God’s Insurance Plan

Friends, it’s been a while and I haven’t been able to write to you for several reasons and I can’t go into all of them here, but know that I won’t give up on writing to you my thoughts on several issues.

I was watching the movie Batman Begins the other day and there was a quote from it that I really liked. I really didn’t think of it until I was dreaming of it last night. While God doesn’t come and speak to us directly in our sleep (so, no, there is no small still voice in the night of God telling me what to tell you), I do believe we speak to ourselves and our subconscious can be inspired by the events that happen in our lives. I don’t know if or how God plays a part in our dreams and I’m not about to even begin to attempt to tell about it. All I know is that I have had plans and have changed those plans based off of dreams and, because I did, the results turned out better than I had ever hoped. But this post isn’t about dreams. This post is about forgiveness.

In the movie, when Bruce was a little boy, he fell down a well. His dad came and got him and said, “Bruce…Bruce…Why do we fall? It’s so that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” This got me thinking about forgiveness. Let’s notice a few things.

First off, we all fall. Yep. If you are reading this, you are human. If you can comprehend what I’ve written, then you’ve fallen due to sin. I know you don’t want to hear it. I know, it stinks. It’s a horrible situation. However, I’m just stating the facts. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Notice, “all have sinned.” That’s everyone. And no, this isn’t self-righteous because I have sinned, too. Of course, the good news (the Gospel) is that we can obtain forgiveness of sins and salvation through Jesus. Want to know something else that stinks? No? Too bad, I have to tell you anyway. Even after we become Christians, we still sin. Just look at Simon, once a sorcerer, in Acts 8. Look at Galatians 2, where Paul withstood Peter to the face and rebuked his sin. Yes, even the apostles could sin.

Let’s make a side point while we are on it. It is unwise to place preachers on pedestals or run them into the ground. Some people have the attitude that a preacher can never sin. This places an undue burden on him, for he is human, too. Some have the attitude that if he does sin, he can never preach again. This is also false because. I can prove it with one word. Peter.

So, the bad news is that we all sin. The good news is we all can obtain forgiveness. So what’s the difference between the sinner and the saint? Well, for one thing, the saint is covered by the blood of Christ. Think of the blood of Christ like an insurance policy. It covers you in case of accident. It doesn’t give you license to sin, but it covers you in case you do sin. Saints are covered while sinners are “driving around without insurance.” Keep this illustration in mind because we’ll come back to it. The second difference is made in how we choose to live and we’ll look at this in our next point.

Second, forgiveness isn’t based on how many times we fall, but on how many times we pick ourselves up. This is the difference between saints and sinners. We all fall, but those who recognized that they fell sought what to do to pick themselves up. They sought the truth of God’s word and then obeyed it. Yes, they do fall and sin as they learn to walk, but they do as Simon did in Acts 8. They pick themselves up and keep trying. The sinner falls and never gets up again. The sinner lives a life that says, “Because I can’t live perfect, why try?” They doubt God’s forgiveness. It’s a shame they live that way because they ignore what God said on forgiveness.

Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Jesus makes the point clear that God’s forgiveness is unlimited. It doesn’t matter how many times we mess up, if we are truly repentant and seek to make things right, then He will forgive us.

However, God’s forgiveness, while unlimited, is limited. Let’s look at how.

Third, in order to obtain forgiveness, we must repent.

Notice what Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Now, nowhere am I teaching repentance alone says. I’m merely pointing out that if one truly repents, he will then take the necessary steps to be covered by the blood of Christ. Baptism has been described as a burial with Christ (Romans 6:3-4). If baptism is a burial, and we bury the dead, at what point does one die? It is at repentance.

Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Notice, the “old man” of sin “dies” so that we may not serve sin. It is when we repent, when we choose to no longer serve sin, that the old man dies. This is why sinners will never be covered by the blood of Christ. This is why they will never obtain forgiveness. They choose to continue serving sin. It’s not that they can’t obtain forgiveness, it’s just that they can’t obtain it and continue in sin. Should they decide to no longer serve sin, they can access the insurance of the cross, and be covered and forgiven.

Forgiveness is also limited to our insurance policy with Christ. The insurance policy is the Bible. Just as we make monthly payments on insurance to remain covered, we make weekly payments to Christ and, friends, it isn’t paid in money. It’s paid in living His word, day by day. It’s paid in worship, every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Those are the major points. If you want to know the fine details, you have to read the policy. There is fine print. One good example is that worship “payments” have to be in the right attitude and in the right way.

John 4:23-24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

If your worship isn’t right, I suggest you start by making it right. There’s more I could write on worship, and I may at a later time, but let’s get back to the topic of forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is also limited on how we forgive each other. Matthew 6:14-15 reads, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Notice the main point, though. In order to obtain forgiveness, you must repent. If you don’t repent, then you can’t obtain forgiveness. We have to be ready and willing to forgive, but we have no business forgiving those who have not repented. This leads us into our next point.

Fourth, those that pick themselves up have every right to criticize those that don’t.

