Biblical & Practical Reasons For Chucking People Out Of Your Church

Hey!

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:

“[28] 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:

“[11] 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.”

  • Immoral people: (gr. “pornos”) The literal meaning of the word is a male prostitute, but in the Bible it is used of all kinds of sexual immorality.
  • Covetous people: People eager to have more, especially what belongs to others. Covetousness is really a form of the next sin, which is Idolatry (Eph 5:5, Col 3:5)
  • Idolaters: Idolatry is when God is not of primary importance to you. You don’t determine this by your ability to manipulate yourself into a certain state of emotion but rather by what you tends to fill up your mind, what your actions are aiming toward and what gives you comfort, security and pleasure.
  • Revilers: A reviler is one who assaults and abuses with words. He or she will make harsh insults and accusations, intended to humiliate someone or damage their reputation.
  • Drunkards: No further explanation is needed, except perhaps to point out that any compulsive or addictive behaviour, that inhibits your sound judgement, could be a form of this sin.
  • Swindlers: (gr. “harpax”) It can mean a swindler, robber or extortioner. Basically anyone who by violence, threats or deceit takes something that rightfully belongs to another.

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:

“[13]…dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. [14] 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:

“[19] 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. [20] 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:

“[10] If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. [11] 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:

“[15] “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. [16] 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. [17] 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]:

“[12] It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. [13] 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]:

“[27] “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.

Conclusion

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]:

“[14] 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).

xxx

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Bibliography

Anthem Lights. 2020. ‘Who I’m Meant To Be Lyrics’ A-Z Lyrics Web site, at: <https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anthemlights/whoimmeanttobe.html&gt; 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&gt; 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&gt; 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/&gt; 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/&gt; 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/&gt; 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/&gt; 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/&gt; 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&gt; 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&gt; 16 January 2020

SOMETHING TO REFRESH YOUR #FAITH | #christian #Jesus #discipleship #christianliving #salvation #evangelism #teaching #heresy #biblestudy #theology #baptism #sin |

Hey everyone!

I hope you have fun reading this!!! Its something to refreshen you 🙂

Evidence For Forgiveness Of Sins By Faith And Not Works Like Baptism

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 Obtain Forgiveness Of Our Sins Through Our Faith In Jesus

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) “[38] 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) “[16] 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. … [21] 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”.

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) “[3] What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” [4] Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. … [13] 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. [14] For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, [15] because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. [16] 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) “[39] One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” [40] But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? [41] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” [43] 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) “[1] Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. [2] 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.” [3] At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” [4] Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? [5] Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? [6] 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.” [7] Then the man got up and went home. [8] 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) “[47] Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” [48] Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” [49] The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” [50] 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.

Legalistic Thinking

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) “[11] “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. [12] When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? [13] Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. [14] 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. [15] 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! [16] Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. [17] 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) “[22] 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, [23] 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) “[6] For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Then in Amos:

(Amos 5:21-24 NIV) “[21] “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. [22] 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. [23] Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. [24] But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Then Micah:

(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) “[6] 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? [7] 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? [8] 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) “[5] Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; [6] with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. [7] Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” [8] 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) “[20] 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. [21] But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] 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) “[7] “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. [8] I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. [9] I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, [10] for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. [11] I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. [12] If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. [13] Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? [14] “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, [15] 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) “[9] … the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. [10] They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order. [11] 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. [12] 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) “[24] 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. [25] 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. [26] 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. [27] Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, [28] 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) “[19] 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. [20] 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. [21] But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] 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– [26] 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. [27] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. [28] 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) “[25] “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. [26] 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.

What is Grace?

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)

Why Is Grace Important For The Forgiveness Of Sins?

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) “[1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] 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. [3] 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) “[4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] 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. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. … [14] For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, [15] 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) “[30] Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, [31] 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. [32] 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) “[17] 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) “[17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18] 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.

Can Grace Be Earned?

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) “[11] You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.”

(John 7:22 NIV) “[22] 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) “[9] 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. [10] Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! [11] 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. [12] 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. [13] 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) “[2] 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? [3] Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? [4] Have you experienced so much in vain–if it really was in vain? [5] 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? [6] 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) “[8] 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.” [9] So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. [10] 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.” [11] Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” [12] The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” … [14] 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. … [18] 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. [19] 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. … [21] 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. [22] 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. [23] 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. [24] 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) “[14] 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. [15] 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. [16] 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. [17] 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. [18] 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) “[4] “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) “[31] 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. [32] He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. [33] Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. [34] For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. [35] The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. [36] 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.

How To Receive Forgiveness Of Sins Through Grace

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) “[16] 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. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18] 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) “[23] 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. [24] So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. [25] Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. [26] 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).

Key Bible Verses On Grace And Faith

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.

  1. (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “[8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“

  2. (2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “[8] 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. [9] 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,”

  3. (Romans 11:6 NIV) “[6] And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

  4. (Romans 5:1-2 NIV) “[1] Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, [2] 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.”

  5. (Titus 2:11 NIV) “[11] For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

  6. (Acts 15:11 NIV) “[11] No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””

  7. (Ephesians 2:4-8 NIV) “[4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] 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. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“

  8. (Titus 3:7 NIV) “[7] so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

  9. (Romans 3:22-26 NIV) “[22] This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] 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– [26] 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.”

  10. (John 1:17 NIV) “[17] For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

  11. (2 Thessalonians 2:16 NIV) “[16] May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,”

  12. (Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV) “[7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace [8] that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,”

  13. (Romans 5:15 NIV) “[15] 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!”

  14. (Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV) “[4] For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love [5] he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

  15. (Romans 5:20-21 NIV) “[20] The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, [21] so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  16. (Galatians 2:21 NIV) “[21] 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:

  1. (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “[8] 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.

  1. (Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “[8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“

  2. (2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “[8] 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. [9] 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,”

  3. (Romans 11:6 NIV) “[6] 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.

  • For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
  • He has saved us…because of his own purpose and grace
  • …we have gained access by faith into this grace
  • For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people
  • …justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
  • …through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved,
  • …it is by grace you have been saved
  • …having been justified by his grace
  • …justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
  • grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s 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).

Concluding Remarks

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) “[1] 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:

Catherine x

What are you doing with your freedom? | #christianity #Jesus #internet #time #blog #endtimes

Hello everybody,

A serious one today. I have been meditating on when Jesus is going to come back and judge the world. Jesus is all around us and always has been but Jesus came once in a way that everyone could see to save us by taking the penalty of our sin, which was death, on Himself, to reconcile us to God.

