Let’s worship together!
Let’s worship together!
Posted this on Wednesday by mistake instead of Thursday but it’s all good 😄
Now you know me and my juxtaposition of sexual activity and expressive worship. Well in my travels in academia doing my PhD in Womanist Theomusicology I came across something quite insightful that has really changed the way I worship. The idea came from a response to an interview question found in an ethnographic study by Travis Cooper (2011) Masters Thesis from Missouri State University: “Ecstasy and the Kinesthetic Body: An Ethnograhpic Study of Contemporary Pentecostal Worship”.
When analysing the responses Cooper received from the qualitative questionnaires regarding the worship techniques and ideas of Pentecostal Christians, Cooper found that one Pastor said something that really struck me. He related worshipping Jesus to a husband and wife having sex. Now, stay with me….!
The Pastor warned that when worshipping Jesus we should not perusing a good knees up with some songs that make us feel good. Instead, the pastor said we should be pursuing a relationship with Jesus. The same way a husband should not be having sex with his wife just for his own sexual gratification he should be having sex with his wife because he loves her.
The pastor said the following:
“…the ultimate goal for sexual relations between a husband and wife is not simply pleasure or childbearing, but facilitation of love between the two agents in the physical act of intercourse, so it is with worship.” (Cooper 2011, pp.182)
I learnt soo much about worship and love in that one profound sentence. There’s just so much I could say but I really think that sentence says it all. We should be thinking about Jesus when we are worshipping not looking to pleasure ourselves with little ditty’s that make us feel good.
So here’s how my worship practice has changed: Instead of sitting there singing/playing songs that make me feel good I think of Jesus more of a lover that I am pursuing. So I think well this should be about Jesus, what does Jesus want? How can I make Jesus happy? What can I do to make us closer?
Sometimes I just play the guitar to Jesus now because I think well, maybe Jesus just wants to listen to some music same as we humans do! Also, I try to improve my professional practice because I feel like Jesus wants me to improve.
When we worship and love our spouses it should be about the other person and getting to know them better not about ourselves.
Remember, pleasure should be a consequence of the pursuit not the other way around!
This morning I was praying to Jesus and playing my guitar and the thought crossed my mind:
I have never stopped to appreciate that I have been given musical talents because they have always been there.
I also started playing a song I wrote when I was a girl and noticed that I was able to play it a lot better and another thought crossed my mind:
I have gotten better at the guitar, I have never stopped to thank Jesus for improving my gifts, they haven’t just stayed the same I have actually improved.
Let us who are musicians be thankful to Jesus for actually giving us the gifts in the first place and also let’s take time to actually appreciate Jesus for helping us to improve. When I first started playing the guitar as a little girl of about 8 my little hands were too weak and my fingers were too short to hold down Barre Chords (here’s a handy link to what that is for the uninitiated). I used to avoid playing F major like the plague and I would have avoided B minor but my voice was so high pitched anything I was going to sing was always in D so I just had to be in pain hah hah hah hah. I can laugh about it now but at the time I really struggled lol.
Below is a prayer I have written for those musicians who want to thank Jesus for their gifts:
Thank you for the gift of music. I pray that one day you will perfect Your work in me so that through my music ministry every love song will be about You. Thank You for giving me the gift to perform and for helping me to improve. Thank You for blessing me with experiencing joy when encountering all of the different timbres, rhythms and tonalities. Thank You for harmony as well as the beautiful contrast of switching between minor and major tonalities. Thank You for all of the different instruments and for providing me with access to instruments and tuition and mentors.
In the name of King Jesus Christ. Amen
Couldn’t let you go without showing me performing a worship song I wrote (back before I cut my hair lol):
p.s. the Instagram vid below is a snippet of me having late night worship in my room, this week. I’m dyspraxic so I struggle to get the coordination needed for picking the strings but Jesus has really helped me. The picture is black because it was after midnight and I couldn’t be bothered to put on the light but you can hear me 😉
I know I have been busy but I decided to take some time out this week just for Moi! It’s not healthy to work alllllllllllllllllllll the time. So I decided to share my thoughts on chucking people out of churches.
Here we go!
The following is an essay discussing a few of my opinions on the Biblical and practical justification for Pastors/Leaders to remove individuals from their membership/assembly/smallgroup which I shall just call “church” from now on. I begin with some practical reasons why I think it is necessary to remove people who are not compliant from your church, following that I discuss the biblical justification as well. Finally, I discuss the hypocritical nature of keeping non-compliant individuals and end with my own thoughts on the matter.
Pastors chucking people out of their churches has become an unpopular act partly because in some circles it has been abused and misapplied and partly because it’s not a pleasant or easy thing to do. However, the church has both a right and an obligation to publicly disassociate themselves from anyone who claims to be a Christian but persists in unrepentant sin (Spreading The Fragrance 2020). This is because people who are non-compliant with the expected standards of behaviour putrefy the spiritual atmosphere of a church, as their behaviour inevitably spreads to the whole church and no one can remain unaffected by it (Spreading The Fragrance 2019). Meaning that it really is not practical to keep them, knowing that a sinful influence that is tolerated will pull others down, affecting the outward testimony of a church and compromising their mission which is saving souls (Spreading The Fragrance 2020). Let’s dig into exactly how the mismanagement of unaligned/non-compliant people in your church is not constructive in a, pragmatic, common sense way first and deal with the Biblical reasons second.
The Impracticalities Of Not Kicking People Out Of A Church When You Should
Unaligned people always cost you something (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave) and with all the costs that one already incurs with running an organisation it’s not financially viable to keep them. One must remember, we have to pay to physically keep the doors of a church open and the organisation running, it’s not free. A website is not free, corporate email is not free, utilities are not free, insurance is not free, maintenance is not free and the kind of administration that a public body has to do is not free either. Churches cannot – on top of that – have people that are costing them time and energy, they infect others with their apathy causing a lack of momentum (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave) which compromises the mission of the church and diminishes its viability as a good investment, whether that be financially, socially or emotionally – which, at the end of the day – affects the bottom line.
This is why having the right people is better than simply having people. Before a church can have more people the church need the right people. The right people are: people capable of taking on leadership; are aligned around a common mission, vision, strategy and values and have the character to withstand the tests of leadership (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave).
As an organisation a church does not need disengaged people, disengaged people can go and be disengaged elsewhere and to be perfectly honest, church leaders need to just accept that not everyone is even ready to engage. As far as I am concerned, disengaged people cannot serve, do not give and do not invite their friends to church. They just take up space. Whereas a few aligned people can change the world. Jesus did it with just 12! (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave).
Some people will find a better-fit elsewhere and church leaders need to be insightful and forward thinking enough to let them go. Church leaders will be serving certain people better by letting them find like-minded people at another church, giving them more space to find like-minded people who will help them accomplish their mission more effectively. Honestly, some people will thrive in a different environment, sometimes you need to let them go (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave).
Trying to people please and lead in a way that avoids people leaving is a terrible strategy. Yes, it’s uncomfortable when people leave and only sociopaths don’t care when people leave but I assure you, it’s irrational and unhealthy to keep some individuals. The moment a church leader focuses on who they want to keep, as opposed to who they want to reach, they will compromise the entire mission of the church (Nieuwhof 2020, When to panic).
Additionally, church leaders need to also be mature enough to understand that the church as a universal body is for everyone but their particular church that exists in their particular microcosm isn’t. Let me explain, we as Christians are part of a much bigger body, one church alone will not reach an entire city, it takes all the different varieties of churches and leadership that exist within a city to reach the people (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave). People need to be in a church appropriate for them. Not every church is blessed to do everything. God gives out blessings appropriate for people the same way Jacob blessed his sons before he died in Genesis 49:28 [NIV] where it says:
“ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.”
Church leaders need to make an effort to really understand their appropriate blessing and know who their particular church is designed to reach and focus on that (Nieuwhof 2019, Why You Need To Stop). The music of one church is going to attract some people and bother others. The teaching style and content of another church is going to connect better with some and irritate others. The leadership style of a further church will be compelling to some and not so attractive to others. Even the location and the architectural style of the building in which a church group gathers, whether it’s a school, theatre, gothic cathedral, contemporary suburban mega-church, A-frame 50’s landmark or even a living room home church style get-up will make some feel at home, while pushing others away (Nieuwhof 2019, Why You Need To Stop).
Because of this and because of the diverse and subjective tastes of human beings churches that try to attempt the impossible by being all things to all people often end up being nothing to no one and lose their effectiveness in the process (Nieuwhof 2019, Why You Need To Stop). So, are you going to reach everybody? The answer is a resounding no (Nieuwhof 2019, Why You Need To Stop).