Remember the illustration I gave earlier about the difference between Christians and sinners is that like an insurance policy? Good. Let’s continue looking at that thought. I know many sinners have the attitude with Christians of, “How can you tell me how to live drive (live) when you get into accidents (sin), too?” Well, to the which I would respond, “You’re one to talk about my driving (the way I mess up and sin and ask for forgiveness) when you don’t even have insurance! (covered by the Blood)”

I say this because we can’t pick and choose what parts of the policy to follow or not. Yes, we’re told to forgive each other and, yes, we are told that if we don’t forgive, God won’t forgive us. If that was the case, then we could all easily go to heaven by just forgiving everyone. But it doesn’t work that way. We can’t gloss over the facts we must repent, be covered by the Blood, and strive to live right.

A lot of the misconceptions come from Matthew 7:1 and “judge not.”

Let’s read, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Some have the attitude that if you have ever sinned, you can’t take a stand for what’s right…ever. The problem with that is in this passage. Let’s think outside the box for a minute and read close. Jesus never told us to not judge. He told us to not judge hypocritical judgment. He never said that if we’ve ever sinned, we can’t call evil, evil. If that was the case, no one could say anything about sin, ever. He did tell us to remove sin from our lives so we can, cleanly, point out the sin in others lives so they can get rid of their sin and help others. It’s about us helping each other to rise up out of sin. So, a careful reading of the passage in it’s context shows that Jesus actually wants us to judge, or to discern, good from evil. He makes the point that in order to do so, we must remove evil from our lives. To do that, we must do what the Bible says to obtain forgiveness, which leads us to our last point.

Fifth, when we obtain forgiveness, the slate is wiped clean.

Jeremiah 31:34 contains a prophecy. He said, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” He was foretelling of a time when, in God’s kingdom, people would not have to teach their brethren to “know the Lord.” He was telling of a time when sins would not be remembered because God’s kingdom would be covered by His blood. We see that prophecy fulfilled in Hebrews.

Hebrews 8:10-13, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

Hebrews 10:15-22, “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

We live in a time where, if you are in the kingdom of God, you already “know the Lord” and just obtain help walking. We live in a time where your sins can be forgiven. We live in a time where the slate can be wiped clean by the Blood of the final Sacrifice for our sins. That sacrifice is Jesus. If you aren’t a Christian, you are not covered by the Blood. You have no insurance. And when God comes back and wants to “see your insurance card,” you can’t show Him anything. You will have to foot the entire bill and that bill is your soul, your life. If you want to have “coverage,” then come to God and accept His insurance policy. He will wipe your slate clean and cover you always, as long as you continually meet His payment plan. When you consider the alternative, the only question is, “Why wouldn’t you want insurance with God?”

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4

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The Purpose of Civil Government

I asked around for people to give me topics to write on and one person responded.

He wrote,

Curious to hear your thoughts on Romans 13 as it pertains to us today in America. When government usurps power from the people (it’s still we the people right?) are we still under obligation to obey said government? When you have time of course. I leave you with a quote from Frederic Bastiat, you may share your thoughts on that as well if you wish.

“God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! A way with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.”

I appreciate the response this person sent to me and allowing me to share my thoughts.

First, let’s look at the “north star” passage that he provided in the letter.

Romans 13:1-7, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

If we break down the passage, we are to submit to a higher power. But we also see where power comes from. It comes from God. “For there is no power but of God.” Let’s look at the examples of marriage, the congregation (the church), and finally the government.

Ephesians 5:21-6:1 reads, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”

Children submit to the mother as she submits to the husband as he submits to Christ. If the man is insubordinate to God, his wife will be so to him, and her children to her. The key to it all is submission. The husband has to submit to God. A husband in submission to God will not give the command to do something contrary to God’s will nor will he be a tyrant. If the husband does these things, the wife is to follow the next one up on the chain of command, that being Christ.

We see this same model in the congregations. The membership is to follow the elders. Hebrews 13:17 reads, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Before elders get prideful attitude, let’s look at the qualifications of elders.

1 Timothy 3:1-11, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”

Titus 1:5-9, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

Their work is to “feed the flock” (Acts 20:28). While they do have authority over the membership, they are to submit to God. As the wife can “take it up the chain of command” if her husband gives an unlawful order, we can do so with the eldership. The elders are to submit to the apostles, who submit to God. We still have apostles not through succession but that they are still alive in paradise, still submitting to God. I refer you to my previous post where I make the argument that we have one life and that death is merely a door.

We see that both institutions have the same thing – delegation of authority. Both also have the same principle that when the person or group over you no longer fulfills the duty that God intended, you are not so bound to them that you have to follow them in their wickedness. A good example of this if if a husband falls away and tells his wife to no longer attend worship. Or if the elders fall away and decide to start using mechanical instruments for the music. Considering that both models have this pattern, it would be logical to say that the role of government fits into the same pattern.

