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I HAD A VISION YESTERDAY!
I was taken up to heaven and then taken into courtroom in heaven. God the Father was the judge. It was ornate like the Crown Court where the highest seat was reserved for the judge, which was God and there were places for Clerks and there were seats for the Defendant and Prosecution.
In this courtroom I had this sense that I was free but I saw where the Defendant would sit and I saw a young adult male, around my age (I’m 29 so around his early 30’s), sitting with his lawyer. He was in trouble and the court case that was happening in heaven was regarding him and he was talking with his lawyer.
The Defendant, so the person who was being accused, was wearing a dark grey almost black suit, he looked quite nice in it actually, I think he had a black skinny tie on and he was kind of tall. God also showed me that this guy told people he was a Christian. His lawyer was in a similar colour suit but was a bit shorter than the defendant and middle aged and was dressed smarter.
The lawyer was preparing all of the documents to make sure that the Defendant had every chance of a good defence, the lawyers body language suggested that this was crunch time and if this case didn’t win it was going to be hell for the young man.
I was in the audience part on the side of the Defendant, I was free to go where I wanted to but the Defendant had to stay put. Court had not started yet and everyone was not there but for some reason the Defendant had to turn up early with his lawyer. The movements of the Defendant because he was the Defendant were dictated to him because he was accused, so unlike me, he had to go where other people told him to go when they told him to go there.
As I said the court hadn’t started yet, people were moving around, the Defendant was there and only me in the audience, then for some reason the Defendant turned around looked me in the eyes and smiled. I got the feeling like he knew I was going to turn up, he knew I had his back and he knew I cared, which is why he turned around because he was expecting me.
Then something strange happened. I suddenly saw a vision within a vision. In this vision I saw the courtroom floor. Someone had dropped a USED CONDOM on the courtroom floor.
Now this signified several things:
When I was at university when you would walk to university there would be used condoms on the ground because people, who had no regard for themselves and didn’t fear God used to have sex in the alleyways then dump the used condoms. God was showing me that that’s what that situation meant.
The used condom was also evidence. IT WAS EVIDENCE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT!!!!! That was the reason why he was there. He had been sleeping with his girlfriend and God had finally had enough and the Devil was able to come before God and accuse the young man and the young man was now really in trouble. I am guessing the lawyer was either an angel or the Angel of the Lord as in Jesus.
The scary thing about this whole thing was that God revealed to me that this heavenly court case has not happened yet. I WAS ACTUALLY SEEING THE FUTURE!!!
There is somebody out there, around my age, male (obviously) sleeping with your girlfriend and God is about to run out of patience with you.
Please stop, God can see what you are doing. The Devil is laughing every time you sleep with your girlfriend because IT knows that you are digging yourself into a hole. And the Devil cannot wait to meet you in the afterlife. God sends people like me to intercede for you but I cannot pray you out of hell if you’re already there.
Stop it, stop it right now, ask forgiveness of your sins, find some bible believing guys who you can be accountable with, get prayer, discipleship, deliverance whatever you need to do to get right with God but please just stop sleeping with your girlfriend. Sex is for marriage only.
Your actions are irritating God and one day you will not be free.
So yesterday I had some spare time and I was just (wasting it lol) spending it laying on my bed, on top of the covers, pretty much doing nothing but daydreaming, thinking about nothing important really. In fact, what I was thinking about was something rather silly, I was imagining being on one of those chat shows and thinking about what I would say and wear and so on lol.
Then I looked over to the right and I saw Jesus just casually sitting on the other side of the bed. I thought to myself wait a minute…. Jesus just stealthily came into my room, sat next to me on my bed without my knowledge and was listening to me think stupidness lol, nothing particularly holy or inspiring but Jesus just seemed to be happy to chill. At first I noticed and carried on thinking, then the Holy Spirit said to me I should thank Jesus for being there. So I did.
I thought to myself – how long has Jesus been there? Lol. Also, how often does Jesus do that? Lol. Also, I realised that Jesus must be there the whole time. We think we are alone but we’re not.
I thanked Jesus for being there because we know that Jesus “loves” us but sometimes it’s really comforting when Jesus does things to let us know that He “likes” us. You hang with people you can stand lol.
Interestingly – when I thought something that I knew was naughty, Jesus disappeared, I then asked forgiveness for that thought then Jesus reappeared!
My experience showed me that the following scriptures are true:
Psalm 34:7 NLT
For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
This is because I realised through my experience that Jesus must there all the time!
1 Thessalonians 5:2 NLT
For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.
Jesus came into my room stealthily like a thief in the night, without my knowledge, it was just – boom – Jesus is here. My goodness when the rapture happens no one is even going to know what hit them, Jesus will just be not there and then be there!
N.B. I was at the sink this morning, my mind somewhere else again and I saw Jesus again! Standing in front of me, facing me, body angled slightly to the side, looking at me like he was walking past, saw something interesting and had just turned around to look to see what it was.
It’s Good Friday today and I thought I would give you a run down of what happened and what it tells us about true love. Most of the info here is adapted from The Virtual Preacher (see the bibliography for more information).
On Good Friday Jesus had already had the sham trial Matthew 27:11-26 then the Pharisees also encouraged the crowd to request that Barrabas be released instead of Jesus. The Soldiers had whipped Jesus to within an inch of His life sentenced to Crucifixion and was now carrying the cross on the way to the Crucifixion site. Here’s where we will begin:
(Matthew 27:27-32 NLT) “ Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.  They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”  And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it.  When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.  Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.
The Bible doesn’t reveal much about the identity of Simon except he was from a city called Cyrene in North Africa, probably a an African convert who came on pilgrimage during Passover.
Why was Simon reluctant to take the cross and help Jesus?
The short story of what Simon of Cyrene shows that cannot truly be Jesus’ disciples unless we are willing to step out of the comfort zone. Being a follower of Jesus is not about the sacraments and pilgrimages. They are nice but real love is kinaesthetic, it’s an action as much as a feeling. Jesus died for us, which is an action that is how Jesus demonstrated devotion to us. For our part in Luke Jesus said:
(Luke 9:23 NLT) “ Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
(Matthew 27:33-34 NLT) “ And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).  The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.”
Gall was a pain killer in Jesus’ day. It was mixed with the wine to make it drinkable, women often offered it to the person being executed to dull the pain. Having lost a lot of blood from the sourging and having been nailed to the cross Jesus and was thirty but refused to drink the gall mixed with wine.
Why did Jesus refuse to drink?
Jesus also showed us that real love is sacrificial and not self seeking, just like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT) “ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
(Matthew 27:35-54 NLT) “ After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.  Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.  A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.  The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.  “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”  The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus.  “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!  He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”  Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.  At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, [“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”] which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.  One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink.  But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”  Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.  At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,  and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.  They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!””
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400 BC and was used by the Romans as a punishment for the most serious criminals. Death by crucifixion was slow and agonizing. The victims were crucified naked and in public which was humiliating, as you can see from the above people taunted Jesus.
