Overly Exalting Marriage
In Christianity, marriage can be held up so highly that singleness is (inadvertently) treated as second-class citizenship. Is this really the message of the Bible for the single life, or does God hold out something far better?
A Signpost to Gospel Realities
The truth is, the individual unmarried life is a brightly lit signpost to gospel realities that marriage is unable to point to. Singleness gives a taste of the resurrected, perfect life that we will live in the eternal state after Christ’s Second Advent. Along these lines, Sam Alberry writes:
By foregoing marriage now, singleness is a way of both anticipating this reality and testifying to its goodness. It’s a way of saying this future reality is so certain that we can live according to it now. If marriage shows us the shape of the gospel, singleness shows us its sufficiency.
I’ve long wished to express the spiritual usefulness of the individual life to complement the distinct gospel usefulness that Christian marriage plays in upholding the good news of Christ. I encourage you to read Sam Alberry’s article in full to ponder how singleness points to weighty spiritual realities.
Singleness at Grace Church
At Grace Church Alexandria we value each member God brings, regardless of social status. We also celebrate both statuses that Christ grants: the gift of marriage and the gift of singleness in line with 1 Corinthians 7:7. “But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
An underemphasis on the Bible’s doctrine of marriage can lead to weak families and the loss of the biblical pattern of marriage. But an overemphasis on marriage can put undue, unbiblical pressure on individuals to feel they must marry to be fully accepted and fulfilled as a Christian, which is the last thing Christ intends in his family.
Sam Alberry’s thinking about singleness fulfilling gospel realities helps us re-take lost ground.