The Bible also talks about Jesus returning a second time to then judge us. Basically the first trip was a mercy trip, the second trip is Jesus saying “I told you how to behave; corrected your misunderstandings; warned you and took the penalty on myself the first time; now you know better as you have had well over 2000 years to meditate on what I said, multiple independent theologians, theorists and philosophers have pawed over the Bible to help people understand; plus you have the Holy Spirit so you know much better and there is no longer any excuse for your behaviour and anyone still misbehaving is going to get punished”. This second arrival of Jesus in a way that everyone, not just followers of Jesus can see, is commonly called the Second Coming of Jesus. The Bible tells us about this time in multiple places but here is an example from Mark.

Mark 13:4-27,32-37 [NLT]
“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” [5] Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, [6] for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. [7] And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. [8] Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. [9] “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. [10] For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. [11] But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. [12] “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. [13] And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [14] “The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. [15] A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. [16] A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. [17] How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. [18] And pray that your flight will not be in winter. [19] For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. [20] In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. [21] “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. [22] For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. [23] Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time! [24] “At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, [25] the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. [26] Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. [27] And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world-from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven…[32] “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. [33] And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! [34] “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. [35] You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return-in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. [36] Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. [37] I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”

So all we know is that it is going to happen but we don’t know when. So what will happen when Jesus comes? Well the Bible says:

Matthew 24:37-41 [NLT]
“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. [38] In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. [39] People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. [40] “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. [41] Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”

God is just going to suddenly take people to heaven, you know like the end of Avengers: Infinity War? Except people who are taken go to heaven instead of dying like in the film lol. If you’ve seen the film “the end” is going to be like that but happy lol. What will happen to all those people who God doesn’t take to heaven? They get judged for not being ready. What do I mean by not being ready? I mean people who have not given their lives to God and are not dong the right thing, whatever that is in their scenario. Maybe you’re secretly sleeping with you’re girlfriend when you know you should not be? You can’t take your eye of your colleagues wife? Or ladies you’re lusting after your gardener! lol. Stop it, deal with those things that put a distance between you and God. I’m talking to myself as well, I know there are some things I do that I should not. This is what happens to those whose lives are not right with God making them not ready:

Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 [NLT]
Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. [25] But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. [26] When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. [27] “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ [28] “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. [29] “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'”…[36] Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” [37] Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. [38] The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. [39] The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. [40] “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. [41] The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. [42] And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

So if you’re not ready, meaning that you have not given your life to Christ and you’re not doing the right things then you will not being gong to heaven you will go to hell. You have to not only have given your life to Christ but you must also be doing the right thing as well.

The Bible gives us another metaphor of how we are to wait for Jesus to return: ( just to clarify we are the servants in the metaphor and Jesus is the master by the way)

Luke 12:35-40,42-48 NLT
“Be dressed for service [bloggers note: this service represents the end of the world] and keep your lamps burning, [36] as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. [37] The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! [38] He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. [39] “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. [40] You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”… [42] And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. [43] If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. [44] I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. [45] But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? [46] The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. [47] “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. [48] 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.

And that last verse is where we return to the issue of the title of this post.

Luke 12:48 NLT
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.

In the West we are soo privileged, we have soo much, we have so much freedom. In the grand scheme of things we are rich compared to everybody else. We have religious freedom, women don’t have to be covered up if they don’t want to. If we want to go to church we can without fear, our internet isn’t censored like in other parts of the world. We have internet! We invented it! (well a British man did actually). We have access to books, wealth, information, teachers, etc and so on.

In the East, hey don’t have access to all of those things, however, God has made things more even when it comes to Jesus’ second coming. The East with all their disenfranchisement has something precious that the West does not have and that is…time.

When Jesus comes back, as is the case currently, whatever day it is in the West it will be one day later in the East. The East is sometimes a good 8-24hrs (double check this lol) ahead of the West. SEE THIS WORLD CLOCK FOR FURTHER DETAILS The East has one more day than the West to get their lives straight with Jesus. In the West we are so free to look for ourselves, if you haven’t heard of God and you’re part of a European /American country you have lived a very sheltered life indeed.

The reason why I say the East has more time is because if Jesus comes during their morning time it’s our night time, people could have gone to bed angry or had an argument or a rough night, they are sleeping, caught unaware with no time to ask God’s forgiveness. Whereas in the East they would have already had a rough night, woken up had time to think, meditated on their behaviour and maybe thought let me ask Jesus forgiveness. Even if Jesus comes during their nighttime they still would end up having had more daytime than us. More time to meditate.

God will ask you what you did with the prosperity you were given. We might have a couple hours less daytime in the end but the West has been given so much other things and God expects much from us in return, those of us who are more free should be more ready, more aware of God and doing good and not in need of extra time like some other places. Interestingly, the Pacific Islands are actually the most ahead in time and the America’s are the most behind, America has the least time. Mmm the most powerful country has the least time and the least power countries have the most.

My question today to those of us in the West is what are you doing with your freedom? Whilst you still have it… What are you using your internet for? What’s on your laptop? What’s on your smartphone? Hope Jesus comes when we aren’t sleeping. How are you using your prosperity? Are you using it to get to know your creator and do good to make the world a better place or are you using it to make a nuisance of yourself?

After reading this please get out your Bible and pray, if you don’t know Jesus but would like to or you feel like you need to refresh your relationship with Jesus just say:

“Jesus I’m sorry for trying to do things my way, please come into my life, make me a new person and please forgive me of my sins, Holy Spirit please fill me and help me to worship Jesus and do the right thing”

Then please find a church filled with some good Bible believing people and start your journey with God. The Alpha Course is a good place to start for new Christians! :–> https://alpha.org/

Catherine x

I Wrote A Song About #Sex for my #PhD | #phdlife #freelance #musician #soundcloud #music #feminism |

Hello Everyone!

So as we know I’m doing a PhD in Music, in the area of Theomusicology & Feminist Musicology and some other things, with a practical element to it. So one of the things I’m looking at is how women and sex is represented in music as my project is interested in sexual politics (in a metaphorical sense) but in a literal sense sexual politics is also about sex. In response to my findings I’m going to produce some songs on the topic. The practical portfolio will have songs on various topics relating to women and music and theology. It will make sense when you read my thesis. Here’s a paraphrased summary of what I’ve learned, the full academic essay will come later.