Victims of crucifixion endured dehydration, blood loss due to flogging, shock from the pain and paroxysms (follow this link to find out what that word means), as they pulled up with their arms and pushed with their legs to keep their chest cavity open for breathing and then collapsed in exhaustion. The eventual cause of death from crucifixion was: suffocation, cardiac arrest, loss of blood or all of above.
What is the significance of crucifixion?
Jesus Christ took our curse upon himself and paid the price for our sin. Jesus stood in the gap between us and what we had coming to us. Our atonement to and relationship with Jesus God the Son and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit is made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah put it eloquently:
(Isaiah 53:5 NLT) “ But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
This Good Friday message gives us an example of the three distinct types of commitments of love displayed by Jesus:
True love is doing as well as feeling – This means a commitment for us to be willing to take a stand for Jesus not just say we are Christians, act like it.
True love puts others first – This means a commitment to be faithful: don’t compromise in times of crisis, always put Jesus first regardless.
True love stands in the gap: For me this just shows me how selfless Jesus was and what an example it is for us in our relationships with other humans, regardless of what kind of relationship it is. This shows also a commitment to be just as committed to Jesus as Jesus is to us and just to allow Jesus to love you and just enjoy being loved!
The type of commitment you need to make will vary depending on where you are in your life with Christ. Which one of these commitments do you think you need to make?
Have a happy Good Friday!
The Virtual Preacher. 2019. ‘Good Friday Sermon, Watching Jesus Die – Part 1’, The Virtual Preacher Website, at: <https://www.virtualpreacher.org/sermon-outlines/good-friday-sermon-2011-part-1/> 19 April 2019
I hope you have fun reading this!!! Its something to refreshen you 🙂
This document has been written in response to the legalistic heterodoxy I recently encountered that states that: “…our sins are forgiven only upon baptism.”. This article begins by confronting the initial misunderstanding and then provides clarification on how we actually obtain the forgiveness of our sins by faith in Jesus. Following that, I give reasons why the heterodoxy of thinking that our sins are forgiven only upon baptism does not correlate with our post-resurrection era of grace and is an attempt to bring us back to the Law of Moses and why this is not desirable. After that, I explain what grace is, why it’s important for the forgiveness of our sins and I put forward arguments against the forgiveness of sins being earnable through works such as baptism. The latter part of this article is focused on equipping, showing the reader how individuals can achieve forgiveness of their sins through faith, made possible by grace and concludes with an explanation of key scriptures related to the topic.
We are saved through “faith” in Jesus and this is made possible by “grace”. Our sins are not forgiven at baptism, as this would mean that an individual has to do an action to earn their salvation and salvation cannot be earned. Salvation is not transactional like the Law of Moses. The whole point of Grace is that it is unmerited favour from God, which is transformational as opposed to the transactional like the Law of Moses. If you have not grasped this you have totally misunderstood the Bible, misplaced yourself amongst the Godhead and you do not understand what Jesus did on the cross. This is basic Christianity 101 and all Christians should have a firm grasp on this concept not only for your own information but also so you can teach and educate other Christians who do not have a full understanding of this revelation from the Lord (Bradley 2019, i)
You are justified/saved/forgiven through faith ONLY. Your baptism, although it is a command, comes as a desire to live out of your faith. The heresy of salvation through baptism in the cult I encountered arose from their leaderships misunderstanding of the NIV translation of verses pertaining to baptism such as:
(Acts 2:38 NIV) “ Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
This does not mean that your sins are forgiven at baptism, it is saying that you repent then get baptised as a public sign that you believe that through your belief in Jesus, confession of your sins to Jesus and your repentance to Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
Only Jesus can forgive sins not your actions qualifying you for forgiveness. If your actions could qualify you then there would have been no need for Jesus to die and the Law of Moses would have been enough to save you. We see from Galatians that that is not the case:
(Galatians 2:16, 21 NIV) “ know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. …  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
Clearly the above verse alone disproves any notion that salvation can be earned by works of any kind. It says we are justified by faith. Let us discuss further what it means to be “justified by faith”.
When we use the term, “justified by faith” what we mean is that we are made right, (atoned) with God, by our faith in Jesus and not our actions. Abraham, the forerunner of all Christians was justified by his FAITH, not by his actions. His actions were brought about by his faith, look what Romans says:
(Romans 4:3-4, 13-16 NIV) “ What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. …  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,  because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.  Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”
The promise of salvation and the forgiveness of your sins comes by FAITH not a law like “you must receive baptism” for our sake because not everyone would be able to fulfil it. Think about it, baptism cannot be the thing that means that your sins are forgiven because some people do not have a sufficient source of water due to poverty and drought. If being baptised is when your sins are forgiven poor people who can’t afford water/water is scarce/dry wells will never have their sins forgiven, only rich/middle class people, (who can afford to waste water), will go to heaven.
Jesus can forgive your sins before baptism, take Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 9:1-6, Luke 7:47-48 Jesus just forgave those people, they didn’t get baptised first).
(Luke 23:39-43 NIV) “ One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Jesus forgave him without him being baptized, he didn’t get the chance to be baptized as he died before he could get baptized, after believing in Jesus. Let’s look at another example in Matthew:
(Matthew 9:1-8 NIV) “ Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.  Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”  At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”  Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?  But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”  Then the man got up and went home.  When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”
Jesus forgave that man of his sins without him getting baptized. Jesus also said that He has the authority to forgive sins. Why are we trying to strip Jesus of His own authority of forgiving sins, by saying that there are other man made things that you have to do before achieving salvation? This next example is quite important:
(Luke 7:47-50 NIV) “ Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
Look what Jesus said; it was the woman’s faith in Him that led to her salvation not something that she did, her actions were informed by her faith but her salvation was only received at the point of faith.
Saying that your sins are only forgiven upon baptism is dangerous heterodoxy that has come about by gotten caught up in legalistic semantics, making a human idea fit on to Gods word. Therefore, missing the point and complete mercy of the grace of God. It’s God who calls us not the other way round (Still 2019).
It is the “Grace” of God that allows us the opportunity to receive salvation, if we have “faith” in Jesus. Faith is belief, it is not an action, it is a feeling or a conviction and has nothing to do obeying a law. It is merely a transaction as opposed to a transformation.
Let’s just confront the elephant in the room. God didn’t always express a deep fondness for the Law of Moses. God always preferred humans to have faith and to love one another, look at what God said in Isaiah:
(Isaiah 1:11-17 NIV) “ “The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.  Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!  Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
The same sentiment is reiterated in Jeremiah:
(Jeremiah 7:22-23 NIV) “ For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices,  but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
Again in Hosea:
(Hosea 6:6 NIV) “ For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Then in Amos:
(Amos 5:21-24 NIV) “ “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) “ With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Lastly, if it’s not clear enough that God did not care for the law, we are taught in Hebrews that Jesus himself expressed God’s dissatisfaction with a legal, transactional salvation:
(Hebrews 10:5-8 NIV) “ Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;  with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”  First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”–though they were offered in accordance with the law.”