So, what is the government’s role? If you go back and look at what God said in Romans 13, the principle is there that government is suppose to reward good and punish evil…not to legislate and license everything in our lives. I saw a report where in the supposed “war on drugs” that someone’s home was invaded by the police because the person bought something to grow plants indoors. The device itself isn’t illegal but a lot of people use it to grow marijuana. This person was using it to grow tomatoes. Compare that with the case of Mary Winkler. She shot her husband in the back, killing him, as he slept. She did serve a little time in prison…but is out now, free as a bird.  Don’t even get me started on our government’s war-mongering and fear-mongering.

Ask yourself this, when you see a policeman, do you get nervous even if you haven’t done anything wrong? Don’t be afraid of answering, “yes.” This is because the government has become a terror to good works. They are no longer fulfilling the role that God intended for them to fill. In that light, why do we listen to them? Why do we obey them?

I was recently reading Chuck Baldwin’s article on “No King but Caesar.” In it he brought up a good point. Jesus told his followers to get a sword and made the point that, at the time, it was illegal for them to own swords according to man’s law. Think about that…Jesus told His followers to break the law. This is because He recognized the natural law to defend one’s life is given by God and supersedes man’s law. Chuck’s article can be read here – http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin747.htm.

Let’s examine something else in regards to this.

2 Peter 3:15-16, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”

Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

The above passages tell us to not alter God’s word in any way. Do not add to it. Do not take away from it. Do not change it to mean something other than it means. Handle it right. To do otherwise makes it so that you say you are God. You put yourself in the place of God, binding what He has loosed, making laws and loosing what He has bound, taking laws away.

I’ve made this argument in regards to marriage licenses, but it applies in other places, as well. If God has said something on the matter, than it is that law that we must follow, regardless of what man says. If God has said nothing on it, than man is free to make a law.

If we carry this line of thought on out, then it would not be too farfetched to say that when anyone puts themselves into the place of God, we have no business following them. For example, God has told us what constitutes marriage. It is a man and a woman vowing before God and man to stay with each other. No licenses and no government regulation according to God’s word. Yet, government has tried to take it over through licensing. Now they are trying to open it up to homosexual marriage. They are loosing what God has bound and binding what God has loosed. They are making laws on what God has already made a law on. We either follow man or God. In another example, God has said nothing about speed limits…so man is free on that point. By all means, obey the speed limits.

I agree with the quote my friend gave from Fredric Bastiat. Our system speaks of no faith in God to provide for us. It has one set of men saying they know better than God what is for us…and the other set putting their faith in those men rather than in God. Indeed, let us, “reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.”

God has told us to be charitable, not put it in the government’s hands. God has said who can and can’t marry, it isn’t up to the government. God has said we have the right to have the latest weapons to defend ourselves, regardless of gun control laws. God has said we are not to reward laziness even though our government has made it more profitable to be lazy than to work. And God has said a lot of things about a lot of things. We just have to go to His word and see what He says. If we did that, then our problems would be solved…and we wouldn’t be so busy listening to and obeying men who have put themselves into the position of God, legislating and licensing us from cradle to grave.

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4

I open the floor to discussion.

 

It’s Time to Pick a Side

I was reading an article a while back where it was said that two of the ways people try to brainwash someone or a group of people is through black and white thinking and the “us vs. them” arguments. Yes, this has been used to turn people against each other for ages. Politicians use it to divide the country into different races, economic groups, genders, and, yes, religions to have us fighting each other. They want us so busy fighting each other that we don’t pay attention to their wickedness.

Despite it all, there is a problem. People that expose this “black and white” thinking fall into their own form of it. They, by the way they live and what they say, put forth the attitude that every time someone uses the “black and white” thinking, it is a form of brainwashing. Well, there is an old saying I heard a long time ago. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” The problem I have is they don’t allow for the law of excluded middle, principles, and compromise. Well notice three “north star” passages in this post.

First, let’s look at the law of excluded middle.

Wikipedia says, “[The law of excluded middle] states that for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is.” Basically, either something is or it isn’t. There is not a third option. It becomes a problem when taken too far. Either you eat or you don’t. There is no middle ground. Even if you eat one bite of food, you eat. Now, what you eat is up to you. Christians are to worship God on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Either you do it or you don’t. The order of worship, whether you pray or sing first, is up to you. The black and white thinking goes to far when we add to or take away from God’s word, binding what has been loosed and loosing what has been bound. However, the law of excluded middle always applies when God has stated His will on the matter.

Our first “north star” passage consists of three passages.

John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. “

John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

John 15:18-19, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Jesus gave three great examples of the law of excluded middle. He said that no one comes to the Father except by Him. I remember seeing an excerpt from the Oprah Winfrey show on youtube where she flat out states that there are many paths to God. Jesus said there is only one way. Keep in mind what you just read (John 14:6) when you view the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmOmapP57vI Either there is one path to God or there are many. There cannot be both one and many paths to God. Either Jesus is a liar or Oprah is. I’m not about to call Jesus a liar. Sorry, Oprah.

