Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Am I really a “victim of circumstances?”  Is it helpful to blame others for what might be wrong in my life?  Is it helpful to excuse my failures and faults by viewing them as “inherited traits”?  Am I a slave to wrong behavior?

No.

I look to the Law for my warning.  The Law of God’s Word explains my sinful condition.  It warns me away from wrong choices and behavior.  Then, when I feel overwhelmed and discouraged by my wrong choices, I look to the Gospel.  I see that change is possible in Christ.  I discover that the Holy Spirit enables me to modify my own character, tendencies and habits so that I can pass on to my children and grandchildren something better.  I take hope in the fact that doing good things — the things that please God — is transmissible.

It is easy to excuse my poor behavior by claiming that I’ve inherited a “bad” trait.  But, this is to say: I am a slave.  I have no opportunity to acquire freedom.  This is just who I am.

This is what Satan and the world would have me believe.  But, I don’t buy it.

It is true that under the Law of God I am chained to hopelessness because of my rebellious and sinful condition.  But, under the Gospel, my chains are broken.  I am set free in Jesus Christ to live differently.  To resist evil and do good.   To learn from mistakes and not repeat them.  To perhaps fail again but then, in Christ, start new every morning.

Read Full Post »

In response to a previous post, “Not a Scientist” asked: “Would you mind quoting where Jesus says that homosexuality is a sin?”

Where does Jesus speak against homosexuality?  Everywhere that God does!

First, one must believe that God is who He says He is.  “In the beginning, God created . . . ” (Genesis 1).  He created male and female to be equal, but not the same.  He didn’t created them at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose (Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-22).  He gave them to each other, male and female, to be one union or one flesh in marriage (Genesis 2:24).  Woman was created to be a “helper fit for him.”  Did you know that “fit for him” literally means “like his opposite”?  Consider how man and woman are, in many ways, opposite yet, in marriage, fit together perfectly.  God brings new life into the world through their procreative act of sex.  Marriage, childbirth, and growth of the human community were part of God’s plan for humankind from before The Fall.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Word of God speaks against homosexuality or sodomy.  It is not His design.

Where does Jesus speak against homosexuality?  Everywhere that God does.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any think made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5; 14).  Jesus is God.  He is the Creator.  He is the Word.  He is Law and Gospel.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law (Old Testament) of God.  He came to fulfill it.  He did not disregard it.  He is it!  Inspired by The Word Jesus, St. Paul wrote many times about the sin of homosexuality.  To be sure, we humans think we have evolved in our thinking.  We seek our own way.  We set ourselves up as gods of our own lives.  The consequences are always the same.  “. . . They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:25-28).

Jesus is the Word.  He is God.  He is the Creator.  The Creator knows intimately what He has created.  He is the Creator of anatomy and biology.  He knows what works and what does not.  God is incapable of imperfection.  He would not create a man “fit for” another man, and then laugh when they don’t fit.

My Biblical worldview — CREATION, THE FALL & REDEMPTION — explains to me the wonder of God’s perfect creation of male, female, marriage, and generational society, but it also explains what went wrong and why we struggle so with ourselves and others.  Sin happened.  Man and woman were deceived and failed to trust God’s Word.  That first sin affected us all.  We put ourselves in place of God.  We doubt that Jesus said any more than what is printed in red letters in the New Testament.  But, He did say it all!  He is the Word.  And, because He calls Himself the Word, he is either that… or a liar.

Every day, I am in awe.  Things go bad because of sin.  We struggle heterosexually and homosexually.  But, because of that struggle with our sinful flesh, The Word Jesus came in perfect flesh.  Because of The Word — Jesus — there is hope.  Because of Christ, I am redeemed!  Set free of the chains that bind me to sin.  I may continue to do battle with my feelings and desires, but Satan and my own sinful flesh do not have dominion over me.

Read Full Post »

One day, a woman posted an open question on Facebook.  “My boyfriend wants to move in with me.  Should I let him?”

Now, because he had been included as one of her Facebook friends, the woman’s pastor responded.  “No!  Don’t do it!”

“Well!” the offended woman later blurted to a fellow member of her congregation, “maybe I’ll just transfer my membership to a church where they’ll leave me alone!”

Comments, anyone?

Read Full Post »

Students identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ)  are asking conservative, evangelical colleges to change policies and theology to reflect their “sexuality” and behavioral choices.

In his article for CitizenLink (6-13-11), Jeff Johnston notes that LGBTQ students are rallying on the campuses of Cedarville University, Hope College, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, and more.  The Wheaton LGBTQ website states, “We do not believe there is anything wrong with being gay.  We don’t just believe otherwise, we live happily, and even faithfully, otherwise.”

