Haven’t done this in a while! If you like subscribe to my YouTube channel!!!
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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!
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I hope you have fun reading this!!! Its something to refreshen you 🙂
This document has been written in response to the legalistic heterodoxy I recently encountered that states that: “…our sins are forgiven only upon baptism.”. This article begins by confronting the initial misunderstanding and then provides clarification on how we actually obtain the forgiveness of our sins by faith in Jesus. Following that, I give reasons why the heterodoxy of thinking that our sins are forgiven only upon baptism does not correlate with our post-resurrection era of grace and is an attempt to bring us back to the Law of Moses and why this is not desirable. After that, I explain what grace is, why it’s important for the forgiveness of our sins and I put forward arguments against the forgiveness of sins being earnable through works such as baptism. The latter part of this article is focused on equipping, showing the reader how individuals can achieve forgiveness of their sins through faith, made possible by grace and concludes with an explanation of key scriptures related to the topic.
We are saved through “faith” in Jesus and this is made possible by “grace”. Our sins are not forgiven at baptism, as this would mean that an individual has to do an action to earn their salvation and salvation cannot be earned. Salvation is not transactional like the Law of Moses. The whole point of Grace is that it is unmerited favour from God, which is transformational as opposed to the transactional like the Law of Moses. If you have not grasped this you have totally misunderstood the Bible, misplaced yourself amongst the Godhead and you do not understand what Jesus did on the cross. This is basic Christianity 101 and all Christians should have a firm grasp on this concept not only for your own information but also so you can teach and educate other Christians who do not have a full understanding of this revelation from the Lord (Bradley 2019, i)
You are justified/saved/forgiven through faith ONLY. Your baptism, although it is a command, comes as a desire to live out of your faith. The heresy of salvation through baptism in the cult I encountered arose from their leaderships misunderstanding of the NIV translation of verses pertaining to baptism such as:
(Acts 2:38 NIV) “ Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
This does not mean that your sins are forgiven at baptism, it is saying that you repent then get baptised as a public sign that you believe that through your belief in Jesus, confession of your sins to Jesus and your repentance to Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
Only Jesus can forgive sins not your actions qualifying you for forgiveness. If your actions could qualify you then there would have been no need for Jesus to die and the Law of Moses would have been enough to save you. We see from Galatians that that is not the case:
(Galatians 2:16, 21 NIV) “ know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. …  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
Clearly the above verse alone disproves any notion that salvation can be earned by works of any kind. It says we are justified by faith. Let us discuss further what it means to be “justified by faith”.
When we use the term, “justified by faith” what we mean is that we are made right, (atoned) with God, by our faith in Jesus and not our actions. Abraham, the forerunner of all Christians was justified by his FAITH, not by his actions. His actions were brought about by his faith, look what Romans says:
(Romans 4:3-4, 13-16 NIV) “ What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. …  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,  because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.  Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”
The promise of salvation and the forgiveness of your sins comes by FAITH not a law like “you must receive baptism” for our sake because not everyone would be able to fulfil it. Think about it, baptism cannot be the thing that means that your sins are forgiven because some people do not have a sufficient source of water due to poverty and drought. If being baptised is when your sins are forgiven poor people who can’t afford water/water is scarce/dry wells will never have their sins forgiven, only rich/middle class people, (who can afford to waste water), will go to heaven.
Jesus can forgive your sins before baptism, take Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 9:1-6, Luke 7:47-48 Jesus just forgave those people, they didn’t get baptised first).
(Luke 23:39-43 NIV) “ One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Jesus forgave him without him being baptized, he didn’t get the chance to be baptized as he died before he could get baptized, after believing in Jesus. Let’s look at another example in Matthew:
(Matthew 9:1-8 NIV) “ Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.  Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”  Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  Then the man got up and went home.  When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”
Jesus forgave that man of his sins without him getting baptized. Jesus also said that He has the authority to forgive sins. Why are we trying to strip Jesus of His own authority of forgiving sins, by saying that there are other man made things that you have to do before achieving salvation? This next example is quite important:
(Luke 7:47-50 NIV) “ Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
Look what Jesus said; it was the woman’s faith in Him that led to her salvation not something that she did, her actions were informed by her faith but her salvation was only received at the point of faith.
