Adam’s Spare Rib Story: More Significant Than You Think! #Jesus #Bible #Christianity #AdamandEve

Hey everyone I dug into the archives of my laptop to find some old notes I made about things. Here’s something I wrote in August 2011, just before I graduated First Class (heh!) from my degree! The conclusions are from 2019!

 

The story of Adams rib was more important than you think.

God put Adam to sleep and took out his rib and made Eve out of it:

(Genesis 2:21-23 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. [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.'”

This means Eve was actually a part of Adam before she and he were separated and became two.

Now Eve was Adam’s wife and Adam was Eve’s husband. In Ephesians 5:28 it says:

(Ephesians 5:28-29 NLT) “[28] In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. [29] No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”

So a wife is a part of a husband’s own body – that s why when you, a husband, love your wife you love yourself. You look after yourself so you look after your wife – Jesus looks after us because we are a part of Him as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:15:

(1 Corinthians 6:15 NLT) “[15] Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never!”

Also, again in 1 Corinthians 12:

(1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27 NLT) “[12] The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. [13] Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. [14] Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. … [27] All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

If your foot was broken you wouldn’t leave it alone? Paul shows, using the body metaphor how silly it is t neglect parts of the body of Christ AND THIS INCLUDES YOUR WIFE:

(1 Corinthians 12:15-27 NLT) “[15] If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? [17] If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? [18] But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. [19] How strange a body would be if it had only one part! [20] Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. [21] The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” [22] In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. [23] And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, [24] while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. [25] This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. [26] If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. [27] All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

The weakest, most humble parts are sometimes the most necessary it says here. Your wife is physically weaker than you and socially disenfranchised, meaning that she is in a more humbled position than you, especially in Anglo-American societies that are Patriarchal. However, your wife is super necessary. Bear that in mind.

Anyway, back to Adam’s rib…

As I said, Adam was a metaphor of Jesus. The Bible even goes further to actually call Jesus the second Adam:

(1 Corinthians 15:45 NLT) “[45] The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit.”

In fact! The Bible even goes further to actually call Adam the Son of God in the genealogy that Luke provides that goes from Jesus all the way back to Adam:

(Luke 3:38 NLT) “[38] Kenan was the son of Enosh. Enosh was the son of Seth. Seth was the son of Adam. Adam was the son of God.”

It’s true. Adam (earthly man) and Jesus (heavenly man) were the only humans males that were not born through coitus. Making Adam and Jesus the only males who truly only had God as their father. In the same fashion, Eve (earthly woman) is the only woman not born through coitus. Meaning that Eve was the only woman who truly had no other father than God as well. In the same fashion, The Bride of Christ (the church) (spiritual woman), which is “born of the Spirit”, is the only female entity not born of coitus either, meaning that the church truly has no other father than God.

Just a quick explanation of this and the meaning behind this earthly man then heavenly man, earthly woman then heavenly woman symbolism:

(1 Corinthians 15:46-54 NLT) “[46] What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. [47] Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. [48] Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. [49] Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. [50] What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. [51] But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! [52] It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. [53] For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. [54] Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

This further explains the metaphorical relationship behind Adam and Christ, Adam shows humanity before salvation and Christ shows humanity after it.

Back to the Rib again lol… Now, in order to have his bride Adam had his side opened in Genesis 2:21-22:

(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.

This was the epiphany Jesus gave me all these years ago….

…In order for Jesus to have His bride, The Bride of Christ, which is the church, Jesus had to have his side opened as well. In fact, the last place Jesus bled on earth was His side:

(John 19:34 NLT) “[34] One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.”

The only difference between the two injuries is that God closed Adam’s wound:

(Genesis 2:21-23 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.

…but Jesus’ wound was left open:

(John 20:19-20 NLT) “[19] That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. [20] As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!”

Fascinating! Do you see the relationship and similarities between Adam and Jesus now? And the Rib story? It’s there staring you in the face!

