Celibacy or Chastity?


by HJS

Celibacy and chastity are two entirely different matters. The first means that an individual chooses not to marry; the latter means the individual chooses to remain sexually pure. The problem is that while some have chosen to be celibate, they have not been chaste. Their behavior is a sordid disgrace as they engage in sexual relations outside of the bond of marriage.

Jesus Christ was both celibate and chaste. In a discussion with the religious leaders of His day, Jesus reminded them that from the beginning God's plan was that a man leaves his father and mother and be united to his wife, becoming one. This was followed by a discussion among the disciples as to whether or not it would be better to be celibate or marry. Jesus explained that some voluntarily do not marry while others desire to embrace a marriage relationship.

Jerome (331-419 AD), the dedicated scholar who gave us the Latin Vulgate, chose to remain unmarried. Augustine (354-430 AD), struggled with his sexual desires throughout his life yet he chose to stay single. While Paul was single when he wrote his epistles, there is strong evidence that he had been widowed since he hd been a Pharisee and Jewish law required the Pharisees be married.

The Apostle Paul recognized the force of our sexual natures, which is not a curse but a facet of creation that God intended to be met and satisfied in marriage. He goes on to explain that the gift of God's grace will empower a single adult to remain chaste and serve Him solely. Celibacy, chastity and choice. Seek God's will for you and choose wisely.


Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 CORINTHIANS 7:8-9