So why did God ever give us the law? Well, as we see in Romans, it was just necessary to show US how sinful humans are and how much we need God as it says in Romans:
(Romans 3:20-22 NIV) “ Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,”
When the law was followed it didn’t mean anything to God unless their hearts were right. God wants faith, love and obedience above everything else, like it says in Psalms:
(Psalm 50:7-15 NIV) “ “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God.  I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.  I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,  and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.””
We make a mockery of Jesus’ death when we think that we need to add anything to the gospel and do any special actions other than believe that Jesus can forgive our sins in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins. If we needed to do extra things to receive forgiveness then Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough and this does not align with what the scriptures clearly say:
(Hebrews 9:9-12 NIV) “ … the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
If the bible says in the above verse that Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, once and that action was enough to ensure the forgiveness of our sins who are we to say otherwise? Physical actions such as baptism and any actions prescribed in the Law of Moses (See Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were never enough to cleanse, they only dealt with the outside. This idea is reiterated later on in this chapter of Hebrews:
(Hebrews 9:24-28 NIV) “ For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,  so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Again, it makes it clear here that Jesus’ death and resurrection was enough and belief in Jesus and repentance all you need. Jesus did this one time, for all and it does not need to be added to by humans, by saying you need baptism to have your sins forgiven. Beliefs like that take us back to the Law. Look what it says in Romans about the Law:
(Romans 3:19-28 NIV) “ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
To believe that your sins are only forgiven when you are baptised is to resurrect the Law of Moses and we are not living under that now, we are living under grace. The Law was never designed to sanctify you anyway; it was just designed to show you how sinful you were. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection what the bible advocates for the forgiveness of sins is Faith made possible by “grace”.
Lastly, when it comes to any kind of ceremonial washing, such as baptism, we need to remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees when they confronted Him on this issue:
(Matthew 23:25-26 NIV) “ “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Here Jesus shows that external washing does not make a difference to the inside. It is an internal transformation of faith and love, aided by grace that makes the outside clean.
Let’s have a look at Grace for further understanding. The classic definition of Grace is that God’s grace is unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved God’s judgment and wrath but He showed them favor. (Cole 2019).
The best way to look at this revelation is to look at it like you are looking at a two-sided coin. On the one side of the coin the grace of God is the “unmerited favour and mercy” of God and as mentioned earlier, we are saved by “grace” through our faith in Jesus Christ. The second definition of the word grace, which will be the other side of this same coin, is that the grace of God is referring to the divine life, power and ability of God flowing and operating through us (Bradley 2019, i)
The first definition of grace is what this article is concerned with, the idea that God created an opportunity for our sins to be forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This opportunity is something that we did not deserve, it was something that we could not go through and it is certainly something that we can never earn. Initially, sin was dealt with through the law, as mentioned earlier but now we have an opportunity to have salvation through faith because of God’s grace.
To understand why grace was necessary we need to go back to the beginning of the bible. If we look at what happened to humanity in the beginning we would come to the conclusion that the truth of the matter is that every human after Adam is dead in her or his trespasses and sins. Paul explains this to the Church at Ephesus, as follows:
(Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV) “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”.
And Paul goes on to give us great news:
(Ephesians 2:4-10, 14-15 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. …  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,”
There was a time, after Adam and Eve first sinned, that God’s law was expanded into more than 600 things that the people could and could not do. The people could not obey these laws and at one point God wiped out all of mankind because they were so evil. He saved only Noah and his family because Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. Even after Noah, man continued to disobey and because God’s chosen people, Israel (the Jewish people), rejected God’s eternal plan of salvation, it was offered to the Gentiles (those who are not Jewish). Paul writes about this in his letter to the Church at Rome:
(Romans 11:30-32 NIV) “ Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,  so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”(Williams 2019)
It is not that God’s grace is missing from the Old Testament. No one was saved in the Old Testament apart from God’s grace but John 1:17 shows the contrast between the two terms of engagement between God and humans in the two testaments:
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses [Old Testament*]; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ [New Testament*].”
*Note added by author of this article.
This is because:
(John 3:17-18 NIV) “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(Cole 2019)
If you think that your sins are forgiven only at baptism it shows that you do not believe that Jesus alone has the power to forgive sins and you don’t understand Grace. It clearly says here that anyone who believes in Jesus is not condemned. What’s another word for believe? It’s faith, so to reiterate, your sins are forgiven in your faith in Jesus, that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, which is why we go to Jesus and ask Jesus forgiveness of our sins and that is enough. This opportunity to be forgiven is called Grace.
This opportunity to receive salvation just by faith due to the grace of God means that grace is available to all. Instead of only just those who have the ability to waste water and be baptized.
Paul says that the appearance of God’s grace brought “salvation to all men.” The KJV and the NIV err by translating that God’s grace has appeared to all men. That never has been true, in that there have always been many that have never heard of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Paul means that God’s grace that appeared in the person of Christ offers salvation to all that hear of it. In the context, Paul has just spoken of various groups: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. So when he goes on to say that God’s grace brings salvation to all men, he means, “to all types of people, including those whom the world despises, even to slaves.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.
This does not mean that all people are saved or will be saved. The Bible is uniformly clear that there are two separate final destinations for all people. Those who by God’s grace have the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell.
But the good news of God’s grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church. He called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13, 15). But he experienced God’s grace through the cross. If the chief of sinners found mercy, so can you! (Cole 2019).
The idea that you have to do anything extra other than believe that Jesus can forgive your sins in order to achieve the forgiveness of your sins, like getting baptized or being circumcised is pharisaical heterodoxy that comes from adding human ideas and mixing them with the pure gospel.
God’s pure grace gets polluted from two sides. On the one side, grace runs counter to the way the world works, so it is difficult for us to grasp it and get used to it. The world works on a transactional meritocratic system. If you do well in school, you get good grades and win awards. If you do well in sports, you make the team and get applause. If you get into university, the merit system continues to reward excellence. This carries over into the business world after university. Exceptional performance earns promotions and raises. Sloppy performance will get you fired.
In the spiritual realm, all of the world’s religions, except for biblical Christianity, work on the merit system. Even the major branches of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church teach a system of meritocratic-salvation, where you have to add your works to what Christ did on the cross in order to go to heaven.
This merit system of salvation permeates the public mind. Ask anyone on the street his opinion of how a person gets into heaven and you will hear something about being a good person. It was at the heart of pharisaic, legalistic religion in the times of Jesus and Paul (Willams 2019).
We see time and time again Paul rebuffing these ideas that you have to add something extra other than faith to the gospel in order to receive forgiveness. Take the issue of circumcision for example.
(Genesis 17:11 NIV) “ You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.”
(John 7:22 NIV) “ Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.”
Some Jewish converts to Christianity were telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) that they had to get circumcised (a prescription of the Law of Moses) in order to receive salvation. Paul rebuffed this saying:
(Romans 4:9-13 NIV) “ Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!  And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.  It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”
We see here that Paul is saying that Abraham’s circumcision was a sign that he was justified by his faith and that justification came before the action not after. In the same fashion Baptism is a sign that you are justified by faith and that justification/sanctification and forgiveness of sins came before you were dunked in water not after.