Saying that your sins are only forgiven upon baptism is dangerous heterodoxy that has come about by gotten caught up in legalistic semantics, making a human idea fit on to Gods word. Therefore, missing the point and complete mercy of the grace of God. It’s God who calls us not the other way round (Still 2019).
It is the “Grace” of God that allows us the opportunity to receive salvation, if we have “faith” in Jesus. Faith is belief, it is not an action, it is a feeling or a conviction and has nothing to do obeying a law. It is merely a transaction as opposed to a transformation.
Let’s just confront the elephant in the room. God didn’t always express a deep fondness for the Law of Moses. God always preferred humans to have faith and to love one another, look at what God said in Isaiah:
(Isaiah 1:11-17 NIV) “ “The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.  Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!  Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
The same sentiment is reiterated in Jeremiah:
(Jeremiah 7:22-23 NIV) “ For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices,  but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
Again in Hosea:
(Hosea 6:6 NIV) “ For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Then in Amos:
(Amos 5:21-24 NIV) “ “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) “ With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Lastly, if it’s not clear enough that God did not care for the law, we are taught in Hebrews that Jesus himself expressed God’s dissatisfaction with a legal, transactional salvation:
(Hebrews 10:5-8 NIV) “ Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;  with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”  First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”–though they were offered in accordance with the law.”
So why did God ever give us the law? Well, as we see in Romans, it was just necessary to show US how sinful humans are and how much we need God as it says in Romans:
(Romans 3:20-22 NIV) “ Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,”
When the law was followed it didn’t mean anything to God unless their hearts were right. God wants faith, love and obedience above everything else, like it says in Psalms:
(Psalm 50:7-15 NIV) “ “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God.  I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.  I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,  and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.””
We make a mockery of Jesus’ death when we think that we need to add anything to the gospel and do any special actions other than believe that Jesus can forgive our sins in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins. If we needed to do extra things to receive forgiveness then Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough and this does not align with what the scriptures clearly say:
(Hebrews 9:9-12 NIV) “ … the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
If the bible says in the above verse that Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, once and that action was enough to ensure the forgiveness of our sins who are we to say otherwise? Physical actions such as baptism and any actions prescribed in the Law of Moses (See Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were never enough to cleanse, they only dealt with the outside. This idea is reiterated later on in this chapter of Hebrews:
(Hebrews 9:24-28 NIV) “ For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Again, it makes it clear here that Jesus’ death and resurrection was enough and belief in Jesus and repentance all you need. Jesus did this one time, for all and it does not need to be added to by humans, by saying you need baptism to have your sins forgiven. Beliefs like that take us back to the Law. Look what it says in Romans about the Law:
(Romans 3:19-28 NIV) “ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
To believe that your sins are only forgiven when you are baptised is to resurrect the Law of Moses and we are not living under that now, we are living under grace. The Law was never designed to sanctify you anyway; it was just designed to show you how sinful you were. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection what the bible advocates for the forgiveness of sins is Faith made possible by “grace”.
Lastly, when it comes to any kind of ceremonial washing, such as baptism, we need to remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees when they confronted Him on this issue:
(Matthew 23:25-26 NIV) “ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Here Jesus shows that external washing does not make a difference to the inside. It is an internal transformation of faith and love, aided by grace that makes the outside clean.
Let’s have a look at Grace for further understanding. The classic definition of Grace is that God’s grace is unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved God’s judgment and wrath but He showed them favor. (Cole 2019).
