Question: 1 Corinthians 7:17 and
20 speak of God's "calling" and "assigning." How does this fit with
the thesis of your book? (Chapter 12)
Answer: First Corinthians 7:17-24 is a
"sovereignty paragraph." The call in this passage refers to the grace that brought a person to
salvation (7:22). The assignment was that person's life situation or
condition (7:20) at the time of conversion. For instance, some were
slaves; some were free. That circumstance had been sovereignly determined, and the fact that they
had responded to God's call to saving faith did not require them to try to change their situation.
On the other hand, their state at salvation was not a directive from God. So if the slave had an
opportunity for freedom (sovereignly provided!), he or she was free to take it (7:21).
Until then, each person should serve God right where he had been placed in God's sovereign will.
(First Corinthians 7 is discussed at length in chapter 19, "Singleness,
Marriage, and Wisdom.")