Again, Paul discusses the issue of Pharisaical individuals trying to pollute the concept of grace in Galatians stating:
(Galatians 3:2-6 NIV) “ I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain–if it really was in vain?  So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?  So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.””
This is true, we begin by faith and then some people who misunderstand the Gospel and what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant for us and insist that there is another step or so that we need to do in order to achieve forgiveness. This is not true and I ask the same metaphorical questions that Paul asked. Did you receive the Gospel, miracles and the Holy Spirit by going through an action or did you receive those things by FAITH?
Let’s see further examples from Galatians regarding obtaining salvation through any other action other than faith.
(Galatians 3:8-12, 14, 18-19, 21-24 NIV) “ Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.  For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”  Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” …  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. …  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.  Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. …  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”
We see that we are justified through faith. The opportunity to be justified through faith is called Grace. We also see that if we live by the law and if we could achieve salvation through the law we are also forced to face the consequences of the law and we make God a liar because the promise given to Abraham would be nullified:
(Galatians 3:14-18 NIV) “ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.  The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.  What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.”
So if you could achieve forgiveness of sins, through a law like “you must be baptised” then we make out God to be a liar because God promised that the righteous would live by faith:
(Habakkuk 2:4 NIV) “ “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright–but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness–“
Every step of the way the bible talks about belief being and faith being synonymous with salvation:
(John 3:31-36 NIV) “ The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.  The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
We also condemn ourselves to the consequences of the law because if you don’t fulfil it there are consequences. So if you are not able to get baptised you will never have your sins forgiven. However, if we live by faith, we will be able to partake in the promise of an inheritance of the Spirit and become true children of Abraham and receive justification, salvation and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.
The opportunity to receive this promise is called Grace. Which as we have seen, cannot be earned, it is only achieved through faith and not works. The patriarch of Christianity, Abraham, was justified through his faith before any of the works, that confirmed his faith, took place.
Everyone loves receiving gifts but for a gift to be yours, you must accept it. When you believe the truth of the gospel – that Jesus died for your sins, was buried according to the Scriptures and was raised again on the third day and that by believing this, accepting Jesus as your saviour and asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sins – according to the Scriptures, you are guaranteed eternal life and you receive the gift. God seals your name in the Lambs Book of Life and leaves the Holy Spirit as the Promise that Jesus will return to redeem you into eternal life with Him and His Father in Heaven. Your death sentence is lifted and you are no longer condemned. One bible passage to study about the results of this salvation include: John 3:16-18:
(John 3:16-18 NIV) “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Grace does not mean that we may now do things that displease the Lord. Under the Law we saw death and we were bound as a slave to that Law. Under grace we have freedom through the leading of the Spirit. We needed the Law to convince us of our personal need of a Saviour (Gal 3:23-26).
(Galatians 3:23-26 NIV) “ Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.  Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.  So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,”
Under grace we are no longer focused on the “dos” and “don’t”, rather, when we follow the Spirit we always do what pleases God (Willams 2019).
There are key verses that Christians can study that have to do with our own personal salvation in the Lord. Each one of these are verses have to do with the classic definition of grace – which is that grace is the unmerited favour and mercy of God towards mankind. This mercy is what allows us to have the forgiveness of our sins and justification through FAITHin Jesus, not through some kind of extra activity.
These verses provide an overview of exactly what our eternal salvation in the Lord is really all about. If you can grasp what the Lord is trying to tell you in these specific verses, you will then be able to walk away with a much better and clearer understanding as to who you really are in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and exactly how you were saved in the first place.
This is a list of the verses together, highlighting the key words and phrases in these verses so you can see exactly what God is trying to show you.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
(Romans 5:1-2 NIV) “ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
(Titus 2:11 NIV) “ For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
(Acts 15:11 NIV) “ No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””
(Ephesians 2:4-8 NIV) “ But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(Titus 3:7 NIV) “ so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
(Romans 3:22-26 NIV) “ This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–  he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
(John 1:17 NIV) “ For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:16 NIV) “ May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,”
(Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV) “ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace  that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,”
(Romans 5:15 NIV) “ But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
(Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV) “ For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
(Romans 5:20-21 NIV) “ The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Galatians 2:21 NIV) “ I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
The first thing to pick up from these verses is that our personal salvation in the Lord is not earned by any type of good works that we can do in this life – no matter how many good works we may end up doing and no matter how good and holy those works may end up being, like baptism. The quantity and quality of our works for the Lord do not matter to Him.
The very first verse:
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
is the absolute number one verse on exactly how we are to receive eternal salvation from the Lord. This verse specifically tells us, without any other possible spin or interpretation you can possibly put on it, that our individual personal salvation –which is the forgiveness of our sins and our atonement to God – can only be received by “grace” through our personal faith in Jesus Christ.
This first verse and the two that follow right after it, specifically state that our eternal salvation is simply received by grace through faith – not by any type of works/actions.
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“
(2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “ So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”
(Romans 11:6 NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
The first verse tells us that our eternal salvation is a direct, free gift from God and “not of works.” The second verse once again says that God has saved us through His grace and not “according to our works”. The third verse then really hammers this point home when it literally shouts out that both grace and works cannot save us. It says if we are saved by grace, then works has no part in our salvation whatsoever. You cannot have this revelation both ways. If we are saved by grace, which we are, then works has absolutely no part in our personal salvation with the Lord. It’s all Him and none of us. The first verse says that being saved by grace through our faith in Jesus all comes direct from God and that it is “not from yourselves” because it is direct from God!
As simple as this revelation is to fully grasp and understand, there are still some Christians who are walking around thinking that they still have to try and earn their way into heaven by doing as many good and holy works as they possibly can or by being baptized. As a result, they spend most of their life in misery and torment, as they never know for sure if they will make it into heaven after they die and “cross over”.
The first set of verses above are an absolute top priority for any newborn Christian or any unbeliever you may be witnessing to. Bottom line – eternal salvation, that is the forgiveness of your sins and atonement to God is received direct from the Lord as a free gift and it can only be received by grace through our personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.
Salvation is simply just a matter of believing – and then accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour once you are ready to admit that you are truly a sinner in need of a personal Saviour to save you from your sins.
I am going to highlight some of the key phrases in the above verses so you can see how the Lord is really trying to drive home the point that we can only be saved by and through His grace.
Notice in every single one of these key phrases the word “grace” is specifically being used in reference to our own personal salvation in Jesus. With the basic definition of the word “grace” being “unmerited favour,” there can be no question that the forgiveness of our sins and atonement to God can only be received by God’s grace through our faith in His Son Jesus.
No amount of works or baptism, no matter how good and holy we think baptism and good works may be, will ever be good enough to ensure our sins are forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ.
They have no place in our personal salvation with the Lord – and they have absolutely no place when working with an unsaved person in an effort to try and get them saved. God has made accepting His free gift of eternal salvation/forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ as easy possible.
These Scripture verses are as clear as they can possibly be on this issue (Bradley 2019, ii).