I chose the topic of marital sex as a context for my section on women, music and sex. My intended outcomes for this song are to present women/wives as strong, mutual/equal with men/husbands, sensual/emotional beings that enjoy sex and have their own opinions and sex drives and sexual desires that are just as important as the man’s within the context of marital sex. Furthermore, as I am a woman of colour, I am writing from the perspective of a woman of colour and I hope that my piece along with the values therein, will address the negative stereotypes about women of colour that perpetuate within Western contemporary songs about sex. In Western popular songs about sex, women of colour are usually represented in the most abased and course way. Furthermore, songwriters have an irritating habit if sexualizing the ways in which women of colour are often discriminated against, race, gender and class, by presenting them as the hot abused poor baby mamas *rolls eyes*, or one night stands, never anything good etc. Instead I, have written and performed a song, from the perspective of a woman of colour about being in a sexual relationship within the socio-economic status and security of being a wife, the lyrics talk about saying “I do” and rings etc. (you don’t have to be some guys baby mama, why are we always shown as the baby mama and not the wife?) and not a victim in sexual activity but a willing, consensual, active and committed participant. (N.B. I am not and have never been married this is just in the fictional narrative of the song).

As mentioned earlier, this song is about the joys of marital sex, as experienced by two fictional newly-weds. It follows the metaphor, imagery and form of ‘Song of Songs’ which is also called Song of Solomon, my favourite book of the Bible, (talking about gardens, fragrant spices, greenery, little foxes, having sex outside, it’s all in Song of Songs lol). Song of Songs is actually about the love between a dark skinned woman and King Solomon.

Song of Solomon 1:5 [NLT]
I am dark but beautiful, O women of Jerusalem- dark as the tents of Kedar, dark as the curtains of Solomon’s tents.

It also represents a counter-cultural approach to romantic relationships between men and women, as it is in fact the woman who pursues the man. I tried to reflect this in arranging it for a female singer and making the tone of the lyrics, that of someone who is a pursuer and initiator of physical intimacy. I also show the woman as initiator as well as mutual consenting participant, instead of a passive participant or victim. The lead vocal (the woman/bride) vocalises decisions about her own sexual desires and needs. You can find the woman in Song of Songs doing the same thing. The theomusicology comes in the narrative of the lyrics which implies that now they’re married they can have sex when and wherever they want to lol (within reason), which is a Christian theological standpoint (I’m a Christian btw). So it implies restraint and commitment before coitus, not after.

I also decided to make it walking pace because I found that most songs about sex and women, especially sex with or about or by women of colour, have quite a strong beat and lyrically emphasise the fun of sex with chauvinistic, misogynoir lyrics that often contextualise the woman and the act within the erotic, encouraging male brains to switch to autopilot, focussing entirely on the physicality and pleasure of sex, not the love. My piece is a response to these negative things I found. It is slow(ish) to be meditative, slow down the heart rate and give the listener space to clear their minds and think. The listener should not get carried away by eroticism but instead wrapped up in the sweetness, sensuality, thoughtfulness and intentional nature of the act of marital sex. Looking forward to adding this to the the final portfolio! So this is a sonic, feminist, womanist critique of pop music about women and sex, using the lived experience of a woman of colour as an analytical tool for reflection. I am trying to promote the knowledge of women by uncovering the lost narratives of our experience, like a Foucauldian genealogy.

Well done for reading, here’s the track! It’s called “I Hope The Neighbours Don’t See”

You can also listen on SoundCloud. Follow this link to play or play the embedded player below:

I have a playlist on YouTube. Follow this link to play or play in the embedded player below:

The Middle 8/Bridge is inspired by a conversation I had with a middle aged man who told me that when he first got married as a young man, he gave his wife a Hickey on her neck and someone from his church saw it and told him, “now you’re married you can do that where it don’t show” hah! lol

Lots of love

Catherine x

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#wedding #makeup

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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Think About When #Reading #Genesis #Chapter 2 – #Bible #Christianity #Jesus

Hello everybody this is Part 2 of the thing I’m doing on Genesis 1 & 2, If you missed Part 1 it’s worth a read 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Think About When #Reading#Genesis #Chapter 1 – #Bible #Christianity #Jesus #PhD (follow this link to read it here).

Secondly, I’ve been writing some more music not my usual stuff (follow this link to listen) or play in the embedded player below:

Now to the article!

1.) Recapitulation – The beginning of Genesis 2 summarises what happened in Genesis 1 adding how the 7th day is holy because God rested.

Genesis 2:1-3 [NLT] – “[1] So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. [2] On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. [3] And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.”

2.) Genesis 2 has a different account of creation, the order is different and some new pieces of information are added like the springs that aren’t mentioned in Genesis 1, when were they created?

Genesis 2:4-6 [NLT] – “[4] This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, [5] neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the LORD God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. [6] Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land.”

3.) Genesis 1 & 2 have differing/conflicting accounts of the creation order:
Gen 2 order: Heavens & Earth > Land & Sea (Separation of Dry Ground & Water) > Man > Garden > Vegetation > Animals that primarily live on land > Birds > Woman and no mention of Fish etc
Gen 1 order: Heavens & Earth > Light > Atmosphere > Land & Sea (Separation of Dry Ground & Water) > Vegetation > Stars > Sun & Moon (potentially) > Life in the sea then Birds > Animals that primarily live on land > Man & Woman

Genesis 2:7-9 NLT – “[7] Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. [8] Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. [9] The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground–trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

4.) More new information: we learn there were rivers and mineral deposits around the area that the Garden of Eden was, this has led to speculation that the Garden of Eden was in fact in Africa, potentially around Ethiopia. Read my previous blog for more on this (follow this link for more info).

Genesis 2:10-14 [NLT] – “[10] A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. [11] The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. [12] The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. [13] The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. [14] The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.”

5.) Humans were created to work! The first humans were Gardeners/Farmers. We also learn about a new special Tree that was in the Garden that humans were never supposed to eat from.

Genesis 2:15-17 [NLT] – “[15] The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. [16] But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden– [17] except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.””

6.) HERE’S WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING!!!! Humans were created single (in terms of relationship status) but not designed to be totally alone. I’m not saying we should all get married but I am suggesting that according to Genesis 2 Humans are inherently social and it’s not good for us to be all alone. HOWEVER, let it be noted that God created friends & assistance for Adam in the form of animals first before He brought a woman into Adam’s life. How interesting. Friends first, then relationship next. That’s Gods formula.