 

Closing Thoughts

The only thing I can say is do not expect that God is going to give you your perfect wife without dealing with you first. You want something nice. You must work for it and be prepared to sacrifice in order to have it. It may be that you have negative aspects of your personality that need to be purged? Or God just might just want to change you to make you the best version of you that you can be.

Jesus had to sacrifice for nice things and He is God, how do you expect to have nice things without sacrifice? Remember what Jesus said about what He went through and what could happen to us:

(John 15:18-20 NLT) “[18] “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. [19] The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. [20] Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”

We are the followers of Jesus, if Jesus had to sacrifice for His bride you will have to do the same thing:

(1 Peter 4:1-3 NLT) “[1] So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. [2] You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. [3] You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy–their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.”

I’m not saying that you should expect to be knifed up to get married. I’m just saying that you should just be prepared to change and sacrifice for your wife and your marriage. If you’re not prepared to change and or make any kind of intimate personal sacrifices in your life for the sake of other people you’re not ready to get married. Simple.

 

To Summarise

Adam and Eve were the first married couple. Eve was a part of her husband, Adam.

Adam had to sacrifice to get his wife Eve. In fact, Adam was actually injured in his side in the process of getting his wife. God decided that this was meant to be.

Jesus, like Adam, sacrificed and was actually mortally wounded in the process of getting His bride, the church. God made Jesus rise again so He is now living.

If even Jesus had to sacrifice something personal for His bride and Jesus is our example, that shows us that being a husband involves sacrifice as well– the likes of which many young men fail to fully realise until they are already married.

 

Catherine x

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SPECIAL EDITION: #GoodFriday – The Day God Died (not for good though!)

Hello everyone,

It’s Good Friday today and I thought I would give you a run down of what happened and what it tells us about true love. Most of the info here is adapted from The Virtual Preacher (see the bibliography for more information).

On Good Friday Jesus had already had the sham trial Matthew 27:11-26 then the Pharisees also encouraged the crowd to request that Barrabas be released instead of Jesus. The Soldiers had whipped Jesus to within an inch of His life sentenced to Crucifixion and was now carrying the cross on the way to the Crucifixion site. Here’s where we will begin:

True Love Is Doing As Well As Feeling

(Matthew 27:27-32 NLT) “[27] Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. [28] They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. [29] They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” [30] And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. [31] When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. [32] Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

The Bible doesn’t reveal much about the identity of Simon except he was from a city called Cyrene in North Africa, probably a an African convert who came on pilgrimage during Passover.

Why was Simon reluctant to take the cross and help Jesus?

  • It was considered an unclean task as the cross was drenched with Jesus’ blood and other body fluids.
  • It was also difficult because the beam weighed over 300 pounds.
  • It was also embarrassing because only criminals condemned to death carried a cross. It was a sign of mockery.
  • It was also inconvenient.

The short story of what Simon of Cyrene shows that cannot truly be Jesus’ disciples unless we are willing to step out of the comfort zone. Being a follower of Jesus is not about the sacraments and pilgrimages. They are nice but real love is kinaesthetic, it’s an action as much as a feeling. Jesus died for us, which is an action that is how Jesus demonstrated devotion to us. For our part in Luke Jesus said:

(Luke 9:23 NLT) “[23] Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

True Love Puts Others First

(Matthew 27:33-34 NLT) “[33] And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). [34] The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.”

Gall was a pain killer in Jesus’ day. It was mixed with the wine to make it drinkable, women often offered it to the person being executed to dull the pain. Having lost a lot of blood from the sourging and having been nailed to the cross Jesus and was thirty but refused to drink the gall mixed with wine.

Why did Jesus refuse to drink?

  • Jesus was determined to complete His mission of fulfilling the law
  • Jesus did not want to compromise the mission in any way by doing things that would have made it easier than it should have been.
  • Jesus was committed to take the full extent of our pain, sorrow and shame because He considered that more important than His!

