[The following article by Amy K. Hall is from the revised CSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students—available on July 1. Sean McDowell describes all the additions and updates in the new edition here.]
Everything changed when Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. As the Holy Spirit worked to give people faith in Him, Jesus, who never married, became the head of a new, growing family. Through Him, the Father adopted us as His children (Eph 1:5), and our separation from God came to an end.
No Christian is alone. God is gathering us as “a people for His possession, so that [we] may proclaim the praises of the One who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pt 2:9). We’re now siblings in God’s family (Mt 12:48–50; Eph 1:5). Every person in the church is a vital member of one body, with Christ as our head (1 Co 12:12–31; Col 1:18). We are “living stones” being “built together” into one building around Christ, the “cornerstone” (Eph 2:19–22; 1 Pt 2:2–6). These images of the church depict a profound interdependence, a providing for one another’s needs according to our various gifts, which we’re told is necessary for “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness” (Eph 4:12–13).
Both Jesus and Paul spoke of (and lived) a life of singleness for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:10–12), describing singleness as an opportunity for us to be “devoted to the Lord without distraction,” free from the concerns of married life (1 Co 7:32–35), able to focus on worshiping God and serving our neighbor. Far from being a life of loneliness, we connect deeply with those in our church family through this kind of service.
Jesus’s actions defined love for us: “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 Jn 3:16). He who washed the feet of His beloved disciples said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Mt 23:11). As a single person, you are free to give and receive this deepest and greatest form of love in the church, the kind of love modeled for us by Jesus Christ, the kind of love that creates eternal bonds with others within our new, permanent family.
Marriage is only temporary (Mt 22:30). It was created to be a shadow—that is, a symbol—pointing to the truth of an eternal reality, the union of Christ and the church in the resurrection (Eph 5:22–33; Rv 19:6–9). Some of us may not have the shadow (marriage and children) now, but we will all one day have the greater reality it’s pointing to (an eternity united to Christ), and the glories of that eternal reality will far exceed those of the temporary shadow. That is your future. In your present, your church family, with all the difficulties and joys you would find in any family, calls you away from loneliness and into its life.