Furthermore, in order to accomplish the general mission of all churches, which is to reach the un-churched, one cannot spend time trying to retain people who call themselves Christians and are not engaged and causing trouble, especially because they want a church for the already convinced. Church leaders cannot be worried about reaching Christians who have no passion or respect for friends, family, fellow congregants and people who are not in a relationship with Christ. Church leaders need to focus on the few things and people that will help them accomplish their mission and they need to feel free to design a Sunday service that will create an experience that UN-churched people will want to come back to.
That requires being as culturally diverse as the community around them, so they don’t function as a club as opposed to a church; it is also a requirement that they make sure that they have a mixture of psycho-social realities, meaning that the church needs to have a mixture of rich people and poor people, churches with only rich people bothers me; church leaders also need to spend time attracting individuals who will not make the future impossible (Nieuwhof 2020, Why You Need To Stop).
Yes, it’s human nature to want to cling to people, especially in small churches where every number seems to count but some people hold a ministry back and yes I would much rather have people move beyond their own personal preferences and show grace but for some people, regrettably, that kind of humility is not possible and church leaders need to give them permission to go (Flowers 2020).
Know when to accommodate and when not to. Often a first or second offence is a time for accommodation but one must use ones discretion to evaluate when to hold attendees accountable. When accommodating becomes commonplace because of a continual breach of expectations, we need to hold those people accountable and ask them to leave (Pelletier 2020).
Yes, churches need good pastoral care initiatives because they cannot try and wrestle with principalities and powers of this world with nice HR practices. However, they must balance the need for pastoral ministry, with strong leadership that will not let Satan send our churches away from the mission they are intended to fulfil and a leader must avoid being satisfied in dysfunction and keep their church on course and sometimes this means making a tough call (Brookshaw 2020).
The church is God’s and must not be held to ransom by any leader, member or attendee. All are welcome, unless they are causing harm to the body of Christ and I personally do not think that there is any reason why leaders should allow divergent visions for a church among members and or attendees (Excellerate 2020).
Biblical Justification For Kicking People Out Of A Church
So, what kinds of things qualify a person to be kicked out of a church? 1 Corinthians 5:11 [NLT] has the answer:
“ I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.”
These six examplars are the types of sins that qualify for church discipline i.e kicking someone out (there are more but this list is a just one example in the Bible) (Spread The Fragrance 2020). Appearing to be a believer and not following what the Bible says as grounds for being kicked out is reiterated in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15:
“…dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.  Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed.”
Also, in 1 Timothy1:20 where Paul talks about people who were supposed to be believers that he himself threw out of his community for purposely going against the Word of God:
“ Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.  Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.”
Finally, Titus 3:10 warns that divisiveness is cause for kicking someone out of a church where it says:
“ If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.  For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.”
We can’t really apply a one strike and you’re out policy because that’s not what God does. He gives grace and second chances to those who are repentant (Spreading The Fragrance 2020). So how does a church go about getting rid of someone? Church discipline and the steps to remove a trouble maker from a community is clearly spelled out in a 3-Step plan in Matthew 18:15-17 where it says:
“ “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.  But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.  If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
So, you talk to the person privately, if they don’t listen you take other people with you to talk to them, if they still don’t listen you tell the church, if they still don’t listen to the church you have done your job, get rid of them to demonstrate holiness to your congregation.
Lack Of Church Discipline Is Hypocrisy
Given what the Word says it would be outright hypocrisy to retain people who cause trouble in our churches after the biblically mandated steps have been taken. God hates hypocrisy, it misuses religious man-made ideas for self-advancement, the self advancement in the case of not getting rid of a trouble maker would be any advantages a leadership might feel that it would gain by people pleasing, instead of doing the holy thing to do. God’s laws are the only laws that Christians should be preaching, when we twist these around to meet our own desires it angers God.
It has been communicated to me on more than one occasion that no-one has the right to remove an individual from a church as it’s neither Godly or holy. Matthew 7:1 has become one of the most quoted verses in the entire Bible. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. It is commonly used as justification for not expelling people from a congregation. However, if someone ever throws this verse at you, ask them if they think it’s wrong for you to judge others. When they say yes, then ask them to kindly listen to their own advice and stop judging you. If you feel up for it, try to explain to them the difference between judging someone and telling them what the laws are (Spreading The Fragrance 2020).
Disgustingly, I have found in my own experience that more often than not, people who quote such things at me have removed people from their own houses and or refused to host or even eat with other people because they believed they were quote “too much trouble and wouldn’t tow the line”. Such hypocrisy repulses me, isn’t one of the main accusations that are levelled against the church that there are so many hypocrites in it? How many people have been turned off from the Gospel because the church has not done it’s job and cleansed out those who only claim to be Christians, but really aren’t? (Spreading The Fragrance 2020). Think about it, how many peoples lives have been destroyed because churches wouldn’t kick out a peodo priests? Sometimes the churches knew about it and did nothing. I do not understand why those people were not only kept in the church but allowed to be in charge of small children.
The kind of judgement Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7 was a kind of is a self-righteous hypocrisy that set up a higher standard for others than for the self. Jesus never said we should stop differentiating between right and wrong. Not only do we as Christians have to differentiate but when someone claims to be a Christian and consistently acts in a way that brings reproach to the name of Christ, then the church is not only authorized but commanded to judge them, what happens on the outside of the church God will judge but what happens on the inside of the church, we are supposed to be judging according to 1 Corinthians 12-13 [NLT]:
“ It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.  God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”” (Spreading The Fragrance 2020).
Such hypocrisy must end look at Matthew 23:27 [NLT]:
“ “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”
Hypocrites are self-deluded fools who need to read their Bibles more carefully. They are deceiving themselves into thinking that their hypocritical deeds of obscuring a leaderships decision to remove a person, despite what the Bible says, is somehow evidence of “true godliness” or even worse they dare to think that they will have the ability to merit God’s favour. This is a terrible misconception and ultimately hurts the persons in question as well as the church community and you lose favour with God not gain it when you don’t adhere to biblical principles correctly and obscure others from doing so.
Hypocrisy is also offensive to God and man. No one finds hypocrisy to be an attractive quality. Not God, not the world. You don’t want to become everyone’s enemy. Unbelievers hate the hypocrite because they make themselves appear godly; God hates them because they merely look godly.
Hypocrisy also brings no comfort in death. You labour hard in life to do the wrong thing, arrogantly pretending to be godly, painting over your depravity with a thin veneer of counterfeit holiness, with standards of other people that are unreasonable that you don’t even attempt to live up to yourself and regrettably, at the end of the day, as you are doing the wrong thing and are trying to make others, who are trying to do the right thing do the wrong thing, you will eventually end up in hell as Galatians 5:19-21 says that sinners will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Crosswalk 2020).
If you want to go to hell with your false Christianity, please go to hell by yourself and leave your ministry and it’s leaders alone because unaligned people cost them and their congregants something, they make organisations unproductive, which damages their viability as a good investment in the eyes of others (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave). It’s not common sense to keep them.
Everyday all of us are just trying to run the race of life just trying to get ahead ourselves as individuals, as it says in Philippians 3:14 [NLT]:
“ I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”. We have all got things on our plate and we don’t need any more drama.
Church leaders need to think about where they are now and where they are supposed to be. They are losing so much precious time pandering to people and things that will not satisfy the church or Jesus in the end. Whereas everyone else and every other church who is behaving in a functional and biblical way, churches who get rid of people and things that are unhealthy, they are out there getting on but others who don’t are standing still, trying to retain people, things and practices they should not because they are rationalizing with their human senses. Especially in small churches where leaders see they are only small and keep on comparing themselves to other big churches when they don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes with the big churches. All we see is that they have more people, so they keep burning so much energy just to retain, when their focus should be somewhere else and I for one do not think that any church leader should be willing to let those things and people that are unhelpful keep distracting them and their minitry (Anthem Lights 2020).
Having the right people is better than simply having people. (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave). Some people will find a better-fit elsewhere and church leaders need to let them go (Nieuwhof 2020, 7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave). Its unhealthy and unholy to keep some people, especially those whose conduct compromises the holiness of the church and thus it’s entire mission (Nieuwhof 2020, When to panic). Yes, it’s human nature to want to cling to people and old ways, especially when a church is small (Flowers 2020) but church leaders need to know when to accommodate and when to not (Pelletier 2020). It is usually not perceived as a good thing to get rid of people but church leaders, for the sake of holiness, cannot afford not to do it. The truth is that some people are of Christ and some are of the devil. If church leaders allow the latter to infiltrate the church and muddle the line between the two categories, that is a wicked thing to do (Spread The Fragrance 2020).
Let us as Christian focus on what our appropriate blessing is, which is what your church is designed to do and who your church is put here on earth to reach and what you are here to do (Nieuwhof 2019, Why You Need To Stop). Not every church is going to please every person and churches should not be changing their God mandated focus for people who should be elsewhere.
I for one don’t want spend my life trying to fight for what’s not mine or lose myself in someone else’s dream instead of God’s. I know those who are truly meant to be in a particular church are made with a purpose to reach past the surface and live life fearlessly for God in their area and I want nothing less for my church at least, than to be who we are meant to be (Anthem Lights 2020).