It is the personal opinion of this author that teaching salvation through any means other than faith is a dangerous heterodoxy that is going to leave Christians and early converts confused.
It diminishes the power of Jesus by assuming that God needs help to forgive our sins by an extra action.
It diminishes the suffering of Jesus by assuming that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not good enough for the absolution of our sins and this is a painful insult to Jesus.
It puts man on the same level of the Godhead by assuming that salvation is only achieved when we are baptised, as it is man that baptises us, therefore, man and not God completes the final step of salvation.
It makes assumptions that diminish the meaning and power of Jesus.
It makes Christianity and righteousness transactional instead of transformative.
It also ignores what the rest of the bible says about salvation, which is feckless.
It is also a Eurocentric if not racist reading of the bible, as it elevates the English translation and understanding provided in one version of the English bible, above the original Greek text, (I did not go into this issue in this article).
It recklessly creates a doctrine that is based on only one verse in the bible as opposed to taking in the whole bible in context.
It also creates further mental and physical barriers between humans and God, as not everyone has access to water that they can waste, also, some people like the disabled may not be able to be baptised at all or easily and they will be excluded and never achieve the forgiveness of their sins.
It focuses on acts to achieve righteousness as opposed to faith as the bible says.
It also makes God to be a liar because it nullifies all of the promises that humans would live and be justified by faith and that we would all be children of Abraham’s by faith and as we know, God cannot lie.
It generally takes focus away from Jesus and His power.
It also brings Christianity away from Christ and into the realm of the occult because it is at odds with clear and plain instruction in the bible.
Finally, it forms a barrier to people developing a sense of humility, something that God desires. This is because an individual would have felt that they “earned” their salvation through baptism, completely missing the fact that salvation is something that we do not deserve, we cannot earn and we can never thank Jesus enough, understanding this situates our minds and spirits correctly in a place of humility and thankfulness before God, fully understanding God’s overwhelming mercy.
I have been a Christian for many years and I have been in Christian leadership and Christian study for many years and frankly, searching the scriptures, I cannot say with any certainty that anyone teaching or propagating this heterodoxy will go to heaven. God will have mercy on whomever God will but what we do know is that it says in the scriptures that the teachers, the ones who are in charge of teaching Christian doctrine, well… they will be judged more harshly.
(James 3:1 NIV) “ Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
For those of you who made it to the bottom here is a music video that sums up this entire article:
An open letter to my friend
For my friend…
So it is with great sadness that I send this post. The older I get the more and more it has come to my attention that I have people and things in my life that I just don’t need because they are not contributing anything, they don’t even make me happy and they are just wasting space for people and things that could make me happy.
So I have taken a very long and very hard think and have decided that there are just some people in my life that I just don’t need any more. There are certain people in my life where I just feel like our relationship has just stagnated and has been for many years.
Have you ever known anyone where you’ve known them for years but you still feel just as awkward with them as you did nearly 20 years ago? Or you feel like your relationship with that person has never improved, grown or developed in any way? You feel like you have not grown as people together? They seem to be embarrassed by you in front of their friends? They don’t want their friends on facebook to know you know each other so they hide your posts? Or they ask you to delete them? You have no shared goals or values? You try and contact them and they hardly ever or never reply but when it’s some kind of activity that they are organising or they want you to go to for whatever reason they are always full of chat? They are happy when you are their secret and annoyed when other people want to drive you home and they tell them not to, to isolate you so that only they can drive you home? and when your life moves on they seem to be unhappy about it? I’m not even talking about romantic relationships, I’m just talking about ordinary friendships.
I like my friendships to grow, develop and move forward, circumstances permitting. When I say circumstances permitting I mean obviously when my friends get married or move or whatever, our friendship then takes on a new dimension, as they have children etc, you can’t be out all night with them all the time then etc. However, if circumstances permit a stronger bond with deeper dimensions, (again I’m not talking about romantic relationships I’m talking about just being decent friends) and this is not being exploited or properly utilised then there’s a problem and you’re not friends.
Time and time again guys fail to understand this. You want a girlfriend but you are not nice in a consistent way to all of the women around you. Women talk, so they will be spreading news of your bad behaviour to all the ladies you want to date. Additionally, how do you expect to wholeheartedly love someone when you don’t have the capacity to wholeheartedly love? You should be able to show love to anybody, I’m not talking about romantic love I’m talking about the kind of love that friendship should be. I admit I am talking to myself here as well, we all struggle to be nice. I absolutely despise guys who are only kind to women they are romantically interested in. I have no time for such people.
Obviously I know there are degrees of friendship and not all friendships are close but some are distant when they should be close and the emotional distance is as a result of dysfunction, that’s the kind of friendship I am talking about here.
The Ancient Greeks were much more adept at explaining the various degrees or kinds of relationships and the different kinds of “love” that you encounter within them, they had several words for love:
Éros (ἔρως érōs) love, mostly of the sexual passion
Storge (στοργή storgē) tenderness, love, affection, especially of parents and children
Philia (φιλία philía) affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals
Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for God
Being nice isn’t a declaration of érōs (sexual passion) but without storgē (tenderness) how do yo expect to even get to érōs? Don’t you know if agápē (charity, the kind of love that exists despite changing circumstances) is not fully developed in your life there can be no philía (friendship) and without philía there will never be any érōs (well not with me anyway… Especially not before marriage as I am a Christian)? I’m not asking for sex no offence, I’m just asking for kindness lol.
What can I say, I like friendships to have as much depth as they ought to, no more and no less. That’s not to say that I would push a friendship more than it should go. You get a feel for certain people that makes you think “ok this is a distant friend” or “ok we can be closer”. However, what really grinds my gears is when you have someone wanting you close only when it’s convenient for them and you’re doing all the friending…
When I am in a friendship with someone, I want to be more to you and you be more to me as time goes on. I’m not talking in a romantic way, I’m just saying that any kind of relationship whether it’s a friendship, a business relationship, a family relationship or a romantic relationship needs to grow positively somehow in order for it to succeed and be useful in any way. You need to be adding something positive to each others lives as often as possible. You need to be fulfilling some kind of need for each other, even if it’s the need for an occasional laugh or some light conversation. We need to grow together, have shared experiences and somehow lift each other up. There also needs to be emotional connectedness and emotional investment, not always emotional strain. I need to know that I can rely on you and you need to know that you can rely on me. All these things need to be done to whatever degree the kind of relationship permits (due to distance, culture, etc). Again, I’m not even talking about romantic relationships I’m just talking about ordinary friendships.
I don’t like or enjoy time wasters. Anything outside of what I just mentioned is pointless, if your “friendship” does not display any of the virtues like I just mentioned above (obviously distance permitting etc.), in my eyes, you’re colleagues or peers, not friends. If you aren’t growing together somehow in a meaningful way (as I said, to the levels that the friendship will permit) or you’re the same place you were 20 years ago and that place is not a good place (in some instances, being in the same place for 2 decades can be a positive thing) but when it’s a stagnant place, it might be time to call it a day at one point. That point is now. We are stagnant, the friendship is one sided and I’m taking out the trash.
