A Voice in the
Wilderness

site navigation

free newsletter

January 30, 2001

Return to: Q/A
Q/A Topics on Ephesians:
  • 1:13 -Holy Spirit's Seal
  • 2: 8 -Salvation: Whose faith?
  • 2: 8 -Christian who sins, still saved?
  • 2:10 -Created from Nothing?
  • 2:15 -Loving "by nature"?
  • 4: 2 -Don't need to Define: lowliness, gentleness, etc??
  • 5:22 -What about Unmarried Women?

Holy Spirit's Seal -Eph1:13

COMMENTS:
You have made a studious presentation on the sealing of the Spirit. I'm no Charismatic, but please consider that there is a distinct sealing of the Spirit on top of regeneration. You see, with your view, you have made the seal and the substance all one. The seal is not the deal, but is to certify the deal. The earnest is not the purchase; it is to guarantee the purchase. The witness is not one of the parties, but is to certify the transaction of others.

ANSWER:
Your first comment about "distinct/on top of" will be answered in the next sections, here. But as for the rest of this I think the study already said these things. The "deal" was Christ redeeming us with His own blood. (vs7) And the "purchase" is completed at the end of the Church age when Christ comes 'knocking' on the door, wanting to take possession. (Rev3:20) Yes, the Spirit is only the "witness" to the transaction; but until that notary seal is in place, those documents are not binding. Christ made His "offer" at Calvary when He died, with the provision that "whoever believes" (Jn3:16) might become part of the "deal". He did that "once". (Rom6:10, Heb7:27, 9:12, 10:10) But the "whoever" part of the transaction is sealed -individually- by the Holy Spirit. Remember how the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was "divided/distributed" and sat upon "each" of them. (Acts2:3)

COMMENTS:

  • Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

  • Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, [after] that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also [after] that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
The seal should be viewed not as "in", but "upon".

ANSWER:
First of all, in quoting Gal4:6, you have contradicted yourself. Notice the Spirit has been sent "into" our hearts. The Holy Spirit "dwells -IN- you" (Rom8:9) We are temples of the Holy Spirit "who is -IN- you". (1Cor6:19) We'll look at the "on/upon" aspect later in this Q/A.

However... thank you for emphasizing the word "after" in Eph1:13. I really wanted to address that in the study, but it did not really quite 'fit' for the way it was being put together. But, the Lord always seems to allow somebody to ask questions in such situations, giving me the 'excuse' to subsequently address things in that way.

You quoted vs13 from the KJV. NKJV says "in whom also, having believed.." And any other translation I looked up, including YLT, they all used a similar "past tense" approach. But notice how the LITV renders it:

"..in whom also believing you were sealed.."

This little difference makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD with respect to several doctrines. Since I am not an expert in Greek, I must rely on the tools made available by those who are. The word rendered "believed/believing" is 'Aorist' tense. That is a tense "without regard for past, present or future time" but most translators have chosen to render it as "past tense".

To begin understanding this tense, as an example, let us assume somebody is telling about somebody else -SAYING- something. He could say, "Jack said, Blah, blah, blah.." That's 'past' tense. Or somebody could be observing, "He is saying, Blah, blah..." That's 'present' tense; happening 'right now'. Or, looking ahead to somebody's speech, someone might say, "He is going to say, Blah, blah..." 'Future' tense. But Aorist tense is more on the order of how somebody typically tells a story, "The big moron -SAYS- to the little moron..." This word "says" has no real "time" attached to it. It tends to be more "present tense" to the context of the story or account being told...not 'when' the story is being told. So, if the "big moron" is talking to little moron, "says" is 'present' tense to the event of big moron's speaking. But at the time it is being told, it could be fictitious and not ever have actually happened, or if "Jack" spoke some words to somebody-or-other, and that event is now being told, "says" would be 'present' tense to -when- Jack spoke the words, but 'past' tense now, as the event is being recounted. But using the word "says" gives a sense of 'immediacy' to the telling of it.

Thus, "believing" (Aorist) is occuring at the same time as the "sealing", even though we might now be talking 'past' tense, looking 'back' to when we were first saved... thinking back on our experience, and Paul is 'now' explaining the details of "what happened" BACK THERE.

The mood being 'participle' it could use either an "ing" or "ed" ending. But if it is without "time", it would seem to be more appropriate to use the "ing" ending, because "ed" -locks- it into 'past' tense. Indeed, many other places in the N.T. where Aorist is used, you will find the LITV renders them with "ing"...as do other Greek scholars.

In something like this, I also look at the reliability and tendencies of the translator. This verse could be viewed by some as a key proof text for the confusions/clarifications of the doctrines of "Eternal Security" and "Once saved-Always saved". Anyone who is acquainted with Jay Green, Sr. knows him and his organization to be heavily into the writings of Calvin and other Reformed/Puritan authors. To them, generically, Eternal Security is essentially synonymous with OSAS. Indeed, Mr.Green in a few places has made his Calvinist bent known in his translations with the use of 'added' italicized words. Thus, if the same thing were to be holding true here, one would have thought he would have rendered it the same way everybody else did. Doing so would have been consistent with his Calvinist beliefs. But he did not. He handled this Aorist tense the same way he did all the others. He went against his own beliefs to be accurate to the text.

