Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Status of the Single Man or Woman

Some prominent pastors have professed that everyone should seek to be married.

When presented with the truth Jesus, Paul, and many of the other apostles never took vows and married, one pastor countered, "They all knew that they were going to die."

What did Jesus say about marriage, anyway? After setting the high standard which marriage deserves, despising divorce except in the case of fornication, His followers responded:

"His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

"But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19: 10-12)

There are those who chose to remain unmarried for the greater glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Paul had this to write:

"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." (1 Corinthians 7:1)

Now, these verses do not disparage marriage per se.

Paul continues:

"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: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." (1 Corinthians 7: 2-3)

If a man or woman cannot be physically content, then marry.

Paul explains:

"For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

"I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

"But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7: 7-9)

Whatever a man's gift may be, to be single or to be married, the Holy Spirit will inform and supply the grace to live that life to the glory of God the Father.

Let us not give any attention to the extreme of some, which forbid marriage. Paul warned against this heresy:

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

"Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4: 1-3)

No doctrine could be more obscene than the folly that a man or woman must avoid being betrothed. We are no longer in bondage to the law, but instilled with the Holy Spirit to maintain our right standing and gain grace and knowledge of the Lord.

Now, for those who are unsure or uncomfortable with their status, especially to those who are single, Paul also writes:

"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." (1 Corinthians 7: 27)

In this verse, "seek" (ζητέω zéteó) is the same verb which Jesus uses to describe what are greatest desire must be:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Whether you are called to be married or single, do not make marriage your highest priority. As you walk in God's righteousness, receiving his infinite storehouse of peace and joy (cf Romans 14:17), God will work within you His good pleasure (cf Philippians 2:12-13). Whether to be married or single, God will give you the grace to live the life that He wants you to have, and that more abundantly!

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