Anthem Lights. 2020. ‘Who I’m Meant To Be Lyrics’ A-Z Lyrics Web site, at: <https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anthemlights/whoimmeanttobe.html> 16 January 2020
Brookshaw, P. 2020. ‘Q&A – When Do You Ask Someone To Leave The Church?’ Pete Brookshaw Web site: <http://www.petebrookshaw.com/2013/09/q-when-do-you-ask-someone-to-leave.html?m=1> 7 January 2020
Crosswalk, 2020. ‘5 Warnings for Hypocrites in the Church’ Crosswalk Web site, at: <https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/5-warnings-for-hypocrites-in-the-church.html> 7 January 2020
Excellerate. 2020. ‘How to Handle Rebellion in Church’ Excellerate Web site, at: <https://www.excellerate.com/articles/how-to-handle-rebellion-in-church/> 7 January 2020
Flowers, A. 2020. ‘The Six People You Should Ask To Leave Your Church’ Western Seminary Web site, at: <https://transformedblog.westernseminary.edu/2014/03/04/the-six-people-you-should-ask-to-leave-your-church/> 7 January 2020
Nieuwhof, C. 2020. ‘7 Reasons You Should Invite People To Leave Your Church Even Though It Scares You’ Carey Nieuwhof Web site, at: <https://careynieuwhof.com/leave/> 7 January 2020
Nieuwhof, C. 2020. ‘When To Panic And When Not To Panic When People Leave Your Church’ Carey Nieuwhof Web site, at: <https://careynieuwhof.com/when-to-panic-and-when-not-to-panic-when-people-leave-your-church/> 7 January 2020
Nieuwhof, C. 2020. ‘Why You Need To Stop Thinking Your Church Is For Everyone’ Web site, at: <https://careynieuwhof.com/why-you-need-to-stop-thinking-your-church-is-for-everyone/> 7 January 2020
Pelletier, K. P. 2020. ‘Can I Ask Someone To Leave My Small Group’ Christianity Today International Web site, at: <https://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2016/can-i-ask-someone-to-leave-my-small-group.html> 7 January 2020
Spreading The Fragrance. 2020. ‘An introduction to kicking people out of Church (1. Cor 5:1-8)’ Spreading The Fragrance Web site, at: <https://2cor214.blogspot.com/2011/06/introduction-to-kicking-people-out-of.html> 16 January 2020
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(I wrote a new song it’s at the bottom)
Sorry it’s late I was still doing work. I need to learn when to stop lol.
Anyway, remember the song I wrote based on Song of Songs called “I hope The Neighbors Don’t See? It was about marital sex in the garden. Follow this link to read my previous post on that song.
Anyway I wrote a Part Deux to that song, it’s a medley of another song I wrote called Right Here and a new part to I Hope The Neighbors Don’t See I affectionately call I Hope The Neighbors ALL See… heh heh 😏.
It’s still based on Song of Songs and mirrors follows the tripartite-metaphor in that the love poem represents love between:
1.) Women and Men
2.) King Solomon and a dark skinned woman and
3.) Jesus and the church.
However, this time I remembered the verse of scripture in the Bible that says:
Luke 8:16 NLT
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
So I thought yeah, hoping the neighbors don’t see you in the garden doing it with your spouse fits our Western sense of propriety, however, the lovers in Song of Songs are very public about their connection and hiding your love away doesn’t seem to be biblical, especially when it comes to your relationship with Jesus. (No I am not advocating public indecency, do have sex behind closed doors but do aspire to show your love for your fellow man, spouse and God publicly).
It also says in the Bible that we are not supposed to be ashamed of Jesus, if we are ashamed of Jesus and the message of the Gospel Jesus himself said He would be ashamed of us:
Luke 9:26 NLT
If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man* will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
*a title Jesus gave to Himself.
But what does this talk about, marriage, sex and public displays of affection have to do with Jesus? There’s something you need to know about Jesus and our relationship with Him. Psalm 1:6 says:
Psalm 1:6 KJV
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The Hebrew word used for “knoweth” is “yada” it’s also the Hebrew word for sex. In the Torah sex is not just something necessary for procreation but it’s about intimate knowledge of another individual it’s about knowing, recognizing and understanding each other (Gold 2020).
The word is used both in reference to a man and wife having sexual
intercourse and—get this—in reference to a person being in deep
fellowship with God (Gresh 2020).
Indeed Paul says that:
Ephesians 5:31-33 NLT
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The mystery of sexual and romantic relationships explains to us the depth of relationship we are supposed to have with Jesus.
Additionally, the church is described as the bride of Christ in Revelation. What do husbands and wives do? Yada yada… heh.
Properly understanding and appropriately practicing sex within the covenant of marriage is actually vitally important in understanding the Gospel and our relationship with Jesus. That’s why I’m so open about the topic.
So, we s supposed to be in an intimately deep relationship(sex metaphor) with Jesus (husband metaphor), in covenant(marriage metaphor) which would be the covenant of Salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus and acceptance of that and Jesus does not like it when we are ashamed of Him .
So the same way you would show your love publicly to your spouse, have intimacy with your spouse and not be ashamed of the person you’re with its the same with Jesus.
Therefore, in light of the above I have come to the conclusion that, metaphorically, you would want the neighbors to see your relationship with Jesus publicly.
Therefore, I have written a new version as an add on to the original I Hope The Neighbors Don’t See to reflect this. In keeping with the husband and wife metaphor from Song of Songs, it’s actually about relationship with Jesus. It sounds raunchy but with a revised theology on sex it makes sense:
Ok here’s the Original:
HERE’S THE NEW SONG:
Gold, M. D. 2020. The Purpose and Meaning of Sex in Judaism
<https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-purpose-and-meaning-of-sex-in-judaism/> 02 January 2020
Gresh, D. 2020. Yada yada. <https://liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/yada-yada-yada/> 02 January 2020
Have you heard of the acronym “HALT” stands for Hungry Angry Lonely Tired? It has consequences on your mind if you are in a place where you are all those things, leaving you vulnerable to relapse into a negative state and initiate a craving reaction… Being in a HALT state also shows that you are not taking care of yourself like you should. Here’s how it affected me the past two weeks.
Sometimes we can be called to do things but we allow the calling to become bigger than the One who called us. As I said, I’ve been overwhelmed with doing stuff, which made me Angry. This stuff was stuff which I should be doing and is important and vital to the continuation of the ministry at my church. However, I’ve been trying so hard that I even wasn’t reading my Bible as much as I should which made me spiritually Hungry and I felt Jesus was becoming jealous of the calling in that I was giving it more time that I was giving Him. So I finally finished what I had to do which was important and time sensitive and then I crashed in an emotionally/physically exhausted way (one night I even stayed up till after 8am doing stuff) because I was very Tired, on day I took off. That is when Jesus revealed the following to me whilst I was talking to Him please continue to read the following which happened last week:
I was sitting having a lovely day off and laying down having a conversation with Jesus on my bed and I noticed a few things different about that day. Firstly, the visions that Jesus shows me regularly came back. Jesus shows me visions and lots of other things regularly but since I was so busy I noticed they stopped, which made me a bit Lonely I thought maybe Jesus wasn’t showing me them because I was moving onto something else, no, I just was soo busy that what I was doing was competing for mental space with Jesus and Jesus was just not willing to compete but when I took a day off and Jesus was no longer in competition I noticed they came back.
Secondly, Jesus opened my eyes to the fact that I had been having nosebleeds for 2 weeks straight, culminating in a rather large one on the day I rested. I noticed it but I didn’t put two and two together to see the correlation between how much stress I was taking on and the nosebleeds. I had been internalizing so much stress and it was coming out as nosebleeds, I didn’t notice till I took a day off that I was not allowing Jesus to take my burdens and it was beginning to damage my health. How much stress does a person have to be under to have nosebleeds every day? Answer, a lot and to be so stressed that you don’t even realise it’s making you ill is dangerous. So again, by letting the calling become bigger than Jesus and taking on things all by myself I was damaging my health.
Anyway, revelations aside I felt like had quite a nice conversation with Jesus. I was feeling really quite tired by the end of the conversation as I had done stupid things like stayed up all night till past 8am in the morning working, so pulling proper all nighters and I was knackered by my day off.
So… I decided I would actually get into bed and lay down. I went to sleep, had a very strange dream and then woke up.
When I woke up, being in a HALT state had initiated a craving reaction and for the life of me I could not stop thinking about sex… I had very naughty thoughts (which I will not expand upon) solidly for a good hour or two about having sex in the control room of a music studio… I’m not even kidding, there was absolutely nothing else in my mind and it was as lucid as if I was there… (I’m definitely going to hide this blog post from my mother) I’m a musician. We are more prone to finding things like that sexy… Don’t judge meeeeeeeee!