The best way to look at this revelation is to look at it like you are looking at a two-sided coin. On the one side of the coin the grace of God is the “unmerited favour and mercy” of God and as mentioned earlier, we are saved by “grace” through our faith in Jesus Christ. The second definition of the word grace, which will be the other side of this same coin, is that the grace of God is referring to the divine life, power and ability of God flowing and operating through us (Bradley 2019, i)
The first definition of grace is what this article is concerned with, the idea that God created an opportunity for our sins to be forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This opportunity is something that we did not deserve, it was something that we could not go through and it is certainly something that we can never earn. Initially, sin was dealt with through the law, as mentioned earlier but now we have an opportunity to have salvation through faith because of God’s grace.
To understand why grace was necessary we need to go back to the beginning of the bible. If we look at what happened to humanity in the beginning we would come to the conclusion that the truth of the matter is that every human after Adam is dead in her or his trespasses and sins. Paul explains this to the Church at Ephesus, as follows:
(Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV) “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”.
And Paul goes on to give us great news:
(Ephesians 2:4-10, 14-15 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. …  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,”
There was a time, after Adam and Eve first sinned, that God’s law was expanded into more than 600 things that the people could and could not do. The people could not obey these laws and at one point God wiped out all of mankind because they were so evil. He saved only Noah and his family because Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. Even after Noah, man continued to disobey and because God’s chosen people, Israel (the Jewish people), rejected God’s eternal plan of salvation, it was offered to the Gentiles (those who are not Jewish). Paul writes about this in his letter to the Church at Rome:
(Romans 11:30-32 NIV) “ Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,  so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”(Williams 2019)
It is not that God’s grace is missing from the Old Testament. No one was saved in the Old Testament apart from God’s grace but John 1:17 shows the contrast between the two terms of engagement between God and humans in the two testaments:
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses [Old Testament*]; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ [New Testament*].”
*Note added by author of this article.
This is because:
(John 3:17-18 NIV) “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(Cole 2019)
If you think that your sins are forgiven only at baptism it shows that you do not believe that Jesus alone has the power to forgive sins and you don’t understand Grace. It clearly says here that anyone who believes in Jesus is not condemned. What’s another word for believe? It’s faith, so to reiterate, your sins are forgiven in your faith in Jesus, that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, which is why we go to Jesus and ask Jesus forgiveness of our sins and that is enough. This opportunity to be forgiven is called Grace.
This opportunity to receive salvation just by faith due to the grace of God means that grace is available to all. Instead of only just those who have the ability to waste water and be baptized.
Paul says that the appearance of God’s grace brought “salvation to all men.” The KJV and the NIV err by translating that God’s grace has appeared to all men. That never has been true, in that there have always been many that have never heard of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Paul means that God’s grace that appeared in the person of Christ offers salvation to all that hear of it. In the context, Paul has just spoken of various groups: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. So when he goes on to say that God’s grace brings salvation to all men, he means, “to all types of people, including those whom the world despises, even to slaves.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.
This does not mean that all people are saved or will be saved. The Bible is uniformly clear that there are two separate final destinations for all people. Those who by God’s grace have the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell.
But the good news of God’s grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church. He called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13, 15). But he experienced God’s grace through the cross. If the chief of sinners found mercy, so can you! (Cole 2019).
The idea that you have to do anything extra other than believe that Jesus can forgive your sins in order to achieve the forgiveness of your sins, like getting baptized or being circumcised is pharisaical heterodoxy that comes from adding human ideas and mixing them with the pure gospel.
God’s pure grace gets polluted from two sides. On the one side, grace runs counter to the way the world works, so it is difficult for us to grasp it and get used to it. The world works on a transactional meritocratic system. If you do well in school, you get good grades and win awards. If you do well in sports, you make the team and get applause. If you get into university, the merit system continues to reward excellence. This carries over into the business world after university. Exceptional performance earns promotions and raises. Sloppy performance will get you fired.