Jesus also showed us that real love is sacrificial and not self seeking, just like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT) “[4] Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud [5] or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. [6] It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. [7] Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

True Love Stands In The Gap Between The Beloved And Trouble

(Matthew 27:35-54 NLT) “[35] After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. [36] Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. [37] A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” [38] Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. [39] The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. [40] “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” [41] The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. [42] “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! [43] He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” [44] Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. [45] At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. [46] At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, [“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”] which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” [47] Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. [48] One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. [49] But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” [50] Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. [51] At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, [52] and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. [53] They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. [54] The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!””

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400 BC and was used by the Romans as a punishment for the most serious criminals. Death by crucifixion was slow and agonizing. The victims were crucified naked and in public which was humiliating, as you can see from the above people taunted Jesus.

Victims of crucifixion endured dehydration, blood loss due to flogging, shock from the pain and paroxysms (follow this link to find out what that word means), as they pulled up with their arms and pushed with their legs to keep their chest cavity open for breathing and then collapsed in exhaustion. The eventual cause of death from crucifixion was: suffocation, cardiac arrest, loss of blood or all of above.

What is the significance of crucifixion?

  • It was a symbol of God’s curse on sin.
  • The bodies of those crucified were left to the birds. They were not given a burial. This is also considered a curse from God.
  • These factors indicate that Jesus stood in the gap and took the curse of God which we rightfully deserved on himself.

Jesus Christ took our curse upon himself and paid the price for our sin. Jesus stood in the gap between us and what we had coming to us. Our atonement to and relationship with Jesus God the Son and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit is made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah put it eloquently:

(Isaiah 53:5 NLT) “[5] But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Summary On True Love Displayed In The Good Friday Message

This Good Friday message gives us an example of the three distinct types of commitments of love displayed by Jesus:

True love is doing as well as feeling – This means a commitment for us to be willing to take a stand for Jesus not just say we are Christians, act like it.

True love puts others first – This means a commitment to be faithful: don’t compromise in times of crisis, always put Jesus first regardless.

True love stands in the gap: For me this just shows me how selfless Jesus was and what an example it is for us in our relationships with other humans, regardless of what kind of relationship it is. This shows also a commitment to be just as committed to Jesus as Jesus is to us and just to allow Jesus to love you and just enjoy being loved!

The type of commitment you need to make will vary depending on where you are in your life with Christ. Which one of these commitments do you think you need to make?

Have a happy Good Friday!

Bibliography

The Virtual Preacher. 2019. ‘Good Friday Sermon, Watching Jesus Die – Part 1’, The Virtual Preacher Website, at: <https://www.virtualpreacher.org/sermon-outlines/good-friday-sermon-2011-part-1/&gt; 19 April 2019

Goodbye #NotreDame, hello controversial donations…

Hey everyone,

I’m sure you have all heard the news about the terrible fire that ravaged the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. A terrible pity! Apparently it took some 200 years to build in the first place. the French Prime minister wants to rebuild it in 5 years. Given modern technology that is probably possible.

The thing that gets me though is, you have all of these companies and private citizens that are pledging millions of Euro’s to rebuild a cathedral, just plucking this spare money out of the air. That’s nice but that’s not the issue. The issue is that those companies and private citizens had millions spare all this time and they cough it up just to rebuild a dead piece of art??

I am a Christian and I think it is a shame about the cathedral and I do think yes they should rebuild it but I can’t believe the whole world has been going to hell this whole time and those donkey’s had obscene amounts of spare money to help this whole time AND THEY DIDN’T!?!!?!!???? Instead, they pledge money to a cause that the French government said would foot the bill for anyway…

Philanthropy starts with humans. The larger donors had the means to sort out the living and they didn’t, they just sat on their money. The building is dead, it isn’t living. Rebuild it by all means yes, make that a priority by all means yes but I just can’t believe that the larger donors had all this spare money, this whole time, knowing full well how desperate life is for some in the world and they did nothing. There’s parts of the world where people don’t get to a doctor for months! Damn you!