Now I understand how Jesus feels about us sometimes.
Today I am going to talk about something that Jesus showed me when I was reading Luke the other day, how the devil tempts men in particular. Let’s look at the passage I was reading, Jesus’ words are highlighted in red, the devil in bold:
(Luke 4:1-13 NLT) “ Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,  where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
 Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.‘”
 Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.  I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”  Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”
 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.  And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'”  Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.'”
 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.”
What Jesus revealed to me is that the way the devil tempts males is threefold, always along the lines of:
Let’s examine the scripture above once again to see:
(Luke 4:1-4 NLT) “ Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,  where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
 Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.‘”
Jesus was in the wilderness. Now wilderness in the Bible does not just represent a physical wilderness, forest desert etc, in this case yes it did represent a physical wilderness but it is also a metaphor for wilderness in ones life. Jesus is here showing us a metaphor of how we are to behave when faced with our own “wilderness”. Wilderness can be financial, as in lean times financially; it can also be social, maybe you don’t have any or many friends. It is basically a metaphor for any situation you find yourself in where you are vulnerable and in a place of spiritual dryness Amos 5:25 or solitude for a time of training in life Matthew 4:1.
Notice, Jesus was also hungry, He lacked basic things, in fact, He had nothing! AND THIS IS WHEN THE DEVIL MADE A MOVE, WHEN JESUS WAS VULNERABLE. The devil did not come before, when Jesus was with His friends and had just been baptised by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove in the previous chapter. No! The devil came when Jesus was alone and in desperate need for basic things, when His will would have been compromised due to desperation. The devil then tried to manipulate Jesus into doing something that God (the Father) did not want Jesus (God the Son) to do, with the promise of providing a quick fix, that would meet Jesus’ need sooner than God had intended. This would have been a quick fix but the long term ramifications would have been huge. Essentially, had Jesus done that then He would have disobeyed God (the Spirit) who told Jesus to fast and go into the wilderness the first place. Disobeying God would have violated the law, which would have made Jesus unrighteous, which would have meant that He was not a perfect sacrifice to fully atone for our sins, which would have meant that we would still be having to sacrifice animals and live by the Levitical laws, the Holy Spirit would not live in people but descend temporarily on people like old times and humanity would never ever ever be fully atoned to God ever, meaning there would be no salvation for anyone ever.
This is how the devil operates with men. He waits till they are vulnerable, in their wilderness, looking for a way out and a way to survive and tempts them with seemingly quick fixes that are wrong but encouraging them to self-justify their actions by giving them a lie that, they need to do this thing to survive and if they don’t do this thing they will perish. Men, how many times in your life have you been in a desperate situation and tempted to do the thing that you know is wrong just because you think, “if I don’t do this wrong thing I am going to fail”? It’s an attack. Be guarded, short term quick fixes are not always from God. It’s sometimes the devil trying to trap you and destroy everyone else around you. Adam was tempted in Genesis with a quick solution that would enhance his survival and through that everyone is now oppressed see Genesis 3. Likewise, if Jesus had given in, the whole of humanity would have been even more oppressed.
As men you need to understand the consequences of your actions and how they affect the people around you, you have to understand your privileged social status and how much power you have, not just physically but socially and economically as well. Because of your enhanced psycho-social realities, culturally men have greater social power which means that you act as gateways to not only your life but the lives of others and you aren’t taking this seriously enough. You’re just doing things to “survive” and not thinking about the long term consequences of your actions. It is the short term relief that the devil is using to hoodwink you, to draw your attention away from the long term consequences of your actions and eternity, we should be eternity minded when we make our decisions and that applies to men and women.
This kind of temptation can also be related to sex, maybe you feel like you really would like to sleep with whoever and just get short term relief so you can “survive” *rolls eyes* for a bit longer but there are long term consequences to that, especially before marriage or if the woman in question IS NOT YOURS!! Maybe you believe in “medicinal masturbation”… lol. Just to “ease the pressure on your balls” to help you “survive” *rolls eyes*, till you can get married to your fiancée/girlfriend. Don’t do that. It’s the devil setting you up to fail by trying to get you into habits that you can’t shake before you’re even married. Before you know it you’re hooked and you won’t actually be able to be stimulated by a real woman or a real vagina, you can actually condition your brain to only respond to porn. This video from this ministry is a good resource for this issue (follow the link to find out more). . It’s because of how the brain works and the reward centres in the brain see my previous article for more information about the brain (follow the link to find out more). The devil is trying to destroy your long term outlook. However, Jesus wants you to have life and life more abundantly but that requires patience. I’m still trying myself in the area of patience so I’m speaking to myself as well.
(Luke 4:5-8 NLT) “ Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.  I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”  Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”
Again, remember at this point Jesus is still in the wilderness and Jesus’ basic need of survival is appearing to not being met immediately. So Jesus is still in a position of vulnerability. In this position of vulnerability, the devil offers power, much more extreme and such a far cry away from what Jesus was going through. The only cost for this power is to worship the devil.
This is another way that the devil gets men in particular. The seductive lure of POWER! The devil flaunts all the joys that wealth can bring and all the amazing things one can do and have with it. The cost for this wealth is to worship the devil. That can come basically in the form of doing anything wrong, anything that can compromise your integrity but will gain you some kind of financial gain. Maybe, you’re encouraged to lie about something, maybe a relationship, your faith or even anything that will compromise your integrity, in order to gain quickly, financially. These get rich quick schemes are often traps from the devil designed to compromise you. Don’t envy people who are super rich, you have absolutely no idea how they got it.
Take the Western powers for example. The reason why Britain, America and Europe are so rich is because they had an enormous unpaid workforce, enslaved African peoples. The things they did to those people are unthinkable. One punishment the Caucasian male slave owners gave African slaves was when they tried to escape they would get one slave to poo into the mouth of the slave that tried to run away and he had to swallow it. The most attractive African women were pimped out to other male Caucasian slave owners in a part of the salve trade known as the Pretty Trade. The male Caucasian slave owners would also use any African slave that they found attractive as a concubine, just for sex, the African slaves were not allowed to refuse, so they raped them. The slaves made Britain, America and Europe so much money, that’s why the West is so rich today. It was not just African people who were enslaved, pick any country in the Common Wealth and those people were enslaved too. There were even indentured Irish slaves as well! The White people were more than happy to enslave their own people too…
Has anybody asked you to do something that you know isn’t right or you know will somehow compromise your integrity but offered to compensate you financially for it? Don’t do it, it’s a trap that men fall for all the time. That’s why we have dictators, wars and the global economic crisis due to bankers greed.
This is also related to sex. Dominating women sexually, being sexually aggressive towards women because you know they are not strong enough to push you away. It’s a power trip. Thinking rapey thought’s, it’s the devil trying to seduce you and tempt you along the lines of power. Even if she is your wife, if she doesn’t want to don’t force her, it’s still rape.
Whenever we try to upgrade our power or sphere of influence through means that are wrong we are worshipping the devil.
(Luke 4:9-12 NLT) “ Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!  For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.  And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'”  Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.'”
