Marriage is a higher calling than singleness.
Are you a manly man? Masculinity is the glad assumption of responsibility for the good of others. It is leading, protecting, and providing for others, especially for women and children.
In this world, where can men most intensely assume responsibility for the lives of others? Where can he most directly lead, protect, and provide for women and children? In marriage. In husbanding a woman and fathering children according to God’s will.
Are you a womanly woman? Mature femininity encourages and supports godly leadership, protection, and provision from men. It is quiet, submissive, and helping.
Where, in this world, can a woman most intensely live this out? In marriage. In being a helpmate to a husband. In living in wifely grace according to God’s will.
Are you a woman who wants to be saved? Are you a woman who wants to be sanctified, to be changed from one degree of glory to another? God says that women are saved through childbearing. Women are most sanctified in the job of motherhood.
Where is the job of motherhood most intensely done? In biological motherhood, which, in God’s design, happens in marriage.
A man can be firmly masculine in singleness. A woman can be wonderfully feminine in singleness. But godly masculinity and femininity are most intensely grown and shown in marriage.
The only place in the Bible where the preferability of singleness is argued is in a letter to a church facing a uniquely intense distress. In that context, where the heat is especially turned up, Paul points to the ultimacy of having Christ. If you’re about to be tarred and burned as a human torch and you’re single, I wouldn’t worry about getting married. Otherwise, it is a good and high desire and pursuit.
Mankind’s job in this world is to fill it and subdue it and rule it in the fear of God. How does mankind do this job of multiplying and filling the world? Through marriage. It is obviously necessary to that task, as long as this world endures.
A few words to you if you’re not married:
1. Having a lesser calling doesn’t make you less human.
2. The world is not about you. God does not owe you every higher calling. He forbids a covetous response to lower positions. Receive what you have from the wise giver.
3. Singleness is being without. It is a trial to rejoice in, as all trials are from God and to be rejoiced in. Walk in godly contentment.
4. Higher callings, like marriage, like pastoral ministry, like monarchical rule, like owning land, present great temptations and opportunities for severely damaging sin. And lower callings do not bar you from godliness or usefulness or equal nobility.
5. Live in such a way that prepares you to be a good husband or wife.
When people say, “Jesus redeemed singleness”, ask them what they mean. I have yet to hear an answer that makes sense. He didn’t get rid of this world. That’s coming up soon, but it hasn’t happened yet. God’s creation covenant is still in effect.
And Jesus wasn’t the permanently single guy. He came for his girl. He died for her. He rose again and went home to prepare the house for her to move into. There is marriage in heaven. Jesus is married to the bride with whom he enjoys a humdinger feast at the beginning of happily ever after in a perfect world. That is prime time marriage, best of fairy tales style.