I couldn’t believe that I had actually thought such dirtiness just after having quite a nice, jovial conversation with Jesus before my nap.
And then I thought to myself:
“You know what? I’m not as good of a person as I thought I was”
and I shook my head at myself as I admitted my 29 year old humanity…
Normally, I avoid highly sexualised thoughts because firstly it’s a distraction and secondly it’s not good to focus on something that isn’t real. Lastly, there are Biblical reasons that revolve around how we are to conduct our thoughts and the Biblical mandate to not have sex before marriage (see my previous blog post about this)
(Matthew 5:27-28 NLT) “ “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’  But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
(James 1:12-15 NLT) “ God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.  Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.  These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
(Matthew 15:18-20 NLT) “ But the words you speak come from the heart–that’s what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.””
(Romans 16:19 NLT) “ But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.”
We read in 2 Timothy 2:22 to also run away from anything that would stimulates “youthful lusts”.
(2 Timothy 2:22 NLT) “ Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”
So we really shouldn’t be dwelling on nonsense that will stimulate us in a way that is not holy. Instead we should be focussing on living descent holy lives.
So it got me thinking, how did this happen? It happened because I was spiritually and probably physically hungry. I was angry, lonely in a spiritual and physical sense and I was spiritually and physically tired… This then kick-started an instinctive craving mode to try fill the gap normally occupied by Jesus who nourishes me, keeps me calm, gives me company and renews my strength because I was previously too busy to engage with Jesus.
I admit it, I was not reading my Bible as much as I should, I can’t believe 2 weeks of not paying at much attention to Jesus as I should as well as skipping a few days of Bible reading and my mind went south, literally… lol. My mind was stressed and did not have it’s daily meal of the Word all the time and the word calms me down. So what did my mind then gravitate towards, something that would naturally calm a person down and give some sort of… umm… release? lol. Sex 🙂 you need to read your Bible every day. I read it morning and night. Read it more than you have to the Bible says we are supposed to meditate on the Word all the time. The Word is also food for our souls. My soul was half starved and hungry, no wonder I was thinking crazy things.
Stop making your primary focus on things to do with Jesus or your ministry or everything and start making your focus actually Jesus Christ. Stop focussing primarily on your problems and the people making your problems worse as this made me Angry and look for constructive solutions and make sure you always give Christ supremacy in your thoughts.
We commit them to prayer, my problem was that I was not talking to or thinking about Jesus as much as I should because I was so busy doing the things Jesus asked me to do. This made me Lonely. I then crashed (emotionally) it was only then that I noticed the vacuum in my brain where thoughts about and for Jesus would normally have inhabited. The vacuum was filled with sex, thoughts of sex anyway lol… I needed to pray more to inject my humanity with holiness.
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT) “ Never stop praying.”
(Psalm 127:2 NLT) “ It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”
Does what it says on the tin really.
I was Hungry (spiritually starved), Angry (due to the people around me making my task more difficult), Lonely (from lack of interaction with Jesus) and Tired (from over working, I actually ended up in A&E for fatigue related accident, related to how tired I was from doing what I was doing). Apparently, when you are these things as a man you shouldn’t go on the internet…. Seems as though that works for women to! I didn’t go on the internet btw but my mind just went south lol.
On a separate note, I wrote a blog post about issues men have here: 3 Ways The Devil Tempts Men
If it took two weeks of distraction, overwork, then me crashing, for my mind to be in the gutter goodness knows what other people who don’t read their Bible regularly or talk to Jesus regularly all year must be struggling with.
Never Thirsty, ‘When does thinking about a sin become a sin’ Never Thirsty Web site, at: <https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/when-does-thinking-about-a-sin-become-a-sin/> 9 September 2019
So, as we know I am egalitarian in that I believe that men and women are equal and they can make equal decisions in marriage etc. Of course, no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to donate sperm and if I ever find that I can, I need to see a doctor… So we can’t always do the same thing but in our humanity we are equal.
I know many people who are complimentarians, this is the idea where the man is the head and the woman is the neck “eugh” anyway… So this stupidness runs deep. I found out the stupidest thing happened, which just explains the stupid of that heterodoxy:
How do some people manage to finish school?..
Does anyone but me see what’s wrong with that scenario? It is of course the logical conclusion to that heterodoxy. Ok sooo there are a MANY things wrong with this scenario. Where do I start, hmmm let’s deal with the whole diminished responsibility thing first. I’m just going to let the Bible do the talking!
So the Bible says that everyone is personally responsibly for her or his sins. We see that individuals suffer for their own sins:
(Ezekiel 18:20 NLT) “ “ The person who sins is the one who will die. … and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.”
I don’t know where that woman got her silly views from but it was informed by a false doctrine that was part of another false doctrine regarding women’s unfailing submission to beings equipped with peniii (pronounced peen-eye lol I love the top definition here https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Penii). However, I’m on a roll with the whole sin thing so I won’t be tackling that today (it would literally be around 60k words worth of explanation) let’s carry on ->
In fact, in the Old Testament, not only were individuals responsible for their sins but their sins could also have an effect on their children as well! Looky looky!!!
(Exodus 34:7 NLT) “ I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations.””
(Numbers 14:18 NLT) “ ‘The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations.'”
These verses show that the sin of an individual can affect the other generations that come after them, which is true take the Holocaust for example, to this day Germany is still not allowed to have an army. Also, think about jail time. If someone’s Father does something that means that he goes to jail then the family is affected because the home becomes broken when one parent leaves. What you do affects yourself as well as others.
We also see verses of scripture that show us how we can be judged as accomplices to other people’s sin:
(Luke 12:47-48 NLT) “ “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.  But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”
She knew what her husband was doing was wrong, the man was an idjit (click here for the definition: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=idjit) but she went along with it anyway.
(Lol flock of penises https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Penii Ok ok ok I’m going to be serious now… * slaps hand * bad Catherine ! naughty!! Lol I’m in such a strange mood right let’s carry on. I think I’m just so unimpressed and angry with that woman I’m struggling to take this seriously. Anyway…)
She knew what her husband was doing was wrong and she just went along with it. Pfft… Women were designed to be the ezer that is the helpmeet. B. Boyd (2013) explains this function quite well:
“…women were not created as afterthoughts, add-ons, or additives, like the kind I put in my truck’s gas tank, to give me a little boost. No, they were an integral part of the deal, from the very beginning of time…God welcomed His first divine daughter in a pretty powerful way: He referred to her by the Hebrew term ezer kenegdo, which translates in English to “helpmeet” or “helpmate”. As the NIV version of the famous verse has it: “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helpmeet suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18 NIV)…twenty-one times the phrase ezer kenegdo is used throughout Scripture, sixteen of them are used to refer to God himself [examples: Psalm 30:10; 33:20; 115:10; 146:5.] God uses the same name for Eve that he uses for himself, which means that unless God had a massive inferiority complex, he had something more in mind than women as congenital add-on to man…“If Adam must think for, decide for, protect, and provide for the woman, she actually becomes a burden on him – not much help (which is why people in certain cultures just sell or abort their daughters), when you think about it. The kind of help man needs demands full deployment of her strengths, her gifts, and the best she has to offer. His life will change for the better because of what she contributes to his life” (Boyd 2013, pp. 18-20).
If we are not opening up our mouths and telling our husbands when they are wrong (provided that they aren’t the kind of men that will give you a beating for it) then we are in the wrong too. Partly because, as Boyd (2013) shows us, we are failing to fulfil our God ordained purpose to “help”. You are not helping him by not telling him the truth when he is wrong, that’s not faith its gosh darn stupidity. We are missing the mark when we do that and that is the definition of the term used for “sin” in the bible.
Yes pray by all means but open up your mouth, if your faith leads you to a place where you can’t council your husband then
1.) You’re not mature enough to be married
2.) You shouldn’t be married to him, especially as his mistake cost them sooooooooooooooo much money and it was foreseeable.
3.) You need to question the type of Christianity you are practising, if your faith practices are leaving you bound, leading to sin and are not leading to any personal transformation within individuals that practice it then it is an occult form of Christianity.
That kind of inappropriateness leads to “sin” and everybody missing the mark.
The noun חטא (het’) means sin and comes from the identical but differently pronounced verb חטא (hata’), which means to miss a mark, target, goal, objective. The word sin literally means “a missing.” examples include:
Judges 20:16, “Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”
Proverbs 19:2, “…and he who makes haste with his feet errs.” (Abarim Productions 2019, Romans 7)
You don’t confront your husbands sin you, him and your marriage fails and you get to a place where you shouldn’t be and you miss your goals or objectives and this is “sin”. Again, if the kind of Christianity you are practising is making you do that it’s not Christianity at all and it’s heterodoxy. This is the logical conclusion to the Submission theological perspective she was practising it expertly and it led to it’s logical conclusion.