I can only imagine that this animal interaction pre woman had to do with socialising Adam so that he was in the right state of mind and maturity in order to appreciate the woman that was to come.

There you go men, if you’re lonely, before going off and put a ring on the first thing that flutters it’s skanky little eyelids at you because you were thinking with your willy and not listening to God… get a dog. Then you will understand how to be friends with, appreciate and care for another sentient being other than your self. Also, a woman will be well impressed with how “responsible” you seem lol.

Women, if you want company or a baby so bad, don’t just sleep with the first mutant that is kind to you, shut you legs… and get a dog. You will see how much hard work it is to care for something that does not care about the fact that you want to sleep in, (I have two dogs), then after you have cleaned up it’s poo and wee for the umpteenth time, you will realise how stupid you were to try and run ahead and get pregnant with any old person, who might not be as dedicated to the idea as you are and you’ll wait a bit longer, (I literally had to stop writing this part way to deal with an, “accident”, *rolls eyes*). Eventually when you have waited for the right one who will marry you before he puts a baby in you, you will have some idea of the responsibility ahead 🙂 . N.B. A dog will also love you unconditionally, humans won’t always do that.

Genesis 2:18-20 [NLT] – “[18] Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” [19] So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. [20] He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.”

Another thing to note, Adam interacted with whatever God asked him to before the woman, seeing different things, getting a wider perspective on life. This helped him to get to know himself and to understand his personality, to the point where he fully understood not only what he wanted but what he needed see v 20. That’s how he knew that the animals were just not the right kind of company. I think that’s really important to stress. Adam was a whole person, knowing himself and the world around him before he committed to a woman who God brought to him. How many people have not gone through that process of seeing life and getting to knew themselves and what kind of person is appropriate for them and ended up rushing ahead and getting married to someone they later realised wasn’t quite right for them?

Also we learn from v 15 ADAM HAD A JOB!!! BEFORE GOD GAVE HIM THE WOMAN! I just felt it necessary to make that point. He was cultivating the Garden etc as God told him to so the woman was able to come to a “nest” not a wreck and a “responsible human being” not a boy. No woman wants to marry a boy it’s totally against our survival instinct. In fact, I would go so far as to say that from Genesis 2, we can understand that women are in fact not created to be in a romantic relationship with an immature man child. God brought Eve to Adam when he was mature. Later, Adam’s subsequent immaturity actually led to the fall of man see Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-21.

7.) God brought the woman to the man when the man was least expecting it! Hehe. He literally fell asleep. Perhaps don’t freak out about wondering who, where and when you are going to meet the “one”?

Genesis 2:21-22 [NLT] – “[21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.”

8.) We don’t know how long Adam was asleep for or what Jesus said to Eve whilst Adam was asleep. This shows us that the “single time” for a man and a woman is important, it’s a time for learning, getting to know Jesus as well as yourself. I wrote about this in a previous blog post here (follow this link to find out more)

9.) The first marriage was monogamous. Adam and Eve, the relationship between the Song of Songs woman and her Lover, the relationship between Christ and the Church they all have one thing in common. THEY ARE MONOGAMOUS AND HETEROSEXUAL. Marriage as God instituted it and subsequently mirrored metaphorically later in the bible has and always was is between ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. God did not encourage or institute Bigamy, Polygamy, Concubines, prostitution, sexual slavery, homosexuality or inequality between the sexes MAN DID THAT NOT GOD. You read later on in Genesis that this person and the other person had concubines but God didn’t institute that, humans (more than likely men…) did that allllllll by themselves.

Genesis 2:23-24 [NLT] – “[23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” [24] This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

In fact, God said that the Israelite Kings were to only have one wife and Paul said that about leaders in the new testament:

Deuteronomy 17:17 NLT – “[17] The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the LORD. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.”

1 Timothy 3:2 NLT – “[2] So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife [Bloggers note: other translations say the husband of one wife]. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.”

1 Corinthians 7:2 NLT – “[2] But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.”

10.) The first humans were NAKED!

Genesis 2:25 [NLT] – “[25] Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”

Well I hoped you learned something from those 10 things and if you missed the previous 10 things about Genesis 1 (follow this link to read them here!)

Have a great evening Gals & Guys!

Catherine x

#New Ways To #Pray #Christian #Jesus

Hello everybody,

A short one today I’m v. busy. Two days ago I was very tired after doing a lot and praying a lot. So when it came to bedtime prayers I was very tired. (Every morning I pray and read the Bible before getting out of bed and every night I pray and read the Bible before I go to sleep).

So I decided that that night I would try something different as I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I invited Jesus to come and sit on the bed with me and listen to Christian music with me. Music that I wrote actually and just meditated on the lyrics, what they mean, what I can do better, how can I use these, the themes, reflecting on my relationship with Jesus, where we have been and asking Jesus questions.

I found it refreshing just to meditate in Jesus’ presence. The stress just washed off me and I don’t remember when I fell asleep! 

Try it. Put on some Christian music, if you write Christian music and it’s recorded put it on! Invite God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit to come and sit with you, meditate on God, ask Jesus questions and bask in the Holy Spirit.

Much love,

Catherine

Suffering

Hello everyone,

I watched the film King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword and God used the story as a spring board to speak to me about suffering in general, as well as my own personal suffering. Arthur went through suffering which enabled him to defeat his enemy and save his people. I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack is really interesting! I’ve been through a lot in my 27 years, not as much as others but enough.

I struggle daily with my blood sugar, exhaustion caused by mental anguish due to my health, dyslexia, dyspraxia. Because of them I have to focus so hard when reading that reading a couple pages sends me to sleep and I’m doing a PhD lol.

There’s also the Aspergers which also makes me exhausted, being around people makes me feel exhausted. I pretend like it doesn’t but it does lol. Like many autistic people I struggle to sleep because my mind won’t slow down at night so I have a habit of waking up exhausted.

On the plus side, peoplee with the above issues tend to be very creative and Jesus had made me creative. I play the: Penny Whistle in D, Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Alto Saxophone, Lever Harp, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar and I sing. I also own but do not play very often the: Soprano Recorder (the common one but that’s just it’s proper name), Ocarina and a Pan Flute! I also enjoy Sketching and Painting and composing music and photography! I’ve got many hobbies.