In another segment of an interview she had with Joel Osteen, she basically said the same as before. He skirted around the issue by saying that while Jesus is how we get to God, there are many paths to Jesus. Well, Osteen always smiled too much for me and you know what also smiles? A jackal. Ad hominem fallacies aside, there is a major problem where he said that there are many paths to Jesus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XXUfTNCkzc Osteen was pretty much saying that we can live however we want and it’s okay. Let’s spell it out for what it is. He was saying you can live in sin and still go to heaven. He was saying that you can live in sin and still love Jesus. Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments. Either we love Him and keep His commandments or we don’t. There is no loving Him and not keeping His commandments. There is no middle ground. As far as living in sin and going to heaven, if we can do that, why did Jesus come? Why have repentance (Acts 17:30)? Why have to be covered by his blood through submission to Him via baptism (Romans 6:3-4)? Friends, think of it like this, if we can go to heaven living in sin, then Jesus, who was crucified for us, and all who preached and died in His name, died in vain. They all wasted their time, according to Osteen. Osteen, you need to repent and get right with God for telling everyone, including Him, that He spilled His blood in vain.

Lastly, we’ll notice the third point. If we are Christians and the world does not hate us, something is wrong. Jesus said that if we truly live for Him, then the world is going to hate us. If the world doesn’t hate us, then we’re not living for Him. There is no middle ground. This is because when we live for Him, we’ll have to have what we’ll discuss next – principles.

What are principles. According to Webster’s 1913 dictionary, a principle is, “A fundamental truth; a comprehensive law or doctrine, from which others are derived, or on which others are founded; a general truth; an elementary proposition; a maxim; an axiom; a postulate.”

A principle is a moral absolute. It is wrong to lie. The Bible is filled with warnings against lying. Just some of the passages that speak out against lying are Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 6:16-19, Ephesians 4:24-25, and Revelation 21:8. I use both Old and New Testaments to show that the principle of lying has always, always been sin in God’s eyes, so it should be with man. Friends, if your helpmeet lies to you about the mundane, how can you expect them to be honest about the big things? If your boss wants you to lie to customers about the safety of a product, what else does he have no problem lying about? You see, lying is always a problem because dishonesty, by it’s very nature, destroys trust. What principle are we, as Christians, suppose to stand by? The Bible. Let’s look at our next “north star” passage.

Our second “north star” passage is two passages.

Philippians 3:14-21, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

1 Corinthians 1:10-13, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”

Within the two passages, Paul tells the Christians at Philippi and at Corinth that they are to, “speak the same thing.” They are to, “walk by the same rule.” They are to be of the, “same mind.” Paul understood that to serve God, you have to stand by principles. And it is only by standing with God’s principles do we have true unity. One of my teachers at preaching school once said that denominations are like two cats tied by the tails and thrown over a clothes-line. You have a union but you sure don’t have unity. This is because while they often agree that they are “following Christ” they don’t stand on any of the same principles. You have all of them opposing each other in teaching and even within some of the same denomination, you have various sects. For example, the Baptists and the Catholics have very little in common and, for the most part, oppose the opposite’s teaching. However, within the Baptist denomination, there are at least over 200 different sects. On one Catholic (ironic, huh?) forum, a poster wanted to know exactly how many there were because they interacted with 4 different couples, all of whom were Baptist, and yet had no common beliefs. In reference to the law of excluded middle, either we walk by the Bible or we don’t. If we walk by the Bible, it will produce Christians. If we don’t, we get all kinds of divisions. Just as the Constitution of the United States doesn’t produce hyphenated Americans, God’s word doesn’t produce hyphenated Christians. I’ve never met a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Catholic, or any member of a denomination who called themselves Christians, yet they all proudly claim the name of their denominations.

Acts 11:26, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Again, if we can violate the principles and just live however we want, then God wasted His blood and His time by giving us the Bible. The Bible is the sole standard by which we can go to heaven. If you don’t follow it, you can’t go to heaven. No other religious book will do. If you don’t have a standard, then worship is just a waste of time. And, no, just going to worship doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic. Christianity is not dressing up on Sunday to impress God or man. Christianity isn’t even a lifestyle choice. Christianity is who you are. Like Abram to Abraham, God has changed His people’s names from their given names to Christian. Either you are Christian or you are not. If you live the Bible, you are Christian, not “a Christian.” When it comes to matters of sin, Christians don’t compromise.

Webster’s dictionary defines compromise as, “An amicable agreement between parties in controversy, to settle their differences by mutual concessions.”

The prophet Amos said in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” This is our first “north star” passage.

Our next “north star” passage is Jude 3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Our third “north star” passage is 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Compromise is a huge buzzword in our society. We talk about compromise a whole lot. You will hear on the news where conflicting parties compromised. Generally, it happens when two nations want to avoid all out war. When this happens, everyone is at ease because the controversy doesn’t escalate.

However, in reality, they didn’t compromise anything. They just agreed to not go to war. There are two types of compromise, the good and the bad.

A good compromise is one where both parties give up a little something to win. However, this must come from the same principle. A good example is when you and your friend want to watch a movie, but you want to watch one and he or she wants to watch a different one. If you can’t agree on which one to watch, then you could both give up a little and pick a third movie that you both wanted to see. You didn’t get totally what you wanted, but you did get what you wanted in the end.