In the spiritual realm, all of the world’s religions, except for biblical Christianity, work on the merit system. Even the major branches of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church teach a system of meritocratic-salvation, where you have to add your works to what Christ did on the cross in order to go to heaven.
This merit system of salvation permeates the public mind. Ask anyone on the street his opinion of how a person gets into heaven and you will hear something about being a good person. It was at the heart of pharisaic, legalistic religion in the times of Jesus and Paul (Willams 2019).
We see time and time again Paul rebuffing these ideas that you have to add something extra other than faith to the gospel in order to receive forgiveness. Take the issue of circumcision for example.
(Genesis 17:11 NIV) “ You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.”
(John 7:22 NIV) “ Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.”
Some Jewish converts to Christianity were telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) that they had to get circumcised (a prescription of the Law of Moses) in order to receive salvation. Paul rebuffed this saying:
(Romans 4:9-13 NIV) “ Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!  And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”
We see here that Paul is saying that Abraham’s circumcision was a sign that he was justified by his faith and that justification came before the action not after. In the same fashion Baptism is a sign that you are justified by faith and that justification/sanctification and forgiveness of sins came before you were dunked in water not after.
Again, Paul discusses the issue of Pharisaical individuals trying to pollute the concept of grace in Galatians stating:
(Galatians 3:2-6 NIV) “ I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain–if it really was in vain?  So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?  So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.””
This is true, we begin by faith and then some people who misunderstand the Gospel and what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant for us and insist that there is another step or so that we need to do in order to achieve forgiveness. This is not true and I ask the same metaphorical questions that Paul asked. Did you receive the Gospel, miracles and the Holy Spirit by going through an action or did you receive those things by FAITH?
Let’s see further examples from Galatians regarding obtaining salvation through any other action other than faith.
(Galatians 3:8-12, 14, 18-19, 21-24 NIV) “ Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.  For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”  Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” …  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. …  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.  Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. …  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”
We see that we are justified through faith. The opportunity to be justified through faith is called Grace. We also see that if we live by the law and if we could achieve salvation through the law we are also forced to face the consequences of the law and we make God a liar because the promise given to Abraham would be nullified:
(Galatians 3:14-18 NIV) “ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.  The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.  What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.”
So if you could achieve forgiveness of sins, through a law like “you must be baptised” then we make out God to be a liar because God promised that the righteous would live by faith:
(Habakkuk 2:4 NIV) “ “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright–but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness–“
Every step of the way the bible talks about belief being and faith being synonymous with salvation:
(John 3:31-36 NIV) “ The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.  The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
We also condemn ourselves to the consequences of the law because if you don’t fulfil it there are consequences. So if you are not able to get baptised you will never have your sins forgiven. However, if we live by faith, we will be able to partake in the promise of an inheritance of the Spirit and become true children of Abraham and receive justification, salvation and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.
The opportunity to receive this promise is called Grace. Which as we have seen, cannot be earned, it is only achieved through faith and not works. The patriarch of Christianity, Abraham, was justified through his faith before any of the works, that confirmed his faith, took place.
Everyone loves receiving gifts but for a gift to be yours, you must accept it. When you believe the truth of the gospel – that Jesus died for your sins, was buried according to the Scriptures and was raised again on the third day and that by believing this, accepting Jesus as your saviour and asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sins – according to the Scriptures, you are guaranteed eternal life and you receive the gift. God seals your name in the Lambs Book of Life and leaves the Holy Spirit as the Promise that Jesus will return to redeem you into eternal life with Him and His Father in Heaven. Your death sentence is lifted and you are no longer condemned. One bible passage to study about the results of this salvation include: John 3:16-18:
(John 3:16-18 NIV) “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Grace does not mean that we may now do things that displease the Lord. Under the Law we saw death and we were bound as a slave to that Law. Under grace we have freedom through the leading of the Spirit. We needed the Law to convince us of our personal need of a Saviour (Gal 3:23-26).
