In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of guiding the young men we mentor in evaluating the battle for purity and equipping them for victory. We also looked at the gracious provision of God in providing escape routes that mean a lifetime of celibacy is unnecessary. We’ll continue by looking at a biblical view of marriage and the unfortunate alternative some societies have offered, ultimately focusing on the grace-filled goal of progress, not perfection.
Elevation of Marriage
The writer of Hebrews points out the purity of sex within marriage (13:4). Clearly, this tongue-in-cheek “account” of a couple’s supposed commitment to continued celibacy both before and after their marriage is not God’s design. But neither is extensive celibacy, for most young men and women. In fact, in the midst of his famous extolling of the virtues of singleness, Paul makes it clear that for those who burn with passion, marriage is better than continued abstinence (1 Corinthians 7:9).
God has designed marriage with the idea of children in view, and Psalm 127:4 points out the benefit of children to relatively young parents — the strength that God has given them can be used for good. Ecclesiastes 12:1 encourages young people to “remember,” or acknowledge, their Creator during this time of high energy and great potential; certainly, embarking on the greatest opportunity for discipleship by bearing children is an excellent way to remember God.
Establishment of “Bare Branches”
When the testosterone-infused strength of young men is entirely without the potential for marriage, the results in various cultures have been devastating. According to some students of history, whenever a surplus of young men has existed in a culture, widespread violence and crime have been the result. From the Crusades of Europe to America’s “Wild West,” historical examples abound.
Today, we’re seeing similar results in China, due to widespread female infanticide. The resulting surplus of young unmarried men, referred to as “bare branches,” are sadly using their youthful strength for dishonorable activities such as kidnapping and trafficking women and abusing drugs and alcohol.
Encouragement for Fallen Sinners
Just like any command of Scripture, God knew we would fail to meet His high standards of righteousness. Especially when you consider Christ’s interpretation of the Old Testament regulations about purity (Matthew 5:28), it’s clear that Romans 3:23 applies, and none of us is truly pure. The point of the law isn’t as much to give us an attainable goal, as it is to point out our own imperfection and our need for Christ (Galatians 3:24).
Romans 6:23 offers a poignant reminder of the fate our sin has earned us, compared to the gracious alternative that God offers us. It’s not our faithfulness, but God’s own character that we can trust for salvation (1 John 1:9) — not just from the fires of Hell, but from the shackles of sin, as well. In David, we see a beautiful picture of God’s acceptance of a man who morally fell but repented and then continued serving God.