Another good example is that of carpets in the church building. It isn’t worth splitting over. Why not give up a little to go with a color that is acceptable to both parties?

But there is the bad type of compromise. This is between good an evil. Ayn Rand has a good quote on compromise. He said, “In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube.”

Think about that for a minute. In a compromise between good and evil, only evil wins. I’ve made this point in the political realm for a while now. Both sides kept voting for the lesser of two evils (in their own perception). They did this and evil still won. Why? Because a vote for evil, no matter how “less evil” it is, is still evil! You cannot vote for evil and expect good to win. People vote for the “lesser of two evils” and things have progressively gotten worse.

The same thing applies to the religious realm. Every time we compromise with evil, evil wins. In Jude 3, we are told to contend for the faith. I’ve heard it described as we are fighting for the faith. It is a fight. And in this fight, it doesn’t matter about us trying to win because the truth and God ultimately win. It does matter what side we are on. We can’t back down, either. In Acts, time and time again, we read of how Christians were persecuted for taking a stand. And yet, they continued. In Acts 17:16-17, Paul disputed with the Jewish teachers. He didn’t do this once or twice and back down when people, undoubtedly, made fun of him or told him to stop. He got back up and did it again, and again, and again. He did it daily.

And if you continue reading the account in Acts 17, Paul preached to the men of Athens…and put down their false gods. Part of taking a stand and speaking out for what is right is tearing down falsehoods. Jeremiah 1:10 reads, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 reads, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” If we are going to take stand for what’s right, we have to be prepared to address a few of the lies of men. How can we get to heaven if we aren’t willing to speak out against what’s wrong? Paul, in Ephesian 5:11, told us to, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

If we live the kind of life that God would have us live, there are a few natural, inescapable, consequences. The road will be difficult (Matthew 7:13-14). There will be enemies (many of whom will be of our own families). There will be contentions. There will be people to hate you. There is no way to live the life of a Christian and have peace with people of the world. The laws of excluded middle, principles, and compromise stand.

Let’s close on this passage. Matthew 10:32-40, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4

What Level Are You On?

One of the best selling video games from Nintendo is the Super Mario Brothers game. I you’ve never heard of this game, chances are you know someone who has heard of it. The basic premise of the game is you play as Mario and you traverse various levels on your way to save the princess. As you progress through the game, the levels get progressively harder. Your skill has to increase for you to successfully claim victory over the game’s antagonist, Bowser.

Just as there are different levels of the Mario Brothers game, there are different levels of spiritual development.

A good website to read regarding the stages of faith development are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fowler%27s_stages_of_faith_development

James Fowler chronicled these different stages in faith development. We all have to examine what stages we are at. A good way of doing this is to think about what we value in our lives. Before we look at that, we have to look at how we view life and death.

We’ve all heard many people talk about wanting to go to heaven. I once heard a sermon from my uncle who titled it, “You Can Go to Hell…If You Want To.” The whole point of his sermon, which was technically correct, is that we all have a choice of where we go when we die. That choice is directly determined by how we live our lives – either by following God’s word or not. Notice, I said his sermon was technically correct. I believe he missed a vital variable.

Let’s look at our “north star” passages. Hebrews 11:1,6, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The vital variable I believe my uncle missed is faith. Faith is a huge obstacle in finding truth. Before you get mad or confused, let me explain. We must have faith in order to please God and to go to heaven. However, faith can be a huge hurdle in following the truth. It all goes back to what you believe.

For example, two people could have good jobs and get married via a huge wedding ceremony. They could have all the money they could ever need and then some. But the man could treat the woman horribly. She could be stressed out and they could constantly argue but they stay together because the other can “provide.” Yes, they are married. Yes, they have the money to afford luxury. They seem like they have it all but they are miserable.

By contrast, there could be people who may or may not have jobs…but that won’t last forever. They may have low paying jobs. Somehow, they get by. They rely on God to provide for them, and He does. They honestly love each other and are willing to give their lives for each other. They don’t argue. They don’t fight. They may not have much but they’re happy.

Of course, their situation is directly proportional to their faith. One relies on money and that is where they put their faith. The other relies on God and it is in Him where they put their faith.

This is directly proportional on how they view life.

There are four kinds of ways people view life. The first way is that this life is all there is. There is no afterlife and, therefore, we need to live it up here. This is not a view that will be addressed in this post. The next view is one that believes there are two lives, here and the afterlife, but one has no bearing on the other. The next view is that there are two lives, and one has bearing on the other. The last view is that there is one life and that death is merely a passing from this part of life into the next. We will look at these three.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” People talk a whole lot but what they really believe is shown in how they live. Someone who steals can talk all day long on how he believes stealing is wrong, but he really doesn’t believe it’s wrong or he wouldn’t steal. I personally know a preacher who taught against adultery and how it was very evil and yet he cheated on his wife for most of his marriage. Oh, he taught like he believed it was wrong but he obviously didn’t believe it was wrong or he would never have done it. Let me say this, before we go any further. We are not talking about the occasional sin in a lifetime of striving to do what is right. We’re talking about lifestyle choices here. All sin needs to be repented.

