To answer your question let’s look at a passage in Matthew chapter 19 where the Lord Jesus was discussing the subject of marriage and divorce with the Pharisees. Jesus told the religious leaders that if one divorced his wife for any reason other than adultery and then remarried, he would be guilty of adultery. Jesus’ disciples then turned to Jesus and said, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (verse 10, NKJV). The response by the Lord Jesus is related to our question today. It says, “But He said to them, ‘All cannot accept this saying, but ONLY THOSE TO WHOM IT HAS BEEN GIVEN: for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (verses 11-12). In short, Jesus was telling His disciples that not all are able to remain unmarried and then he gave them three examples of those who could indeed remain celibate. Before we look at them, Scripture is crystal-clear that the norm is for people to get married. God instituted this holy union, as we see in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God then told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).

1) Men who were BORN EUNUCHS. This simply means there are those who were born without sexual desires or the power to procreate. In this case it is surely “right for a Christian not to marry.”

2) Men who were MADE EUNUCHS BY OTHER MEN. This may seem barbaric to us living in the 21st Century, but this was actually a common practice in that day where kings would sometimes have their male servants castrated, especially if they were in charge of the king’s harem.

3) Men who MADE THEMSELVES EUNUCHS. These are men who voluntarily CHOOSE TO REMAIN UNMARRIED “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” They are not castrated (as we saw in the last example), but God GIVES THEM THE ABILITY to control sexual desires. We saw this in verse 11 where Jesus said, “but only those to whom IT HAS BEEN GIVEN.” Thus there are those who choose to remain single so they can completely devote their lives to the Lord and they are able to do this because God has given them the power to do so. In this case especially “it is right for a Christian not to marry,” for it is the Lord’s direct will that they remain unmarried.

The apostle Paul wrote about this GIFT in 1st Corinthians 7:7, “For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has HIS OWN GIFT from God, one in this manner and another in that.” In that whole chapter Paul repeatedly stated the advantages of remaining single (as he himself was) in order to serve the Lord without distraction, but he was careful to emphasize that one should possess the GIFT TO REMAIN SINGLE. He goes on to say in verses 8-9, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: it is good for them if they remain even as I am; but IF THEY CANNOT EXERCISE SELF-CONTROL, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (315.3) (DO)