Now what I feel God is saying is that our characters and formed through suffering, low level suffering like a child wants a PS4 and the mother says wait to high level like you maybe develop a disease or something like that.

Reading Romans 9 it seems as though God actually chooses some people to cause trouble just to show His power and then He does away with them later?

Romans 9:11-23 NLT

[11] But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; [12] he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” [13] In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.” [14] Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! [15] For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” [16] So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. [17] For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” [18] So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. [19] Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” [20] No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” [21] When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? [22] In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. [23] He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.

How interesting! For scriptures relating to Pharaoh’s hard heartedness see Ex 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11,10, 14:8 read chapter 14 top the end to find out about what happened to Pharaoh. Also, looking at the story of Joseph, God also uses tragedy to help people as Joseph said:

Genesis 50:19-20 NLT

[19] But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? [20] You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

And through Jesus he did! Read on till Exodus 1:7.

God is given an opportunity to show off through adversity. He also teaches us humility in the face of his sovereignty. How can you have a Tesimony without the TEST? As Paul writes:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT

[7] even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. [8] Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. [9] Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. [10] That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Also, I think our “sinful natures” are tamed through adversity. Anyone recognise the following scenario?

Romans 7:14-24 NLT

[14] So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. [15] I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. [16] But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. [17] So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. [18] And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. [19] I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. [20] But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. [21] I have discovered this principle of life-that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. [22] I love God’s law with all my heart. [23] But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. [24] Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

But you see there is hope for us with dealing with our humanity as Paul writes further in Romans:

Romans 8:1-14 NLT

[1] So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. [2] And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. [3] The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. [4] He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. [5] Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. [6] So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. [7] For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. [8] That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. [9] But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) [10] And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. [11] The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. [12] Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. [13] For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. [14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Even though we try very hard to do good sometimes we just do the wrong thing. However, the difference between a child of God and someone from the world is that we will repent, recognise we are wrong accept God knows best and try our best to do what He wants us to do. Eventually we will become perfect!

John was exiled on the island of Patmos but then in his exclusion that’s where he received the revelation from Jesus that we today call the book of Revelation:

Revelation 1:9-11 NLT

[9] I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. [10] It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. [11] It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

So isolation is a tool of suffering that God used in order to speak to us and other people as well.

Another thing God broght to my attention is that He uses adversity to separate his people from the world. This is a special kind of suffering the bible teaches that will happen at the end time, this suffering is eternal. Jesus talks about it in the Parable Of The Wheat And Weeds:

Matthew 13:24-30 NLT

[24] Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. [25] But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. [26] When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. [27] “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ [28] “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. [29] “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'”

[JESUS THEN EXPLAINS THE PARABLE LATER]

Matthew 13:36-43 NLT

[36] Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” [37] Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. [38] The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. [39] The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. [40] “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. [41] The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. [42] And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

I feel like all I can say is to “fight the good fight”:

1 Timothy 6:11-14 NLT

[11] But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. [12] Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. [13] And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, [14] that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

When bad things come your way, the devil thinks he is doing it to break you but God is using bad things to show His power, to save other people, to humble us and help us recognise God’s sovereignty, to help us to recognise and deal with our “sinful natures”, to give us revelation/speak to us and to separate us as His own in end times.
I wrote a song about holding on in times of adversity and performed it at church, it’s called ‘We’re Holding On’ 🙂

https://soundcloud.com/hopelikerivers/were-holding-on-live-at-church

Lots of love Catherine x

Why I don’t Agree With “The #BillyGraham Rule” #Jesus #Christianity #morality #relationships #sex #women

Hey!,

So yesterday whilst I was doing some research for my PhD and I came across this recording of a segment of Woman To Woman on Premier Christian Radio. They were discussing “The Billy Graham Rule”. Here’s the link. Just like the Gender Justice Specialist Natalie Collins who was being interviewed on the radio, I don’t agree with it either and here’s why.

So what is “The Billy Graham Rule”?

This is a code of conduct adopted by the evangelist Billy Graham (I know a serious researcher doesn’t quote Wikipedia but for time constraints lets just do it anyway (bloggers note: at the time of writing this I was rushing because I had to go teach)):

The Billy Graham rule is a practice among male Protestant Christian leaders, in which they avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married. It is named after Billy Graham, the most notable proponent of the practice. It is adopted as a display of integrity and a means of avoiding sexual temptation, but has been criticized as being sexist.

Origins

In 1948, Graham held a series of evangelistic meetings in Modesto, California. Together with Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson, and George Beverly Shea, he resolved then to “avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion.” Since that time, Graham has not traveled, met, or eaten alone with a woman other than his wife Ruth.[1]

Arguments For “The Billy Graham Rule”

Ok that’s the rule in a nutshell. I totally understand why he would do that. Women are attracted to power, success and someone who appears to be “nice” and a good provider and father. So it’s totally understandable that Billy Graham would probably have had a lot of women young and old trying to get his attention because he would have presented to them as being someone that they wanted in their lives.

His charisma alone would have been attractive, moreover, women would have made assumptions about his personality because he was a preacher/evangelist. They would have assumed that he was “nice” and had decent values, conducive to a good provider.

Also, those of us who are under 50 are used to seeing Billy Graham looking like this:

Whereas back in his day Billy Graham looked like this!

He was a handsome man (side note, I like the look of that old fashioned microphone).

We need to accept that we are sexual beings

God created Adam and saw that it was not good that he was alone so then God made animals but they still weren’t compatible Genesis 2:18-20, then He created Eve who was the perfect companion for the man Adam (which actually means man lol)

[Genesis 2:18-24 NLT] [18] Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” [19] So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. [20] He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. [21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. [23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” [24] This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Women were made for men, God made women beautiful and attractive to men. It is what it is and it’s a good thing, we are designed as the ultimate companion for a man. Actually, in verse 18, the Hebrew word for “helper” is Ezer and that is the same word used to describe the kind of help that God gives to humanity as seen here:

[Psalm 33:20 NLT] [20] We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield.

Ezer is used to describe the kind of help where if the person who needed the help did not receive it they would perish. Humanity would perish without women, we are the ones who give birth to the men and then when they grow up we are the ones who love them. It doesn’t actually imply any kind of subordinate role at all[9]. But that is for another blog post for another time… See this article for more information on ‘Ezer.

