I know with a title like that there will be a collective feeling of disappointment among many, but this is the reality that Jesus gives us when He tells us that there will be no one given in marriage in the afterlife.
He reveals this truth to us in Matthew 22:30. The Sadducees have come trying to trip Him up with a deep theological question. They give a scenario in which one woman ends up marrying seven different brothers, none of which have any offspring. Their question: “…in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven shall she be? For they all had her.”
He then responds by rebuking them on “not knowing the Scriptures…” and then goes on to say, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”
This doesn’t explicitly say that there are no sexual relations in heaven. But keep in mind that the only way one can have an acceptable sexual relationship with another person is when the two are lawfully (in God’s eyes) married to one another. All other sexual relationships are condemned in Scripture as being sinful. The same truths we find in the Bible will be true in heaven as well.
We also know that marriage was given, not only for the mutual benefit of the two married, but for the purpose of procreation. The LORD told Noah after the flood, “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.” God has not rescinded this command, therefore it still applies. While we are on this side of glory, we are to fill the earth with those who bear God’s image.
However, once we arrive in heaven we will no longer procreate. That command no longer applies. Since this is so, we will no longer have sex since we will not have spouses or the need to procreate.
At first glance, many will not like this fundamental truth. Sex truly is a gift from God for the betterment of mankind. The thought of no longer enjoying it causes many to despair. This might be because they have turned sex into idolatry. I remember working as a busboy back in the 1970s, hearing my manager proclaim that all of life was about sex. I’m thinking that his view of sex was a bit idolatrous.
Allow me to correct that restaurant manager: Life is all about God’s glory and enjoying Him forever, not sex. Life may involve sex, and sex in the proper context does bring glory to God. But life is not about sex. There will come a time when our bodies no longer desire sex because of age and the fallen nature of our bodies. What then? Will we still exalt sex in our lives, or turn to Christ who is to be the complete fulfillment of all things?
That is truly the issue when we do get to heaven. Our all-in-all will be about Christ. We will be perfectly content without sex because we will be in the presence of Christ, our Savior. For many, this is hard to imagine. But think about this for a moment: our Savior came and lived the perfect life and never had sex. This should help us put spiritual things into perspective. He never enjoyed the relationship of having a wife and fathering children. His purposes of pleasing the Father and redeeming a people to Himself were far more important than entering into matrimony for the purpose of having children.
Since He was willing to forgo this pleasure in His earthly ministry, and since the purpose of sanctification is to become more like Christ, are we truly going to lament giving up that which He never experienced?
I’m not saying this truth is an easy one. It is truly hard to grapple with the idea of not having the fleshly draw of sex. It is not easy to understand what it will be like to be in His presence. It is also difficult to understand what it will be like to be sinless, which we will be if we are in His presence. This is another area of life that we must come to in faith. Most of us can say that we don’t fully understand all this. But do we accept the words of our Savior and trust that He will provide the grace that is sufficient to walk away from the fleshly desire of sex in due time? I certainly hope so.
Why Is This Important?
One might not think this is important, but this truth stands in flat contradiction to many of the cults of Christianity about the afterlife. As my readers may know, I have pointed out before that one of the identifying factors in a cult is their view on sexual relationships between men and women in the afterlife. The Mormons actually have a ceremony by which a husband and wife are sealed and cloaked together for time and eternity. Islam promises 72 virgins to their followers. Other cults deny sex all together from their adherents, except for the leader. He gets to have sex with anyone he chooses.
The words of Christ put these foolish fancies to rest. We are not given in marriage in the resurrection, there is no procreation, there is no sex. This is because there is no need for it. One is either in Christ’s presence by faith alone, or not at all.