A Whistle-stop Tour Of #Ancient #Jewish #Worship #Music & Techniques

Hey!

Here’s a whistle stop tour of why Christians sing in church:

A History of Christian Worship

The early church was comprised of Jews who had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah. Therefore, to understand what contemporary Christian worship is and why it is there, one must look at historical Jewish worship, as this is the foundation that modern Christian worship is based on.

The beginnings of Jewish music are not known, what is not shrouded in mystery is known by what the Bible tells us (Barton 2014, p.7). The book of Psalms is full of many musical directions of how to worship God, however, as there are no sound recordings or musical notation related to the musical directions in the psalms, we can only speculate as to how they would have sounded. The first mention in the Bible of music, a musical instrument and a musician is when a woman called Adah gives birth to her son whom she named Jubal, in Genesis 4:20-22:

“[20] Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the first of those who raise livestock and live in tents. [21] His brother’s name was Jubal, the first of all who play the harp and flute. [22] Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah.” (Genesis 4:20-22 NLT)

Here, we are introduced to three primary professions on earth, apart from tending the Garden of Eden, like Adam. Those who work with livestock (v.20), the musician (v.21) and the craftsman in bronze and iron (v.22) (Barton 2014, p.9).

The Hebrews, (as they were known before they arrived in Israel), were given instructions to worship God in the books of the Law, which, at the time, also involved animal sacrifice. They were told what to sacrifice and when but no specifics was given regarding worship (Williams 2018, Origins of Christian Worship).

There are a few examples describing how worship was lead in the Bible but again we do not know how it sounded. We read early on in the Bible that after leaving Egypt, Miriam, the sister of Moses, took a timbrel and led the other women, who also had timbrels and to praise God in Exodus 15; 20 and 21. In Leviticus, we are introduced to the Shofar, this is a Rams horn which was blown by a priest on feast days. The Shofar is still played today and sounds like a trumpet or horn. In Numbers 10:1-10, we are introduced to another kind of horn, the silver trumpet, like the Shofar, this is not strictly a musical instrument but is also only used by the priests who blew it to signal to the Hewbrew’s that they were moving the camp.

Fast-forward many generations to the book of Samuel we discover that there were prophets who were also musicians. Saul met them following an encounter with Samuel:

“When you arrive at Gibeah of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. (1 Samuel 10:5 NLT)

Music was also used for therapeutic reasons, David played the harp for King Saul, conducted under what has become known as the Psalmist anointing, which is “…the power coming from God in the music to drive evil spirits away” (Barton 2014, p.9):

And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away. (1 Samuel 16:23 NLT).

Later, once David became king and he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem there was dancing; singing; they were playing lyres; harps; tambourines and other percussive instruments (2 Samuel 6:5) and Rams horn’s were played in 2 Samuel 6.15. David also assigned men from the Levite clans to sing and play music in worship to God in the tabernacle, (which at the time was a tent), 24 hours a day and they did so until his heir and son Solomon built a temple made of brick (1 Chronicles 6:31-32). In fact, the whole of 1 Chronicles 25 also shows us that David appointed entire families from the Levite clans to play music, this would have amounted to several thousand singers and musicians (Barton 2014, p.9). David also appointed a choir leader, who functioned, I imagine, much in the same way as a modern choir leader (1 Chronicles 15:16) (Nehemiah 12:46). When David established the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle, he personally paid for musicians out of his treasury:

“[4] David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD–to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. [5] Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. [6] The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.” (1 Chronicles 16:4-6 NLT)

Before David’s Tabernacle (tent) was erected worship was quite solemn, as directed by Moses and involved animal sacrifice. In David’s Tabernacle worship livened up. This could have been because David was quite a creative and passionate person. The Bible tells us that he was a poet, harpist and singer, as well as a shepherd, King and warrior. The Bible also tells us that David also appeared to enjoy dancing as well, see 2 Samuel 16:14 (Barton 2014, p.15).

Once, Solomon, David’s son and heir had built the Temple of the Lord, he celebrated this with music, 120 priests playing trumpets and God responded to this by filling the Temple with His presence:

“[12] And the Levites who were musicians–Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and all their sons and brothers–were dressed in fine linen robes and stood at the east side of the altar playing cymbals, lyres, and harps. They were joined by 120 priests who were playing trumpets. [13] The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the LORD with these words: “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the LORD. [14] The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:12-14 NLT) (Barton 2014, p.9).

The instruments used in the Temple worship in King Solomon’s times were:

Kinnor – A Harp or Lyre – a plucked string instrument probably with 12 strings. It is the national instrument of Israel still today.
Ugav – a flute or shawm – a wood instrument
Tof – a small tambourine-type instrument often played by women
Machalat – The nature of this instrument cannot be established

 

Non-musical instruments

Shofar – Ram’s horn
Pa’amon – Bells
Chatzotzerah – The Silver trumpet which God told Moses to make and used to signal the onward movement of the Hebrews in the wilderness and at other festival times – blown only by priests.
The tabret (or trimbrel) – was probably a small hand held percussion instrument (Rothmüller 1967) (Barton 2014, p. 16).