However, there is a problem with human sexuality and sensuality, in that it has only been explored after the fall of man and in a sinful world. Regrettably sex, sadness and sin can be connected, especially in men, that’s their weakness. Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, tired and under appreciated can make men (and women as well) susceptible to sexual impropriety as sex makes you feel good. Adam and Eve would have been utterly demoralised after being cursed then evicted from their home, needing to feel good about themselves again. Here’s the fall of man starting from where God cursed the relationship of the sexes:

[Genesis 3:16-24 NLT] [16] Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” [17] And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. [18] It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. [19] By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” [20] Then the man–Adam–named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. [21] And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. [22] Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” [23] So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. [24] After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. [Genesis 4:1 NLT] [1] Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the LORD’s help, I have produced a man!”

We can see from this that indeed, as I said, when you’re feeling down sex can help to de-stress and literally, immediately after they were banished and cursed, Adam turned to Eve and said, “I’m gonna put a baby in u” (verse 20), then by the beginning of the next chapter he did!

From what we can see Adam only slept with Eve and had children her once they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. We have no evidence that they slept with each other before and we have no evidence that they didn’t sleep with each other before. Any assumptions we make regarding Adam’s pre-fall interaction with Eve is based on our present knowledge of post-fall men. We must assume Adam’s interaction with Eve before the fall was different because they were closer to Jesus. Jesus literally walked through the garden, they had not eaten the forbidden fruit and the curse of the rivalry between the sexes that we experience today was not there yet. Evidence for this different relationship between Adam and Eve can be found in Genesis 2:25:

[Genesis 2:25 KJV] [25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I love my guy friends and we are close but I would be really ashamed to have dinner with them if we were both naked! Bun that! lol. Why? Because we are sexual beings in a fallen world and I can’t take the sight of their bits unless I have to for some emergency that I hope never happens lol. Do men think the same way about their female friends? I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that they do not 🙂

Arguments Against “The Billy Graham Rule”

Objectification of women

I agree with most of what Gender Justice Specialist Natalie Collins said on Premier Christian Radio, that if men can’t be alone with women they should not be holding positions of authority. Moreover, “The Billy Graham Rule” reduces women to sexual objects and sexual integrity risks that if you’re alone with them, they will tempt you[2].

Personal responsibility and strength of character

Collins also went on to remind us that Jesus didn’t say if your eye causes you to sin go tell that thing to stop looking so attractive[3]. Jesus instead said:

[Matthew 18:9 NLT] [9] And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

She is right, Jesus said you need to deal with yourself, your actions and your own heart and the sinful emotions that cause you to have an inappropriate emotional response to any given external stimuli. It’s true, if you can’t interact appropriately with the opposite sex then there is something wrong with you and if a man can’t have dinner with a woman without having sex with her, he shouldn’t be having dinner with people at all![4]

Impracticalities no.1

Another good point that was raised by Collins was the impractical nature of “The Billy Graham Rule” in modern times. In the West, which is patriarchal but is still more of an egalitarian society than others, it’s impractical to try to always stay away from being alone with a women[5]. If you are a man and your manager is a women and you have to go into her office for an appraisal, which should be confidential, you have to go in there alone. If you are a man and you find yourself having to collaborate on a project with a female colleague, you may want to have a working lunch? It doesn’t have to be sexual and you insult your colleague at the mere thought of such a thing, I mean honestly, you’re assuming that she even wants to have sex with you? Really? You think you’re so good looking that you’re irresistible to all of womankind? There’s a moral to the story of Narcissus, familiarise yourself the term Narcissism.

Impracticalities no.2

Just one common sense thing, also raised by Collins. Some people are gay, so if one is going to truly observe “The Billy Graham Rule”, as a dude you need to avoid other dudes because they might be gay which presents a sexual integrity risk because they might fancy you and you can’t be seen being alone with another dude because people might think you’re gay with each other[6]. Whoops that leaves men having dinner with no one! That also means that women should avoid being alone with other women because they might be lesbians and that poses a sexual integrity risk. Leaving women hanging out with no one! Some people are also bi-sexual so everyone needs to watch out for them!

How did Jesus treat women?

Collins went on to say that Jesus didn’t treat women as sexual integrity risks, in fact, for His day, Jesus was very forward thinking in his approach to women[7]. He allowed Mary to sit at his feet and be taught by Him, a position traditionally only open to men. In the Bible times that was the place where the students and disciples of a rabbi would sit to learn, literally at the feet of their rabbi teacher.

[Luke 10:38-42 NLT] [38] As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. [39] Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. [40] But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” [41] But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! [42] There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We know that Paul sat at the feet of Gamalliel a very senior Rabbi.

[Acts 22:3 ESV] [3] “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.

Jesus spent time alone with women

Jesus also spent time alone with women at least twice:
1.) Once with the woman at the well who he even asked for a drink, which I think classes as having some food with a woman!

[John 4:3-10, 26-28 NLT] [3] So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. [4] He had to go through Samaria on the way. [5] Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. [6] Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. [7] Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” [8] He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. [9] The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” [10] Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”… [BLOGGERS NOTE: BETWEEN V 10 & 27 THE TWO CONVERSED FOR A WHILE]….. [26] Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!” [27] Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” [28] The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone,

2.) Then with Mary in the garden when he resurrected:

[John 20:6-18 NLT] [6] Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, [7] while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. [8] Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed– [9] for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. [10] Then they went home. [11] Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. [12] She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. [13] “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” [14] She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. [15] “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” [16] “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). [17] “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” [18] Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

Jesus had female disciples

So from that we can see that Jesus did not find it necessary to completely ostracise himself from women in one-on-one situations. In fact, Jesus actually had female disciples, they are just not talked about a lot because of the male domination over women in the church and the suppression of women’s contribution to Christianity by men over the ages. Have a look:

[Mark 15:40-41 NLT] [40] Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. [41] They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.

Personal reflections

We are works in progress

Jesus had the strength of character and nobility to be able to hang with anyone, murderers, thieves, prostitutes, promiscuous people, Pharisees (in the literal and metaphorical sense), the poor, the rich, the high cultured and the working class. However, the rest of us are still works in progress. I think our aim should be to be able to interact with everyone in an appropriate manner.

Deal with YOUR sin FIRST

Jesus said:

[Matthew 7:3-5 NLT] [3] “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? [4] How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? [5] Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

We need to deal with what’s inside of ourselves first. Stop worrying about what the woman or man will do to you and start concerning yourself with questioning the morality of what YOU want to do to that woman or man!

[Matthew 18:7 NLT] [7] “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.

As we can see the Bible says temptations are inevitable but you need to focus on being in a holy state of mind.