(Galatians 3:23-26 NIV) “ Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,”
Under grace we are no longer focused on the “dos” and “don’t”, rather, when we follow the Spirit we always do what pleases God (Willams 2019).
There are key verses that Christians can study that have to do with our own personal salvation in the Lord. Each one of these are verses have to do with the classic definition of grace – which is that grace is the unmerited favour and mercy of God towards mankind. This mercy is what allows us to have the forgiveness of our sins and justification through FAITHin Jesus, not through some kind of extra activity.
These verses provide an overview of exactly what our eternal salvation in the Lord is really all about. If you can grasp what the Lord is trying to tell you in these specific verses, you will then be able to walk away with a much better and clearer understanding as to who you really are in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and exactly how you were saved in the first place.
This is a list of the verses together, highlighting the key words and phrases in these verses so you can see exactly what God is trying to show you.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
(Romans 5:1-2 NIV) “ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
(Titus 2:11 NIV) “ For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
(Acts 15:11 NIV) “ No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””
(Ephesians 2:4-8 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(Titus 3:7 NIV) “ so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
(Romans 3:22-26 NIV) “ This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:16 NIV) “ May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,”
(Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV) “ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,”
(Romans 5:15 NIV) “ But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
(Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV) “ For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
(Romans 5:20-21 NIV) “ The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Galatians 2:21 NIV) “ I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
The first thing to pick up from these verses is that our personal salvation in the Lord is not earned by any type of good works that we can do in this life – no matter how many good works we may end up doing and no matter how good and holy those works may end up being, like baptism. The quantity and quality of our works for the Lord do not matter to Him.
The very first verse:
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
is the absolute number one verse on exactly how we are to receive eternal salvation from the Lord. This verse specifically tells us, without any other possible spin or interpretation you can possibly put on it, that our individual personal salvation –which is the forgiveness of our sins and our atonement to God – can only be received by “grace” through our personal faith in Jesus Christ.
This first verse and the two that follow right after it, specifically state that our eternal salvation is simply received by grace through faith – not by any type of works/actions.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
The first verse tells us that our eternal salvation is a direct, free gift from God and “not of works.” The second verse once again says that God has saved us through His grace and not “according to our works”. The third verse then really hammers this point home when it literally shouts out that both grace and works cannot save us. It says if we are saved by grace, then works has no part in our salvation whatsoever. You cannot have this revelation both ways. If we are saved by grace, which we are, then works has absolutely no part in our personal salvation with the Lord. It’s all Him and none of us. The first verse says that being saved by grace through our faith in Jesus all comes direct from God and that it is “not from yourselves” because it is direct from God!
As simple as this revelation is to fully grasp and understand, there are still some Christians who are walking around thinking that they still have to try and earn their way into heaven by doing as many good and holy works as they possibly can or by being baptized. As a result, they spend most of their life in misery and torment, as they never know for sure if they will make it into heaven after they die and “cross over”.
The first set of verses above are an absolute top priority for any newborn Christian or any unbeliever you may be witnessing to. Bottom line – eternal salvation, that is the forgiveness of your sins and atonement to God is received direct from the Lord as a free gift and it can only be received by grace through our personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.
Salvation is simply just a matter of believing – and then accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour once you are ready to admit that you are truly a sinner in need of a personal Saviour to save you from your sins.
I am going to highlight some of the key phrases in the above verses so you can see how the Lord is really trying to drive home the point that we can only be saved by and through His grace.
Notice in every single one of these key phrases the word “grace” is specifically being used in reference to our own personal salvation in Jesus. With the basic definition of the word “grace” being “unmerited favour,” there can be no question that the forgiveness of our sins and atonement to God can only be received by God’s grace through our faith in His Son Jesus.
No amount of works or baptism, no matter how good and holy we think baptism and good works may be, will ever be good enough to ensure our sins are forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ.