Following the destruction of this temple and the exile and return of the Israelites to Israel, worship changed slightly but the basic elements remained the same and there were still many musicians, Ezra records that 128 singers returned from exile with him (Ezra 2:41), later there were 200 women and men singers (Ezra 2:65). Nehemiah records in Nehemiah 7:67 that the singers were so numerous that they built villages around the capital to accommodate them and they were given a quota of food each day (Nehemiah 11:23) (Barton 2014, pp.17-18). What changed was the tone of worship during the exile of the Israelites from their own country to Babylon by the Babylonians. Singing in the synagogues was briefly banned, possibly due to the sorrow of exile as well as the rise of emphasis on the law by the Pharisee’s Some things were added, like the formalized order of public prayers, still used in Synagogues today, was established by the Great Assembly of Jewish leaders. This is known as the synagogue system (Barton 2014, p.19).

 

Historical Liturgical Synagogue Worship

The following are institutionalised liturgical practices from the synagogue system:

The Cantor

The Cantor was the leader of chanting prayers, psalms and scriptures in the synagogue, which became the dominant form of music in the synagogues for many centuries, following the lifting of the ban on singing in the synagogues. The chant was a liturgical practice that involved a number of syllables being sung to each note of a short melodic line that is repeated throughout the passage being read/sung. The cantor would take contemporaneous melodic patters or compose his own melodies. Chanting of Psalms was often done antiphonally with two choirs groups to lead the congregation. Rabbis did not allow women to sing, so all music was male led by men and boys and chanting was monophonic. The scales differed depending on the spatio-temporal location of the synagogue as the local folk music culture often influenced the Cantor’s musical creations (Barton 2014, p.21).

 

Cantillation

In the Cantillation the cantor or leader singer of a synagogue sings the declamatory form of the weekly text of the Torah, and the Prophets (Nevi’im) using pre-existing musical phrases. The musical phrases are chosen according to the text and book of the Bible being cantillated. There is no rhythm as different musical motives are combined together. Although there is reason to believe that cantillation goes back as far as Ezra in the Bible times – about 2,500 years ago – most melodies used today are no older that about the 15th or 16th century (Rubin and Baron 2006, pp.67-69) (Barton 2014, pp.21-22).

 

Jewish Liturgical Modes

A set of musical modes are called ‘Nusach’ which can refer either to a set of modes, melodies and also a set text or prayer. These modes or melodies link the prayer to a time of year or day and also indicate what prayer is to be sing or recited. These melodies became standardized, as did the prayers associated with the melodies. The Three main modes are: Ahavah Rabbah, Magein Avot and Adonai Malach. Today they are improvised from time to time) (Barton 2014, p.22).

 

Synagogue Prayers

The prayers of the Synagogues were chanted usually led by a Cantor and a male choir (if available). The Cantors usually sang in a florid and melodious style that was either of their own devising (before the modes became formalized) or influence by the local culture’s melodic lines. After the formalizing of the prayers the following forms emerged and remain until this day in the modern synagogues:

Piyyut: – a Jewish liturgical poem that is sung, chanted or spoken. A lot of Piyytim are poetic in character and often follow the order of an acrostic poem using the Hebrew Alphabet in order at the beginning of each line.

Zemiros: Jewish Hymns sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish or Ladino, sung at holidays, the Shabbat meal on Fridays or any other day.

Nigun: religious songs sung by groups that involve voice and with no formal words; syllables such as bim-bim-bam or ai-ai-ai are sung.

Pizmonim: Traditional Jewish songs associated with Middle Eastern Sephardic Jews – but are also among the North African and Mizrahi Jews. Texts may come from the Old Testament or by poets. They are composed to praise God and contain traditional teaching. They are often sung at religious rituals or festivities such as circumcisions, weddings Bar Mitzvahs or other ceremonies.

Baqashot: a collection of songs and prayers sung by Sephardic Jewish communities during Shabbat, but also may be recited during the long weeks of winter) (Barton 2014, pp.22-23).

That’s all folks!

Bibliography

Books

Barton, B. 2014. The Music of the Jews: An Overview. Fellowship Diploma dissertation. National College of Music, London.

Rothmüller, A. M. 1967. The Music of the Jews; an Historical Appreciation. South Brunswick: T. Yoseloff.

Rubin, E. and J. H. Baron. 2006. Music in Jewish History and Culture. Sterling Heights. MI: Harmonie Park.

 

Websites

Williams, B. ‘Origins of Christian Worship’ Academia Web site, at: <https://www.academia.edu/26562401/Origins_of_Christian_Worship > 15 October 2018

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

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

 

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

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

(Genesis 2:21-23 NLT) “[21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. [22] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. [23] “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'”

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

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

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

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

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

Also, again in 1 Corinthians 12:

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

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

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

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

Anyway, back to Adam’s rib…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Genesis 2:21-23 NLT) “[21] So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening.

…but Jesus’ wound was left open:

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

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

 

Closing Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

To Summarise

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

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

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

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

 

Catherine x

Hey Hey Hey! Just a quick thought??

Hey!

Just a quick one tonight. I was thinking. If God had made Eve/Women first, when the animals were made, to find company for the human, Eve would have looked around at all the baby ducks and the horses and been like, “Yeah! This is great! Thanks Jesus!”. Then she would have continued to live in the Garden of Eden, naked, happily and there would have been no more humans as man would never have been made lol.