You see, "believed" has a different sense to it than "believing". Those who maintain that one believ(ED), and 'now' they are saved, because they believ(ED) 'back there' at some point in time, rest on that past faith. They pin their eternal security on some 'date' when they -prayed- the "sinner's prayer". And so, with that past 'act' on the records, they maintain that their salvation "cannot be lost". (their terminology)

But such a belief never -quite- explains "..work out (cultivate) your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil2:12) Or, "..whose house we are -IF- we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end." (Heb3:6) Or again, Jesus' words, "..but he who endures to the end will be kept safe.." (Mt10:22, 24:13) There's 'tons' of stuff in the N.T. about "enduring". (e.g. 2Tm2:12, Jn6:27, etc) 'Not going to rehash OSAS again right now; there are lots of past writings on the subject at the website:

People who hold to OSAS tend to explain away the words "endur/ing" as meaning something other than what they mean. But Jesus spoke of the ones who would begin, but not having counted the cost, would abandon the building. (Lk14:28) Or of beginning to plow, and then looking back. (Lk9:62) If one denies Him, He promised to deny them before His Father. (Mt10:33) Paul reiterates that. (2Tm2:12) And what of all those seeds which sprouted to life, and then died. (Mt13) The ones who are most militant with OSAS also tend to be the Church of Ephesus; they got their "first" love, but put it on a 'shelf' for safe-keeping, and in the end, it is said of them that they "left" their "first (one-time event) love". (Rev2:4)

Salvation is not a one-time event. It -begins- at a given moment of the new birth (Jn3:3) and as such, a person should know of that 'time' it happened (whether he can necessarily remember the exact calandar date or not... the event should be firmly etched in his mind/heart). But it does not stop there. One does not buy salvation and then put it on a shelf some place for 'safe keeping'. Salvation is Eternal Life. While we are building on the foundation of Christ (1Cor3:11) we are "living stones". (1Pt2:5) Salvation is proven by the subsequent Life. (Jas2:14-26) If there is no telling Life, then such a faith "is dead also". (vs26) Known by its "fruits". (Mt7:20) Thus, from the moment one is saved, yes, at that moment they believ(ED). But the nature of such Faith is that one -CONTINUES- believ(ING). What the Spirit seals on our behalf is a "living hope". (1Pt1:3) Not dormant like the servant who took his master's talent and hid it in the ground. (Mt25:18,25) Keep in mind that, although he started out as a "servant" (was saved), he was "cast..into outer darkness.." (vs30) Paul did not consider himself as having "arrived" but said, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.." (Phil3:13-14) When Barnabas met with the fledgling Believers in Antioch, before he left to find Saul, he exhorts them to "continue with the Lord". (Acts11:23b) Obviously, such a statement assumes the opposite is possible, that they -won't- continue. Thus, the Spirit's sealing is related to that on-going, continuing believ(ing).

And then... the other false doctrine that 'could be' proof-texted from rendering it "believ(ED)" is that of Charismania/Pentecostalism. This should be easier to understand. If we go erroneously adding the words "after that ye" to an incorrectly tensed "believ(ED)", well... the result is obvious, isn't it. The Holy Spirit does not come "after" one is saved...because that verse doesn't say "after". I think it is so obvious, that I'm not even going to address it further in this context.

COMMENTS:
Consider these scriptures...

  • Pentecost - the Spirit fell on regenerate believers: Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat [upon] each of them.

  • Samaritan believers - Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen [upon] none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

  • Cornelius and household - hearts purified by faith, witnessed by Spirit coming upon: Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell [on] all them which heard the word.

  • Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came [on] them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. There are two extremes...

  • The Pentecostal which makes the sealing optional to regeneration [the indwelling], dependent upon our paying the price, and

  • The Baptist which makes the sealing non-existent, synonomous with regeneration. One is too experiential, the other not enough. I would posit that, while salvation is one package, yet there is a witness of the Spirit on top of regeneration, even though it might sometimes happen simultaneously with regeneration.
ANSWER:
First of all, let us remember that Ephesians is -to- the CHURCH. Acts is still to/about the Jews -AS- the Church is coming into being and becoming established. Remember that Acts ends symbolically with Paul proclaiming 'to Jews' that the "salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" ...after which, the Jews leave. (Acts28:28-29)

All the apostles were Jews. And BY DEFINITION, an "apostle" is someone who is involved in beginning something "new". Initiates and introduces "new" teachings. The book of Acts is a 'history' of how this came about. The Acts "of-the-apostles".

Without looking up references, when God gave the Law at Sinai, there were some mighty spectacular things going on. The fire, cloud, rumblings, trumpet sound. God was introducing Himself to Israel, and giving them the Law. But once the ordinances had become instituted, Israel did not continue experiencing rumbles, lighting, trumpet sounds. In the same way, once the Church was established, the "signs and wonders" of Acts did not continue. They "ceased" (1Cor13:8, Num11:25b)

Remember that "signs and wonders" is a DISTINCTLY -JEWISH- thing. Notice: God says, "We are for signs and wonders IN ISRAEL from the LORD of Hosts.." (Is8:18) And throughout Acts the "wonders and signs" were done "through the apostles". (Acts2:43, 5:12) And they were done for the purpose of authenticating the apostleship of the apostles (2Cor12:12), thus, proving to Israel that God was establishing something new.

For the sake of -PROOF- to the Jews who were present at each instance, God was proclaiming that the new Church was for all people...Jew and Gentile alike. (Eph2:14) Thus you have the Holy Spirit -symbolically- coming on/upon several representative 'classes' of people.


   1) Acts 2  -Jews
   2) Acts 8  -Samaritans (to the Jewish mind, despised 'half-breeds')
   3) Acts 10 -Gentiles
   4) Acts 19 -John's disciples
In other words, what had been up until that time, various classes of people and dispensations, and variations of the message and baptisms (even though it always has been -One- God), were now symbolically all brought together, for the Jewish understanding, under the -SAME- doctrine. As we will see later in Ephesians, "one Lord, one Faith, one baptism" (4:5)

You see, the Jewish rituals would sprinkle blood and pour oil, and "lay hands upon" in order to dedicate. On the head of the sacrificial animal, thus, symbolizing the laying of the guilt of sin on it. (Lev3:2,etc) And on Levites to dedicate them for service. (Num8:10,etc) And so, the early (Jewish) Church also did the same when they commissioned people for service. (Acts13:3) And Paul speaks of NOT "laying hands" when somebody isn't yet ready for service. (1Tm5:22) Thus, it was also a JEWISH ritual which "laid hands on them" to receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts8:17) And that is why it is worded "on/upon" in that way, those four times. Those were 'ritual' occasions, for the benefit of the Jewish mind, of introducing Believers to the Holy Spirit.