Christianity is all about taking personal responsibility for the things that you have done wrong. That is part of being a mature Christian. Jesus showed us the ultimate example of taking responsibility when He died on the cross for us. If we continue to sin willingly there is no other sacrifice for that.
At the end times we will all have to give account of everything we have done. You will be alone, confronted about what you did and more than likely naked because that is the way that God sees us:
(Matthew 12:36-37 NLT) “ And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.  The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.””
(Romans 14:12-13 NLT) “ Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. … Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.”
(Revelation 20:11-15 NLT) “ And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.  I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death.  And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
We are all responsible for our actions, just because your husband told you to do it and you are willingly “submitting” to him like a twit doesn’t mean that you are not going to get punished if the thing is wrong especially if you are NOT in a situation where he is going to beat you if you say something. Women whose lives are in danger if they say something to or about their husbands is another issue and I am not talking about them. I am talking about those who are in loving relationships and all they have to do is open up their mouths and say no to their husbands. Those women are going to get themselves into trouble with God if they do not say something.
Besides, Paul said if you do something that you think is wrong then you are sinning:
(Romans 14:23 NLT) “ But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”
You will have to give account of your actions to God, God isn’t going to excuse you because your husband told you to do it, God is not interested in what your husband did or told you to do God is interested in what YOU, what did YOU do of your own volition. Why do people keep adding things to the Bible?
Abarim Productions. 2019. ‘Romans 7’ Abarim Productions Web site, at: <http://www.abarim-publications.com/Bible_Commentary/Law_And_Sin.html#.XTCC9IXfv7g> 18 July 2019
Boyd, B. 2013. Let Her Lead: Creating a Better Future for Women in the Church. Colorado: Bonfire Books, LLC.
It’s Good Friday today and I thought I would give you a run down of what happened and what it tells us about true love. Most of the info here is adapted from The Virtual Preacher (see the bibliography for more information).
On Good Friday Jesus had already had the sham trial Matthew 27:11-26 then the Pharisees also encouraged the crowd to request that Barrabas be released instead of Jesus. The Soldiers had whipped Jesus to within an inch of His life sentenced to Crucifixion and was now carrying the cross on the way to the Crucifixion site. Here’s where we will begin:
(Matthew 27:27-32 NLT) “ Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.  They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”  And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it.  When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.  Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.
The Bible doesn’t reveal much about the identity of Simon except he was from a city called Cyrene in North Africa, probably a an African convert who came on pilgrimage during Passover.
Why was Simon reluctant to take the cross and help Jesus?
The short story of what Simon of Cyrene shows that cannot truly be Jesus’ disciples unless we are willing to step out of the comfort zone. Being a follower of Jesus is not about the sacraments and pilgrimages. They are nice but real love is kinaesthetic, it’s an action as much as a feeling. Jesus died for us, which is an action that is how Jesus demonstrated devotion to us. For our part in Luke Jesus said:
(Luke 9:23 NLT) “ Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
(Matthew 27:33-34 NLT) “ And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).  The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.”
Gall was a pain killer in Jesus’ day. It was mixed with the wine to make it drinkable, women often offered it to the person being executed to dull the pain. Having lost a lot of blood from the sourging and having been nailed to the cross Jesus and was thirty but refused to drink the gall mixed with wine.
Why did Jesus refuse to drink?
Jesus also showed us that real love is sacrificial and not self seeking, just like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT) “ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
(Matthew 27:35-54 NLT) “ After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.  Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.  A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.  The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.  “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”  The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus.  “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!  He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”  Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.  At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, [“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”] which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.  One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink.  But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”  Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.  At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,  and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.  They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!””
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400 BC and was used by the Romans as a punishment for the most serious criminals. Death by crucifixion was slow and agonizing. The victims were crucified naked and in public which was humiliating, as you can see from the above people taunted Jesus.
Victims of crucifixion endured dehydration, blood loss due to flogging, shock from the pain and paroxysms (follow this link to find out what that word means), as they pulled up with their arms and pushed with their legs to keep their chest cavity open for breathing and then collapsed in exhaustion. The eventual cause of death from crucifixion was: suffocation, cardiac arrest, loss of blood or all of above.
What is the significance of crucifixion?
Jesus Christ took our curse upon himself and paid the price for our sin. Jesus stood in the gap between us and what we had coming to us. Our atonement to and relationship with Jesus God the Son and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit is made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah put it eloquently:
(Isaiah 53:5 NLT) “ But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
This Good Friday message gives us an example of the three distinct types of commitments of love displayed by Jesus:
True love is doing as well as feeling – This means a commitment for us to be willing to take a stand for Jesus not just say we are Christians, act like it.
True love puts others first – This means a commitment to be faithful: don’t compromise in times of crisis, always put Jesus first regardless.
True love stands in the gap: For me this just shows me how selfless Jesus was and what an example it is for us in our relationships with other humans, regardless of what kind of relationship it is. This shows also a commitment to be just as committed to Jesus as Jesus is to us and just to allow Jesus to love you and just enjoy being loved!
The type of commitment you need to make will vary depending on where you are in your life with Christ. Which one of these commitments do you think you need to make?
Have a happy Good Friday!
The Virtual Preacher. 2019. ‘Good Friday Sermon, Watching Jesus Die – Part 1’, The Virtual Preacher Website, at: <https://www.virtualpreacher.org/sermon-outlines/good-friday-sermon-2011-part-1/> 19 April 2019
I hope you have fun reading this!!! Its something to refreshen you 🙂
This document has been written in response to the legalistic heterodoxy I recently encountered that states that: “…our sins are forgiven only upon baptism.”. This article begins by confronting the initial misunderstanding and then provides clarification on how we actually obtain the forgiveness of our sins by faith in Jesus. Following that, I give reasons why the heterodoxy of thinking that our sins are forgiven only upon baptism does not correlate with our post-resurrection era of grace and is an attempt to bring us back to the Law of Moses and why this is not desirable. After that, I explain what grace is, why it’s important for the forgiveness of our sins and I put forward arguments against the forgiveness of sins being earnable through works such as baptism. The latter part of this article is focused on equipping, showing the reader how individuals can achieve forgiveness of their sins through faith, made possible by grace and concludes with an explanation of key scriptures related to the topic.
We are saved through “faith” in Jesus and this is made possible by “grace”. Our sins are not forgiven at baptism, as this would mean that an individual has to do an action to earn their salvation and salvation cannot be earned. Salvation is not transactional like the Law of Moses. The whole point of Grace is that it is unmerited favour from God, which is transformational as opposed to the transactional like the Law of Moses. If you have not grasped this you have totally misunderstood the Bible, misplaced yourself amongst the Godhead and you do not understand what Jesus did on the cross. This is basic Christianity 101 and all Christians should have a firm grasp on this concept not only for your own information but also so you can teach and educate other Christians who do not have a full understanding of this revelation from the Lord (Bradley 2019, i)
You are justified/saved/forgiven through faith ONLY. Your baptism, although it is a command, comes as a desire to live out of your faith. The heresy of salvation through baptism in the cult I encountered arose from their leaderships misunderstanding of the NIV translation of verses pertaining to baptism such as:
(Acts 2:38 NIV) “ Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
This does not mean that your sins are forgiven at baptism, it is saying that you repent then get baptised as a public sign that you believe that through your belief in Jesus, confession of your sins to Jesus and your repentance to Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
Only Jesus can forgive sins not your actions qualifying you for forgiveness. If your actions could qualify you then there would have been no need for Jesus to die and the Law of Moses would have been enough to save you. We see from Galatians that that is not the case:
(Galatians 2:16, 21 NIV) “ know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. …  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
Clearly the above verse alone disproves any notion that salvation can be earned by works of any kind. It says we are justified by faith. Let us discuss further what it means to be “justified by faith”.
When we use the term, “justified by faith” what we mean is that we are made right, (atoned) with God, by our faith in Jesus and not our actions. Abraham, the forerunner of all Christians was justified by his FAITH, not by his actions. His actions were brought about by his faith, look what Romans says:
(Romans 4:3-4, 13-16 NIV) “ What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. …  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,  because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.  Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”
The promise of salvation and the forgiveness of your sins comes by FAITH not a law like “you must receive baptism” for our sake because not everyone would be able to fulfil it. Think about it, baptism cannot be the thing that means that your sins are forgiven because some people do not have a sufficient source of water due to poverty and drought. If being baptised is when your sins are forgiven poor people who can’t afford water/water is scarce/dry wells will never have their sins forgiven, only rich/middle class people, (who can afford to waste water), will go to heaven.
Jesus can forgive your sins before baptism, take Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 9:1-6, Luke 7:47-48 Jesus just forgave those people, they didn’t get baptised first).