I put this idea to one of my Christian male associates.

He didn’t seem to think it was funny.

lol…

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lol eating…

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

Hey everybody,

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

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

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

Catherine x

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Feeling better! 🙂

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I Just Want To Say That #Jesus Is Good

Hello friends,

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

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

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

Catherine x

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

Hey everyone!

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

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

This document has been written in response to the legalistic heterodoxy I recently encountered that states that: “…our sins are forgiven only upon baptism.”. This article begins by confronting the initial misunderstanding and then provides clarification on how we actually obtain the forgiveness of our sins by faith in Jesus. Following that, I give reasons why the heterodoxy of thinking that our sins are forgiven only upon baptism does not correlate with our post-resurrection era of grace and is an attempt to bring us back to the Law of Moses and why this is not desirable. After that, I explain what grace is, why it’s important for the forgiveness of our sins and I put forward arguments against the forgiveness of sins being earnable through works such as baptism. The latter part of this article is focused on equipping, showing the reader how individuals can achieve forgiveness of their sins through faith, made possible by grace and concludes with an explanation of key scriptures related to the topic.

We Obtain Forgiveness Of Our Sins Through Our Faith In Jesus

We are saved through “faith” in Jesus and this is made possible by “grace”. Our sins are not forgiven at baptism, as this would mean that an individual has to do an action to earn their salvation and salvation cannot be earned. Salvation is not transactional like the Law of Moses. The whole point of Grace is that it is unmerited favour from God, which is transformational as opposed to the transactional like the Law of Moses. If you have not grasped this you have totally misunderstood the Bible, misplaced yourself amongst the Godhead and you do not understand what Jesus did on the cross. This is basic Christianity 101 and all Christians should have a firm grasp on this concept not only for your own information but also so you can teach and educate other Christians who do not have a full understanding of this revelation from the Lord (Bradley 2019, i)

You are justified/saved/forgiven through faith ONLY. Your baptism, although it is a command, comes as a desire to live out of your faith. The heresy of salvation through baptism in the cult I encountered arose from their leaderships misunderstanding of the NIV translation of verses pertaining to baptism such as:

(Acts 2:38 NIV) “[38] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

This does not mean that your sins are forgiven at baptism, it is saying that you repent then get baptised as a public sign that you believe that through your belief in Jesus, confession of your sins to Jesus and your repentance to Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
Only Jesus can forgive sins not your actions qualifying you for forgiveness. If your actions could qualify you then there would have been no need for Jesus to die and the Law of Moses would have been enough to save you. We see from Galatians that that is not the case:

(Galatians 2:16, 21 NIV) “[16] know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. … [21] I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””

Clearly the above verse alone disproves any notion that salvation can be earned by works of any kind. It says we are justified by faith. Let us discuss further what it means to be “justified by faith”.

Justified By Faith

When we use the term, “justified by faith” what we mean is that we are made right, (atoned) with God, by our faith in Jesus and not our actions. Abraham, the forerunner of all Christians was justified by his FAITH, not by his actions. His actions were brought about by his faith, look what Romans says:

(Romans 4:3-4, 13-16 NIV) “[3] What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” [4] Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. … [13] It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. [14] For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, [15] because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. [16] Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring–not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.”

The promise of salvation and the forgiveness of your sins comes by FAITH not a law like “you must receive baptism” for our sake because not everyone would be able to fulfil it. Think about it, baptism cannot be the thing that means that your sins are forgiven because some people do not have a sufficient source of water due to poverty and drought. If being baptised is when your sins are forgiven poor people who can’t afford water/water is scarce/dry wells will never have their sins forgiven, only rich/middle class people, (who can afford to waste water), will go to heaven.

Jesus can forgive your sins before baptism, take Luke 23:39-43, Matthew 9:1-6, Luke 7:47-48 Jesus just forgave those people, they didn’t get baptised first).

(Luke 23:39-43 NIV) “[39] One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” [40] But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? [41] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” [43] Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

Jesus forgave him without him being baptized, he didn’t get the chance to be baptized as he died before he could get baptized, after believing in Jesus. Let’s look at another example in Matthew:

(Matthew 9:1-8 NIV) “[1] Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. [2] Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” [3] At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” [4] Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? [5] Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? [6] But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” [7] Then the man got up and went home. [8] When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.”

Jesus forgave that man of his sins without him getting baptized. Jesus also said that He has the authority to forgive sins. Why are we trying to strip Jesus of His own authority of forgiving sins, by saying that there are other man made things that you have to do before achieving salvation? This next example is quite important:

(Luke 7:47-50 NIV) “[47] Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” [48] Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” [49] The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” [50] Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

Look what Jesus said; it was the woman’s faith in Him that led to her salvation not something that she did, her actions were informed by her faith but her salvation was only received at the point of faith.

Saying that your sins are only forgiven upon baptism is dangerous heterodoxy that has come about by gotten caught up in legalistic semantics, making a human idea fit on to Gods word. Therefore, missing the point and complete mercy of the grace of God. It’s God who calls us not the other way round (Still 2019).

