Embracing Singleness, Valuing Marriage

As our culture tends to postpone, forego, and even redefine marriage, the church rightly pushes back by stressing God’s plan for marriage and its inherent goodness. But where does this leave single people? There are vast numbers of Christians who, for a variety of reasons, are still single, have become single, and may remain single for the rest of their lives. If we fail to have a thoroughly biblical understanding of marriage, one of two things we will happen: we will devalue the importance or marriage, or we will see marriage as an end in itself. If we wander into the latter error, we will probably look at single people as “second class citizens” who have failed to reach God’s ideal for their lives. In his book This Momentary Marriage (Crossway, 2009), John Piper includes a helpful chapter on singleness. He identifies four truths that “shine more brightly through singleness.”

1) The truth that the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;

2) The truth that relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families . . .

3) The truth that marriage is temporary and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church–the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face-to-face;

4) The truth that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.