It wasn't so much that the Holy Spirit was coming 'upon/on' these various -individuals-, but that the Holy Spirit was being commissioned upon these classes, in the same way the Levites were laid (hands) "upon" for service. After all, since Christ died and tore the veil, we now have direct (priestly/levitical) access to the "throne of grace". (Heb4:16) But, after 1400 years of rituals, the Jewish mind needed to 'see' this change. That is why those passages speak of "on/upon". And why they would have been done for those who were 'already' Believers. The same coming of the Holy Spirit of ch2 needed to be implemented to these other Believers, ritually, for the observation -of-, and witness -to-, the Jews.

ADDITIONAL REPLYING COMMENTS:
I think the best illustration of the essence and meaning of the sealing of the Spirit is in the case of the Son of God Himself...

  • it was in addition to sonship
  • it was to confirm sonship ...
  • It was assurance to Jesus: "You are My beloved Son".
  • It was assurance to those watching: voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved..."
  • Example: John 1:33 And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'
  • it was upon [in a sense upon, but admittedly in - not external, cp Gal 4.6, Rom 5.5]... Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him John 6:27 ...for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal."

ANSWER:
Let me say AGAIN... Eph1:13 is to/about the "Church". This epistle was written 30 years after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven. We are way past the need for the Jewish "signs and wonders" and -visible- symbolisms.

These examples about Christ are different. Jesus was sent "to His own" (Jn1:11) -JEWS-... He was manifested (sealed) in a manner they were accustomed to. To compare the Holy Spirit's coming upon Jesus, to His sealing of the (Gentile) Church, is like comparing apples and oranges. It is this kind of mis-application that also produces the erroneous (typically) 'baptist' doctrine that proclaims that we "follow the Lord into the waters of baptism". Jesus' baptism is/was different from the Believer's baptism. Remember that when some disciples of John were found, who had been baptised with "John's baptism" they were re-baptized; this time in the "name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts19:3,5) as Jesus commanded, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". (Mt28:19) But, even Jesus' baptism was different from "John's baptism". It was unique unto Himself and His purpose as the Spotless Lamb in preparation for sacrifice. John's baptism of people was unto "repentance" (Lk3:3). But Jesus was "fulfilling righteousness" (Mt3:15), something we won't address right now.

Something else to notice about Jesus and Pentecost. When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended upon Him in -visible- form, like a dove. (Mt3:16) At Pentecost, it was -visible- "tongues, as of fire" (Acts2:3) So... OF COURSE these visible fillings are going to come "upon" them. After all the centuries of human symbolisms of "laying hands", how else was God going to visibly demonstrate -TO- 'ISRAEL' that He was "laying His hand upon.." in this way? He used -visible- symbols. Thus, when Pentecost came along, they knew that John's prophecy that Jesus would "baptize you with the Holy Spirit and -fire-" (Mt3:11) was fulfilled. Again... John was sent to Israel, and he prophesied to/about Israel.

But the Church, to whom Paul is writing in Ephesians, is different. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (Jn20:29) We believe in Jesus, "whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls." (1Pt1:8-9) Do you see, again, this 'continuing' nature of our "believ(ing)". And we are continuing onwards until when? The "-revelation- of Jesus Christ". (vs7b) i.e. Resurrection - Rapture

This exemplifies how charismania is such a movement of UNBELIEF. They must -see- 'signs'. They cannot accept their faith as being genuine unless they have the same signs that unbelieving Israel was given. Remember that Israel, the nation for "signs and wonders" always "resist(ed) the Holy Spirit" (Acts7:51) And because of their rebellion, God sent the gospel to the Gentiles. (Acts28:28) God was "not well pleased" with "most of them". (1Cor10:5) Thus, due to their lusts, God is allowing charismania to be deluded into believing their lie (2Th2:11) of the spirit of antichrist (1Jn4:3), and when they will have been pleading with the Lord to let them in and He declares to them "I never knew you; depart from Me..!" (Mt7:22-23) they will then join their antichrist in "perdition". (Rev17:8)

Amen!

Q/A -Tired of VW saying, "Christians are not Christians"... that "all" Charismatics going to hell

[Top]


Salvation: Whose faith? (Ephesians 2:4-10)

READER COMMENTS: #1
As I was reading this good stuff it came to me that the Scriptures in a few places really are talking about and are pointing to, the faith of the Lord Jesus,and even God,(many times understood as faithfulness) as those which are relevant for our salvation! Some of them follows:

  • Rom3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
  • Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
  • Ga 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
  • Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
  • Ga 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
  • Eph 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
  • Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
  • Jas 2:1  My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
  • Re 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
With this one concluding verse where Jesus expressly talks about His [own] faith, (to be kept); Re 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

VW ANSWER:
Exactly!

READER COMMENTS: #2 (excerpts)
While I understand some of your concern over the repentance issue, I am not prepared to comment on that as I have not studied the matter. Off the cuff I believe that it is a necessary step in the salvation 'process'....

However, my main concern with the article is your statement that God gives a man the faith to believe, and that we are not saved by faith.