It is the “Grace” of God that allows us the opportunity to receive salvation, if we have “faith” in Jesus. Faith is belief, it is not an action, it is a feeling or a conviction and has nothing to do obeying a law. It is merely a transaction as opposed to a transformation.

Legalistic Thinking

Let’s just confront the elephant in the room. God didn’t always express a deep fondness for the Law of Moses. God always preferred humans to have faith and to love one another, look at what God said in Isaiah:

(Isaiah 1:11-17 NIV) “[11] “The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. [12] When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? [13] Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations–I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. [14] Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. [15] When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! [16] Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. [17] Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

The same sentiment is reiterated in Jeremiah:

(Jeremiah 7:22-23 NIV) “[22] For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, [23] but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”

Again in Hosea:

(Hosea 6:6 NIV) “[6] For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Then in Amos:

(Amos 5:21-24 NIV) “[21] “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. [22] Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. [23] Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. [24] But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Then Micah:

(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) “[6] With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? [7] Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? [8] He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Lastly, if it’s not clear enough that God did not care for the law, we are taught in Hebrews that Jesus himself expressed God’s dissatisfaction with a legal, transactional salvation:

(Hebrews 10:5-8 NIV) “[5] Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; [6] with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. [7] Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” [8] First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”–though they were offered in accordance with the law.”

So why did God ever give us the law? Well, as we see in Romans, it was just necessary to show US how sinful humans are and how much we need God as it says in Romans:

(Romans 3:20-22 NIV) “[20] Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. [21] But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,”

When the law was followed it didn’t mean anything to God unless their hearts were right. God wants faith, love and obedience above everything else, like it says in Psalms:

(Psalm 50:7-15 NIV) “[7] “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. [8] I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. [9] I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, [10] for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. [11] I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. [12] If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. [13] Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? [14] “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, [15] and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.””

We make a mockery of Jesus’ death when we think that we need to add anything to the gospel and do any special actions other than believe that Jesus can forgive our sins in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins. If we needed to do extra things to receive forgiveness then Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough and this does not align with what the scriptures clearly say:

(Hebrews 9:9-12 NIV) “[9] … the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. [10] They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order. [11] But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. [12] He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

If the bible says in the above verse that Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, once and that action was enough to ensure the forgiveness of our sins who are we to say otherwise? Physical actions such as baptism and any actions prescribed in the Law of Moses (See Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were never enough to cleanse, they only dealt with the outside. This idea is reiterated later on in this chapter of Hebrews:

(Hebrews 9:24-28 NIV) “[24] For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. [25] Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. [26] Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. [27] Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, [28] so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Again, it makes it clear here that Jesus’ death and resurrection was enough and belief in Jesus and repentance all you need. Jesus did this one time, for all and it does not need to be added to by humans, by saying you need baptism to have your sins forgiven. Beliefs like that take us back to the Law. Look what it says in Romans about the Law:

(Romans 3:19-28 NIV) “[19] Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. [20] Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. [21] But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– [26] he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. [27] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. [28] For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”

To believe that your sins are only forgiven when you are baptised is to resurrect the Law of Moses and we are not living under that now, we are living under grace. The Law was never designed to sanctify you anyway; it was just designed to show you how sinful you were. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection what the bible advocates for the forgiveness of sins is Faith made possible by “grace”.

Lastly, when it comes to any kind of ceremonial washing, such as baptism, we need to remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees when they confronted Him on this issue:

(Matthew 23:25-26 NIV) “[25] “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

Here Jesus shows that external washing does not make a difference to the inside. It is an internal transformation of faith and love, aided by grace that makes the outside clean.

What is Grace?

Let’s have a look at Grace for further understanding. The classic definition of Grace is that God’s grace is unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved God’s judgment and wrath but He showed them favor. (Cole 2019).

The best way to look at this revelation is to look at it like you are looking at a two-sided coin. On the one side of the coin the grace of God is the “unmerited favour and mercy” of God and as mentioned earlier, we are saved by “grace” through our faith in Jesus Christ. The second definition of the word grace, which will be the other side of this same coin, is that the grace of God is referring to the divine life, power and ability of God flowing and operating through us (Bradley 2019, i)

Why Is Grace Important For The Forgiveness Of Sins?

The first definition of grace is what this article is concerned with, the idea that God created an opportunity for our sins to be forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This opportunity is something that we did not deserve, it was something that we could not go through and it is certainly something that we can never earn. Initially, sin was dealt with through the law, as mentioned earlier but now we have an opportunity to have salvation through faith because of God’s grace.

To understand why grace was necessary we need to go back to the beginning of the bible. If we look at what happened to humanity in the beginning we would come to the conclusion that the truth of the matter is that every human after Adam is dead in her or his trespasses and sins. Paul explains this to the Church at Ephesus, as follows:

(Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV) “[1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. [3] All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”.

And Paul goes on to give us great news:

(Ephesians 2:4-10, 14-15 NIV) “[4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. … [14] For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, [15] by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,”

There was a time, after Adam and Eve first sinned, that God’s law was expanded into more than 600 things that the people could and could not do. The people could not obey these laws and at one point God wiped out all of mankind because they were so evil. He saved only Noah and his family because Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. Even after Noah, man continued to disobey and because God’s chosen people, Israel (the Jewish people), rejected God’s eternal plan of salvation, it was offered to the Gentiles (those who are not Jewish). Paul writes about this in his letter to the Church at Rome:

(Romans 11:30-32 NIV) “[30] Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, [31] so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. [32] For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”(Williams 2019)

It is not that God’s grace is missing from the Old Testament. No one was saved in the Old Testament apart from God’s grace but John 1:17 shows the contrast between the two terms of engagement between God and humans in the two testaments:

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

*Note added by author of this article.