Again, Jesus was still in a wilderness and hungry, the devil tempted Him first by appealing to his basic needs, then he appealed to men’s desire for power, especially when they are in a state where they are in a state of reduced power or powerlessness or vulnerability of any kind, finally, the devil tried to tempt Jesus along the lines of men’s recklessness.
When we “test” God we are putting ourselves in the position of employer of God. We are saying, to God that God is accountable to us and that we are going to give God an observation (those of you reading this who work will understand what an observation is, it’s when your manager decides that they want to check that you are actually doing the job that they are paying you to do and that you are actually doing it well, so they stand there breathing down your neck watching you do it. Then you have a meeting afterwards with them/or whoever observed you, where they tell you where you could improve or what you’re doing well. It’s annoying and stressful, that’s partly why I work for myself now).
God doesn’t work for us, we work for God. God doesn’t have to prove anything to us, it’s we who have to prove ourselves to God.
This is another place where the devil attacks men. When they have that attitude that I’m going to test God’s power, it’s an insult to God. Moreover, it leads men to do stupid things, disregarding the brains that God gave humans to reason and do stupid things, where they do not take due care because they assume God is going to save them. Yes if you want to do something like jump out of a plane, make sure you pack your parachute. God is not going to save you if you jump out expecting angels to save you because it’s an appalling act of stupidity that God is not going to reward by saving you. It’s not in God’s interest because then everyone on earth would do silly things that hurt each other. That’s why God won’t save you. He won’t save you so as to teach other people not to do it. God does not want humanity to be backward.
I used to date this idiot right, when he went on holiday he wouldn’t take his phone with him. He said that I should just have faith that God would protect him and that me worrying about him was a sign of a lack of faith and that I didn’t really believe that Jesus was with him. With that attitude and all the drinking that he did when he was away, yeah, he’s right I do not believe that Jesus was with him lol. I believe that he survived his holidays on his own and that God didn’t actually have anything to do with it. It was reckless, inconsiderate of the felling of both me and his poor long-suffering mother. Disgusting jerk. That kind of thing is testing God. I didn’t want him to take his phone because I wanted to call him all the time because he used to call me all the time and I was happy for a break! I wanted him to take his phone because he was going to a place he didn’t live and it’s a sensible precaution.
Men do stupid crap all the time. Idiots. Stop it, you’re going to hurt yourselves and God is not necessarily going to save you. It’s always justified and covered by phrases like “oh well boys will be boys” etc. The devil is appealing to your idiocy, trying to make you, again, do something quick, that is going to damage you in the long run and you are thinking, don’t worry it’ll be ok God is with me but not necessarily. Certain adrenaline seeking sports, if you want to do them, wear a helmet? Or don’t do it at all. If something seems like it’s an unreasonable risk, don’t do it. If there is a likelihood that you might die doing an activity and it’s not necessary because you’re not a fireman or a policeman, think twice. Short term stupidity can lead to long term consequences and God will not facilitate, encourage or enable human stupidity, ever, especially when you are trying to use him as “staff” that will catch you, especially because letting you break your leg will mean that you have lots of time alone when you can read your bible and that scenario does suit God.
This can also be related to sex. You might think, yeah well you know, just a quickie, it might make a baby or whatever but I’m sure that God will get me out of this, let’s just test it to see what happens 😉 No!
Notice that the three scenarios have something in common.
Jesus used The Word!
(Luke 4:4,8,12 NLT)
“… But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.‘”…
 Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.‘” …
 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.‘…“
Every time the devil tried to tempt Jesus it was to destabilise Jesus’ motivation away from being satisfied by and through God and towards being satisfied by the devil, by encouraging Jesus to selfishly satisfy His needs through Himself, when and how the devil made it seem attractive. Jesus rebuffed these temptations by responding to the devil with The Word, that is the words of the Bible. Jesus was able to do this because He knew the scriptures. That comes from READING THE BIBLE EVERY DAY. Jesus came to fulfil the Law. This was outlined in Exodus, detailed in Leviticus, Further expounded and acted upon in Numbers and repeated in Deuteronomy. One of the laws was the following:
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NLT) “ And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Which was reiterated to Joshua later on:
(Joshua 1:8 NLT) “ Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
We are supposed to read the Bible daily and read it to our children and remind ourselves of it, that way you get to know it off your head, so when temptation comes you can recollect what God says to do. So when the devil attack your mind you can respond with The Word and use The Word to inform your actions, especially when you are to emotionally compromised to think straight.
MEN, LIFE IS AN OPEN BOOK EXAM, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN. YOU HAVE THE ANSWERS IN THE BIBLE. When you don’t read your Bible gentlemen, it’s the equivalent of doing a calculator Maths exam without ever picking up your calculator and just leaving it on the desk…
(Luke 4:13 NLT) “ When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.”
Temptation did not stop for Jesus, the temptation that we saw early on in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is just the only time that any kind of tempting of Jesus was written down. From what we can see from the above verse is that Jesus was tempted constantly like the rest of us. The only difference is that Jesus did not give in because Jesus knew and used The Word!
Where’s your Bible dude?…
I keep mine on me in the form of an app on my phone, it’s just a practical way to do things. Hope that made you think.
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 had an encounter with Jesus!
This all happened in my bathroom! I was in my bathroom and I said to Jesus,
” Jesus, please make your presence known to me”
Then I just closed my eyes, put my hands outstretched in front of me like this and waited.
Then suddenly it was like something really brilliant was in front of me and I felt a strong wind, a wind that was strong enough to blow my arms backward. I started to shake a tiny bit and I felt a very powerful presence in front of me.
I knew this was Jesus, the being in front of me was so brilliant and so magnificent it could only be Jesus.
I had an overwhelming sense that Jesus was so holy, the most holy being I had or ever will meet. I was compelled to bow, in fact Jesus made me bow. My head felt heavy and I wasn’t in control of my body, it was like Jesus pushed my head down to bow because although Jesus is my friend, Jesus is so holy and magnificent and that He commands respect. I felt like I must bow because Jesus is God and I am not.
It was almost too much, as I was just processing how holy and magnificent Jesus is I started to get upset. I almost stupidly said it’s too much no more. I had such a strong sense that Jesus is so incredibly holy and compared to Jesus who I could feel was magnificent through and through and holy I felt dirty, like a scrap, like nothing.
I was suddenly aware that there seemed to be a thin layer of dust on me, I realised that that was sin. It was clear to me that Jesus is so much better than I am. I realised, sometimes we walk around and we think we are good people, then when we get into the presence of God we realise that God’s standards are so high that, without Jesus, we will never be clean. Once I asked Jesus forgiveness for my sins I didn’t feel dirty any more.
Jesus’ presence was so strong that I actually started to blow away and it was either Jesus Himself or an angel that actually grabbed me by the my arm (the bit between my shoulder and elbow) and pulled me back to standing in front of Jesus, Jesus’ presence was that strong, I was literally blown away. I was thinking to myself, wait a second, this is who I have been praying to and watching films with?!!???!!? (I like to invite Jesus to watch films and eat with me). It just shows how good Jesus is, I know now that we are just so beneath Him and that means that everything He does for us is just mercy on His part.
The thing that I also noticed was that Jesus made me wait. I wanted to do something and I said to Jesus
“ok when You’re ready please release my hands then I’ll know You’re ready for me to get on with the things that I want to do after this”
But Jesus made me wait! Not only did Jesus make me wait but Jesus made me wait
I found that really interesting. I was just standing there, my head bowed and in silence, ready to get on with other things, then Jesus took my hands, which had stuff in them ready and poised to get on with other things, lowered them and made me stand there with my head bowed and wait, in silence….. I don’t know how long I was standing there but Jesus was determined that I get on with things in Jesus time not mine.
That got me thinking, you know sometimes at church, not just my church but church in general, we like to fill the space with noise. Sometimes maybe someone is just pinging on the guitar or you have string pads to fill the space or the preacher is just speaking and speaking and speaking and speaking…. etc. All of these things, although not inherently evil, are distractions. There is certainly something in taking time out to have a contemplative silence, remember, Elijah looked for God in the whirlwind, the earthquake and the fire but God was actually in the whisper!
1 Kings 19:11-13 [NLT] “ “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?””
For a long time He did not let me get on with the things that I wanted to do, in fact, at one point, I even thought that Jesus wasn’t even going to let me do them. Even though it was Jesus who I felt was the one who told me to go do this activity, I still thought, as there was so much waiting, that He was going to send me packing, say no and direct me to do something else. However, when it seemed properly like Jesus is going to tell me to go do something else, Jesus lowered my hands and I felt released to be able to do something else.
I’ve realised from my experience that we Christians say “oh yeah Jesus is holy” we have no idea. We don’t know what holiness actually is. The holiness I felt within Jesus does not come from earth. We describe holiness from human standards of goodness but the earth is so polluted, so full of wrong, that we do not have any frame of reference or word on this earth to describe the actual holiness of God because we simply don’t actually encounter it on earth. Earthly standards of good are nothing compared to God. Not one single person is good, as defined by God’s standards.
Also, it became very clear to me that we Christians think we know Jesus, we do not. We think we have an idea of what Jesus might want, we don’t, not always. I think this because the being I encountered in my bathroom was magnificent, nothing was imperfect, Jesus was magnificent to His core. We are not. Therefore, we cannot assume anything about someone like that. I could also sense intelligence, intelligence much greater than mine and I got the sense of a plan that I was not necessarily privy to. I felt in that instance that Jesus thinks that many of the liturgical traditions we have are stupid and many of the church traditions Jesus is just above it. I’m talking about things like, the solemn way communion is done (more the high church circles), the silly outfits, the ridiculous church rules like Catholic priests can’t inform on paedophiles when they have confessed in confession to a priest. I just didn’t feel like they mattered. Jesus felt sensible and I felt like He was the source of all common sense. Someone so intelligent and magnificent would think that it’s ridiculous that Catholic priests aren’t encouraged to inform on paedo’s.
Jesus has shown Himself to me before but in this instance He came as Jesus the King of Kings, helping me to understand the different aspects of who He is. I did ask Jesus a while ago to give me a revelation of Himself as King and Jesus answered. Seeing the magnificence of Jesus and observing how holy Jesus is also made me realise that Jesus deserves much more respect than I and others have been giving Him. Jesus is holy, magnificent and brilliant, I have never met anyone like Jesus. Lets all make an effort to give Jesus respect. We think we have a choice to respect Him, I realised we don’t.
Hey hey hey!
One of my key skills is arranging and orchestrating. I learned these skills during school and honed them during my BA (Hons) Popular Music & Record Production and my Masters of Music in Music Composition.
Basically, an Arranger will take an existing piece of music and “rearrange” it for maybe more instruments, less instruments aka a Piano Reduction for example or even a whole different set of instruments for a performance. This forum post gives a good explanation. An Orchestrator is similar to an arranger but instead they take bits from a composers drafts and basically carry on the piece/project, expanding it to an orchestra or other ensemble but maintain it within the style of the original composer. Sometimes a composer will maybe play music to the orchestrator and ask them to make it into a score. I can do that.
Anyway, I just wanted to show you an examples of my work on other people’s pieces then show you something I did!
So this example is my most popular arrangement/orchestration:
This piece was originally for Solo Tenor, Pop Band and Orchestra, I rearranged it for Harp and String Orchestra.
This was one I did for my masters:
This piece was originally for solo piano. Not one of Debussy’s most interesting pieces but it wasn’t my choice… I expanded the piano score into an orchestral score and composed/arranged in the style of Debussy.
I do this kind of thing constantly in my work either when I do arrangements for the Worship band or something I’ve knocked up at the request of one of my students and I am thankful to Jesus for giving me the skills to do such a thing. It’s incredibly handy!
I thought I would show you how I compose. Basically, I compose by arranging and orchestrating my own music. So I work from a basic arrangement more often than not, me singing on with my guitar, then I expand that to orchestra + band or something else. Lets look at a few examples of my own work:
Originally for Acoustic Guitar and Soprano Solo:
I gave the backing track so you can just see what it is that I did with the instruments
Here’s me performing the full track:
So you see how everything comes together!
Now for another example!
Here’s the original! Again, for Soprano voice and Acoustic Guitar
Jesus gives me soo many good ideas! So I reworked this to be for Soprano voice and Piano ending up being this:
I wrote this song for friends, when I played harp at their wedding, it’s about two people who get married when they are middle aged but it still feels just as exciting as when they were young. Which is what happened to my friends!
With the help of my two guy friends it turned into a piece for Guitar, Soprano voice, Solo Elec guitar and Keyboard. Unreal!
Again this song started out as me and my guitar
But then I thought I mustn’t be lazy and so I found something to hit, I got out my Irish Penny Whistle (yes that’s me playing, I wish I recorded me playing it lol) and my Harp (this is what sounds like an acoustic bass) and made it into a pop/folk arrangement, plus backing vox! Then I just overlaid it onto the audio from the video, so the audio was ripped from the video, added to, then put back. Processed to within an inch of it’s life… lol
Ok so last one! My Favourite one! 😛
Original version was for again Soprano voice (aka me) and Acoustic Guitar like 99% of my songs.
I then thought, I can do better! So Jesus helped me to do so! In case you’re wondering what on earth that song is about read this: Explaination of my song about sex!
So I decided to add some pop arrangement, plus some orchestral instruments (because I enjoy the sound of the orchestra and I am trained to arrange and orchestrate anyway) to it to make this: Pop/orchestral fusion, that’s my speciality. (Soprano Vox, Female Backing Vox, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drum Kit, Piano, String Orchestra)
Then afterwards I thought, you know what? I want to strip this back, back to my roots and love of soft, relaxing music, so I stripped it down to make a version String Orchestra, Piano, Soprano Vox and Female Backing Vox, This one is my favourite orchestration/arrangement.
Lots of love and Copyright © 2018 Catherine Waithe-Arnold 😛