--Quote--
"...even that faith is "not of yourselves; it is the gift of God". If
God didn't give it to us, we would not be capable of saving faith.
Thus, if we want to get real picayunish, we could say that salvation
isn't even by our faith."
--endQuote--
Bro Paul, I disagree with that statement on Biblical grounds. The driving force of Romans is that God's righteousness is in Jesus Christ, and that it must be had by faith.

Now Romans is very clear that faith is not a 'work'. It specifically sets out to demonstrate that. 3.22 deals with the righteousness apart from the Law. "by faith...upon all them that believe"....

VW ANSWER:
Some people are sooo into "sola fide" (faith alone), and they quote from places like Rom ch4 that "Abraham believed God.." that he was not "justified by works" (vs2-3) (which is true), that they cannot seem to see that that faith was not Abraham's. It was -GOD- Who called him "out of [his] country, from [his] kindred and from [his] father's house" (Gen12:1) They don't understand that our faith can only come when the Father "draws" us. (Jn6:44) When they are so anti-repentance (or as in this case, not "studied" it), thinking that repentance is a "work", what do they have left? Nothing. All they can cling to is -their- "faith". Like their favorite song whose message they take out of context, "only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe". But those words are to those who are -already- believers, as the song begins to the "little flock". Just as, "the just shall live by faith". (Rom1:17) Got it? The "just" (a -saved- person who has been 'justified') lives (once he's been saved) by faith. That is not a "how to be saved" sentence, like the Protestant Reformation declared it to be.

Unfortunately the newer translations contribute to this problem. Even the NKJV which I use primarily [Link: VW & Translations] is also disgustingly in error! As one example, Rom3:22 the NKJV says, "..the righteousness of God which is through faith -in- Jesus Christ.." The NASB and RSV do a similar thing. But the Word actually says, and KJV is correct here, "..faith -OF- Jesus Christ.." Just as in all those passages from "#1" above.

This is quite a critical difference, as we notice this #2 comment, while making his point, passes over this point with "..." dots. The passage does not say "by faith...upon all them..." It says "by faith -of- Jesus Christ...upon all them..." And in this, notice that he misquotes the study in his argument, too. He claims that the Eph2:4-10 study said that we are "not saved by faith". But notice the place he quotes, by which he is making his point, the study said, "salvation isn't even by -OUR- faith".

Yes, we "believe -on- the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts16:31), that is to say, we put our trust "on" Jesus Christ. When He invites "come to Me" (Mt11:28) we rest on Him as He "lifts [us] up". (Jas4:10)

The -kind- of "faith" these people proclaim is the kind that goes with their "sinner's prayer" in which the person is told to "repeat after me" and "REALLY MEAN IT". So, people are "really meaning" it "real hard"...as they "pray hard". You see...such a -kind-of- "faith" is actually works. They are "working hard" to have this faith...and they hope they have "enough" faith. Or 'persuade' God of their sincerity..?? They tell the person that, in order to be saved, they must "pray". And people "go forward" time after time to "pray". But they keep doing so repeatedly because it's not real faith. It is -their- faith, not Christ's. They have never met Christ face-to-face and responded to His confrontation of them and their sinful heart. When you meet Christ, you know you've met Him! There is no question on the matter! Your heart is "cut" to the quick with your guilt. (Acts2:36-37)

True Saving Faith is the Faith -OF- Jesus Christ. It is Jesus' faith which He gives, not ours. That's why it is a "gift of God" (Eph2:8), it is NOT "of ourselves". And the e-mail even tried to make that verse say something different than it says. But if we follow plain English grammar syntax, it is really quite easy to understand. Yes, we believe. Yes, salvation is through faith. But we do so after that faith has been 'given' to us, after God's "grace" has been extended. And when is God's grace extended? It is God's response to our pleas to Him for mercy, "Lord, be merciful to me, the sinner". (Lk18:13) And Jesus' verdict about that man was that he went home "justified" (vs14) rather than the pharisee who had "faith" in himself. And that, my friends, is the doctrine which so many rebel against (particularly the ones, typically, who lead others in the "-repeat-after-me-" prayers); and thus, they themselves are not saved...

That doctrine..? REPENTANCE.

If you think that last statement was judgmentally harsh, just think about it objectively. If they don't believe in the very doctrine (repentance) which is the 'key' to unlocking the door to their hearts, how could something have happened (them getting saved) when they haven't done something (repented) they don't believe in? It didn't. God doesn't purpose for "any to perish" but what? "That all should come to repentance." (2Pt3:9) If God's call is to "repent", and they don't believe in "repentance", they are perishing. Plain and tragically simple. And no amount of -their- 'KIND OF' faith is going to save them, no matter HOW HARD they try, and "work" at it. Amen!

Even in the Gospel of John, that speaks of "believe" (Jn3:16), and never once mentions the -word- "repentance", notice that it is God who "draws" (Jn6:44), and the "-new- birth" that everyone talks about is -actually- a birth "from -above-" (Jn3:3 LIT). And how is it from "above"? Through the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:8) Another verse that incorrect translations have muddied up the understanding by talking about "wind". And when we are resurrected and/or raptured, who does it? "I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn6:40,44,54). Jesus Christ.

It's like Jesus' account of "The kingdom of heaven is like..." The servant "was not able to pay" and was condemned, but "therefore fell down before" the 'king' saying "Master have patience with me, and I will pay you all" and out of "compassion" (one of the components of mercy and grace) the king "released him, and forgave him the debt". (Mt18:23-27) You see, the debt was owed, the person wanted to "make promises" to pay it back on his own (works), but he was not able (Rom5:6). But even though he is not able, he has humbled himself (Jas4:10) by prostrating himself. He is hoping to "work" his redemption, but the king simply "forgives" the debt. He doesn't pay -any- of it back, because he is unable. His forgiveness comes -from- the king.