This is because:

(John 3:17-18 NIV) “[17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”(Cole 2019)

If you think that your sins are forgiven only at baptism it shows that you do not believe that Jesus alone has the power to forgive sins and you don’t understand Grace. It clearly says here that anyone who believes in Jesus is not condemned. What’s another word for believe? It’s faith, so to reiterate, your sins are forgiven in your faith in Jesus, that Jesus has the power to forgive sins, which is why we go to Jesus and ask Jesus forgiveness of our sins and that is enough. This opportunity to be forgiven is called Grace.

Can Grace Be Earned?

This opportunity to receive salvation just by faith due to the grace of God means that grace is available to all. Instead of only just those who have the ability to waste water and be baptized.

Paul says that the appearance of God’s grace brought “salvation to all men.” The KJV and the NIV err by translating that God’s grace has appeared to all men. That never has been true, in that there have always been many that have never heard of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Paul means that God’s grace that appeared in the person of Christ offers salvation to all that hear of it. In the context, Paul has just spoken of various groups: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. So when he goes on to say that God’s grace brings salvation to all men, he means, “to all types of people, including those whom the world despises, even to slaves.” No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.

This does not mean that all people are saved or will be saved. The Bible is uniformly clear that there are two separate final destinations for all people. Those who by God’s grace have the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will go to heaven. Those who do not believe in Christ will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell.

But the good news of God’s grace is that no sinner is beyond the reach of God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a persecutor of the church. He called himself the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13, 15). But he experienced God’s grace through the cross. If the chief of sinners found mercy, so can you! (Cole 2019).

The idea that you have to do anything extra other than believe that Jesus can forgive your sins in order to achieve the forgiveness of your sins, like getting baptized or being circumcised is pharisaical heterodoxy that comes from adding human ideas and mixing them with the pure gospel.

God’s pure grace gets polluted from two sides. On the one side, grace runs counter to the way the world works, so it is difficult for us to grasp it and get used to it. The world works on a transactional meritocratic system. If you do well in school, you get good grades and win awards. If you do well in sports, you make the team and get applause. If you get into university, the merit system continues to reward excellence. This carries over into the business world after university. Exceptional performance earns promotions and raises. Sloppy performance will get you fired.

In the spiritual realm, all of the world’s religions, except for biblical Christianity, work on the merit system. Even the major branches of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church teach a system of meritocratic-salvation, where you have to add your works to what Christ did on the cross in order to go to heaven.

This merit system of salvation permeates the public mind. Ask anyone on the street his opinion of how a person gets into heaven and you will hear something about being a good person. It was at the heart of pharisaic, legalistic religion in the times of Jesus and Paul (Willams 2019).

We see time and time again Paul rebuffing these ideas that you have to add something extra other than faith to the gospel in order to receive forgiveness. Take the issue of circumcision for example.

(Genesis 17:11 NIV) “[11] You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.”

(John 7:22 NIV) “[22] Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.”

Some Jewish converts to Christianity were telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) that they had to get circumcised (a prescription of the Law of Moses) in order to receive salvation. Paul rebuffed this saying:

(Romans 4:9-13 NIV) “[9] Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. [10] Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! [11] And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. [12] And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. [13] It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”

We see here that Paul is saying that Abraham’s circumcision was a sign that he was justified by his faith and that justification came before the action not after. In the same fashion Baptism is a sign that you are justified by faith and that justification/sanctification and forgiveness of sins came before you were dunked in water not after.

Again, Paul discusses the issue of Pharisaical individuals trying to pollute the concept of grace in Galatians stating:

(Galatians 3:2-6 NIV) “[2] I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? [3] Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? [4] Have you experienced so much in vain–if it really was in vain? [5] So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? [6] So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.””

This is true, we begin by faith and then some people who misunderstand the Gospel and what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant for us and insist that there is another step or so that we need to do in order to achieve forgiveness. This is not true and I ask the same metaphorical questions that Paul asked. Did you receive the Gospel, miracles and the Holy Spirit by going through an action or did you receive those things by FAITH?

Let’s see further examples from Galatians regarding obtaining salvation through any other action other than faith.

(Galatians 3:8-12, 14, 18-19, 21-24 NIV) “[8] Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” [9] So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. [10] For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” [11] Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” [12] The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” … [14] He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. … [18] For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. [19] Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. … [21] Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. [22] But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. [23] Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. [24] So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

We see that we are justified through faith. The opportunity to be justified through faith is called Grace. We also see that if we live by the law and if we could achieve salvation through the law we are also forced to face the consequences of the law and we make God a liar because the promise given to Abraham would be nullified:

(Galatians 3:14-18 NIV) “[14] He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. [15] Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. [16] The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. [17] What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. [18] For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.”