They have no place in our personal salvation with the Lord – and they have absolutely no place when working with an unsaved person in an effort to try and get them saved. God has made accepting His free gift of eternal salvation/forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ as easy possible.
These Scripture verses are as clear as they can possibly be on this issue (Bradley 2019, ii).
It is the personal opinion of this author that teaching salvation through any means other than faith is a dangerous heterodoxy that is going to leave Christians and early converts confused.
It diminishes the power of Jesus by assuming that God needs help to forgive our sins by an extra action.
It diminishes the suffering of Jesus by assuming that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not good enough for the absolution of our sins and this is a painful insult to Jesus.
It puts man on the same level of the Godhead by assuming that salvation is only achieved when we are baptised, as it is man that baptises us, therefore, man and not God completes the final step of salvation.
It makes assumptions that diminish the meaning and power of Jesus.
It makes Christianity and righteousness transactional instead of transformative.
It also ignores what the rest of the bible says about salvation, which is feckless.
It is also a Eurocentric if not racist reading of the bible, as it elevates the English translation and understanding provided in one version of the English bible, above the original Greek text, (I did not go into this issue in this article).
It recklessly creates a doctrine that is based on only one verse in the bible as opposed to taking in the whole bible in context.
It also creates further mental and physical barriers between humans and God, as not everyone has access to water that they can waste, also, some people like the disabled may not be able to be baptised at all or easily and they will be excluded and never achieve the forgiveness of their sins.
It focuses on acts to achieve righteousness as opposed to faith as the bible says.
It also makes God to be a liar because it nullifies all of the promises that humans would live and be justified by faith and that we would all be children of Abraham’s by faith and as we know, God cannot lie.
It generally takes focus away from Jesus and His power.
It also brings Christianity away from Christ and into the realm of the occult because it is at odds with clear and plain instruction in the bible.
Finally, it forms a barrier to people developing a sense of humility, something that God desires. This is because an individual would have felt that they “earned” their salvation through baptism, completely missing the fact that salvation is something that we do not deserve, we cannot earn and we can never thank Jesus enough, understanding this situates our minds and spirits correctly in a place of humility and thankfulness before God, fully understanding God’s overwhelming mercy.
I have been a Christian for many years and I have been in Christian leadership and Christian study for many years and frankly, searching the scriptures, I cannot say with any certainty that anyone teaching or propagating this heterodoxy will go to heaven. God will have mercy on whomever God will but what we do know is that it says in the scriptures that the teachers, the ones who are in charge of teaching Christian doctrine, well… they will be judged more harshly.
(James 3:1 NIV) “ Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
For those of you who made it to the bottom here is a music video that sums up this entire article:
I am in a teaching mode at the moment, so I made a small group resource revolving around critical reflection, this would make a good leadership training resource and also something to help you think when people who aren’t Christians ask you hard questions. There is one with answers on and one blank that you can download and just discuss and write down your thoughts.
This graphic is designed to make you think about your faith and the world around you. What happens and what is the impact on people when we mix certain things in society. It is designed to make you critically reflect upon yourself, the world around you and your faith and faith practices.
P.S. This is best for adults not young children!!!
HERE’S THE THEORY BEHIND CRITICAL REFLECTION, THIS IS IN THE RESOURCE BUT I’M PUTTING IT HERE FOR YOU TO EASILY ACCESS.
What is critical reflection?
Critical Reflection has been given many different definitions throughout the years. Some of these definitions include one from John Dewey (1933) which says that critical reflection is an:
“…active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it includes a conscious and voluntary effort to establish belief upon a firm basis of evidence and rationality”.
Another definition has been given by Jack Mezirow (1990) in which he says that critical reflection is:
“…a process of testing the justification or validity of taken-for-granted premises”.
Although there are many definitions they seem to have some things in common. They seem to all say something about a process of questioning our beliefs, values, and behaviours in order to justify why we do these things the way we do, and what other views or behaviours contrary to our own might be (Colorado Mountain College 2019).