Shame on you! Where were you when people were dying of Ebola and aids? Or when community housing was lacking? Or people couldn’t get loans? Or when women couldn’t get equal pay? Or when it became clear how many adults were illiterate? Or when people were dying of diseases because they didn’t have proper sanitation? Or girls couldn’t go to school because they were too poor to buy sanitary pads/tampons? Where were you when charities needed money to stop FGM (Female Genital Mutilation – it’s female circumcision, it’s not legal and is practised by conservative Muslims, they tie the girls down and cut of their clitoris with a rusty, used, shaving blade, they then sew up their vagina’s only leaving a hole large enough for urination and menstruation. They then open them up on their wedding nights. It’s an extreme way of proving that the female in question has been a virgin since she was a child and only had sex on her wedding night. It’s not legal in Britain… obviously.) (Follow this link to the NHS page to read more about FGM) I mean you know, where were you even when all of your products ended up in the sea and everyone else had to foot the bill the clean it up?

*pfft*

FYI – remember that new #song I wrote? I put it on #SoundCloud! Listen to it here. | #acoustic #freelance

Hey everybody,

Just a quick FYI – you remember I wrote a new song? Well I realised I hadn’t put it up on SoundCloud so now I have 🙂 Enjoy!

Here’s a playlist with more of my acoustic songs:

Here it is again on YouTube and – PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Catherine x

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Feeling better! 🙂

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I Just Want To Say That #Jesus Is Good

Hello friends,

As you know I was ill which is why I have’nt been doing mahoosive posts or even videos! However, keep on reading each week and as I get stronger I’m going to surprise you with something wonderful! 😉

For now here’s a verse of scripture that has been keeping me going in these trying times:

(Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT) “[17] Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, [18] yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”

Catherine x

Getting back to work | #PhD #PhDlife #Jesus

Hey everyone!

As we speak I am working on an essay. My recovery has been steady which is great. Jesus has helped me to actually manage to keep to my deadlines despite what’s been going on with my health!

As you can imagine, I’m not going to be doing long blog posts or videos whilst I am recovering and trying to catch up with my work so please bare with me! I’m just blogging to let you guys know I am still here and thinking of you!

P.S. I would love one of those Japanese ‘dozing desk’ contraptions seen in the featured image at the top. If you would like to donate one to me post a comment below 😀

lots of love

Catherine x

Thanks for your prayers! | #singer #songwriter

Hey everyone!

Thanks for your prayers and consideration! I totally felt it this week!

God has been good. I’ll be back with a video or something soon so watch this space!

For now please entertain yourselves with the following playlist. The first song is a piece I composed for my Masters in Music Composition 🙂 Watch in the embedded player or follow this link : PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO ME ON YOUTUBE 🙂

Catherine’s Top Pick’s! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyXNhxziFkz8uxVK7BHogGtM3B_q6evwP

Catherine

[Video] I Wrote A New #Song! – #music #youtube #singersongwriter #freelance #acousticguitar –>

Hey everybody!

I thought it would be nice to take a little break from long blog posts and #PhD posts!

I wrote a new song! (Check out my other music by following this link) I came up with this song one day when I was really sick and laying in bed. Again, inspired by my favourite book of the bible, Song of Songs. I love the metaphor!

Like Song of Songs it has 3 levels of symbolism. It is a love song between a woman and a man, (where the woman is the one who pursues the man which is an aspect particular to this book of the bible), it is also representative of how women and men should behave in relationships but it also represents the relationship between the church (who is always represented as a bride in the bible) and Jesus (who is sometimes represented as a bridegroom in the bible). It’s a call to Jesus to just have His way in your life 🙂

If you like what you see please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

If you have questions about Jesus try the Alpha Course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98KX77XLoCg

Catherine x

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