So if you could achieve forgiveness of sins, through a law like “you must be baptised” then we make out God to be a liar because God promised that the righteous would live by faith:

(Habakkuk 2:4 NIV) “[4] “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright–but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness–“

Every step of the way the bible talks about belief being and faith being synonymous with salvation:

(John 3:31-36 NIV) “[31] The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. [32] He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. [33] Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. [34] For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. [35] The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. [36] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

We also condemn ourselves to the consequences of the law because if you don’t fulfil it there are consequences. So if you are not able to get baptised you will never have your sins forgiven. However, if we live by faith, we will be able to partake in the promise of an inheritance of the Spirit and become true children of Abraham and receive justification, salvation and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.
The opportunity to receive this promise is called Grace. Which as we have seen, cannot be earned, it is only achieved through faith and not works. The patriarch of Christianity, Abraham, was justified through his faith before any of the works, that confirmed his faith, took place.

How To Receive Forgiveness Of Sins Through Grace

Everyone loves receiving gifts but for a gift to be yours, you must accept it. When you believe the truth of the gospel – that Jesus died for your sins, was buried according to the Scriptures and was raised again on the third day and that by believing this, accepting Jesus as your saviour and asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sins – according to the Scriptures, you are guaranteed eternal life and you receive the gift. God seals your name in the Lambs Book of Life and leaves the Holy Spirit as the Promise that Jesus will return to redeem you into eternal life with Him and His Father in Heaven. Your death sentence is lifted and you are no longer condemned. One bible passage to study about the results of this salvation include: John 3:16-18:

(John 3:16-18 NIV) “[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

Grace does not mean that we may now do things that displease the Lord. Under the Law we saw death and we were bound as a slave to that Law. Under grace we have freedom through the leading of the Spirit. We needed the Law to convince us of our personal need of a Saviour (Gal 3:23-26).

(Galatians 3:23-26 NIV) “[23] Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. [24] So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. [25] Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. [26] So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,”

Under grace we are no longer focused on the “dos” and “don’t”, rather, when we follow the Spirit we always do what pleases God (Willams 2019).

Key Bible Verses On Grace And Faith

There are key verses that Christians can study that have to do with our own personal salvation in the Lord. Each one of these are verses have to do with the classic definition of grace – which is that grace is the unmerited favour and mercy of God towards mankind. This mercy is what allows us to have the forgiveness of our sins and justification through FAITHin Jesus, not through some kind of extra activity.

These verses provide an overview of exactly what our eternal salvation in the Lord is really all about. If you can grasp what the Lord is trying to tell you in these specific verses, you will then be able to walk away with a much better and clearer understanding as to who you really are in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and exactly how you were saved in the first place.

This is a list of the verses together, highlighting the key words and phrases in these verses so you can see exactly what God is trying to show you.

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

  2. (2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “[8] So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. [9] He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”

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

  4. (Romans 5:1-2 NIV) “[1] Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, [2] through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”

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

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

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

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

  9. (Romans 3:22-26 NIV) “[22] This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– [26] he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

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

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

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

  13. (Romans 5:15 NIV) “[15] But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

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

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

  16. (Galatians 2:21 NIV) “[21] I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””

The first thing to pick up from these verses is that our personal salvation in the Lord is not earned by any type of good works that we can do in this life – no matter how many good works we may end up doing and no matter how good and holy those works may end up being, like baptism. The quantity and quality of our works for the Lord do not matter to Him.

The very first verse:

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

is the absolute number one verse on exactly how we are to receive eternal salvation from the Lord. This verse specifically tells us, without any other possible spin or interpretation you can possibly put on it, that our individual personal salvation –which is the forgiveness of our sins and our atonement to God – can only be received by “grace” through our personal faith in Jesus Christ.

This first verse and the two that follow right after it, specifically state that our eternal salvation is simply received by grace through faith – not by any type of works/actions.

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

  2. (2 Timothy 1:8-9 NIV) “[8] So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. [9] He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”

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

The first verse tells us that our eternal salvation is a direct, free gift from God and “not of works.” The second verse once again says that God has saved us through His grace and not “according to our works”. The third verse then really hammers this point home when it literally shouts out that both grace and works cannot save us. It says if we are saved by grace, then works has no part in our salvation whatsoever. You cannot have this revelation both ways. If we are saved by grace, which we are, then works has absolutely no part in our personal salvation with the Lord. It’s all Him and none of us. The first verse says that being saved by grace through our faith in Jesus all comes direct from God and that it is “not from yourselves” because it is direct from God!

As simple as this revelation is to fully grasp and understand, there are still some Christians who are walking around thinking that they still have to try and earn their way into heaven by doing as many good and holy works as they possibly can or by being baptized. As a result, they spend most of their life in misery and torment, as they never know for sure if they will make it into heaven after they die and “cross over”.

The first set of verses above are an absolute top priority for any newborn Christian or any unbeliever you may be witnessing to. Bottom line – eternal salvation, that is the forgiveness of your sins and atonement to God is received direct from the Lord as a free gift and it can only be received by grace through our personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.

Salvation is simply just a matter of believing – and then accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour once you are ready to admit that you are truly a sinner in need of a personal Saviour to save you from your sins.

I am going to highlight some of the key phrases in the above verses so you can see how the Lord is really trying to drive home the point that we can only be saved by and through His grace.