Critical reflection on our Christian practice is more than just ‘thinking about’ or ‘thoughtful’ practice. It is a way of ‘critiquing’ our Christian practice in a systematic and rigorous way – helping us to carefully consider what is good and what could be improved.
Why is critical reflection important?
If we are to create cultures that are more caring, this might require changes in individuals and teams.
A number of models and frameworks are available that can help you to reflect on your experiences. This can be things that have gone well, helping you to understand how you can make this happen more often; or things that haven’t gone so well, helping you to think about how things could be different in the future.
Critical reflection on our Christian practice is a key activity in creating caring cultures because it can enable individuals to develop greater self-awareness by helping them to:
There is also:
There are 12 pages.
Page 2 –
* The Graphic
*Q.1) “Critically reflect upon what happens when we mix these things? THINK
THEN WRITE THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE THINGS!”
To critically reflect you must see both the positive and the negative things
*Q.2) “Extension Question Can you give any Biblical & non-biblical references to
justify your answers?”
The second question is harder. The idea behind Q.2 is to make you think about wider society, understand that as Christians you live in the world and things have you observed in the world also inform how you think. As a Christian you have to be able to reason and navigate worldly things as well as spiritual matters.
*Q.3.)Why are these things happening?
Q.4.) Discuss: What can we do to change the negatives and grow the positives?
Page 3 – This has the key to help you understand what the different sections mean
Page 4 – 7 – Explanation of Critical Reflection
Page 8 – 11 – Blank worksheets for you to write on. One for what generally happens
Pg. 3 – “What do you think generally happens when we mix these things?”
Pg. 4 – “What is the specific impact on WOMEN/GIRLS when we mix these things?”
Pg. 5. – “What is the specific impact on MEN/BOYS when we mix these things?”
Page 11 – Some suggestions (not exhaustive in the slightest)
Page 12 – Bibliography
Anyway below is the resource you can Follow this link to download) Money Sex Power Christianity Critical Reflection Small Group Resource enjoy 😉
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section on what YOU THINK happens when we mix certain things, what do YOU THINK happens when Christianity intersects with Money, Sex and or Power?
Catherine Waithe-Arnold BA (Hons), MMus, PhD Candidate
Colorado Mountain College, ‘Critical reflection’ Colorado Mountain College Web site, at: <http://faculty.coloradomtn.edu/orl/critical_reflection.htm> 7th February 2019
Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process. Lexington, MA: Heath.
Foundation of Nursing Studies, 2015. ‘Learning Through Critical Reflection’ Fons Web site, at: <https://www.fons.org/resources/documents/Creating-Caring-Cultures/Critical-Reflection.pdf> 7th February 2019
Nottingham University, 2019. ‘Student Self Assessment’ Nottingham University Web site, at: <https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmp/sonet/rlos/placs/critical_reflection/pdf/ladybird_selfassess.pdf> 7th February 2019
MEZIROW J (1990) Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
I would just like to say that I have only just recovered from New Years! We had a lovely service at church! Loads of food of course, a bring and share feast! I made some bread with cinnamon, medjool dates and honey so it was a sweet kind of bread 😀
I got home after 5am and got to bed after 6am, so I was quite tired for 48hrs afterwards lol. I only got around to looking at my phone around 7pm on New Years day to see I had a whole load of messages and such on my phone and I was just soo tired, I only answered them to say “Happy New Years” back just before the day was nearly out!
Hope you all had a lovely evening too!
Anyway, I have some musical nuggets for you! Here’s another “Remix” I changed up the drum rhythm and I added some FX to this mix, it’s subtle but I think it works better, follow this link for the back story blog post about this song? let me know what you think? Is it an improvement? Play in the embedded player below or follow this link:
I call this one the “Soundtrack Mix”.