The Cedarville group concurs, “Most of us still identify as Christian and are joined in our belief that God made us gay and that being gay is not a sin.  Instead of a burden or a struggle, we see our and everyone’s sexuality as a gift.”

Once again, I take issue with God “making people to be homosexual.”  Does a loving God create a person who can’t “fit” together with another to procreate and bring new life into the world?  Does a loving God sit in heaven and laugh when homosexual behavior produces STDs, anal cancer, and HIV/AIDS?

Johnston is correct.  “To affirm homosexuality and transgenderism takes some major Scripture twisting.”  Evangelical colleges and universities would have to change basic tenets of the Christian faith in order to embrace LGBTQ theology.  Johnston gives three examples:

  • Humanity is created male and female in the image of God.
  • God established marriage to bring into union a husband and wife and as the foundation for procreation and family.
  • The metaphor of husband and wife is the central biblical image that illustrates God’s deep passion for His people and Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church.

To affirm homosexual or transgender behavior is to ignore 5000 years of Judeo-Christian foundational teaching.  More, as Johnston states, it assaults the core features of what it means to be human.

Doubting God’s Word was the first — and still most troublesome — sin.  It ruins relationships, first with God and then with others.  God will not have us doubt His Word.  Tweak it.  Distort it.  But, He would have us use His Word to changes hearts and minds.  To treat even those who doubt His Word with kindness.

Read Full Post »

Rev. Albert Mohler told his fellow Southern Baptists at their recent conference that they’ve only been half right about homosexuality.

“We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice.  Well, it’s clear that it’s more than a choice,” he stated.  “That doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful, but it does mean it’s not something that people can just turn on and turn off.”

Rev. Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says his denomination needs to repent for a “form of homophobia” that has condemned homosexuals instead of embracing them as fellow sinners.

“We have also exhibited a certain form of homophobia of which we must, absolutely must in gospel terms, repent precisely because we believe in all the Scripture teaches about homosexuality, and all that the Scripture teaches about sin,” said Rev. Mohler.

He said the hard truth is, “Only the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality.  The Gospel is what we stand for — and the Gospel is the only remedy for sin.”

Thank you, Rev. Mohler and Southern Baptists for standing on firm ground.  Some denominations claim there’s no need for release and that God can bless same-sex relationships.  This is not the God who calls Himself “I Am.”   “I Am” says, “I  have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).  The Creator of  life is not cruel.  He does not make a person to be homosexual and then laugh when their behavior results in despair.  Confusion.  Illness.

We all struggle with sins and their consequences.  May our neighbors urge us away from the cliff of sin even as they reach out to embrace us in Jesus Christ.

(Appreciation to OneNewsNow.com)

Read Full Post »

For centuries, the rule of the sea was “women and children first.”  Survivors of the sinking ship, Titanic, remember men who gave their lives so that women and children might live.  Whether Christian or not, these men were influenced by a teaching that had shaped their thinking and behavior.  Their sacrifice modeled that of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:25).

In 1996, another ship sank off the coast of Indonesia.  Men on board this ship saved themselves first.  Women and children died that men might live.  This is the inevitable consequence of forgetting or rejecting Jesus Christ.

Jesus did more than speak about humility and service.  He demonstrated it (John 13:12-17).  With His example, He established a pattern for men and women to follow.  A hero of titanic proportions is a man who practices self-control for the sake of a woman.  A husband who covers his wife with his name.  A father who rescues his child from death.

Ninety-three percent of the abortions performed in the U.S. are for convenience.  Studies show the top three reasons for abortion are:

  • “A baby at this time would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities.”
  • “I cannot afford a baby.”
  • “I do not want to be a single parent,” or “I’m having problems” with husband or partner.  (Source: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1/97, A. Torres and J.D. Forrest, “Why Do Women Have Abortions?,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1988)

When it appears the ship is sinking — and life hangs in the balance, God desires that men step forward.  Engage deceit with Truth.  Do battle for the honor of women and lives of children.  Adam, the first man, failed.  He was silent.  Unwilling to engage.  Lead away from death.  His passivity left woman vulnerable.  His rib exposed.  A target.  At risk.  When he joined with her in sin, he forever changed the course of history.  Children would pay the highest price.

Indeed, they do.

But, must they continue to pay with their lives?

No.  God brought hope to Adam and Eve with a promise.  The promise was kept when Jesus Christ sacrificed His life on the cross.  Became the Savior of the world.  Proclaimed victory over Satan.  Gave men and women authority over lies and deceit.  Jesus Christ  removed all reasons for any parent to sacrifice the life of their child.

