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Marriage vs. Remaining Single Part 2

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August 14th, 2013 | Filed Under: Author, Marriage, Mitch Kuhn, Topical Studies0 Comments | Author:

The Body of Christ has been created to reveal the Glory of God to all of His creation in due time. A part of this manifestation is accomplished through marriage and a part of it through some remaining single. This brief study is going to explain the function of marriage and singleness.
I will also discuss how to be content being single, if the Lord grants you this gift.

This is part 2 of 2 By Mitch Kuhn
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Study Notes

(You can read the complete study in pdf format: Marriage vs. Remaining Single)

Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
Rom 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
Rom 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Brotherly and sisterly affection can be taken the wrong way by others watching and even the person that we are expressing the godly love towards.
Paul tells the Romans to greet one another with a holy kiss, so this kind of godly affection is certainly a good thing.

Rom 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.

In order to not offend any of these little ones, it is best that we get to know others in the fellowship over time and not lay hands on suddenly. One person expressing godly affection can be received quite differently by another who is weak in the faith and still walking in the flesh.

Mar 9:42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

It is quite clear from 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 that the strong should bear the infirmities of the weak and not do anything to cause them to stumble. In due time the spirit will overcome the flesh and the godly love and affection within the Body will be understood by all.
The Body of Christ is going to be your new family, so now it’s just a question of whether you will have a physical spouse or not. It really comes down to counting the cost and determining if you have been given what is needed to remain single. I understand that for some, the Lord just forces singleness upon you and does not even present the opportunity to marry in the Lord. I’m primarily talking to those that have opportunities presented and are trying to discern what is best.
When building a tower you have to figure out how much material it will take, how many laborers, how long, etc. This requires thinking a lot about what will happen in the future. The key is to plan without being anxious. Whatever the result is will be of the Lord. This is exactly what we are to do regarding marriage. If we can’t build the tower of being single, then it’s better to marry, should the opportunity to marry in the Lord come along.

Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—
Luk 14:29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
Luk 14:30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

This study is really my way of personally counting the cost of marriage. We need to understand what God says about this topic, so that we aren’t just carried away by our emotions. We need to look at the reasons that the man in 1 Cor 7:36 marries and the other in verse 37 stays single. They both counted the cost and one needed to marry, because God had not given him what he needed to build the tower of staying single and to “keep” his virgin. The other man was given the gift of self-control, so he had what was needed to build the tower and stay single.

1Co 7:36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
1Co 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

So once we understand this, we just seek to be faithful each day and say, “if the Lord wills we shall live and do this or that”.

Jas 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;
Jas 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Jas 4:15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
Jas 4:16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

We need to honestly assess the level of faith and self-control we have been given. We should not feel bad or guilty about whatever the Lord has planned for our life and the role that he will have us play in the fellowship, single or married.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

In Ephesians 5 Paul explains how the relationship between a husband and wife represents the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

This physical relationship is a very important shadow of the true spiritual relationship.
Paul, as a single man, is married to the Church in the Spirit and cared for the Church, just as a Husband is supposed to care for his wife.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Here is Paul loving his bride, the Church.

Col 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,
Col 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
Col 1:26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 1:28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

In order to remain single, our perspective needs to change. We may be single in the flesh, but we are married in the Spirit. The Church is both our Bride and our Husband. We do live by every word, so both roles will be manifest in our spiritual lives; however the men will manifest more the role of a husband and the women, the wife.
The Spirit is always better than the flesh. There will be no marriage when God is all and all, so it is just a temporary shadow of the true marriage to be revealed. This is why to be single is the better blessing, because it is closer to how things will be in the end.

Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

Luk 20:34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
Luk 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
Luk 20:36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Both of the passages of scripture I quoted above are Christ’s response to the Pharisees trying to trick him with a question about marriage in the resurrection. These verses in Luke are not saying that you have to be single to be in the first resurrection, they’re pointing out that marriage is only for “this age”, the age of the flesh.
Singleness is to be pursued as a gift until the Lord manifests that we do not have this gift.

Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

Regardless of what role we are given within the Body of Christ, it is important and very much needed.

Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Remember that God is the one who gives us our weaknesses for his glory. Everyone has their own weaknesses, and for some, God provides marriage as a way to escape temptation and remain faithful.

2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband

1Co 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;
1Co 7:9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1Co 7:36 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.
1Co 7:37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.

Singleness is to be pursued as the better gift, but that does not mean that we should start to compare ourselves with one another.

2Co 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

We are all given a measure of faith and we must be careful to not think more highly of ourselves that we ought or to judge someone else because they are given a different role or gift in the body.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,

2Co 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. We have to be content with the role that God has assigned to us.

1Ti 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

While Paul does encourage singleness, he also makes it clear that we should remain in the calling that the Lord has assigned to each of us.

1Co 7:17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
1Co 7:18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised.
1Co 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
1Co 7:20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.
1Co 7:21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.
1Co 7:22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.
1Co 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
1Co 7:24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.

1Co 7:26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is:
1Co 7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
1Co 7:28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.

If you find yourself married to an unbeliever who is pleased to dwell with you, God has a purpose in this. If you are married to a believer, God has a purpose. If you are divorced, God has a purpose. If you are single, God has a purpose. If you are single and burning to be married, God has a purpose.
Be grateful for the thorns God has placed in your life and seek to obey the scriptures regarding whatever situation he has placed you. We will always be blessed for the obedience the Lord causes in our lives.

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Gal 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

It is possible to sow to the Spirit no matter our situation in life.
I now want to share some verses that will encourage each person in the calling God has placed them.
To those that are married to a fellow believer, it is a true blessing of the Lord. This relationship reflects the spiritual reality of Christ and the Church and is a good example to others. Keep in mind that Elders and Deacons are required to be married, which demonstrate its importance in God’s plan.

Pro 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

Pro 19:14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

If you are married to an unbelieving spouse, God is working this as well. The good fruit the Lord causes you to bear, will be used in due time to convert your spouse, whether in this life or the next.

1Pe 3:1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
1Pe 3:2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

Remaining in this relationship, as long as your spouse is pleased to dwell with you, will sanctify both your spouse and children, if you have them.

1Co 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
1Co 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
1Co 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
1Co 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

If you are a young woman and find yourself being drawn away from Christ by your passions, pray that the Lord would provide you with a believing husband to lead you, bear children, raise a family, and be a good example of a Proverbs 31 wife.

1Ti 5:11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry
1Ti 5:12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.
1Ti 5:13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.
1Ti 5:14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

It is far rarer for women to remain single, especially younger women. It is still good to see if the Lord will give you the gift of singleness, but don’t be discontented, if you have not been given the self control to do so.

Ecc 7:28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found.

Men, seek to remain single and focus on serving the Lord and the fellowship.
Consider the body of Christ as your bride and treat her as such. If God does not give you the self control to remain single, then don’t feel bad about it, obey his commands and marry.
Love your wife as Christ loves the Church, raise a family and be a good example to the believers and the world.

1Co 7:8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.
1Co 7:9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

I hope and pray that this study encourages you to obey the Lord no matter what calling you have been given in this life.

Your Brother in Christ,

Mitch

Click here for part 1 of 2

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