This is how people try to "get saved". They make promises to God which they are simply unable to keep. They promise to "do better" or "be better people". That's some people. Others don't even acknowledge their sin. They just want to "believe" and "take on" Jesus along-side themselves, hoping Jesus will come alongside and take them by the hand and go "with them" in the path -they- have chosen. They say, "I believe in Jesus", but have not pleaded with God due to their debt of sin.

A certain man who was born blind was healed by Jesus. Interestingly enough, Jesus doesn't heal him on-the-spot, but puts clay on his eyes, and then sends him walking...to go wash 'away from' Jesus. After he is healed, and gets kicked out of the temple by the rulers, Jesus finds him and confronts him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" (Jn9:35) And notice the response, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" (vs36) Notice just -WHO- initiates this faith... Who introduces [W]hom to [w]hom? Jesus. On another occasion Jesus is about to remove the demon out of a man's child and Jesus says, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mk9:23). And notice the man says, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (vs24) As though to say, 'Yes, this is what I want...but how do I believe? I don't know how! Help me to believe!'

You see, Jesus came to "seek and to save" the lost. (Lk19:10) We were like sheep going "astray". (Is53:6) We were not seeking Him; we were running away. How could it possibly be suggested that we were exercising -our- 'faith' if we were on-the-run? But He seeks us out, the Father draws us, and when we are confronted with Jesus, we can either bow before Him in repentance and receive (Jn1:12) His faith, or proudly refuse. After all, we just "saw Jesus"!! Hallelujah!! Well...the demons have seen Jesus, too, but they are not saved. They have "faith" and "believe" in Jesus; but they "tremble". (Jas2:19) They have never repented of their rebellion.

One other item this person said, which was not pasted above, to support his argument. He claims that the "gift of God" is "salvation", not the "faith". (Eph2:8) As though to say that "Salvation" comes from God, but we receive it by 'our' faith...? How, praytell, can the two be separated? We have "one Lord, one FAITH, one baptism.." (Eph4:5) Notice the terminology, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom10:17) Again... it comes -from- God.

Part of the essence of Salvation -is- Faith. To "continue IN THE FAITH" (Ac14:22) They were "strengthened IN THE FAITH" (Ac16:5) "Examine yourselves as to whether you are IN THE FAITH". (2Cor13:5) These terms "Faith" being synonymous with "Being Saved". It comes -from- God. All aspects of it. All we can do is bow at Jesus' feet when He comes to us, prostrate, knowing our guilt. All -we- can "do" (and it's not a "work", any more than responding to the court judge's questions at trial is a "work") is admit, acknowledge, confess our sin, and "throw ourselves on the mercy of the court".

Again... sorry for the bluntness, but... If you haven't bothered to "study" the matter of repentance, it is high time you did. Without it, you perish. (2Pt3:9, Lk13:3,5, Rev2:5,22) "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2Cor6:2b)

Amen!

Q/A -Salvation: Whose Holiness?
the Faith of Christ

[Top]


Christian who sins, still saved? -Eph 2:4-10

READER QUESTION:
I understand that salvation is a gift. I understand that faith is a gift. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I know salvation comes with your belief in Jesus Christ. I know it's not on my own merrits, not because I have been so good or some would say, I know that I am saved because I don't do the things I used to do. It seem to me that we are mixing works with faith and or mixing works with salvation. If a person accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour THIS IS SALVATION! HE BECOMES LORD OF OUR LIVES EVERYDAY. We at times do fall into sin and at times not willing or able to let go of sin. I look at David,Abraham,Peter, Paul and many more of God's great people who knew right from wrong and at times on many ocassion sin. I believed the love they have for God never change. So I believed those who are saved today. Please explain to me that those who are saved but still sin in their lives, at times willing , is that person still saved.

VW ANSWER:
Salvation comes as God's "gift". God's grace, God's faith. (Eph2:8) It is NOT of works. (Eph2:9) But once we are saved, we will do good works (Eph2:10) as a 'result' of our being saved. We know we are saved...by the fact that we do good works (Jas2:18) because "by their fruits you will know them" (Mt7:20) Where we used to be "by nature children of wrath" (Eph2:3) and did the things the "sons of disobedience" (vs2) do, now that we are "in Christ...old things have passed away; behold all things have become new". (2Cor5:17) We no longer "devote ourselves to sin" because it is no longer "in our nature to sin" (1Jn3:9) However, while it is no longer in our 'new' nature to sin, being in this world sin still clings to us, and we must confess periodically. (1Jn1:8-10) 1Jn1:9 is written to Believers. The desire is that we ("little children" -Believers) "may not sin". However "if any sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1Jn2:1)

It's like when Jesus was washing the disciples' feet, he comes to Peter and they have the little exchange. Peter doesn't think that Jesus should be washing his feet...but when Jesus says, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" So Peter says essentially, "Well, in that case...give me a whole bath". But then Jesus explains..."He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean..." (Jn13:8-10) In other words, if people were preparing themselves for a special feast...which that Passover meal was...they would have bathed at home, put on clean clothes. But by the time they arrived at the upper room, their feet would have picked up the dust of the road along the way. Same thing with the Believer. When a person comes to Christ in repentance, and receives Jesus forgiveness, he is "clean". But from that point, the Believer is travelling along the world on his way to the Father's banquet...and the feet pick up dust of the world's sin.

Thus...1Jn1:9 is actually a case of washing one's feet...if that makes sense. We are holy, and fully "sealed" for Heaven (Eph1:13) when we were saved. But until we shed these bodies of corruption, we mess up periodically...so we need to wash the dirt off. But even though the feet got dirty, the rest of us is clean. We are still saved.