(Luke 23:39-43 NIV) “ One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Jesus forgave him without him being baptized, he didn’t get the chance to be baptized as he died before he could get baptized, after believing in Jesus. Let’s look at another example in Matthew:
(Matthew 9:1-8 NIV) “ Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.  Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”  Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  Then the man got up and went home.  When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”
Jesus forgave that man of his sins without him getting baptized. Jesus also said that He has the authority to forgive sins. Why are we trying to strip Jesus of His own authority of forgiving sins, by saying that there are other man made things that you have to do before achieving salvation? This next example is quite important:
(Luke 7:47-50 NIV) “ Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
Look what Jesus said; it was the woman’s faith in Him that led to her salvation not something that she did, her actions were informed by her faith but her salvation was only received at the point of faith.
Saying that your sins are only forgiven upon baptism is dangerous heterodoxy that has come about by gotten caught up in legalistic semantics, making a human idea fit on to Gods word. Therefore, missing the point and complete mercy of the grace of God. It’s God who calls us not the other way round (Still 2019).
It is the “Grace” of God that allows us the opportunity to receive salvation, if we have “faith” in Jesus. Faith is belief, it is not an action, it is a feeling or a conviction and has nothing to do obeying a law. It is merely a transaction as opposed to a transformation.
Let’s just confront the elephant in the room. God didn’t always express a deep fondness for the Law of Moses. God always preferred humans to have faith and to love one another, look at what God said in Isaiah:
(Isaiah 1:11-17 NIV) “ “The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.  Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!  Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
The same sentiment is reiterated in Jeremiah:
(Jeremiah 7:22-23 NIV) “ For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices,  but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
Again in Hosea:
(Hosea 6:6 NIV) “ For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Then in Amos:
(Amos 5:21-24 NIV) “ “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) “ With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Lastly, if it’s not clear enough that God did not care for the law, we are taught in Hebrews that Jesus himself expressed God’s dissatisfaction with a legal, transactional salvation:
(Hebrews 10:5-8 NIV) “ Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;  with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”  First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”–though they were offered in accordance with the law.”
So why did God ever give us the law? Well, as we see in Romans, it was just necessary to show US how sinful humans are and how much we need God as it says in Romans:
(Romans 3:20-22 NIV) “ Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,”
When the law was followed it didn’t mean anything to God unless their hearts were right. God wants faith, love and obedience above everything else, like it says in Psalms:
(Psalm 50:7-15 NIV) “ “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God.  I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.  I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,  and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.””
We make a mockery of Jesus’ death when we think that we need to add anything to the gospel and do any special actions other than believe that Jesus can forgive our sins in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins. If we needed to do extra things to receive forgiveness then Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough and this does not align with what the scriptures clearly say:
(Hebrews 9:9-12 NIV) “ … the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
If the bible says in the above verse that Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, once and that action was enough to ensure the forgiveness of our sins who are we to say otherwise? Physical actions such as baptism and any actions prescribed in the Law of Moses (See Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were never enough to cleanse, they only dealt with the outside. This idea is reiterated later on in this chapter of Hebrews:
(Hebrews 9:24-28 NIV) “ For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Again, it makes it clear here that Jesus’ death and resurrection was enough and belief in Jesus and repentance all you need. Jesus did this one time, for all and it does not need to be added to by humans, by saying you need baptism to have your sins forgiven. Beliefs like that take us back to the Law. Look what it says in Romans about the Law:
(Romans 3:19-28 NIV) “ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
To believe that your sins are only forgiven when you are baptised is to resurrect the Law of Moses and we are not living under that now, we are living under grace. The Law was never designed to sanctify you anyway; it was just designed to show you how sinful you were. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection what the bible advocates for the forgiveness of sins is Faith made possible by “grace”.
Lastly, when it comes to any kind of ceremonial washing, such as baptism, we need to remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees when they confronted Him on this issue:
(Matthew 23:25-26 NIV) “ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Here Jesus shows that external washing does not make a difference to the inside. It is an internal transformation of faith and love, aided by grace that makes the outside clean.
Let’s have a look at Grace for further understanding. The classic definition of Grace is that God’s grace is unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved God’s judgment and wrath but He showed them favor. (Cole 2019).
The best way to look at this revelation is to look at it like you are looking at a two-sided coin. On the one side of the coin the grace of God is the “unmerited favour and mercy” of God and as mentioned earlier, we are saved by “grace” through our faith in Jesus Christ. The second definition of the word grace, which will be the other side of this same coin, is that the grace of God is referring to the divine life, power and ability of God flowing and operating through us (Bradley 2019, i)
The first definition of grace is what this article is concerned with, the idea that God created an opportunity for our sins to be forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This opportunity is something that we did not deserve, it was something that we could not go through and it is certainly something that we can never earn. Initially, sin was dealt with through the law, as mentioned earlier but now we have an opportunity to have salvation through faith because of God’s grace.
To understand why grace was necessary we need to go back to the beginning of the bible. If we look at what happened to humanity in the beginning we would come to the conclusion that the truth of the matter is that every human after Adam is dead in her or his trespasses and sins. Paul explains this to the Church at Ephesus, as follows:
(Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV) “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”.
And Paul goes on to give us great news:
(Ephesians 2:4-10, 14-15 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. …  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,”
There was a time, after Adam and Eve first sinned, that God’s law was expanded into more than 600 things that the people could and could not do. The people could not obey these laws and at one point God wiped out all of mankind because they were so evil. He saved only Noah and his family because Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. Even after Noah, man continued to disobey and because God’s chosen people, Israel (the Jewish people), rejected God’s eternal plan of salvation, it was offered to the Gentiles (those who are not Jewish). Paul writes about this in his letter to the Church at Rome:
(Romans 11:30-32 NIV) “ Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,  so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”(Williams 2019)
It is not that God’s grace is missing from the Old Testament. No one was saved in the Old Testament apart from God’s grace but John 1:17 shows the contrast between the two terms of engagement between God and humans in the two testaments:
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses [Old Testament*]; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ [New Testament*].”
*Note added by author of this article.
This is because:
(John 3:17-18 NIV) “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(Cole 2019)
If you think that your sins are forgiven only at baptism it shows that you do not believe that Jesus alone has the power to forgive sins and you don’t understand Grace. It clearly says here that anyone who believes in Jesus is not condemned. What’s another word for believe? It’s faith, so to reiterate, your sins are forgiven in your faith in Jesus, that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, which is why we go to Jesus and ask Jesus forgiveness of our sins and that is enough. This opportunity to be forgiven is called Grace.
This opportunity to receive salvation just by faith due to the grace of God means that grace is available to all. Instead of only just those who have the ability to waste water and be baptized.
Paul says that the appearance of God’s grace brought “salvation to all men.” The KJV and the NIV err by translating that God’s grace has appeared to all men. That never has been true, in that there have always been many that have never heard of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Paul means that God’s grace that appeared in the person of Christ offers salvation to all that hear of it. In the context, Paul has just spoken of various groups: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. So when he goes on to say that God’s grace brings salvation to all men, he means, “to all types of people, including those whom the world despises, even to slaves.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.
This does not mean that all people are saved or will be saved. The Bible is uniformly clear that there are two separate final destinations for all people. Those who by God’s grace have the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell.
But the good news of God’s grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church. He called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13, 15). But he experienced God’s grace through the cross. If the chief of sinners found mercy, so can you! (Cole 2019).
The idea that you have to do anything extra other than believe that Jesus can forgive your sins in order to achieve the forgiveness of your sins, like getting baptized or being circumcised is pharisaical heterodoxy that comes from adding human ideas and mixing them with the pure gospel.
God’s pure grace gets polluted from two sides. On the one side, grace runs counter to the way the world works, so it is difficult for us to grasp it and get used to it. The world works on a transactional meritocratic system. If you do well in school, you get good grades and win awards. If you do well in sports, you make the team and get applause. If you get into university, the merit system continues to reward excellence. This carries over into the business world after university. Exceptional performance earns promotions and raises. Sloppy performance will get you fired.
In the spiritual realm, all of the world’s religions, except for biblical Christianity, work on the merit system. Even the major branches of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church teach a system of meritocratic-salvation, where you have to add your works to what Christ did on the cross in order to go to heaven.
This merit system of salvation permeates the public mind. Ask anyone on the street his opinion of how a person gets into heaven and you will hear something about being a good person. It was at the heart of pharisaic, legalistic religion in the times of Jesus and Paul (Willams 2019).
We see time and time again Paul rebuffing these ideas that you have to add something extra other than faith to the gospel in order to receive forgiveness. Take the issue of circumcision for example.
(Genesis 17:11 NIV) “ You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.”
(John 7:22 NIV) “ Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.”
Some Jewish converts to Christianity were telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) that they had to get circumcised (a prescription of the Law of Moses) in order to receive salvation. Paul rebuffed this saying:
(Romans 4:9-13 NIV) “ Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!  And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”
We see here that Paul is saying that Abraham’s circumcision was a sign that he was justified by his faith and that justification came before the action not after. In the same fashion Baptism is a sign that you are justified by faith and that justification/sanctification and forgiveness of sins came before you were dunked in water not after.