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

Notice in every single one of these key phrases the word “grace” is specifically being used in reference to our own personal salvation in Jesus. With the basic definition of the word “grace” being “unmerited favour,” there can be no question that the forgiveness of our sins and atonement to God can only be received by God’s grace through our faith in His Son Jesus.

No amount of works or baptism, no matter how good and holy we think baptism and good works may be, will ever be good enough to ensure our sins are forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ.

They have no place in our personal salvation with the Lord – and they have absolutely no place when working with an unsaved person in an effort to try and get them saved. God has made accepting His free gift of eternal salvation/forgiveness of sins through His Son Jesus Christ as easy possible.

These Scripture verses are as clear as they can possibly be on this issue (Bradley 2019, ii).

Concluding Remarks

It is the personal opinion of this author that teaching salvation through any means other than faith is a dangerous heterodoxy that is going to leave Christians and early converts confused.

It diminishes the power of Jesus by assuming that God needs help to forgive our sins by an extra action.

It diminishes the suffering of Jesus by assuming that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not good enough for the absolution of our sins and this is a painful insult to Jesus.

It puts man on the same level of the Godhead by assuming that salvation is only achieved when we are baptised, as it is man that baptises us, therefore, man and not God completes the final step of salvation.

It makes assumptions that diminish the meaning and power of Jesus.

It makes Christianity and righteousness transactional instead of transformative.

It also ignores what the rest of the bible says about salvation, which is feckless.

It is also a Eurocentric if not racist reading of the bible, as it elevates the English translation and understanding provided in one version of the English bible, above the original Greek text, (I did not go into this issue in this article).

It recklessly creates a doctrine that is based on only one verse in the bible as opposed to taking in the whole bible in context.

It also creates further mental and physical barriers between humans and God, as not everyone has access to water that they can waste, also, some people like the disabled may not be able to be baptised at all or easily and they will be excluded and never achieve the forgiveness of their sins.

It focuses on acts to achieve righteousness as opposed to faith as the bible says.

It also makes God to be a liar because it nullifies all of the promises that humans would live and be justified by faith and that we would all be children of Abraham’s by faith and as we know, God cannot lie.

It generally takes focus away from Jesus and His power.

It also brings Christianity away from Christ and into the realm of the occult because it is at odds with clear and plain instruction in the bible.

Finally, it forms a barrier to people developing a sense of humility, something that God desires. This is because an individual would have felt that they “earned” their salvation through baptism, completely missing the fact that salvation is something that we do not deserve, we cannot earn and we can never thank Jesus enough, understanding this situates our minds and spirits correctly in a place of humility and thankfulness before God, fully understanding God’s overwhelming mercy.

I have been a Christian for many years and I have been in Christian leadership and Christian study for many years and frankly, searching the scriptures, I cannot say with any certainty that anyone teaching or propagating this heterodoxy will go to heaven. God will have mercy on whomever God will but what we do know is that it says in the scriptures that the teachers, the ones who are in charge of teaching Christian doctrine, well… they will be judged more harshly.

(James 3:1 NIV) “[1] Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

For those of you who made it to the bottom here is a music video that sums up this entire article:

Catherine x

Goodbye *waves* | #friendship #love #happiness #Jesus |

An open letter to my friend

For my friend…

Hey everybody!

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.

Goodbye.

Now I understand how Jesus feels about us sometimes.

Catherine x

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3 Ways The Devil Tempts #Men | #mensministry #Jesus #theology

Hey everybody,

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) “[1] Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, [2] where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

[3] Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” [4] But Jesus told him, No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.‘”

[5] Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] “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. [7] I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” [8] Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.'”

[9] 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! [10] For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. [11] And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” [12] Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.'”

[13] 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:

  1. Survival
  2. Power
  3. Recklessness

Let’s examine the scripture above once again to see:

1.) Temptation of Survival

This temptation is aimed at destabilizing the bottom two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs- Physiological and Safety needs (follow the link to find out more).

(Luke 4:1-4 NLT) “[1] Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, [2] where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

[3] Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” [4] 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.

2.) Temptation of Power

This temptation is aimed at destabilizing the next two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs- Social belonging and Esteem needs (follow the link to find out more).

(Luke 4:5-8 NLT) “[5] Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] “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. [7] I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” [8] 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.

3.) Temptation of Recklessness

This temptation is aimed at destabilising the last two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs- Self Actualization and Self Transcendence (follow the link to find out more).

(Luke 4:9-12 NLT) “[9] 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! [10] For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. [11] And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” [12] 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!

Commonalities with the three scenarios

Notice that the three scenarios have something in common.

  1. Temptation happens in the midst of vulnerability – the devil waits till a man is in a vulnerable position when his ability to rationalize is compromised.
  2. Quick decisions for quick fixes – the devil tries to make a person make decisions quickly without thinking it through. Which is why the devil waits till a man is vulnerable, desperation and fear make you do silly things
  3. All three ways of tempting encourage men to make poor life choices when it comes to sex.
  4. The devil temps men in order to ruin everybody – when men give in to temptation, it doesn’t just affect men it affects everybody, women, children, animals, the environment, everything because, culturally, men have more power than women.

How did Jesus deal with temptation?