Today, men bring order out of chaos every time they remember and use God’s Word.  Choose life over death.  Involve themselves with the teaching and disciplining of children.  Deny themselves for the mother of their child.  Lead away from danger with a servant’s heart.  Deposit sin baggage at the Cross of Christ.  Forgive as they have been forgiven.  Re-build.

This is titanic love.

Read Full Post »

I could always count on the questions.  After each presentation on purity, girls — often shy, sometimes bold — would ask questions.  About boys.  Themselves.  Relationships.  Love.  Mothers brought their daughters to these events, but often stayed in the background.

Mothers were also in the audiences of the “lifestyle show” Judy Hayen and I took on the road.  The event, titled “Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up,” gave opportunity to address the consequences of “sexy” dress, casual attitudes about intimacy, and risky behaviors.  Clothing is fun.  But, whose idea is it?  Why does the Designer of clothing say we need more than fig leaves?  Why shouldn’t a boys hand go under a girls clothes?  The “lifestyle” show concluded with the perfect dress: the white wedding dress and why we wait to wear it.  It wasn’t the girls but the mothers who had tears in their eyes.  I know, I know.  Wedding dresses bring tears of joy to many moms.  But, I believe I also saw tears of disappointment and regret.  I know the statistics.  Too many don’t wait to wear the white wedding dress because oxytocin, not necessarily love, makes us warm and tingly.

Dozens of women have shared their abortion choices with me.  These choices were made after a touch.  A kiss.  Then the procreative act.   Oxytocin flipped the love circuit in their female brain.  There is trust.   A bond.  But physical contact and the oxytocin response it generates can blind women to a bad relationships.  These women, years after their abortions, explain to me tears of  failure.  Psychological trauma.  Heartache.  Loss.  Spiritual grief.

What were women who became mothers — of living or dead children — told about oxytocin?  What choices did they make because they weren’t told?  What were the consequences?  Is there a reason to keep from our daughters and granddaughters knowledge about their bodies?  How they are designed to function?  And why?

We are not captive to mistakes of the past.  They are forgiven because of Jesus Christ.  His death and resurrection are victory over every sin.  All we need to do is be sorry for our sins and confess them to God.  Then, in Christ, we are set free.  We are new every morning.  In Christ, we have the hope of better choices.  This hope is for daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and a neighborhood of girls.

God made oxytocin because He loves life.  He created one man to bond with one woman in marriage for life.  He joins with husband and wife in the procreational act of sex to bring new life.  He entrusts each new boy or girl to the nurture and instruction of their mom and dad.  With all of this, there is a future. There is hope.

Seems to me all ezerwomen should be talking about this.

Read Full Post »

Some say, “How could a woman end the life of her child?”  This statement is not intended to be cruel, but it is heard as a  judgment.

Others, hoping to be less judgmental, say, “I would never have have an abortion myself, but I believe every woman should have the right to choose.”  This statement sounds compassionate, but to the woman who has had the abortion, it sounds like a comparison: “Abortion is wrong and because I am a good person I wouldn’t do such a terrible thing, but women not capable of doing the right thing should have a choice.”

Both statements are condeming.  Neither offer hope before or after an abortion.

There is a third response.  Trying to imitate Jesus.  Jesus understands why people like you and me sin.  He came to live among us —  to feel our frustration, fears, and sorrow.  He placed Himself in the midst of a messy world.  Jesus loved us so much that He willingly took on our disgrace, our burden, our sin.  Only by living under His Cross am I able to see those hurt by sin (including my own) in a new way.

Days on which we celebrate life are meant to be happy days, but for many they are not.  In the heart of nearly every post-abortive woman is an empty place that is forever expectant and waitiing.  Although she may have believed the lie that there was no room, a cry of sorrow echoes in the room that was always there… waiting.

We cannot go back to erase years of legalized abortion nor the effect on women, men, children, and society.  Mothers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby now mourn the child whose heart beat so close under their own.  Fathers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby are now angry at themselves for failing to protect their son or daugher.  Grandparents who once believed there was no room in their lives for a baby now dream of grandchildren that would have filled the rooms of their homes with laughter.

Sometimes, when I am holding my grandsons, my thoughts turn to Mary.  She approached me after I was finished speaking to a group of women.  She asked for my address and phone number.  In the letters and conversations that followed, she confessed two abortions.  “There has been so much pain in my heart,” Mary wrote.  “I could understand how God could forgive a murderer, but not someone who has killed their own child.”