Here’s the other versions including the Orchestral version (my favourite) and the one I did live! 🙂
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?”  Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,  for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.  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.  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.  “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.  For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.  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.  “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.  And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  “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.  A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.  A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.  How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.  And pray that your flight will not be in winter.  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.  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.  “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it.  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.  Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!  “At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light,  the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.  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… “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.  And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!  “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.  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.  Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.  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.  In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.  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.  “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.  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.  But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.  When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.  “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?’  “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.  “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.  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.'”… 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.”  Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed.  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.  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.  “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  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,  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.  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!  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.  “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”…  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.  If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.  I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.  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?  The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.  “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.  But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
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/
I went back to Southampton the other day, that’s where I went to university to do my BA (Hons) and Masters. I spent half a decade in that city. It was nice to be back and are all the changes there. I was in Southampton because friends from uni, who stayed in Soton (that’s a local way of saying Southampton), had a baby dedication.
It was nice lots of free food! I hanged out with friends, had nice food and ice cream and chats and banter and I went back to my old church I attended at uni and it was good!
I decided to stay in a budget guest house. I’m not doing that ever again lol. It would make great student digs but my goodness it was budget. I got there and the guy didn’t even show me to my room he was just like:
“its up there and by the way, reception closes in the evening so you’ll have to let yourself in at the side later on…”. -_-
The room wasn’t too bad, again it would make good student accommodation.
The bathroom was not connected to the room and neither was next doors, which meant on the last day as I was leaving I had the nasty surprise of seeing my neighbour walk out of his bathroom, in a towel dripping wet. He was nice and tried to make conversation but in my head I was like:
“stranger danger! lol he’s nice but under that towel he’s naked and wet!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one is here to hear me scream so let’s just cut the chit chat and leave!”
I think we were both a little surprised hah hah!
The power shower should have been called The Little Shower That Could, it tried it’s best but it was not very powerful. I like my showers so powerful that its nearly ripping the skin of your flesh lol like it exfoliates its so powerful.
Another issue that I’m sure you see from. The video is that the window had no cover, I hung my towel across the towel rail and put it near the window so no one saw me in the shower, poor show.
In all, I got what I paid for £45/night lol Next time I will be much more willing to part with my money…
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”
This YouTube playlist contains the Original, the Orchestral version, PLUS YOU CAN WATCH ME PLAY THE ACOUSTIC VERSION! Play in the embedded player below or Follow this link to play:
You can also listen on SoundCloud. Follow this link to play or use 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
The other day I lead worship at an event! I thought I would put up the footage so people could come worship with me online! The following times are where I am leading worship:
1:28:26-1:33:30 – You’re My Healer
1:33:34-1:37:42 – Strength Will Rise (they eventually clapped in time… lol)
1:46:23-1:58:00 – Jamming Session (Instrumental of one of my original compositions
called ‘Hallelujah’, which I sing later on)
1:58:40-2:03:36 – You’re My Healer (Reprise)
2:09:01-2:12:00- Hallelujah (original song by me)
Follow this link to listen or use the embedded player below:
The event was bi-lingual, people spoke the following languages: Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Yoruba. Normally, at church I speak a bit between songs but I was soo nervous for some reason lol, I didn’t have anyone to translate anything I said anyway lol, they did for the message which was good, next time I’ll ask for a translator.
Big thanks to everybody who helped make Saturday evening happen, as well as those who stepped in last minute to accommodate!
P.S. Let’s crowd source some prayer for Catherine lol. My blood sugar has been up and down lately, let’s pray that it stabilises and I don’t absent mindedly give myself too much insulin again lol.
Lots of love
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] – “ So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed.  On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.  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] – “ This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,  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.  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 – “ 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.  Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.  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] – “ A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches.  The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found.  The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there.  The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush.  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] – “ The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.  But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden–  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] – “ 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.”  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.  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] – “ 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.  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] – “ “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 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 – “ 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 – “ 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 – “ 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] – “ 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!