Text: Matt. 19:1 12
Celibacy, Bachelorhood and Spinsterhood. Celibacy is the state of being unmarried and remaining without marital relationship for conscientious, religious or moral reasons. The term applies to both men and women. Bachelorhood or Spinsterhood refers to the state of a man or woman, respectively, not being married, not necessarily for religious or moral reasons.
Following Jesus’ instructions against polygamy, divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:3 9), the disciples retorted and said AIf the case of the man be so with his wife; it is not good to marry. In reply, Jesus said AAll men cannot receive this … and went on to talk about various categories of eunuchs men who do not have anything to do with women, being castrated (Matt. 19:12) (i) Eunuchs by sheer natural accident of birth; (ii) Those rendered impotent by men: Men who were hired to serve in the king=s courts in those days were castrated so they might not mess up with the wives and concubines of the king and (iii) Those who have made themselves eunuchs, referring to those who, although are full fledged and potent men, have castrated their minds against affairs with women, for the kingdom of God=s sake (Matt. 19:12).
This statement of Christ cannot be correctly construed to mean a commandment of celibacy for the religious or anybody for that matter, but simply means that celibacy is possible and acceptable for those who have the special grace for it, like apostle Paul and a few others (Matt. 19:10 12; 1Cor. 7:7 8; 9:5). To make celibacy a general rule for a certain religious class, like the Buddhist priests and many of their laity, some heathen witch doctors and some religious folks in the Christendom, is as erroneous as it is demonic (cp. 1Tim. 4:1 3)
Nevertheless, the same statement A …there be men who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God=s sake (Matt.19:12), is a challenge to all those so called born again Christians who cannot patiently possess their vessels in sanctification and honour until God gives them the helper meet for them (1Thess. 4:4; Gen. 2:18). Whereas God might not have appointed and given you the grace to be celibate for life, He would certainly not leave those who are sincere and willing to treat their minds, without enough grace to pass through their period of bachelorhood/spinsterhood in chastity (Matt. 19:12; 1Cor. 7:32 35; 1Thess. 4:3 7).
If we end this discourse talking only about those who have never married and the grace of God available to them without also talking about those who once got married but are now without spouse, it is incomplete. Indeed, if God gives grace to the wary and willing who have not been married, much more will he give to widows (cp. Jer. 49:11; Rom. 5:20; 1Tim. 3:5). God specially talks about and provides for the widow and fatherless, knowing their peculiar difficult circumstances (cons. Ex. 22:22 24; Ps. 68:5; Isa. 9:16,17; Jer. 49:11; 1Tim. 5:3 5). He does not as much talk about the widower and motherless because He also knows that these can more easily find some replacement that can mitigate their misery. It behoves any of us in the above difficult circumstances to plug in for more grace and help which heaven makes available.
Rise and let us pray.
Fellowship Songs: (HSCF 172 & 177)