[Top]


Created from Nothing? -Eph 2:10

READER QUESTION:
Just one question: Is the word "created" in Eph. 2:8-10 translated from ex nihilo? (Sp?) Meaning out of nothing! Thank you Paul, and will be looking for your answer. Keep up the fine work for the Lord. God bless you.

VW ANSWER:
Hmmm. Interesting question. In looking it up right now I see nothing that indicates, as you say, "ex nihilo". And as I think about 'that' definition of "creation" that we have come to assume all these years, that God created the universe "out of nothing" ...well, that simply isn't true, is it. He created it out of Himself. "All things were created through Him and for Him" (Col1:16) That word "through" includes, "by, by means of" etc. And it says that "..in Him all things consist". (vs17)

Thus, the "..His workmanship, -created- in Christ Jesus.." (Eph2:10) we must use the definitions which also fit the context of having the word "workmanship" in there. "..to form, to shape... to completely change or transform" or "cause to exist, bring into being". The fact that there was "something" there is evident in the fact that we were "dead in trespasses and sins" (vs1) There was "something" there, but it was "dead". (Something which doesn't exist isn't called "dead". It simply doesn't exist. Something which doesn't exist isn't even talked about, because there is no consciousness or knowledge/perception of it.) Thus, to that which is 'dead' He gives life, and follows through that life by forming/creating it into a "vessel unto honor". (Rom9:21, 2Tm2:21)

[Top]


Loving: "by nature"? -Eph 2:11-22

READER COMMENTS:
Now though I believe that also I have the Holy Spirit of God, it is maybe only my hithereto interpretation of Titus 2:4 that was faulty where I thought the Scriptures teach that also Christians must be taught how to love, even their husbands and their children. (The Lord Jesus gave this to us as a command, ie to love one another, else, we would not have been willing to fulfill it[automatically, out of the "new nature"] .) If that goes for us too, in these last "hours" we are living in, how do we "reconcile" the above harsh statement of yours?

BTW we as Christ_ians also must, according to the Scriptures, learn how NOT to be angry, how to become meek and humble and so forth. It does NOT come automatically with the "new nature". I thought these things were evident from Holy Writ. What do you think?

VW ANSWER:
You speak of "Holy Writ" but quoted only one reference... out-of-context. Tit2:4 is instructing the women in their proper Godly roles. You could have listed: Phil1:9 "this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more.." As Believers our love will "grow". Eph4:15 speaks of being loving in the context of spiritual growth. But love is a characteristic of the new birth, as given in the Scriptures already cited in what you are calling "harsh".

Since you didn't accept it from the Scriptures, let's consider a little object lesson from nature. After all, God created all things to help us learn of Him more and more...

When kittens are born, and are frolicking around...if you go to one and tickle it on its tummy, it is going to grab your hand with its forepaws, bite at you, and start kicking you with the rear paws. It is not yet ready to start catching prey...it learns to hone its skills as it grows...but as a small kitten, it has the basic inclincation to grab, bite and kick. On the other hand, if you were to try to 'tickle' the tummy of a chick or duckling, you will get a totally different reaction...they will run away. The kitten does "cat" things, and birds do "bird" things.

By the same token, Christians "love"...by nature. When they are yet "babes" (1Pt2:2, Heb5:12-14) they are new to loving and learn to 'develop' their love and "grow" and "increase" in it. But if they are not 'CHARACTERIZED BY' love, the Scripture is quite clear... they "[do] not know God..." (1Jn4:8)

If you wish to call that "harsh" ...well, it is God's Word... not mine. If a person wishes to argue with God, you will answer to Him in the day of judgment. Amen!

[Top]


Don't need to Define: lowliness, gentleness, etc?? -Ephesians 4:1-6

READER QUESTION:
i'm not on your mailing list, as i don't always keep up with my email very well. but for probably a couple years now, i've visited your site every week or two to read, not wanting to miss what you share. sometimes, you post things ahead, and i read those too, so this article that i'm quoting from might not have been mailed out yet. i'm not sure. anyway---

here's the quote. it's from the Ephesians study.

" "all lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering" and "bearing with one another in love".(vs2) Do we need to spend time defining these terms? I don't really think so. If a person isn't characterized by them, it is not because the terms are "not understood". It's a 'heart' problem. "

i have a question which is laying pretty heavy on my heart: i agree with what you say, but why not preach these things? i know from other readings you speak of the burden you have in preaching is one of calling people to repentance and warning them. you also speak much of the Bible and how if we're to avoid falsity we need to be intimate with it's truths. are these not worthy traits to preach and expound then-as truth? can we not understand better how we're *not* to be as Christians, by hearing preached about the traits we *are* to be? my heart longs to hear this message of repentance too-- not just what falsity i should turn from, but what i should be turning to and how to walk in it. that's what repentance is, a turning away from, but also a turning to. your burden against falsehood is apparent and commendable, but where is your burden for the other half of the message, and why do you not also preach that? you talk about it, but you rarely preach them.

VW ANSWER:
First of all... The reply I sent this person individually will not be posted here.