Segregating the sexes is damaging

When the sexes are separate we deny each other the benefits of each others experience and expertise. More often than not, women are the ones who actually suffer, academically, economically, emotionally and in every sense of the word, when there is segregation based on sex. It’s damaging, look at the number of top CEO’s that are women as opposed the the number of male top CEO’s. This practice is self defeating considering that research actually suggests that companies that have more women at the top do better financially than companies that don’t[8].

Recognise the rule of consent

I feel like, if men avoid being alone with women all the time they aren’t actually recognising a woman’s right to consent. You are making some really large assumptions about her personal preferences, as I said earlier. If you, a man, feel like you are attracted to a women who you, for whatever reason, cannot have a relationship with, then you cannot have a relationship with her, you need to move on and that’s it. If you feel like your desire for her is so bad that you cannot control your feelings towards her and the moment you are alone with her you fear that the slightest thing will set you off, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM because to do anything to her without her consent is rape. To assume she even wants to do anything with you is narcissistic.

God gave you a brain

I have often wondered what the verse of scripture in Psalm 32:8-9 meant when it says:

[Psalm 32:8-9 NLT] [8] The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. [9] Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

I feel like I understand it now. God doesn’t want us to be such mindless dogs that we cannot control ourselves so we need to do things like separate ourselves from the opposite sex to avoid sexual impropriety. Don’t be mindless and don’t treat yourself like you are a mindless fool. Don’t reduce each other. Lift each other up, when we are mature we don’t have do these silly games and society can get on with moving forward. God did not create us to be idiots, look what it says in the Psalms:

[Proverbs 5:21-23 NLT] [21] For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. [22] An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. [23] He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

RECOGNISE our brains and UTILISE yours. Compromising situations turn into compromise when it’s allowed to. It takes two to tango, it’s not like you can just say “well we were having dinner and then I slipped and fell and then the next thing I know we were having sex and my clothes… well they just fell of by themselves”. Just say no? Just decide not to and instead of seeing the woman as a vagina and tits see her as your intellectual equal, your colleague or your friend who is just there to do her job the same as you or who just wants to hang out. It’s not living life or respecting the intellect of your Christian brother or sister or your colleagues or just random people when you make certain assumptions. It also reduces people to their most abase feelings and sees them as nothing more than that. This is damaging, especially to women, as we don’t have the physical strength or the societal backing to shake off such a stigma.

Conclusion

The Bible says stay away from immoral women

Indeed it does!

[Proverbs 2:16-22 NLT] [16] Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman. [17] She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God. [18] Entering her house leads to death; it is the road to the grave. [19] The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life. [20] Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous. [21] For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. [22] But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.

The Bible says in many places that you should avoid immoral women and women who will compromise you sexually, mainly in Proverbs but no where will it say that you should avoid being alone with all women other than your wife all the time. NOWHERE does it say that.

However

Despite everything that I have said above, I think that the way forward is a balance between liberal/egalitarian/feminist tenets and “The Billy Graham Rule”. Let me explain. If you know a woman who is known for being a bit loose and randy, it’s best, if you are a man and you have to deal with her, try and avoid it as it says in Proverbs above. Speaking for the UK, sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, can be done against men as well as women, so there are legal grounds for a man to complain. Meet in public places or not at all, or over Skype etc or if you have to message her, just do it with your work email, (which as we all know can be read and is not personal) and or CC someone else into your messages. If this woman won’t take no for an answer you need to seriously distance yourself as as a man, lest in her shame she accuses you of doing something she wanted you to do but you didn’t like Potiphars wife Genesis 39:6-20. The law does not look kindly on men harassing women at all. I am an advocate of “The Billy Graham Rule” but ONLY FOR ACTUAL THREATS AGAINST YOU. I don’t agree with it as a means to make provision for your hard heartedness or sinful desires and I don’t agree with it as a permanent thing against all women or men because where does it stop? As I said earlier, some people are gay, some people are lesbian and some people are bisexual. You might as well just avoid everyone.

Personally, I don’t go around thinking that all men are attracted to me. I’ll have lunch or coffee with guys just me and them. I do this because I recognise the beauty and value of friendship. Friendship is really important, you won’t even get to boyfriend status with me if I can’t see that you can handle normal sensible mature adult relationships with women.

If I feel like a guy is attracted to me and I am not into him, I’ll modify my behaviour to let him know, subtly, in a way that does not brutalise his personality, that I’m not interested. If I feel like the guy has a problem accepting this I will avoid being alone with him for my own physical safety; because, as I said earlier, a healthy understanding and confrontation of the tensions between the sexes and human sensuality will help people to make good life choices.

Dudes, if I invite you out for a meal, just us, I literally just want company whilst I eat. It’s not sexual and we don’t need to talk, with me food goes from hand to mouth very quickly anyway lol. If it’s a date, I’ll say it’s a date. If it’s a stealth date, the invitation would have proceeded from oodles of conversation from me about nothing and I’ll call you something like “Lovely” or some other sickening platitude… instead of your real name 🙂

Much Love,

Catherine don’t assume I’m into you x

Foot Notes

[1] Wikipedia ‘Billy Graham Rule’, Wikipedia web site, at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[2] Premier Christian Radio ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[3] – ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[4] – ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[5] – ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[6] – ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[7] – ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[8] S. Farrel ‘Companies with women on the board perform better, report finds’ Guardian Web site, at: <https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/29/companies-with-women-on-the-board-perform-better-report-finds&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017
[9] Abarim Productions ‘Ezer’ Abari Productions web site, at: <http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Ezer.html#.WQtjjYXfsfo&gt;

Bibliography

“Acts 22:3 (ESV) – I am a Jew born.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/act/22/3/t_bibles_1040003&gt;.

Farrel, S., ‘Companies with women on the board perform better, report finds’ Guardian Web site, at: <https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/29/companies-with-women-on-the-board-perform-better-report-finds&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017

“Genesis 2 (KJV) – Thus the heavens and the.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/gen/2/1/s_2001&gt;.

“Genesis 3 (NLT) – The serpent was the shrewdest.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/gen/3/1/s_3001&gt;.

“Genesis 4 (NLT) – Now Adam had sexual relations.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/gen/4/1/s_4001&gt;.

“John 4:28 (NLT) – The woman left her water.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/jhn/4/28/s_1001028&gt;.