Again, Paul discusses the issue of Pharisaical individuals trying to pollute the concept of grace in Galatians stating:
(Galatians 3:2-6 NIV) “ I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain–if it really was in vain?  So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?  So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.””
This is true, we begin by faith and then some people who misunderstand the Gospel and what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant for us and insist that there is another step or so that we need to do in order to achieve forgiveness. This is not true and I ask the same metaphorical questions that Paul asked. Did you receive the Gospel, miracles and the Holy Spirit by going through an action or did you receive those things by FAITH?
Let’s see further examples from Galatians regarding obtaining salvation through any other action other than faith.
(Galatians 3:8-12, 14, 18-19, 21-24 NIV) “ Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.  For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”  Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” …  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. …  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.  Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. …  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”
We see that we are justified through faith. The opportunity to be justified through faith is called Grace. We also see that if we live by the law and if we could achieve salvation through the law we are also forced to face the consequences of the law and we make God a liar because the promise given to Abraham would be nullified:
(Galatians 3:14-18 NIV) “ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.  The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.  What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.”
So if you could achieve forgiveness of sins, through a law like “you must be baptised” then we make out God to be a liar because God promised that the righteous would live by faith:
(Habakkuk 2:4 NIV) “ “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright–but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness–“
Every step of the way the bible talks about belief being and faith being synonymous with salvation:
(John 3:31-36 NIV) “ The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.  The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
We also condemn ourselves to the consequences of the law because if you don’t fulfil it there are consequences. So if you are not able to get baptised you will never have your sins forgiven. However, if we live by faith, we will be able to partake in the promise of an inheritance of the Spirit and become true children of Abraham and receive justification, salvation and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.
The opportunity to receive this promise is called Grace. Which as we have seen, cannot be earned, it is only achieved through faith and not works. The patriarch of Christianity, Abraham, was justified through his faith before any of the works, that confirmed his faith, took place.
Everyone loves receiving gifts but for a gift to be yours, you must accept it. When you believe the truth of the gospel – that Jesus died for your sins, was buried according to the Scriptures and was raised again on the third day and that by believing this, accepting Jesus as your saviour and asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sins – according to the Scriptures, you are guaranteed eternal life and you receive the gift. God seals your name in the Lambs Book of Life and leaves the Holy Spirit as the Promise that Jesus will return to redeem you into eternal life with Him and His Father in Heaven. Your death sentence is lifted and you are no longer condemned. One bible passage to study about the results of this salvation include: John 3:16-18:
(John 3:16-18 NIV) “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Grace does not mean that we may now do things that displease the Lord. Under the Law we saw death and we were bound as a slave to that Law. Under grace we have freedom through the leading of the Spirit. We needed the Law to convince us of our personal need of a Saviour (Gal 3:23-26).
(Galatians 3:23-26 NIV) “ Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,”
Under grace we are no longer focused on the “dos” and “don’t”, rather, when we follow the Spirit we always do what pleases God (Willams 2019).
There are key verses that Christians can study that have to do with our own personal salvation in the Lord. Each one of these are verses have to do with the classic definition of grace – which is that grace is the unmerited favour and mercy of God towards mankind. This mercy is what allows us to have the forgiveness of our sins and justification through FAITHin Jesus, not through some kind of extra activity.
These verses provide an overview of exactly what our eternal salvation in the Lord is really all about. If you can grasp what the Lord is trying to tell you in these specific verses, you will then be able to walk away with a much better and clearer understanding as to who you really are in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and exactly how you were saved in the first place.
This is a list of the verses together, highlighting the key words and phrases in these verses so you can see exactly what God is trying to show you.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
(Romans 5:1-2 NIV) “ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
(Titus 2:11 NIV) “ For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
(Acts 15:11 NIV) “ No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””
(Ephesians 2:4-8 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(Titus 3:7 NIV) “ so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
(Romans 3:22-26 NIV) “ This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:16 NIV) “ May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,”
(Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV) “ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,”
(Romans 5:15 NIV) “ But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
(Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV) “ For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
(Romans 5:20-21 NIV) “ The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Galatians 2:21 NIV) “ I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
The first thing to pick up from these verses is that our personal salvation in the Lord is not earned by any type of good works that we can do in this life – no matter how many good works we may end up doing and no matter how good and holy those works may end up being, like baptism. The quantity and quality of our works for the Lord do not matter to Him.
The very first verse:
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
is the absolute number one verse on exactly how we are to receive eternal salvation from the Lord. This verse specifically tells us, without any other possible spin or interpretation you can possibly put on it, that our individual personal salvation –which is the forgiveness of our sins and our atonement to God – can only be received by “grace” through our personal faith in Jesus Christ.
This first verse and the two that follow right after it, specifically state that our eternal salvation is simply received by grace through faith – not by any type of works/actions.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
The first verse tells us that our eternal salvation is a direct, free gift from God and “not of works.” The second verse once again says that God has saved us through His grace and not “according to our works”. The third verse then really hammers this point home when it literally shouts out that both grace and works cannot save us. It says if we are saved by grace, then works has no part in our salvation whatsoever. You cannot have this revelation both ways. If we are saved by grace, which we are, then works has absolutely no part in our personal salvation with the Lord. It’s all Him and none of us. The first verse says that being saved by grace through our faith in Jesus all comes direct from God and that it is “not from yourselves” because it is direct from God!
As simple as this revelation is to fully grasp and understand, there are still some Christians who are walking around thinking that they still have to try and earn their way into heaven by doing as many good and holy works as they possibly can or by being baptized. As a result, they spend most of their life in misery and torment, as they never know for sure if they will make it into heaven after they die and “cross over”.
The first set of verses above are an absolute top priority for any newborn Christian or any unbeliever you may be witnessing to. Bottom line – eternal salvation, that is the forgiveness of your sins and atonement to God is received direct from the Lord as a free gift and it can only be received by grace through our personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.
Salvation is simply just a matter of believing – and then accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour once you are ready to admit that you are truly a sinner in need of a personal Saviour to save you from your sins.
I am going to highlight some of the key phrases in the above verses so you can see how the Lord is really trying to drive home the point that we can only be saved by and through His grace.
Notice in every single one of these key phrases the word “grace” is specifically being used in reference to our own personal salvation in Jesus. With the basic definition of the word “grace” being “unmerited favour,” there can be no question that the forgiveness of our sins and atonement to God can only be received by God’s grace through our faith in His Son Jesus.
No amount of works or baptism, no matter how good and holy we think baptism and good works may be, will ever be good enough to ensure our sins are forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ.
They have no place in our personal salvation with the Lord – and they have absolutely no place when working with an unsaved person in an effort to try and get them saved. God has made accepting His free gift of eternal salvation/forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ as easy possible.
These Scripture verses are as clear as they can possibly be on this issue (Bradley 2019, ii).
It is the personal opinion of this author that teaching salvation through any means other than faith is a dangerous heterodoxy that is going to leave Christians and early converts confused.
It diminishes the power of Jesus by assuming that God needs help to forgive our sins by an extra action.
It diminishes the suffering of Jesus by assuming that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not good enough for the absolution of our sins and this is a painful insult to Jesus.
It puts man on the same level of the Godhead by assuming that salvation is only achieved when we are baptised, as it is man that baptises us, therefore, man and not God completes the final step of salvation.
It makes assumptions that diminish the meaning and power of Jesus.
It makes Christianity and righteousness transactional instead of transformative.
It also ignores what the rest of the bible says about salvation, which is feckless.
It is also a Eurocentric if not racist reading of the bible, as it elevates the English translation and understanding provided in one version of the English bible, above the original Greek text, (I did not go into this issue in this article).
It recklessly creates a doctrine that is based on only one verse in the bible as opposed to taking in the whole bible in context.
It also creates further mental and physical barriers between humans and God, as not everyone has access to water that they can waste, also, some people like the disabled may not be able to be baptised at all or easily and they will be excluded and never achieve the forgiveness of their sins.
It focuses on acts to achieve righteousness as opposed to faith as the bible says.
It also makes God to be a liar because it nullifies all of the promises that humans would live and be justified by faith and that we would all be children of Abraham’s by faith and as we know, God cannot lie.
It generally takes focus away from Jesus and His power.
It also brings Christianity away from Christ and into the realm of the occult because it is at odds with clear and plain instruction in the bible.
Finally, it forms a barrier to people developing a sense of humility, something that God desires. This is because an individual would have felt that they “earned” their salvation through baptism, completely missing the fact that salvation is something that we do not deserve, we cannot earn and we can never thank Jesus enough, understanding this situates our minds and spirits correctly in a place of humility and thankfulness before God, fully understanding God’s overwhelming mercy.
I have been a Christian for many years and I have been in Christian leadership and Christian study for many years and frankly, searching the scriptures, I cannot say with any certainty that anyone teaching or propagating this heterodoxy will go to heaven. God will have mercy on whomever God will but what we do know is that it says in the scriptures that the teachers, the ones who are in charge of teaching Christian doctrine, well… they will be judged more harshly.