But since we have now also had the 4:7-16 study, it seems good to address this question before we proceed to vs17 and beyond; because vs17 begins the 'practical application' to all the 'theoretical' things we have considered thus far. Actually, there is nothing "theoretical" about what we have studied. But it is all part of the "walk by faith, not by sight" (2Cor5:7) aspect. At vs17 we begin looking at the actual physical implications of everything we've looked at up until this point. So far, everything has been God's workings, by Jesus Christ, applied to us through the Holy Spirit, dispensed in learning to each of us individually by the pastors and teachers whom Christ gave as "gifts to men". (4:8)

Now we are ready to do some comparing where the 'rubber meets the road'. Exactly -what- was our previous life characterized by? And as a result of our new nature, -what- is our new life characterized by? We "..put off, concerning [our] former conduct.." (4:22) and we "..put on the new man.." (4:24)

However, if we do not understand what we have studied up to this point, it will be futile to continue. Having grown up in the kind of childhood I did, I understand all-too-well the vanity of trying to "do right" according to "lists". This was the problem Israel had. They had the Law, but could not keep it because their "hearts" were not right. "Oh, that this heart of theirs would be like this always, that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" (Deu5:29) But as we know... "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for they were scattered in the wilderness." (1Cor10:5) because of rebellion and "unbelief" (Heb3:19)

The 'concerns' this person voices come from the same source that continually objects to the statement we observe from Scripture periodically about love. How do we know and recognize Christians? By their love. In Jesus' own words, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn13:35) And John reviews, "I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning..." and makes application of Jesus' words, "He who loves his brother abides in the light...but he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness.." (1Jn2:7,10-11) And we have taken these words and applied them to today... If you see groups and associations that are seeking "to love" one another, because they don't have love... BY DEFINITON, they are not Believers, no matter how many "christian" labels they may attach to themselves. A Believer loves. An unbeliever does not love. If a person does not have love, they do not know the Lord. Simple as that! And no amount of defining "love" will change whether a person has it or not. As difficult as love is to define in words, if a person doesn't understand it, they are not a Believer. It comes with the 'territory' of what it is to be a follower of Christ. It is part of God's essence, and in turn is part of the Believer's essence. How does one define essence?

Why/How is this so? A Believer is one who "abides" in Christ. (Jn15) We are "in Christ". We are "new creations". (2Cor5:17) We are no longer "by nature children of wrath". (Eph2:3) We are characterized by the nature of Jesus Christ, our "head" (1:22) If a person "does not love" he "does not know God, for God is love" (1Jn4:8)

A person can study "how to" fly an airplane. All about compass readings, flight controls, stall speeds, pre-flight checks, etc. but there is nothing that can define and instruct on the "feeling" when the plane takes off from the runway. There is only one such sensation I know of, and that is actually taking off from a runway. If students were taking turns, when the first ones got back to the airport all a-chatter about their experience, their excitement means nothing to the ones who haven't been up yet, until they actually get in the plane and take off.

What we are talking about from Ephesians is not about "feelings". But the same principle applies. A person who has been up in an airplane 'knows' the sensation, just as a Believer 'knows' lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, love, etc. If the later students ask the ones who just got back from flying, "Hey, explain this to me... what's it like?"... they're going to excitedly exclaim..."It's a rush, man! You gotta go up!" This is why we said that it is not necessary to define terms. If it is not understood, it is a "heart" problem. Either the person is not saved... or, as we will also address; some Believers have impediments between themselves and the Head. They need to "go up". They need to be connected to the Head; first in salvation, and then in a life of being "filled by the Spirit". (5:18)

Now, the study: this person is raising objections to it, because they think I 'OMITTED' something... do we see how, if we understand that study, I really didn't omit anything? If there is "one" body, spirit, faith, God and Father, etc that is "IN YOU ALL" (4:6), we DON'T NEED -definitions- of the characteristics of a Believer. As John further says, "you have no need for anyone to teach you". Why? "..but as the same anointing (Holy Spirit) teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him." (1Jn2:27)

Perhaps we got carried away with the illustration of the 'headless chicken'? If we are abiding in Christ, and Christ is the "Head", how can we -BUT- obey the Head?! When a body is healthy, and functioning as God designed it, when the brain sends the right nervous impulses to the muscles, they 'respond'. When the mind says, "Arm, raise up" and it sends the right signals to the arm...the arm responds. It doesn't NOT respond. It is the "nature" of the arm to move as the head directs. The arm does not have its own set of understandings and will by which it "interprets" what the head sends down the pike. It is part of the body. It responds. When the hand burnt itself, once, on a hot stove, it is the -head- that remembers the pain; so it is the head which keeps the hand away from future similar encounters. Is the hand to pat somebody on the shoulder? ...or double up a fist and punch them in the mouth? Does the hand need to understand how "patting" is different from "punching"? If it is connected to the head, the head gives it its directives, and the hand merely follows/responds.

Again...what keeps the hand from 'patting'? If the body is sick, and communication between the head and the arm is broken or hindered, a sick body often goes into convulsions. When that is happening, sometimes the arm/hand will flail about, and end up hitting somebody. But that was not the head's command. When communication is unhindered between the head and the hand, and the head says "pat", the hand 'pats'.

We've illustrated in another way recently. A tiny kitten, taken from its mother barely weaned, 'KNOWS' how to groom itself like cats do. When tickled, it bites, grabs and kicks. Kittens instinctively know how to stalk and pounce. Nobody has to teach them to do this. While they hone their skills as they grow, it is their "nature" to do these things.

In the same way, since this Ephesians study is -TO- "Believers", when I said that we don't 'really' need to "define these terms" (lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, love), it was in the context of what that lesson (1:1-6) was about. Being part of the Body of Christ. Jesus being the "Head". We being the body. The Holy Spirit being the nervous system communicating between the Head and the Church through the "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (vs3) When all is healthy, just like that kitten knows how to stalk-n-pounce, a Believer abiding in Christ INNATELY -KNOWS- "lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, etc".

Again, it is not that "I CAN -DO- all things" (bad translation!), but rather... "I have strength for all things in Christ who strengthens me." (Phil4:13)

But yes... as we progress through the rest of the book we will learn about what we are "putting off", and in its place, what we are to "put on".