Jesus used The Word!

(Luke 4:4,8,12 NLT)

“…[4] But Jesus told him, No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.‘”…

[8] Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.‘” …

[12] 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) “[6] And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. [7] 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. [8] Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. [9] Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Which was reiterated to Joshua later on:

(Joshua 1:8 NLT) “[8] 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…

Final Warning

(Luke 4:13 NLT) “[13] 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.

Catherine x

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I got a #new jumper dress! 🙂 #fashion

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God displayed sovereignty to me in an amusing way | #skinnyjeans #Jesus #love #cars #lol #bumbums

Hey everyone!

So, here’s how God demonstrated the sovereignty of the Lord to me the other day…

I am single (for now) and I believe in Jesus. Often people say to me “God is going to bring the right person and you’re going to meet that guy when you least expect it!” and I’m like yeah sure ok that’s cool but surely there’s something that I need to be doing right? To actually attract men? lol. Like going out; working out, keeping myself fit (although I like to do that for myself follow this link to find out more); making sure I look nice when I leave the house? So, yes I do all these things, although the exercise thing is for me 😛

Anyway, as I was saying I do all those things, I like to keep within the bounds of my frame, I do this through diet and exercise, I try and keep my hair looking cute!; I wear decent clothes and I’ve been to the spa and spent A LOT of money on my face!! Like a lot lol. I haven’t had plastic surgery just if you tot-up the bill for how many times I’ve been to the spa over my lifespan and how much it has cost me you will realise that I have spent a lot of money on my face lol. So I’ve said to myself you know what I need to do to get hitched? I need to deal with me, look at yourself first make yourself presentable right? Right so I’m off trying to do things, to “help God,” that cost me money with the hope they will help me attract “Mr Right”. Ok just bear in mind how much time and money I’ve spent on my face (I haven’t had plastic surgery I’ve just spent a good deal of time at the spa lol), keep that in mind…

So anyway I was walking to town as I do from time to time and I meditated on something that I’ve noticed happens every time I go to town. I always get beeped at by men in cars and they usually yell something like “yeah!” and pop their heads out of their cars and look at me smiling or look me in the eye smiling when they are cruising in their cars next to me or look at me smiling and if there is another guy the male driver is chatting with other guys in the car who are also smiling when they have stopped at lights or something or I see them looking at me in their wing mirrors, it’s very intimidating actually. I noticed that that happens more when I am walking to town and less when I am walking back and I thought, why is that?

Anyway I did what I wanted to do in town then walked back and I was wearing a light cardigan and I thought, to myself “hey! this top looks really nice on me let’s take it off and show the local males my figure, maybe someone will ask me out lol, yes that’s a good idea Catherine” So I did! 😀 but cars driving towards me weren’t really paying attention to me, I think one guy beeped at me. I noticed a man walking behind me seemed to linger behind me and then eventually passed me with a small smile on his face but he wasn’t really looking at me and I thought, “…hmm, that’s odd”. Generally, when I’m walking back from town, it’s cars on the other side of the road, the ones driving towards my back, that beep at me, although some on the side I am do pay me attention as well but not as much. Now, I used my brain which is currently doing a PhD to meditate on these things….

When I walk to town, I walk on the pavement which is on the left hand side going with the traffic into town (in Britain we drive on the left) and when I walk back from town, I walk on the same side, which when I’m walking back makes me walk against the traffic. Now… those of you who are British will know we drive on the left hand side, meaning that when I am walking to town on the left cars on the same side as me are going in the same direction as me driving towards my back and away from my front and when I am walking back on the same side, cars next to me are now driving towards my front and away from my back.

I’ve realised that the men in the cars beeping at me are mainly coming at me from behind, therefore, they are actually beeping at my bum and not my face… So, all that money I spent on my face was wasted. The end.

Now I googled this whole butt thing, I joked about it in my other blog post (follow this link to read) but I didn’t actually know it was an actual thing. Apparently, men really like bums and a nice round bum is apparently a sign of fertility and apparently, jeans show off your bum more, which is what I was wearing, skinny jeans to be exact and I guess the lunges and other forms of exercise I do every other day (for free) is helping me to fit in my jeans in a way that appeals to men. I actually have no idea what it’s doing to my behind because I can’t see it lol.

The one time I looked down on the whole journey to get something out of my bag, I looked up only to see the fittest man drive past me in the back passenger seat of a car, just got a glimpse, the one time I stopped trying and he was there right in my face. I looked him in the eye he looked angry, fidgeted, shrank into his seat and looked a little uncomfortable lol. Probably because he was a grown man being driven to the shops by two oldish looking people who were clearly his parents. Then I walked home laughing lol

Reminds me of the song No Scrubs by TLC

Anyway, I’ve realised that I’ve spent all that money on my face and the thing that guys look at the most is a more “humble” part of my body… my bum lol. Had I just chilled I could have saved all that money.

The moral of this story is, God is sovereign. God is in control. God will do things in God time and not human time, using things that we didn’t even think could be used to get us where we need to be. God is sovereign, we waste our own time, resources and peace of mind trying to force God’s hand. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead wait for God.

Catherine x

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#beach #Barbados http://wp.me/p3VMqU-Rx #fam

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