(James 3:1 NIV) “ Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
For those of you who made it to the bottom here is a music video that sums up this entire article:
Sorry my blog posts have been a bit sparse for the last two weeks, as you know I’m self employed so I, like every other self employed individual in the country, have been frantically trying to finish my Tax Return (and gathering money to pay my taxes lol) before the deadline to avoid the £100 fine! Blogging came second to that I’m sorry lol. Anyway, it’s submitted now and I can get back to blogging.
I’ve been meditating on something someone said to me a while back. “Why don’t you just find a nice guy from church?”
Well….. that’s making some pretty big assumptions, like the idea that they are all “nice” for a start:
They are only men
Christian men are just that… they are men. They have the same stupidness festering at the back of their minds that other men do, it’s just the way they deal with it is different. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Don’t expect too much from them hah hah! They have the same struggles. Any Christian guys reading this, well… whatever naughty thoughts they were ever going to have about me, trust me, they have already had them as soon as they saw I posted something on FB/Twitter/LinkedIn… In fact, it’s probably the reason why they even read my blog in the first place… regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not.
A guy could be one thing leading worship on stage and then behind closed doors he’s a gimp! Women have literally died, literally, when they just assumed that a guy was one thing because he said he was.
I’ve always said that the only difference between a Christian guy and a guy who isn’t a Christian is thus – they both want to have sex with you in the back of their car it’s just you expect the Christian guy to have the decency to marry you first… and that’s it!
The moment some exegete find any scrap of evidence that you CAN in fact have sex before marriage, they are all going to be at it like no body’s business… Do not be under any illusions, that nice church boy wants to put his penis in your daughters vagina. Yeah he’s waiting but with the end game of penetration.
The problem with being a woman is that a man who just wants a place to park his penis for the night wants to have sex with you and a man who is attracted to you, utterly loves the very ground you walk on and is completely dedicated to your personal and spiritual development is also a man who wants to have sex with you. When both kinds of men are expressing the same kind of desire towards you it can be difficult to tell which man you should be with! Some Christian guys are just getting married JUST so they can have sex with the young woman they like. I’ve heard these horror stories and they all ended in divorce unfortunately because they slept with each other, then immediately realised that all they had in their relationship was the anticipation of sex, they had sex and then relationship was done literally within a few hours of marriage. It’s sad but this is happening in the church, right now because there are guys whose motivation is not what it should be.
You cannot make assumptions about anyone’s Christianity
Not every person who says they are a Christian is a Christian. Only Jesus knows not who but WHAT is actually sitting in the pews. It says in the Bible:
(Matthew 7:21 NLT) “ “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
Some people are just IN the church but they are not OF the church. On more than one occasion I’ve had guys, church guys, who seem soo nice and sweet at church and good, call/fb message/etc me to ask to see me naked… I’m not even joking. I wish I was, this has happened people! I’ve just stopped taking certain peoples calls/whatsapp/fb friend requests now lol. We’re not supposed to have sex or do highly intimate and sexual things before marriage! I’ve blogged about this! (follow this link for more information). I’m not saying we can’t kiss but good gracious! Stop asking! It’s not going to happen! These people are not Christians, soo many guys I’ve met and I’ve realised that they are just there (as in at church) so as not to upset their mum or their grandmother but they don’t believe it and at the first opportunity they misbehave.
Some guys they just think that it’s ok to go up to the boundary but it’s not ok to cross the boundary. The boundary is a marker of where you should not be, it’s a warning sign that you are going to the outer limits and YOU NEED TO TURN BACK! So many times guys who I thought were Christian tried to encourage me to do things with them that I should not and I’m thinking “…what’s going on?!!?? I thought you and I went to church??…”.
You have got to be careful. Only Jesus knows what is really going on in a man’s mind.
Male headship and female submission theologies make Christian men mistreat women (this bit is in my PhD)
Christianity, like mainstream European/British/American culture is patriarchal (men leading follow this link for a dictionary explanation) this mixture of religion and male headship/female submission ideals have been proven to be dangerous for women, as religion and spirituality can overtly and covertly promote abuse (Yick 2008, p.1289) and the greatest predictors of violence against women are environments that support male control and male authority over female behaviour (Heise and Kotsadam 2015, e333). As a result, the Christian environment can be predicted (and proven) to be an abusive atmosphere for women, as it is already known that Christianity is patriarchal in nature and patriarchy fosters and cultivates environments where men seek to control or abuse women (Wall 2014). Furthermore, Christian teachings can be used to enforce patriarchal marital roles, e.g. male leadership/control and female submission (Aune & Barnes 2018, p.10).
The cocktail of sexist ideas towards women and faith have been proved to be unsafe for women in churches. In a study conducted in Christian homes in North America, it was found that physical abuse rates of Christian women are similar to societal rates (Annis and Rice 2001). This was found to translate in UK churches where a study conducted in Cumbria found that when all forms of domestic abuse are included, the evidence (e.g. Wang et al. 2009) suggests that there is not a significant difference in rates of abuse when churchgoers are compared with non-churchgoers. Conservative ideas on female submission and male headship and a culture of silence were found to blame in many of these cases (Aune & Barnes 2018). Shockingly, it was also found by S. Tracey (2008) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group, even more likely than secular men, to assault their wives (Tracey 2008, p.16). Knickmeyer et al. (2010) interviewed Christian women who said their husbands used conservative Christian theological ideas of male headship and female submission as sanction to abuse them (Knickmeyer, Levitt & Horne 2010, p.102), compelling their wives to submit to their authority because they said the Bible required it. Christian teachings can also be used to pressure women to forgive too quickly or to see abuse as their “cross to bear” (Nason-Clark 2004 p.304). Interestingly, mainline protestant churches have been quicker to respond to the issue of domestic abuse than evangelicals, the most conservative of whom continue to publish marriage advice literature that ignores the problem (Aune & Barnes 2018, p.12).
The Bible, when properly translated, is egalitarian but as men are often holders of knowledge and therefore… power, they are not forthcoming with this information. This is because if the women understood that they are equal as leaders to men they would rise up, become more independent and the men would loose their ability to control them. For further reading on this topic I suggest starting with “What Paul Really Said About Women” by John Temple Bristow. I say start here because it’s not super long but is still academically rigorous – here’s the link for the book on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Paul-Really-about-Women/dp/0060610638.
If there is a Christian guy who is interested in your daughter you should exercise the same level of caution and suspicion that you would with any man. Some Christian guy’s are in fact a larger more pressing threat, more dangerous than your normal man because he appears non-threatening and “safe” so you trust him more and scrutinize him less, then happily leave him alone with your daughter, not realising that she is actually just his prey. He knows you are more willing to look away and trust him because he’s a “good church boy” and you want your daughter to be with someone “nice” and “successful”. He uses this to his advantage. However, if it has a penis it will try and find a vagina to put it in so be careful how much freedom you have with him. Everyone has a point in which they will just give in.
Arm yourselves with knowledge and stop being so gosh darn naive.
P.S. some are really nice this is not true of every Christian man you just have to pray that you found the right one and use discernment.
Annis, W. and R. R. Rice. 2001. A Survey of Abuse Prevalence in the Christian Reformed Church. Journal of Religion and Abuse. 3:3-4, 7-40
Aune, K. & R Barnes. 2018. In Churches Too: Church Responses to Domestic Abuse – A case study of Cumbria. Coventry: Coventry University and Leicester: University of Leicester.
Heise, L. L. and A. Kotsadam. 2015. Cross-national and multilevel correlates of partner violence: an analysis of data from population-based surveys. The Lancet Global Health. 3, e332-340.
Knickmeyer, N., H. Levitt, & S. G. Horne. 2010. Putting on Sunday Best: The Silencing of Battered Women within Christian Faith Communities. Feminism & Psychology, 20:1, 94-113.
Nason-Clark, N. 2004. When Terror Strikes at Home: The Interface Between Religion and Domestic Violence. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 43:3, 303-310.
Tracey, S. R. 2008. What Does “Submit In Everything” Really Mean? The Nature And Scope Of Marital Submission. TRINJ. 29, 285-312
Wall, L. 2014. ‘Gender equality and violence against women: What’s the connection?’ Australian Government, Australian Institute of Family Studies Web site, at: <https://aifs.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/ressum7.pdf> 2 March 2018
Wang, M-C, S. G. Horne, H. M. Levitt & L. M. Klesges. 2009. Christian Women in IPV Relationships: An Exploratory Study of Religious Factors. Journal of Psychology and Christianity. 28:3, 224-235.
Yick, A. G. 2008. A Metasynthesis of Qualitative Findings on the Role of Spirituality and Religiosity Among Culturally Diverse Domestic Violence Survivors. Qualitative Health Research, 18:9, 1289-1306.