I’m afraid many people life like this. They claim to be Christians and claim to try to do what is good, but they don’t strive to do what is right. Their affections are still here rather than in heaven. They claim to believe that there is an afterlife but they certainly don’t live that way.

The next type of person is somewhat better. They believe that there are two lives and that one has bearing on the next. This view doesn’t live in contradiction to the Bible, like the previous one we mentioned. With this view, I only have one problem. It still allows for the matters of the world to creep in. Someone with this view can still go to heaven by shunning sin, but they can still care for the matters of this world. They can still be caught up in luxury. This view still honestly tries to do right but this is a view of “little faith.” A good example is as follows:

Matthew 8:18-27, “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

This passage perfectly describes the point I’m trying to make. They believed in Jesus and wanted to follow Him but they couldn’t fully follow Him because of the cares of this life. They may not have lived in sin, but they couldn’t follow Jesus because they had houses to take care of. They had to bury their dead. And, yes, they were even afraid of the storm. They weren’t necessarily wrong but they weren’t necessarily right, either. This believe of there being two lives can lead to fear and fear can lead to sin. It doesn’t always happen, but it could happen.

If you’re reading this, you probably have a house. You have to be a good steward and take care of the house. But if Jesus were around today, and you wanted to follow Him, you would have to sell your house and all that is in it, give it to the poor, and follow Him. You would have no need for your house. Now, if you didn’t want to sell your house, then you can still live according to God’s word, worship according to God’s word, do no sin, and give to the poor and still take a stand for Christ. But if you compromise the principles to keep the house, then that is sin.

The only way to avoid this “conflict of interest” is to accept you will die (Hebrews 9:27) and accept it. Once you are brought to that point, then the door can be unlocked to the next mentality – that death is not the end of your life. It is only a doorway to the next world. As much as you live today, you will be alive after you die. Where you spend your time in the next realm is directly related to the way you spend your time in this realm.

Think of it like this…you’re alive in the womb and that is your world. When you are born, you are still alive, yet your world has greatly expanded and includes both the good and bad of this realm. When you “die,” you are still very much alive but your world has greatly expanded and has either gotten very good or very bad, for you are either in Paradise or Torments.

So many have the attitude of, “It’s MY life and you can’t tell me what to do!” Well, they’re right. It is your life and I can’t tell you what to do. I can, however, give you the warning that if you make the choice to not obey God, when you do go through the doorway of death, you will spend your eternity in a very, very, very hot place – Hell. And it’s a one way path…there are no do-over’s. Just as you can’t climb back into the womb, you can’t enter back into this world to try again. It’s your choice. Make the right one.

When you consider that you only have one life and it won’t end, it makes it easier to make the sacrifices necessary to please God…and it makes the sacrifices that may yet fall upon us that are not necessary easier to live with. Let me explain using the house illustration, to keep with the theme. You can’t live without food, but you can live without owning a house. You can also live without sin – adultery, drinking, lying, cursing, and so on. God requires you to sacrifice your involvement in sin to go to heaven. That is a necessary sacrifice. In trying to please God, man may or may not require you give up your house. That is an unnecessary sacrifice because man doesn’t decide whether or not you go to heaven. Both sacrifices are easier to live with when you consider that we are only here for a short time.

So, in light of this discussion, how will you live your life?

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4

I open the floor to discussion.

Is Your Marriage Private

I found an interesting video on youtube and it got me thinking about marriage. Check out the video first and then let’s discuss some thoughts I had.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukJDwNcFx-4
Wess, in his video, mentioned about the state usurping a church’s definition of marriage. Let’s look at some more thoughts regarding marriage licenses. Let’s look at our “north star” passage.

Matthew 21:23-27, “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

I bet you’re surprised that our “north star” passage has nothing to do with marriage and I bet you’re confused but it will all be made clear in a few moments. Our “north star” passage has to do with authority. Paul, the apostle, wrote Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” It all has to do with authority.

So, we must ask the question, “Where does marriage come from, from man or from God?” If you say from man, then it is up to man to legislate it. So we must ask the question, can you be married validly, without a license? There are some logical questions here. Don’t just blindly follow the state. The state is hardly a good thing to follow. It can’t make up its mind on anything. In Tennessee, what age are you considered an adult? For somethings, 18. For others, 21. Why not have just one age? But the state can’t make up its mind on it. Is marriage a right or not? The supreme court of the United States says it is a right, just like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Do we have to have a license to speak our minds? What about a license to assemble? What about practicing a religion? No. We don’t license these things because they are rights. Black’s Law Dictionary says that a license is, “The permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission, would be illegal.” If marriage is a right, the state can’t license it. If it can be licensed, it isn’t a right. So, which is it? Is it a right or isn’t it? The government can’t make up its mind on it. Why follow an entity that can’t make up its mind on something as important as marriage? James 1:8 states, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Nothing more true can be said of our government.

