for a season at least men seem at liberty to rejoice, and to let their hearts cheer them. But let us pause and be sober-minded. What is it that we are so fondly handling? Perhaps the cockatrice's egg. The object of our endearment is filled with the seeds of misery, and vanity, and corruption. We are leaning on a feeble reed. The longest season of earthly pleasure is, after all, but a fleeting summer's day. Let us rejoice with trembling, and only suffer our unrestrained elevation of spirit to be given to these objects, which will never fail us. Rejoicing in Christ Jesus — rejoicing in hope — rejoicing in the testimony of our conscience — here is a wide and satisfying field — here we may fearlessly rejoice, even with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

IV. THE SHORTNESS OF TIME SHOULD LEAD THOSE THAT BUY TO BE AS THOSE WHO POSSESSED NOT. Suspect something seriously wrong if you begin to think yourselves at home in this world. After all, you are but tenants of a day, and here have no continuing city. Let your loins then be girded about, and your lights burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.

V. THE SHORTNESS OF TIME SHOULD LEAD US TO USE THIS WORLD AS NOT ABUSING IT. Such is the depraved propensity of human nature, that it turns into a curse what was intended for a blessing, Riches are abused to the purposes of covetousness or extravagance. The advantages of talents and education are abused to the furtherance of infidelity and error on the one hand, or pride and self-conceit on the other. Time, health, and every other possession are liable to the same alienation from its proper service. It is the fault and the misery of our nature that it is always making the creature the object of idolatrous regard. But we must watch against this propensity. We must reflect upon our situation. The time is short. We are hastening on our journey. We are travelling to our home. And shall we be unduly pleasing ourselves with the comforts of the inn of this world? or wantonly and excessively partaking of its provision, or longing to abide in it:

(W. C. Wilson, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

WEB: But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none;

The Shortness of the Time
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