This pain and the belief that she had committed the sin “too big to be forgiven” held Mary captive.  But, “the reason I want to tell you my story,” Mary continued, “is to thank you.  If, years earlier, I had heard the words of compassion and forgiveness that I heard from you, I would not have had a second abortion.  I would have been reconciled to God and turned my life around a lot earlier instead of wallowing in the muck of sin and accusation.”

“Marys” are everywhere… and they are waiting.  They are silently waiting for a word of hope.  Their broken hearts long to be healed.  God has given to me — to you — His Word to speak in love.  To be sure, the Word of Truth presses hard on the source of pain.  The psalmist (Psalm 32:3-5) writes:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

There is hope for women and men who have been pierced by abortion’s blade.  It is Jesus.  In Jesus, all who confess their sin are cleansed and forgiven (1 Timothy 1:15).  In Jesus, the captive is set free (Galatians 5:1).

(The thoughts of this post are available in a
brochure form upon request from Word of Hope or LFL.)

Read Full Post »

How does the world turn?  By chance, proclaims the secular naturalist.

By the hand of God, proclaims the Biblical Christian.

During a Titus 2 Retreat, the answers to a number of simple questions are followed to their natural conclusion.

  1. Who am I and why am I here?
  2. From where did I come?
  3. Why do things go bad?
  4. Is there hope?
  5. Where will I go when I die?

If I evolved by chance from primordial soup; if my only purpose in life is self-fulfillment; if I’m not responsible for my own messes; if I rely on myself or science to perfect the world; and when I die, well, that’s all there is… how do you think I will live my life?  What will the consequences be?

On the other hand, if I was created by God to be a woman quite different from man, and certainly not an animal; if my purpose is to be in a relationship with God and glorify Him with my behavior; if the world and every person in it is sinful because Adam and Eve disobeyed God; if I am responsible for my own messes; if I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose victorious over evil; and when I die, I will not stay dead but be raised to stand before God… how do you think I will try to live my life?  What will the consequences be?

It all seems reasonable and quite simple.  Follow secular naturalism to it’s logical conclusion and we find devaluation of human life by abortion, “mercy killing,” and school shootings; broken relationships; abuse; tyranny and terrorism; racism and hopeless, human misery.

But, follow Biblical Christianity to it’s logical conclusion and we find value in every human life; restored relationships; kindness and mercy; forgiveness; and hope for the human family.

That’s how my world turns.

Read Full Post »

The first man and woman were naked in the Garden.  There was no shame because both were created in God’s perfect image.  But, when Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, they fell from that perfect image and were no longer righteous (holy) in the sight of God.  They lost their pure and trusting relationship with God.

Sin distorted what God created.  The man and woman no longer saw each other with perfect eyes or experienced a perfect relationship.  Eve tried to cover her nakedness with leaves.   But, God said a bikini of fig leaves wasn’t enough.  What she did with her own hands wasn’t enough.  Trying to partially cover herself wasn’t enough.

The consequences of sin changed everything for men, women, and all of their children.  Today, we are deceived by our distorted ideas of right and wrong.  We are arrogant and immodest.  But, God still says that a bikini of fig leaves isn’t enough.

So, is that it?  Does God just sit in His heaven and count our sins against us?   When sin exposed nakedness and spoiled a perfect relationship between God and his creation, did He abandon us all?  Did He say, I am Holy.  You are not.  I am finished with you.   No.

God had mercy.  The Creator of life had a plan that would reconcile sinful people with a Holy God.  Adam and Eve could no longer stay in the Garden, but God did not send them naked or without hope into a changed world.   He made a promise… and then He covered them with garments of clothing made by His own hands.  The promise was a Savior from sin.  The clothing was really more than just animal skins.

God’s mercy required sacrifice and special clothes.  We can think of that sacrifice and “robe of righteousness” today.  On Good Friday, we remember that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  There is nothing we can do to cover our sin.  But, thanks be to God!  Adam and Eve did not have to despair, and neither do we!  In mercy, God clothes those whom He loves.  We are clothed in righteousness at our baptism.  We are clothed in righteousness when we hear the Gospel and the Holy Spirit works faith.

Physical clothing reminds us of our sinful condition.  But, the clothes we wear also remind us of God’s mercy.  When God covered Adam and Eve, He sacrificed an animal.  This first shedding of blood in the Bible points us toward God’s ultimate shedding of Jesus’ blood on the Cross.  Every time we get dressed, we can remember that God has “clothed [us] with garments of salvation” and “wrapped [us] with a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

The covering of our sins by Christ on Good Friday was not partial, like a bikini of fig leaves.  It was complete.

Makes me think differently about getting dressed.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »