Saturday, February 03, 2007

Jesus Paid the Price In Full

Through faith, we are God’s children. Galatians explains this perfectly.

God’s Children Through Faith

Let me put it in another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are ALL Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you. ~Galatians 3:24-29

There is a huge difference between sinning and a sinful heart. Sinning is simply being human. A sinful heart desires to sin – it wants to hurt people and deliberately wants to steal your joy. A human that sins is natural. We repent and have faith in God. We no longer go by the laws of Moses. This is why God gave us His only son. We are freed from the law.

Here… Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Pretty huge statement if you think about it. “For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

If you constantly live in fear about God’s judgment, then your faith in Jesus isn’t strong. If you truly had faith in Jesus and claimed Him as your Savior, then you would know that the old law doesn’t apply to us anymore. We were bound by the law, but by the grace of God and His sacrifice of His son, we are made right with him.

We live in our carnal bodies. We live here on earth, desiring earthly things. But if we have faith that’s strong and true, God isn’t going to just cast you away. God loves you. He knows how hard it is and what challenges we go through here on earth. This is the whole reason Jesus came for us. And, I truly feel sad when people make statements such as, “Well, you’re mocking God because you won’t repent and you keep on sinning and claiming Christ as your Savior.”

If you really think about it, those people who say that are mocking God by not trusting in Jesus’ death. They don’t feel that Jesus’ death was enough. He paid the price in full.

The funny thing is, yesterday afternoon while I was driving back home, I was listening to the Christian radio. This speaker was talking all about Galatians and how the others weren’t convinced that we were totally freed from the law. They missed the entire point of Jesus’ death.

It all boils down to faith and love. Faith in God – faith in knowing that God gave a huge sacrifice to us in order to be free! Why can’t people accept this wonderful gift that Jesus gave to us? Why are we insecure about God’s unconditional love for us? People claim to be Christians, but they have such little faith in what Jesus did for us. It almost breaks my heart that there are people out there so focused on the sins of this world, that it literally consumes them. Sin is on earth whether we like it or not.

They say that homosexuals are going to hell. They say that loving another person of the same gender is an abomination. You can read all about it in Leviticus. Again, it’s all found in the Old Testament. I can get into the whole shellfish scenario and sitting on the same couch with a woman who is menstruating, but it’s all been said before. Those sins no longer apply to us. (Christians) Those sins are the ones that Jesus came to save us from.

I’m not saying to go out and hurt people intentionally, but free yourself from all the guilt, from all the pain that guilt provides and know that Jesus paid the full price.

49 comments:

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Deb, hope your Saturday is bright and sunny like ours in the uk, and wishing you a great weekend!

Mark said...

Deb you say, "They say that homosexuals are going to hell. They say that loving another person of the same gender is an abomination. You can read all about it in Leviticus. Again, it’s all found in the Old Testament."


New Testament Deb:
Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'


Jesus Christ, God in flesh said the above! Notice the word, lawlessness. God's law is eternal Deb.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,

27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.


20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Christ came to confirm the law, He fullfilled the law Deb. To continue in willfull disobiedence is to remain dead, not born again.

Satan wants nothing more than for you to ignore this message: It is the law of God that prepares the heart for grace! Daily repetence Deb will be evidence of a child of God!

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;

8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light


Peace be with you Deb! I purposely did not give the books, in hope you will search God's word and seek Him, not your worldy wishes.

~Deb said...

Quasar: Enjoy your weekend too! Thanks for stopping by!

Mark: We live in this world - a sinful world. God knows our heart. I truly do not agree with your belief system. I respect what you believe, but it must be so hard still living by the law, which Jesus has taken away. We don't live by 'the law' any longer since we believe in Christ. To be bound to the law is still living back before Jesus came.

I do appreciate your comments and insight. I know that your heart is in the right place Mark. I know that you're being a good person trying to 'save others' - which is a beautiful thing, however I feel bad because it must be so exhausting to try and save the world. Spread peace and love - and love God with all your heart. It's much more rewarding. Bring people closer to God, instead of scaring them.

God bless!

Flaming June said...

Caring, thoughtful, gentle, kind, insightful, characteristics I know GOD wants for us. I find these characteristics pouring from your writing everyday I read. God is all knowing and understanding of our feelings. Love is a gift from God and sharing it with another human being whether woman or man is precious. Revel in the gifts we have been given.
I dont know scripture but my God is all about Love. Your great.

~Deb said...

Thank you Flaming June. I really appreciate what you said. I just feel that if we're all God's children, why are we judging one another and making them feel guilt and sadness? There are so many radical Christians who are so focused on brainwashing the homosexuals into thinking that loving another person of the same sex is wrong and sinful. Everything on this earth is sinful! What do we do? We can't run from the world - we're "in" it. Love one another and love God with all your heart... That is the biggest commandment that God has given us.

God bless!

Mark said...

We don't live by 'the law' any longer since we believe in Christ

I guess Paul was wrong then? or the Bible is a pick and choose kinda a book? or Christ, God in flesh makes mistakes and lies?

but it must be so hard still living by the law, which Jesus has taken away.

To the contrary Deb, I am so free from the law you probably would not understand at this point in your walk. Christ has fulfilled the law! I revel in that fact daily! I also daily examine my life against the light of scripture which always brings repentance and a renewed spirit with Him! To do otherwise is a walk towards Hell, not God. Jesus taught us that, not me! In that knowledge I am free and saved. Christ will know me! Christ said He will not know the majority who know Him! Is that you? I pray not! Are you even reading the scripture?

To be bound to the law is still living back before Jesus came.

in other words, God's law is not eternal, nor is it in effect anymore? Again, your God does not exist Deb, nor can you give me one verse that backs up that claim. Tell me, why did Christ suffer? for some obsolete God law that will make us free to sin? Is God not eternal? Your confused over the old and new because the New requires us to love our ememy, and not just bring the right cloth at the right time to the right place. See the difference?


I know that you're being a good person trying to 'save others'

There is no such thing as a good person Deb. I am as filthy and dirty and sin filled as you! Secondly, no man saves another. I do however respond to the Holy spirit living inside me. I no longer love my sin, because God and sin can never live together and Christ now rules all of my life, not just parts of it.

Spread peace and love - and love God with all your heart. It's much more rewarding

Proclaiming the word of God is the lest I can do and that is loving HIM. I am not interested in worldly rewards, nor will I embrace a worldly definition of peace and love. Who did God say rules the world Deb?

Can you imagine yourself telling Paul what you just said while he is lying in prison beaten and bloody and rejoicing in Christ ! ? If you 'love' God, you'll learn His word, study His word, accept His word, and stop poisoning His word with flesh inspired (Deb inspired) doctrine over divine revelation (holy Bible).

You do realize you poison all those you touch when you celebrate a false doctrine, don't you?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Deb, come back to wish you
a beautiful Sunday.
Here we awoke to frosty white on the ground, golden yellow Sun above in pale icy blue skies.

~Deb said...

Mark, false doctrine? I got that right out of the bible. So I can no longer argue with you because you are basically stating that the book of Galatians is false - and that's right in the bible.

How can I argue with someone who doesn't give me a logical answer? With all due respect, my God is real, and He gives me confirmations of this on a daily basis. My belief in God and the fact that we are no longer bound by 'the law' is real. It's people like yourself and others who are preaching false doctrine by spreading the emotion of guilt.

Read the passages I gave and you can see why Jesus gave His life for us.

We are washed clean. We are made new and right with God through His son.

I hope one day you accept that.

Thanks again for commenting.

Quasar: Good morning sunshine! Thank you so much for saying hello. It's a cold morning and of course it has to be my birthday. *sigh* It's going to be close to 0 degrees here. Not happy!

Amy said...

...stop poisoning His word with flesh inspired (Deb inspired) doctrine over divine revelation (holy Bible).

Again, your God does not exist Deb...

Deb's inspiration is God, not flesh.

How disgusting it is that you repudiate her faith, criticize it, call her love of God poison, AND say that God does not exist.

By saying that you deny that God exists and that is the worst sin of all.

I hope God teaches you to love, because you don't.

QUASAR9 said...

Happy Birthday Deb!
You gorgeous & beautiful babe
Hope you have a great & fun day
Have a drink on me to your health!

Seven said...

Deb,
The problem with literalism is, and always has been the ability to cherry pick arguments that are used to support any given argument.
Sexuality can be argued at 180 degrees counterpoint by simply selecting the concept we wish to argue. Such as "Love one another as you love yourself" No gender specification in there!
Is there anything more annoying than a bible cherry picker pointing at scripture to show YOU how YOU are wrong?
God Bless and Hugs, have a great weekend.

Mark said...

So I can no longer argue with you because you are basically stating that the book of Galatians is false -

No I am not saying the Bible is wrong, you however are wrong. Galatians 2:17-21. Paul is saying no one can keep the law of God, that is why He gave us Christ. In Christ, our faith in Christ, we become justified, not on anything we have done. Through Christ we have strenghth to fight our sin because He now lives in us and we have hope for the future. Paul is telling the churches of southern Galatia that they can't be saved by keeping the OT law. That is indeed impossible and futile. He reminded them Christ and Christ alone is who we must turn to, to be saved. We are free in Christ, we are not free to disobey Christ nor live our lives in immorality as Paul has said many times and I have provided verse to back this up.

Not to fear God, would be proof you do not know God. You may say God is love, and I say, as the Bible makes clear, God is indeed love and that is why the wrath of God for our sin should be feared. Would a loving Father not punish is children when they willfully disobey him? Would a loving father watch his child kill themself? Of course not!

God is Holy Deb, so Holy a man (Uzzah) went to steady the Ark of the covetant and God killed him on the spot. Why? it was not the Ark that God prized, but what the Ark contained. The Ten Commandments. Uzzah made the mistake of thinking his hand was cleaner than the dirt the Ark may have falling on.
See I Kings chapter 8. Deb, do not put your life on the modern day Ox cart like Uzzah did. You can never rejoice in Christ, until you fully realize it is you that desrve death for your sins! One who is in Christ, cannot Deb, continue in unrepented sin! Nor could they ever celebrate their sin! That is the furit of a man or woman without Christ and in danger of eternal damnation!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Faith is important in so many aspects of our lives. Sometimes I think there is either too much radical thinking about religion or not any at all.

samuru999 said...

God bless you always, Deb!
You are an inspiration to all!

BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR YOU!

Lucky stars above you
Sunshine on your way
Many friends to love you
Joy in work and play . . .
Laughter to outweigh each care
In your heart a song
And gladness waiting everywhere
All your whole life long!


Have a most wonderful day, Deb!


Margie
xxxxx
P.S Sorry it's a cold blustery day
on your birthday....I wish I could send you some of the beautiful Colorado sunshine we are having today!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Whoever may say "homosexuals are going to hell" knows little of the promise of heaven-or the love of God.

CP said...

Aw, please Deb. You were goin' ta hell long before you became one of them there homo sexuality types!

*snorts*

Utter ignorance. How can you bear it, girlfriend???

CP.

Mark said...

Such as "Love one another as you love yourself" No gender specification in there!

of course Seven! How on earth did I miss that? I also suppose when Christ said 'give me your heavy laden and heavy burdened for my yoke is light'...He was only talking about pregnant women on a journey in the desert? give it a rest.

Whoever may say "homosexuals are going to hell" knows little of the promise of heaven-or the love of God.

I have never done as much, and I believe Deb knows that Mr Nick. I will say, anyone like yourself, who defines God's love without scripture and in human terms, knows nothing of God's promise of heaven and hell! Nor would such a man / woman enjoy the gift of God's grace.

Mark said...

cp,

snorts

If utter ignorance is found in God's word, let the world know I am indeed ignorant girlfriend.

Without a standard of absolute CP, you have nothing but a sin filled human opinion. Good luck with that. ...I know, I know, Jesus Christ's death and Resurrection was the biggest hoax in human history! things that should make you go Hummm :)

Catch said...

Happy Birthday Deb!! Hope you had a great day!

SaM-GiRL said...

Great blog!

~Deb said...

Amy: I remember when the radicals that came on my blog said to stop worshipping Jesus and believing in Him, due to my different views. To turn someone away from God is the worst sin of all!

Quasar: Thank you! I’m getting old buddy!!!

Seven: Funny you should say that. In the scripture from the bible that I provided, it says: ”And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.”

Funny how Mark is aruging with you over that.

Dr. Deborah: You’re right, with any religion you have your extremeists and you have the people who encourage and basically diminish it from being any type of cult-like belief system.

Margie (Samuru): thank you so much for that beautiful birthday poem! I really appreciate that and hope you are doing terrific!

Nick: They still believe that the law applies to them. It must be a challenging to live a life like that knowing how many trials we go through on a daily basis. If you believe that Christ died for your sins – you are freed from the law. God knows your heart… I totally believe that.

Catch: Thank you!!!

Sam-girl: Thank you!

Mark: You said that I don’t go by scripture. Read my post again. Most of it WAS scripture! That’s what I find funny about your argument. How can you argue with the scriptures that I provided? If you truly believed that Jesus died for your sins, then you would believe that the law no longer applies to you.

kathi said...

I missed your birthday? If I did, I'm sorry, but the wishes for you are the same...hope the coming year is filled with many, many blessings!

Discussion is healthy, and you can't have a discussion without differences of opinion. I appreciate that you allow that here. Even though the Word isn't wishy washy (did I just say wishy washy?) there are so many interpretaions because we're all human with our own personal thoughts going on in our head. Praying for interpretation through His Holy Spirit and studying with an open mind is all we can do. Going into reading or studying Gods Word trying to conform it to what you believe is how many do it, and understandingly, don't even realize it. But, we're human. Pray.

Hugs, and much much love.

Anonymous said...

We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I've spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master's and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to "rightly divide the word of truth." I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.

I'm convinced the Bible has a powerful message for gay and lesbian Christians -- as well as straight Christians. But it's not the message of condemnation we so often hear.

I'm not expecting you to take my word for it, though. I ask only that you'd consider what my research has taught me about the passages used by some people to condemn God's gay and lesbian children. Then decide for yourself...

MY FIRST PREMISE:
Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the biblical texts often used to condemn God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

As you may know, biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A recent study quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in The Good Book found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus' death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.

This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust God's Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn't say about homosexuality.

For example, many Christians don't know that:

Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.
The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.
Only six or seven of the Bible's one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way -- and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it's understood today.
Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don't know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven't read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don't know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven't tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God's gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church.

Over the centuries people who misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible have done terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan. Shakespeare said it this way: "Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."

We'd like to believe that no person of good will would misuse the Bible to support his or her prejudice. But time and time again it has happened with tragic results.

In the 16th century, John Selden pointed at two Latin words carved into a marble wall in an ancient church in Rome: "Scrutamini Scripturas," which means search the Scriptures. "These two words," Seldon said, "have undone the world."

In one way, John Selden was right. Misusing the Bible has drenched the planet in blood and tears.

But in another way, he was wrong. Most people who misuse the Bible DON'T search the Scriptures. They simply find a text that seems to support their prejudice and then spend the rest of their lives quoting (or misquoting) that text.

The way certain Bible verses are used to condemn homosexuality and homosexuals is a perfect example of this.

On September 22, 2000, a 55-year-old man named Ronald E. Gay, angry for being teased about his last name, entered the Back Street Café in Roanoke, Virginia, a gathering place for lesbians and gays just a few miles from Lynchburg. Confident that God's Word supported his tragic plan of action, Mr. Gay shouted, "I am a Christian soldier, working for my Lord." Claiming that "Jesus does not want these people in his heaven," he shot seven innocent gay and lesbian people. One man, Danny Overstreet, died instantly. Others still suffer from their physical and psychological wounds.

After Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998, a pastor in North Carolina published an open letter regarding the trial of Aaron McKinney that read: "Gays are under the death penalty. His blood is guilty before God (Lev. 20:13). If a person kills a gay, the gay's blood is upon the gay and not upon the hands of the person doing the killing. The acts of gays are so abominable to God. His Word is there and we can't change it."

Most of the people I know who say "the Bible condemns homosexuality" would never condone these acts. Most Christians have no idea that the people killing gay and lesbian persons go around quoting those few verses of Scripture as justification.

But it's important to hear these stories, because I'm not writing this little pamphlet as a scholarly exercise. It's a matter of life and death. I'm pleading for the lives of my lesbian sisters and gay brothers who are rejected by their friends and families, fired by their employers, denied their civil rights, refused full membership in their churches, and kill themselves or are killed by others -- all on the basis of these six or seven verses.

Even when we believe the Scriptures are "without error," it's a risk to think our understanding is without error.

MY THIRD PREMISE:
We must be open to new truth from Scripture.

Even heroes of the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various biblical texts.

It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.

Jerry Falwell believed the Bible supported segregation in the church until a black shoeshine man asked him, "When will someone like me be allowed to become a member of your congregation?" Through those simple words, the Holy Spirit spoke new truth about the ancient biblical texts to the Rev. Falwell, and in obedience he ended segregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Even when we believe the Scriptures are "infallible" or "without error," it's terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words -- with tragic results.

Almost 1,000 people believed Jim Jones was a faithful interpreter of God's Word. They died with him in the jungles of Guyana. I studied Jones and leaders of other cults while writing the book and documentary film, Deceived. I found that the only people who were able to break free of the dangerous influence of such Bible-quoting cultic gurus were the ones who took the Bible seriously enough to study the texts themselves and make their own decisions about their meaning. The others "leave their bones in the desert."

What if someone asked you, "Is there a chance you could be wrong about the way you've interpreted the biblical texts sometimes used to condemn homosexual orientation?" How would you respond? What does it say about you if you answer, "No, I could NOT be wrong"? I am asking you to re-examine these texts -- carefully and prayerfully. Lives hang in the balance.


Anna
There are far too many tragic stories of what happens when we fail to study these texts. Mark B. was a young man who accepted his sexual orientation "until he became a Christian" and was told on the basis of these texts that he couldn't be both a Christian and a gay man. Mark committed suicide and wrote this suicide note to God: "I just don't know how else to fix this." Mary Lou Wallner, one of our most faithful Soulforce volunteers, was led by these texts to condemn her lesbian daughter, Anna, who hanged herself. Mary Lou now says, "If I can steer just one person away from the pain and anguish I've been living, then maybe Anna's death will have meaning."

If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn't we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That's why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God's loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a "Comforter," an "Advocate," the "Holy Spirit" who would "teach them all things."

I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is still teaching us. When we reconsider the texts that are used by some people to condemn God's gay children, we must fervently seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, or we risk being misled by our own prejudices.

MY FOURTH PREMISE:
The Bible is a book about God -- not a book about human sexuality.

The Bible is the story of God's love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God's love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree.

In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them! Here are a few examples.

DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.

DEUTERONOMY 22:22
If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

MARK 10:1-12
Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.

LEVITICUS 18:19
The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.

MARK 12:18-27
If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

I'm certain you don't agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn't. The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king's having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one's parents nude.

Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God's law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.

Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation. (See Recommended Resources, p. 23-24.)

"Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus there is no need for a cure." ~The American Psycholigcal Association

perceived themselves to be gay, there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God's law for us in this day.

MY FIFTH PREMISE:
We miss what these passages say about God when we spend so much time debating what they say about sex.

If the Bible is the story of God's love for the world and not a handbook about sex, then that should shape how we read the Scriptures. So as we take a look at the six biblical texts that are used by some people to condemn homosexuality, let's ask two questions about each of them:

First, what does the text say about God that we need to hear but might be missing?

Second, what might the text be saying about homosexuality?

PASSAGE 1
GENESIS 2:21-25
THE CREATION STORY

Let's start "In the Beginning..." What does the creation story in Genesis 1-2 say about God?

I'm so tired of reading signs carried by protesters that say: "It's about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." In fact, the creation story is as important to Adam and Steve as it is Adam and Eve. Gays and non-gays alike need to know and celebrate the truth at the center of this story.

This creation story is primarily about God, a story written to show the power of God who created the world and everything in it. It teaches us that ultimately God is our Creator, that God shaped us, and that God said, "It's good." Isn't this the heart of the text?

Now what does the creation story say about homosexuality? Because the text says it is "natural" that a man and a woman come together to create a new life, some people think this means gay or lesbian couples are "unnatural." They read this interpretation into the text, even though the text is silent about all kinds of relationships that don't lead to having children:

*couples who are unable to have children

*couples who are too old to have children

*couples who choose not to have children

*people who are single

Are these relationships (or lack of relationships) "unnatural"? There's nothing said here that condemns or approves the love that people of the same sex have for each other, including the love I have for my partner, Gary.

So I believe the creation story says a lot about God's power and presence in the universe -- but NOTHING about homosexuality as we understand it today.

Mark said...

If you truly believed that Jesus died for your sins, then you would believe that the law no longer applies to you.

I do believe He died for my sins. That is why I cannot continue in willful sinning against Him. No saved person, child of God, can sin and not feel the moan of the Holy Spirit living in them Deb. You are not free to celebrate unrepented sin based on Christ's work on the cross. That Deb, is trampling the blood of Christ and all who do will know God's wrath. Think about it. ;)

btw Happy Birthday.

~Deb said...

Mark, but you're simply trampling the blood of Christ NOT TRUSTING that his sacrifice was strong enough to save you.

Think about it.

~Deb said...

Kathi: That's exactly what I do - I pray about it all the time and I get confirmation each and every single time! I believe Jesus died for a reason. Why live by the old law? That's why Jesus freed us in my belief, as well as it's written clearly in the scriptures.

Anonymous: Wow, ...thank you for sharing all that! Couldn't have said it better myself!

Åsa said...

Happy Birthday Beautiful Woman You!

xxoox

Mark said...

anonymous,
Your premises are almost laughable sir if not so sadly in error. Not sure where you learned to divide the word, but the word refund comes to mind. You have spent your life creating your own God, and after 55 years I would say you may never see the light of God's truths. sad indeed.

I can see many pearls being tossed here to the swine. No offense, but it's the truth.

Thanks for the time Deb.

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

The ultimate message of the cross for our conduct for me comes down to this: Jesus' crucifixion was to be the last one. That we continue to crucify one another is simply evidence that we missed the message!
God bless you, Deb for all you are trying to do and share.

~Deb said...

Asa: Thank you!

Mark: Anonymous made great points and proven his points with scripture. It did not come from ‘the mind’. If you read his comment again, and my post again, it clearly states that our references are straight from the bible. What you are spreading are feelings of guilt, shame, depression and anger towards people who believe in Jesus. Do you think God wants you to spread these negative emotions? All you have to do is believe that Christ saved you by believing it. (For Christians of course.) Then you are saved. God knows your heart and He has freed you from the bondage of the law! It must be hard living by the old law when God freed you from it. I hope you are well.

Rev. Kate: Exactly! Thank you. Some people don’t have enough faith to believe the power of the crucifixion.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Jesus did not proclaim from the mount that women should marry women and men should marry men.
However, Jesus always counseled a high regard, respect, and love for what "God hath made." Evidence of our hearts and eyes (not to mention scientific study) seem to confirm that God hath made gay people as they are. Gay people have unjustifiably suffered at the prejudiced hands of those who insist the God-given nature of gay people is deranged. It is therefore incumbent upon us as progressive Christians to love our gay brothers and sisters in their full light. To follow Jesus' example is to doubly stand with our gay brothers and sisters in solidarity (as Jesus did with other scorned people: the lepers, the destitute, the prostitutes, the beggars) as a witness against the kind of bigotry and judgment heaped upon them by other so-called Christians.
To honor gay people as children of God is to accord them every respect and honor. Their nature is not one of "choice" or "lifestyle", but from the same holy source that produces us all.
There is a second aspect of this that makes no sense at all. How can you criticize gay people for being promiscuous and then try to prevent them from officially consummating committed romantic and sexual relationships? Make up your mind! As Jesus puts it forth, sexual conduct is to serve spirit, the joining of two in love and in God. If you read the relevant Bible passages, they emphasize finding a spiritual mate and staying with that person. The passages from Matthew that are often quoted, if read in full context read more like a confirmation of all forms of long term emotional, spiritual, and romantic commitment, heterosexual and homosexual, and a criticism of all forms of promiscuity.
The Religious Right always likes citing Matthew 19:4-6 to support a gay marriage ban amendment. "'Haven't you read, [Jesus] replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate."
HOWEVER: one passage BEFORE this (Matthew 19:3) says: "Some Pharisees came to him to test him (Jesus). They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" Oops. This is not a statement on the Bible saying biologically "one man, one woman" is marriage, but rather what is the nature of agreement in a committed realationship between a man and a woman (and by extension man and man, woman and woman, if one is to assume the possibility of gay committed relationships).
Furthermore in Matthew 19:8-12, the passages AFTER the oft-cited section have Jesus saying "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard" (essentially morally rebuking them who divorced their wives)... "I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery". Well HELLO Allen, McCain, Guiliani, and Newt. You are the ones being called out for divorcing your wives, not committed gay couples. (See the great editorial cartoon on this each taking the oath for the "New Republican Marriage Amendment": "Marriage is the union between one man and 2 or 3 wives."

Jesus goes on to say, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it is given... The one who can accept this should accept this." If anything this looks like an argument for moral, spiritual, and physical faithfulness between couples, and an acknowledgement that some will fall short, gay or straight. Personally, I feel no need to condemn the adulterers of this world; their own deeds show them falling short. But I will call out in no uncertain terms the hypocrites of this world, who would condemn even the possibility of gay couples committing to each other under the eyes of the law and society, while they directly contradict the very Biblical precepts they so errantly cite.
Bottom line: Committed, warm, loving relationships have Jesus's seal of approval. Divorces as the result of hardened hearts, or "trading your wife in for a younger model" (in lay terms) DO NOT.

Spoke said...

Mark: "I do believe He died for my sins. That is why I cannot continue in willful sinning against Him".

I trust you're not silly enough to suggest/believe that you will NEVER deliberately sin again. I HOPE you're not telling us that this act of not sinning is done by your strength/merrit, rather than the Holy Spirit's work within you and your submission to Him. If that were true, then you would fall into the camp of religious people that believe they've earned their salvation and must/can maintain it. Christ died for nothing in that case...yes? Also, you may want to slow down and rephrase a few thoughts before you submit them to this open blog. When you said you don't willfully sin because you know Christ died for you, did you actually mean that you TRY not to deliberately sin because you LOVE Jesus?
This is one of those topics where comments are discected quite carefully. Best to be certain to say what you mean.
I'm certain that my salvation could never be lost, no matter what I did or didn't do. Therefore, I may be in a different camp altogether.

SALVATION ISN'T EARNED BY MAN
SALVATION NEEDS NO MAINTENANCE

GW Mush said...

Hi Deb,

I dont really agree with the bible thingy, but I think you would be a good minister. Your approach is good, sincere, and tactful.

Miss 1999 said...

Ugh-- I saw that you had a visit from the resident fundamentalist-- Ok, I've gotta be good, for real, I know they mean well, it's just so frustrating seeing people who can't just love Jesus, and have the faith they need to, and stop worrying about everyone else!

Anyway, enough of my rant. Thanks so much for this post, Deb. You're exactly right, there's a BIG difference between sinning, and having a sinful heart. There are so many who don't realize this, and need to know it to be closer to Jesus.

*Hugs*

Sarah said...

Bravo!! Beautiful post.

uninvitedliketheclouds said...

I didn't understand a lot of this, but I enjoyed reading it...thank you for opening up my mind

Neers said...

Hi Deb!! great posts... reflective thoughts and quite true, i would say.. particularly liked the differentiation between sinning and sinful thoughts! love

Dan said...

Hey Deb!

I'm sitting here in my idling car, leaning on the horn. Where are you? When you're done discussing all this catechism stuff, will you grab your girlfriend and get in the car? I thought you two might want to join me for a little shopping at Home Depot!

Hugs and smooches! :)

Leesa said...

I think there is a difference between the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law." A lot of what Jesus said was to follow the spirit of the law in the Bible. You know, in Jesus' time, there were no books, only scrolls. We have placed these "books of the Bible" together, perhaps divinely inspired but we placed them together by consensus. I know Leviticus is one of the five books of Moses, but maybe he needed an editor.

Me, I am off to eat Ice Cream. And sit on couches with menstrating women.

Mark said...

Spoke,
I thought I was fairly clear from the begining. You may have skipped over my previous comments. If I am able to celebrate my sin, and encourage others to to the same, I would perhaps be in need of re-examing my life in the light of scripture. I also would question my faith and to whom am I living for? That my friend would be a matter of Salvation indeed.

You say SALVATION NEEDS NO MAINTENANCE

Perhaps, and I would say to you
19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

No one is “celebrating sin”. We all have sin. This earth, this world, all of us are filthy with sin. Don’t you have enough trust and faith in Jesus to accept the gift He offered? He took away the law so that you can be freed.

You said:
”Perhaps, and I would say to you
19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”


But not one person can keep the commandments – ‘the law’. What person is without sin? Would God cast all of us into hell? Of course not. Think about it. This is the entire reason and concept why God’s son came to save us. From the sin that lurks within us all. Again, like I said, a heart that “desires” to sin is different from a heart that wants to do good, but is a sinner regardless.

If you have the conscience of God, you will be saved. A conscience of God is trying to do good for others, loving one another, edifying those who are discouraged and helping those in need…and most of all…loving God with all your heart. That’s the biggest commandment. And yes, there are sins that are deliberate. Then, there are sins which we fall into that are part of our human nature. Jesus has taken us and removed the sins due to our faith and belief that He has already paid the price in full.

Keep on doing good. God loves to see that. But we can’t be perfect. We can try to be, but we’ll always come to a dead end if we try to be perfect. Accept the ways of human nature, however keep focused on God to mature in His word and let His spirit guide you to do what’s right – or do what’s right ‘for you’. He has a purpose for all of us, and I believe that we need various people of different lifestyles to show us that. If we were all the same, life would be meaningless.

God bless!

Spoke said...

Hey Mark, your comment includes:

Perhaps, and I would say to you
19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

I don't mind being called the "least" in heaven. I try to be the "least" here on Earth. I WILL however, BE in heaven. If you like, you can have the glory that comes with being "great" in heaven, I'll wash your feet.
Stop trying to be good my friend! Jesus has you covered! While you're at it, let these other folks do there own thing. IF they call themselves Christian and are truely so, the Holy Spirit shall convict them of any sin...the way He does with "us" hetero-christians. Leave the saving and convicting up to Him. However, if you simply can't stop yourself, may I suggest you focus your attention on another born-again sinner...George Bush!

Spoke said...

Hey Mark, your comment includes:

Perhaps, and I would say to you
19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

I don't mind being called the "least" in heaven. I try to be the "least" here on Earth. I WILL however, BE in heaven. If you like, you can have the glory that comes with being "great" in heaven, I'll wash your feet.
Stop trying to be good my friend! Jesus has you covered! While you're at it, let these other folks do there own thing. IF they call themselves Christian and are truely so, the Holy Spirit shall convict them of any sin...the way He does with "us" hetero-christians. Leave the saving and convicting up to Him. However, if you simply can't stop yourself, may I suggest you focus your attention on another born-again sinner...George Bush!

Enemy of the Republic said...

Deb,

I have had some of these discussions with Mark. I applaud you for putting yourself out there.

Mark said...

spoke,
I am quite willing to wash your feet, and will do so with joy.

I am not commenting here to save anyone, no human can save another as I have said many many times.

I will repeat my unposted comment, Deb is indeed annuling the law. We are free from the law because Christ fullfilled the law! It is only the law that prepares the heart for grace.

because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.


don't mind being called the "least" in heaven. I try to be the "least" here on Earth.

Neither do I. I however, unlike you at this point in your walk, realize that proclaiming the word of God does indeed make me, not you, the 'least' here on Earth. Christ taught us that. I simply would ask you to re-evaluate your life in light of scripture, for many will know Christ by name, but will Christ know them?

Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'


Peace!

~Deb said...

First of all Mark, I am not annulling the law, because I am not bound to it through Jesus Christ. It must be so difficult living the life you do – almost torturous.

You said, “I simply would ask you to re-evaluate your life in light of scripture, for many will know Christ by name, but will Christ know them?”

I know that this was meant for Spoke, but you referred it to the both of us. I have given you scripture to back all of my beliefs up. The scripture I gave you was black and white. We are gentiles that are saved by Christ – which means NO LAW. We do not live as we did before Christ.

And yes, "…And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Which is meant for the heart that desires sin – not the person who sins.

Let's go through the whole scripture Mark, instead of picking and choosing your favorite 'quotes'.....

The entire scripture that you reference to is this:

Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord’, but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied In your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’ ~Matthew 7:21-23
Which means Mark, nothing you DO will get you into heaven. It’s all about FAITH, LOVE, and the belief that Jesus took away ALL sin. If you believe in this, you are saved. You can do all the miracles, keep all the laws of the Old Testament as you wish, and that will not get you a fast ticket into heaven. Loving God, believing His son paid the FULL PRICE and loving others will get you into the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is my belief as a Christian. I do not trample the blood of Christ – I believe with a conscience of God and a love for what His son has done for me and a lot of other people who believe the same thing.

Are you without sin?

And I never got another comment which I didn’t post Mark, I got two of Spoke’s. The new blogger has been acting weird – so I apologize if your comment did not pass through. I actually have one comment in my que - and when I try to release it, it won’t do anything. But this has been happening for the past week. I’m wondering who’s comment is stuck in there.

God bless!

Mark said...

thanks Deb.

Deb, I agree, no works earn anyone eternal salvation. However, I suggest you examine your defintion of love, and is that God's definition of love? I submit to you, that yours is a 'worldly' love, a Deb's defintion of love, not God's. God's love is indeed sacrificial. Dieing to one's self and living for Him ring a bell? Not belonging to this world, and living for His promise of an eternal kingdom of heaven? All require faith Deb. Saying Christ payed my sin price so live and let live, requires zero faith and is a message from hell. That is why so many people eat it up like manna from heaven, when in fact, it is a worldly, sin affirming, damaging message to the children of God!

btw: I did give you the entire scripture 21-23. Nevertheless, your version even says "The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven". In politically incorrect terms, and translated correctly, did you obey God's law?

But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

'unauthorized'? means what? Nevertheless, if you do what God has 'unauthorized', you have broken His law or ignored it, no?


Are you without sin?

You always ask me that..? Of course not! Same answer everyday Deb. That won't change day by day like human inspired wisdom.

Lastly, I do not live a guilt feared 'torturous' life Deb. I am very happy and often times care free. I do have a healthly love of God's word, a genuine love of others, not just my bothers and sisters in Christ, but especially the 'lost' or those who know not of Christ's grace and power to dramtically change lives.

I get that not from a self help book, but from God's eternal word. I pray the 'lost' will seek God in His word, and stop answering their own prayers and making up their own little god who is a "servant" for Man, and not the exact opposite.

peace

~Deb said...

My definition of love is unconditional. When I love, I don’t judge or ridicule anyone’s relationship with God. When I love, I don’t try to tear them down with words and discourage them from coming to Christ. When I love, it comes from my heart and not what I’ve been taught. My love is genuine and not dictated by the churches or political views of what a married couple “should be”.

You say I have zero faith. Think of it like this Mark… Ask your wife or whoever you love dearly to stand behind you. Then, stand in front of her with your back turned towards her. Fall back completely. Do you trust that she’ll catch you? Do you fully trust that she’ll protect you from falling?

That’s how my faith is with Jesus. I fully trust that He has saved me, and everyone else from the worldly sins that human nature automatically has. I’ve accepted it.

And, I would never say, “Mark, you have zero faith.” Never. I have no right to say that. Maybe you do love God and have a personal relationship with Him. But that’s between you and God. Who am I to judge? I don’t waste my time trying to tear down other Christians with different beliefs.

You can never ever change my faith, change my views and change my love for God. I’m actually laughing at how you assume I have no faith. You’re amusing to me.

And no Mark, are you saying that the bible that I read is wrong? Great argument. I’m taking scripture right out of the bible and you’re saying that it’s a self-help book? I refuse to have a debate with someone who is irrational with their argument.

If you want to live a life bounded by the law that Jesus has taken away – then by all means do so. But I am living a life full of love, happiness, peace – that comes from the love of God. Again, you can never take that away from me. Why focus so much on the gay and lesbian community Mark? You’re blog has 80% of anger towards them.

You said, “I get that not from a self help book, but from God's eternal word. I pray the 'lost' will seek God in His word, and stop answering their own prayers and making up their own little god who is a "servant" for Man, and not the exact opposite.”

I read the bible and study it. Obviously there are different interpretations by you telling me that “my bible is wrong”. (haha) You’re funny. I get my answers and confirmations by God through prayer. I wonder Mark, do you believe in God? Or are you just making up your own God in order to belittle people?

That’s what I call evil. I hope that you’ll be more accepting to the people you love and those around you. I pray that you’ll see that God loves you regardless of human nature. It’s the reason why He gave His only Son to us. I also hope that you seek peace and love – not as the world gives it either. But unfortunately, I can see that the anger you exude in your responses are originated by worldly feelings that the evil one projects.
Good luck in your walk with God. I’ll pray for you. This will be the end of our debate, because we will never see eye-to-eye. Never.

God bless!