“John 20:16 (NLT) – Mary Jesus said She turned.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/jhn/20/16/s_1017016&gt;.

“Luke 10:40 (NLT) – But Martha was distracted by.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/luk/10/40/s_983040&gt;

“Mark 15:41 (NLT) – They had been followers of.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/mar/15/41/s_972041&gt;.

“Matthew 7:4 (NLT) – How can you think of.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/mat/7/4/s_936004&gt;.

“Matthew 18:7 (NLT) – What sorrow awaits the world.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/mat/18/7/s_947007&gt;.

“Matthew 18:9 (NLT) – And if your eye causes.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/mat/18/9/s_947009&gt;

Premier Christian Radio ‘Why I Don’t Agree With The Billy Graham Rule’, Premier Christian Radio Web site, at: <https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Interviews/Why-I-don-t-agree-with-the-Billy-Graham-rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017

“Proverbs 5:20 (NLT) – Why be captivated my son.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/pro/5/20/s_633020&gt;.

“Psalm 32:9 (NLT) – Do not be like a.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/psa/32/9/s_510009&gt;.

“Psalm 33 (NLT) – Let the godly sing for.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 4 May, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/psa/33/1/s_511001&gt;.

Wikipedia, ‘Billy Graham Rule’ Wikipedia Web site, at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_rule&gt; Accessed 4th May 2017

Wikipedia, ‘Narcissism’ Wikipedia Web site, at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism&gt; Accessed May 4th 2017

#songofsongs #Solomon #love #happiness #sex #Bible #new #song #love #marriage #Christian #music

Hey guys,

Sorry this one is a bit late I was out doing stuff lol.

I wrote a new song! (it’s at the bottom of this post). I thought I would provide some context to it.

Anyway, my favorite book of the bible is Song of Songs, which is also known as Song of Solomon or Songs of Solomon. Apparently, it was written by King Solomon from the Bible. He was a great lover of women who were not believers of God, which was his downfall because they eventually encouraged his to worship their idols.

Now, Song of Songs is written with parts for a Woman, a Man and a Chorus part for women, which Bible editors often put a sub-head as Young Women of Jerusalem.

There are 3 levels of symbolism in Song of Songs both horizontally and vertically:

1st) A man/husband = 2nd) Solomon = 3rd) Jesus

1st) A woman/wife = 2nd) The Bride of Christ = 3rd) The church

Let’s deal with 2nd male level of symbolism first. The book is written by Solomon so it’s understandable that he would write it using himself. Indeed his name is mentioned several times. That’s just kinda doing what it says on the tin. Any songwriter will use the words “I” and “me” in their songs but be really referring to someone or something else.

For the 3rd male level, verses that show parallels between Solomon and Jesus include: Psalm 2:6-7 [NLT] (This was potentially written by David about Solomon but later refers to Jesus in Matthew 3:17.

[6] For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.” [7] The king (bloggers note: this was referring to King David) proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son (bloggers note: King David was referring to Solomon, potentially, I’ll come back to this at another time and give you more verses or you can comment and give me some!). Today I have become your Father. [8] Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. [9] You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.'”

There are many more but that’s what I came up with off the top of my head.

Some theorists, theologians and me, feel that the Woman in Song of Songs not only represents a woman but the Bride of Christ (2nd female level of symbolism), which represents the Church (3rd female level of symbolism), which is basically all Christians. The Bride of Christ is referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:2 [NLT] by Paul:

[11] For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband-Christ.

The most comprehensive references are in Revelation, such as in Revelation 19:6-10 [NLT]:

[10] Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. [7] Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb (bloggers note: the Lamb represents Jesus because He was sacrificed in the same way a lamb would have been to atone for sins), and his bride has prepared herself. [8] She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. [9] And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” [10] Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”

Another reference to the Bride of Christ in Revelation 21:1-5 [NLT]:

[5] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. [2] And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. [3] I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. [4] He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” [5] And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

This is the most translucent reference to the Bride of Christ,showing that she represents a group of people.

At the 1st level of symbolism, Song of Songs also shows us the ideal dynamics of a relationship between a husband and a wife before and after they are courting. It does this to use a metaphor and situation that we humans can understand. There is a lot of joy between the Man and the Woman. They are thrilled by everything about each other! They also have sex with each other. They enjoy it and even enjoy being aroused by each other and encourage it WITHIN MARRIAGE! (I’ll give you the verses later lol). I feel personally that Song of Songs gives licence for married people to enjoy having sex within marriage and to also enjoy being turned on by your spouse. Which is a good thing. I’ll come back to the parallels for marriage at another time.

I’ve shown the parallels between the 3 levels of make and female symbolism, I’m now going to explain what this means for us as Christians today. The relationship between the man and woman is unusual, as it is actually the woman who pursues the man! This shows us how we, the church, need to pursue Jesus, as much as we want to pursue someone we really love and want to marry!

Moreover, the same intensity of desire the woman has for sexual union with her husband, referred to as “Lover”, is the same level of intensity of desire that we as Christians need to have for Jesus!

On the other side, we see how deeply the man yearns for the woman, for sexual intimacy as well as emotional support. This gives us humans an understandable parallel/metaphor, showing how deeply Jesus desires to be in a relationship with us.

Men’s appetites for sexual union with their wives and to be understood and appreciated by their wives is voracious! So if we think about it this way, relating it to Jesus, we can understand that Jesus has a deep and voracious desire to have the height of intimacy with us all the time, (non-sexual of course but the same desired effect that sex achieves within marriage). As sex is the height of intimacy that can be enjoyed by a man and a woman (who aren’t related to reach other, although it is legal in the UK to marry your cousin) within marriage.

So, we need to chase and desire Jesus and Jesus really wants us to chase Him and wants a deep, intimate and personal relationship with us, where we understand and appreciate Him because He thinks we are totally beautiful and he wants to know us!

It is out of this context that I got sentences from Song of Songs from the New Living Translation (because it’s an easily understandable translation) and made it into a song.

It satisfies the 3 levels of symbolism by paralleling a relationship between 1st)me, 2nd) a wife and 1st) my fictional husband (I don’t have a husband or a boyfriend. One day I’m sure I will 😉 ), 2nd) a fictional husband, as well as representing 3rd) the church and Jesus Christ!

Click here to listen to the song or use the embedded player below:

https://soundcloud.com/hopelikerivers/song-of-songs

Love Catherine x

Me on my teaching day with my new earrings hehe!