Eunuchs for the Kingdom


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH RC SPROUL

Eunuchs for the Kingdom
=======================
Matthew 19:10–12 “There are eunuchs who
have made themselves eunuchs for the
sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the
one who is able to receive this receive
it” (v. 12).

Christ’s appeal
to creation and His restrictions on the lawful grounds for
divorce (Matt.
19:1–9) rebuke any desire to find loopholes in the marriage
laws in order to
escape unions that sinners find unfulfilling. Marriage is to
be cherished
wholeheartedly, not to be dispensed with as we futilely attempt
to find
“happiness” outside of God’s gracious law. Husbands and wives are
called to
obey the Lord together and work tirelessly to become one flesh
physically,
emotionally, and spiritually by guarding and renewing their
relationship
(Gen. 2:24–25).

As seen in today’s passage, the disciples misunderstand
the inherent
worthiness of holy matrimony, believing marriage to be appealing
only if
liberal provision is made for divorce and remarriage. When they say,
“If such
is the case…it is better not to marry” (Matt. 19:10), they really
mean, “If
these words are true, Jesus, we are better off unmarried than to
find
ourselves in a dissatisfying marriage that does not meet your criteria
for a
just divorce.”

Christ does not deny the truth of this response
entirely, confirming that
singleness can be desirable (vv. 11–12). However,
He disagrees with His
followers that the potential for imperfect marriages
makes singleness a better
alternative. Instead, singleness is preferable only
when those who have been
given the gift of celibacy exercise this gift for
the kingdom. Marriage, Jesus
implies, is the norm for most of God’s people
and is not in itself inferior to
lifelong singleness. Singleness is better
than marriage only for those to whom
God has given the gift of celibacy (1
Cor. 7). Thus, as John Calvin wrote,
“God gives [the gift of singleness and
celibacy] to whom he chooses…it is
folly in any man to choose to live
unmarried, when he has not received this
special gift.”

All marriages
in this fallen world have bad days, but we should not discourage
marriage or
seek divorce frivolously. Marriage offers kingdom opportunities,
like the
discipleship of children, that are generally unavailable to single
people. At
the same time, single people can more easily do kingdom work in
foreign lands
or other tasks that keep them away from home. Neither marriage
nor singleness
are inherently superior; both vocations can serve the Lord.

Coram deo:
Living before the face of
God
========================================
Single believers like Daniel
and Paul as well as married believers such as
Abraham and Peter have been
used mightily of the Lord to advance His purposes.
Knowing this to be true,
our churches should be places where both singles and
married couples are
equally valued and given opportunities to serve in the
congregation. If you
serve as a leader in your church, do what you can to
encourage both married
couples and singles to take part in ministry.

For further
study:

Jeremiah 16:1–4

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