So, our other option is that marriage comes from God. If you are a Christian, or a religious person in general, you believe this. I know this because of the gay marriage debate. Many say that marriage is to be between man and woman. If they don’t get this from the Bible, where do they get it from? Man? I refer back to the previous point. If from God, then God makes the rules. It isn’t marriage unless He says it is. So, what is a valid marriage in God’s eyes? In Genesis 2, we have Adam and Eve’s wedding ceremony. It was simple. It was a man and woman promising to stay together and be faithful to each other until death. Many may say that you can’t get married this way today. I ask, “Why not?” I’m not talking about shacking up or sex before marriage or swinging or mess like that. I’m not talking sex. I’m talking marriage. So don’t even try to bring sex up to shut down the discussion. It doesn’t answer the question of why can’t a couple get married like Adam and Eve. The must be witnesses? What about Adam, Eve, and God? Did they not witness it? Why can’t a man, woman, and God today do the same thing?

Also, it isn’t marriage unless God calls it marriage. There are many “marriages” today that are not marriages. And this isn’t a philosophical question. I mean it. There is marriage and there is sin. God never recognized a union of man and man so no matter what the state says, homosexuals are not married. God presided over weddings and they are for a man and a woman. Also, there is the issue of adultery. Look at Matthew 19:3-9, “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

In the same vein, there are marriages that the state says are not marriages. What is there is a problem on the license that isn’t found out until after the wedding? I’ve heard of evil people being let go from court because of loopholes like someone forgot to dot an “i.” It’s crazy. This is all madness.

God’s law is very clear on what marriage is and isn’t. And when you think about it, when the state says people are married and God says they aren’t, who is right? What about when God says they are married and the state says they are not? That’s a dangerous game to play. When the state says people are married who God said they aren’t, and vice-versa, the state is trying to usurp God’s position in marriage.

I bring up the requirements because no where did God require a marriage license. In the same vein as the previous point, when the state says you have to have something or lack something and it is different than what God said, then they are trying to usurp God’s position.

I earlier mentioned the freedom of religion. If marriage comes from God, and it is God that makes the rules, then marriage is a religious institution and, therefore, under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. If the government can license a religious institution, then they can license religion. Do we let them license baptism? What about prayer? If the state said we had to have a license to worship, would we go along and get it? So why marriage?

Along the line of thought of the state licensing religion, are we a communist country? According to this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/08/22/china-bans-reincarnation-_n_61444.html), Tibetan monks are not allowed to reincarnate without China’s permission. (On one quick note, the MSNBC article is no longer up.) I know, I know, it’s absurd, but is it any different than saying we can’t marry without the state’s permission (license)?

Friends, I’m starting to see that there are major legal questions concerning marriage licenses. I would wager to say that if we have to have a license to marry, then we give up our religious rights. If we get a marriage license, then we say that the state, which can’t make up it’s mind on anything, knows better for our marriages than God, who has a clear blueprint. I know the Bible says to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” I know many people use that to justify getting a marriage license. But that still doesn’t answer the question, “From whence comes marriage? Is it of God or of men?”

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4

I open the floor to discussion.

Double-Standards

Hello, all. It’s been a while. I’ve been suffering from writer’s block for a few days. Maybe I should scale back on my writings to a couple of times a week rather than every day… Anyway, here’s another post. My girlfriend asked me to do a post on double standards and it is interesting what I found.

Wikipedia says, “A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations, or two different people in the same situation.A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often, for example, a word, phrase, social norm, or rule) are perceived as acceptable to be applied by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable—taboo—when applied by another group.

The concept of double standard has long been applied (as early as 1872) to different moral structures on men versus women.

A double standard, thus, can be described as a sort of biased, morally unfair suspension (toward a certain group) of the principle that all are equal in their freedoms. Such double standards are seen as unjustified because they violate a basic maxim of modern legal jurisprudence: that all parties should stand equal before the law. Double standards also violate the principle of justice known as impartiality, which is based on the assumption that the same standards should be applied to all people, without regard to subjective bias or favoritism based on social class, rank, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or other distinctions. A double standard violates this principle by holding different people accountable according to different standards. The phrase “life is not fair” may be invoked in order to mollify concerns over double standards.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_standard)

There are many double-standards in our lives. None of them are right and none of them are fair. Let’s look at a few and see what God says about the matter.

Considering that the Wikipedia article brought up about men and women, let’s start there.

There are a lot of men who hate women. Before women get all high and mighty, there’s a lot of women who hate men. Let’s start in the past and work our way to the present. Women in the past were mistreated. They were viewed as property. Even in the earliest parts of our own country, women were not paid the same as men for the same work and were not allowed to vote. They were bound by the law but had no say in what the law was. It was a different standard for men. Let me say this, none of it was right. From it were born the suffragists who stood up for equal rights. That has evolved into the feminist movement of today that hates men. To those who did all of the above, you are some very messed up folks.

First off, men should never mistreat women. Rather, the Bible calls men to love women and want to protect them. The ultimate example of this is where Christians are called the bride of Christ and where Jesus willing gave His life for His bride. That’s true love.

