Can Christians remain single?

By James Toland

Being married is certainly the norm that God established. Genesis 2:18 states, "The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" In this passage God is speaking both specifically and generally. Specifically, He is speaking of Adam, which in Hebrew means "man." So God made Adam (man) a helpmate in order to show him that he is different than all the animals and that he has an equal but opposite partner that completes him.

God is also speaking generically to mankind as a whole — generally speaking, it is better for a man to be with a woman in marriage than to be single, as this is the standard for marriage and family development, biologically, emotionally and spiritually. Also, being married helps prevent men and women from sinning, as shown in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5:
Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
However, further in this very same passage, 1 Corinthians 7:6-7, Paul speaks of why certain people may not need or want to get married and that he only told them to be married in order to remain righteous:
I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am [Paul was single in his ministry]. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that...Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
Paul says this because while marriage is ordained by God, it does take our focus away from God and put it on our partner. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35:
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
This is why Jesus did not marry and remained single. He did not come to build a life and family here. His sole purpose was to do His Father's will and be a sacrifice for lost so that those who follow Him may be saved and have eternal life (John 3:16). His whole focus, from adolescence (Luke 2:41-52) until His death (Matthew 22:39) was on doing His Heavenly Father's will.

Finally, in Matthew 19:1-12, when Jesus was speaking on divorce he mentions in the final verses, 10-12, that both physical eunuchs and spiritual eunuchs exist. His disciples said that maybe it is better off if one does not marry and Jesus responds that not everyone can do this. Some were made to by force and others choose it for the sake of the Kingdom. Jesus would be one who fell into the latter category of a spiritual eunuch, one who chose to remain unmarried so that He could put all of His earthly energy into doing His Father's will.

Image Credit: Unsplash; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Family-Life  | Ministry-Church  | Personal-Relationships

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Published on 6-13-16