Single, Satisfied, and Sanctifying?
"Get married, it will sanctify you." This is often what I hear from my married friends. The rest usually goes something like this: "two sinners coming together will definitely teach you about your sin.” While I am not married, I trust my married friends. I believe them and I affirm that this is true. Amen.
I appreciate the honesty of my friends. But I can’t help but think - can singleness can be sanctifying too?
You don't have to be married to see your selfishness in relationships. If you’re single and you’ve had roommates, you know. If you’ve committed to a local church who will call out sin or operated in any type community, then you will understand relationships will sanctify you. The depth of a marriage relationship might be deeper than just about any other type of relationship. But marriage is not the author of sanctification. God is.
I was reading a Tim Keller QA on twitter. A man asked about which is better in today’s age- singleness or marriage? One man chimmed in: “If your mindset is consumer, marriage is harder. If your mindset is investor, marriage rocks.”
Is singleness just for the consumer? It is true our world often sees singleness as means to individual freedom and worldly pursuits. But what does the Bible says about singleness and sanctification. The means for humans to become Christ like is through Jesus Christ himself! (Hebrews 13:21) All Christians whether married or single are called to live like Jesus Christ. We need more singles who can genuinely say “hey, though it can be hard, singleness is sanctifying and good.”
Singles are called to santification just like those married. He is to be trusted in all circumstances and we are accountable to Him in both singleness and marriage. Let us say not only “marriage will sanctify you” but that “God will sanctify you." The call to "follow me" is for both singles and the married. As well, God's sanctifying tools are not confined to relationships alone. God's fatherly discipline and correction is not dependent on our relationship status (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-6) and His Word is still sharper then a double-edged sword. Practice serving in community, leaning into scripture, cleaning your dishes and you will see single, God will sanctify you.
Maybe we just need clarification on the meaning of sanctification. However, I’m assuming we can agree a simple definition is becoming more Christ like. That is obtaining genuine qualities such as servitude, humility, being full of "grace and truth;" these flow from a functional relationship with Christ as we are transformed from one glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).
As we uphold the importance and value of marriage, let us not forget that singleness can be just as sanctifiying too.