Also, wives are to submit to their husbands. Many women don’t like this. However, it isn’t a bad thing. The bride submits to Christ. Christ, in an example of how husbands should be, isn’t a tyrannical leader. Listen, feminists, not all submission is bad! As far as how God would have it, let’s look…

Ephesians 5:22-33, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Clarke, in his commentary, says it most interestingly when he wrote –

As the Lord, viz. Christ, is the head or governor of the Church, and the head of the man, so is the man the head or governor of the woman. This is God’s ordinance, and should not be transgressed. The husband should not be a tyrant, and the wife should not be the governor. Old Francis Quarles, in his homely rhymes, alluding to the superstitious notion, that the crowing of a hen bodes ill luck to the family, has said: –

“Ill thrives the hapless family that shows

A cock that’s silent, and a hen that crows:

I know not which live most unnatural lives,

Obeying husbands or commanding wives.”

We could look into what a good leader is in greater detail, but this post isn’t about leadership. It’s about double-standards. There has been the ill double-standard that it’s okay for men to mistreat women and, as of late, for women to mistreat men. This attitude is not a Christians attitude. And while I’m on the subject, no one, and I mean no one, needs to take bad experiences from their past and apply them to everyone today. Women, just because you had bad experiences with guys doesn’t give you the right to take it out on every man. You could wind up hurting the very men that would truly love you. Men, don’t take out your anger at bad women on every woman. You could wind up hurting the women that would really love you. To both sexes, accept yourself for how God made you. Rather than live in open rebellion of men trying to be women and women trying to be men, live a godly life that shows women how to be real women and men how to be real men.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. When you allow yourself to have a negative attitude towards yourself and towards the opposite sex because of what evil people did to you in the past, you allow Satan to win.

Before I move on to the next point, let me make a point clear. Women are not to be mistreated and are equal in status as men in the eyes of God but God does recognize the difference in the sexes. God has different roles for men and women, different work, but that work is of equal importance and both are of necessity in the kingdom of God. These can be found in 1 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 14, Titus 2, and Acts 18 among others. Without one, the other can’t function properly. Think of it like a ship. God is the captain and men are the navigators while women are the cooks and map-makers. (And no, this is NOT a “woman’s place is in the kitchen thing…this is an allegory to prove a point of necessity.) God tells the crew what to do. He’s the captain. Without Him, we don’t know what to do or where to go. God has men’s jobs to plot the course on how to get to the destination. Women provide what we need to get the job done. Without men, women wouldn’t have their work because the ship wouldn’t be going anywhere. Without women, the men couldn’t plot the course. That’s why our ships aren’t going anywhere, is you have the cooks, map-makers, and navigators arguing over who is better suited to do the respective jobs instead of LISTENING TO THE CAPTAIN. If we just got busy doing our jobs, we wouldn’t have time to argue. And God didn’t tell men to lead (be the navigators) because they are “better.” He told them to do that because Adam, the man, was first made (first recruited) and then Eve. It has to do with the order of creation. If you have a problem with that, you’ll just have to take that up with God. I wasn’t around then. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them. I do know this, though, both roles, while different, are equal and necessary. Let me tell you of something to set your minds at ease and will help lead into the next point.

People think the Confederacy was all about slavery. It wasn’t. The northern troops were highly racist and one unit was almost court-martialed because they refused to serve with blacks. In the north, blacks received inferior pay, clothing, and weapons when they enlisted.

The south was different. They received the same pay, benefits, weapons, and clothing as their white brothers in arms. They served side by side. Every man enlisted to do what he could. And as our Confederate brethren fought to oppose Yankee tyranny and to free the slaves, one black man, Jim Lewis, did the best he could and enlisted under Confederate General Thomas Jackson as his cook. Before you get up in arms over him being a cook and not a warrior, think. He volunteered to be his cook. He did so saying, “I heard it was Napoleon hisself said, ‘An army can’t march but on its stomach.'”

The next double-standard we’ll notice is that on race. A majority of people of non-white coloration have been mistreated in the past by a majority of white people in the past. That does not give non-whites the right to mistreat whites today. Remember, two wrongs don’t make a right. You are not alone in being mistreated. What about women? What about the poor? Ah, yes, the poor. It’s a shame. A black man can mistreat a poor white man over something a rich white man not related to the poor white man did to a black man whose not related to the first black man ages ago. This is why Al Sharpton’s “reparations” thing is wrong. It seeks to punish people today for a crime in the past…a crime they did not commit. Of course, black people say they hate racism. But we either take bad experiences or knowledge of bad things in the past and grow from them or fall into them. The black people that fall into them, who mistreat white people because of mistreatment in the past by other white people…you become the very thing you hate – a racist. To other black people who rise above, congratulations are in order. You said to yourself that because you know pain, you don’t want to put others in pain. You understand that hate only breeds hate and love breeds love.

Thus, we come to our “north star” passage to conclude these thoughts.

Colossians 3:1-13, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Hear what God says – Romans 10:17

Believe in Jesus – John 3:16

Decide to stop living a sinful lifestyle – Acts 17:30

Publicly pledge your allegiance to Christ – Romans 10:10

Be buried with Jesus in baptism – Romans 6:3-4