But if we approach it from the standpoint of -lists-... First we learn how to "NOT DO this, this, this and this" and on the other hand we "DO this, this, and this"... we will have missed the whole point of these beginning chapters... and of the Christian life. Just as Salvation was not of works, but was a gift... something which God did in Christ through the Holy Spirit, so too, the Christian life is not so much about "doing", but about "abiding" ...IN CHRIST... If we are abiding, the doing will flow out of our relationship as being part of the body, following what the Head directs through the Holy Spirit... "BY NATURE"

And this is something we talk about a -LOT-. A Christian is not somebody who keeps lists of dos and don'ts... "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh". But a Christian is one who follows the Lord from the whole heart. "With my whole heart I have sought You.." (Ps119:10) "..he is a Jew [Believer] who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the [Holy] Spirit, and not in the letter [of the Law].." (Rom2:28-29)

Remember that the Father is the "vinedresser" of the Vine in which we "abide". (Jn15:1,4) Branches don't -do- anything. They "abide" and "bear fruit" Whatever direction they grow is the work of the Father (vinedresser) as He prunes, trains, and cares for. "..for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Phil2:13)

Amen!

[Top]


What about Unmarried Women? -(Eph5:22-24)

READER QUESTION:
I wish you would have answered some of those questions for those of us who have no husband to ask. The one I am really wondering about is women's hair length. So many women have virtual crew-cuts nowadays. I know that some women have had chemotherapy that causes their hair to come out. Do you think, otherwise, a woman should not cut her hair? No firing squad is aiming at you for your answer, if you would.

VW ANSWER:
While you ask about "hair"; let us consider this legitimate question more generically: "..us who have no husband to ask.." --about 'whatever' the question/topic might be.

First of all, let's understand one thing. In the Q/A which accompanied the study, I made mention of some women who go chasing after men in the ministry, using the cloak of "minister to" to get next to God's servant. I'm not the only one who experiences this. Other men in ministry do, too. Ladies, understand also, that there are ministers who prowl after women, using the deception of "partners in ministry" to lure women to themselves. In response to these studies one lady shared one lure that has been used against her, quoting from Scripture, "..those in authority over you.." - "obey those in authority over you, and be submissive..". (Heb13:7,17,24)

This is how cult leaders twist the Scriptures. They take passages like these, that are referring to "leaders", and turn their meaning into "dictator". Let's face it... in how many protestant-type churches isn't the pastor endowed with almost pope-like powers! Whatever the pastor says is 'law'. And I dare say you'll find a lot of that in the aforementioned "pharisee belt", too. When, actually, the pastor's role is more as "oversight". Peter speaks of "overseers", "..not exercising dominion over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock" (1Pt5:2-3) Even though Paul spoke of the option he 'could' have had, which he didn't exercise, to wield his authority as an apostle (1Cor9:12,18), rather, he exhorted the churches to follow his 'example' in living the Christian life. (2Th3:7,9, 1Tm4:12) And this is how Jesus taught, "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." (Jn13:15)

If the wives are instructed to ask their "own" husbands, and the church leaders are husbands of "one" wife (1Tm3:2,12, Tit1:6); it should be obvious that a single woman is not under the husbandly authority of the leader. If that were the case, it would be as though he had more-than-one wife.

There are two sources for the single woman... or, perhaps three? And I expect each case will be determined by each woman's situation and circumstances; and somewhat, also, the culture of the country in which she lives.

Let's consider the "cultural" one first. Women who were either divorced or widows tended to go back and live in their "fathers' house". (Gen38:11, Lev22:13) And if you read Numbers ch30 regarding the vows a woman would bind herself to, her authority over even those vows was either her father or her husband. In today's world, some nations still observe this order, and some don't. For a Christian lady, this kind of thing will be related to whether or not her father's house is Christian, and how they receive her or not.

Then, there are the "older women". "..the older women likewise...that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children," (Tit2:3-4) Now, there doesn't seem to be a specification that the "young women" are married or unmarried, other than the reference to "husbands". In fact, the text says, simply, "young". Translators have added "women", I'm sure, due to the context, since it would be obvious that a "young man" is not going to "love his husband". It can only mean a "female" in its context. Thus, the text more specifically says the older women train the "young". Thus, any single woman, lacking a father (or father figure?), might find herself looking to the older women for guidance and counsel.

Now, while there are Believing "brothers" in Christ (and this actually introduces a sort-of 'fourth' option), who can interact with women, the relationship is like she is a "sister". (1Tm5:2) But a brother's authority over a sister is not the same as that of the father or husband, except in whatever case she may choose to place herself there... or, perhaps, in a similar fashion that a sister might be under a brother who takes over the leadership of a family when the father dies? But in this latter case, she is part of her "father's house", being under the leadership of her brother.

So, what about when there is no "father's house" or believing "older woman"? Ultimately, who is the single woman answerable to? Remember that in God's eyes, as far as the Believer's relationship with Him is concerned, there is "neither male nor female". (Gal3:28) Who is the "Master" before whom she either stands or falls? (Rom14:4)

"There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world; how to please her husband." (1Cor7:34) What is said about the "virgin" here can also be said about a widow from Anna's example, "And there was one, Anna...She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." (Lk2:36-37)

The divorced woman, for whom there is no possibility to "be reconciled" (1Cor7:11), and if she shared in any of the guilt and has received forgiveness and cleansing subsequent to confession (1Jn1:9), is in the place that Paul calls, "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." (1Cor7:20) She is now single. If she has no "father's house" or "older woman", she still has the Lord.

SPECIFICS:

So, now, what about some specifics? This question asks about hair. There might also be other things like cosmetics and clothing. There are 'two' basic issues in answering these things, and they are tied into the 'third'.

First of all, men should be men, and women should be women. "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to Jehovah your God." (Deut22:5) While this specifically addresses cross-dressing, and dressing "in drag", and anybody familiar with these terms knows what we are addressing as the "extremes" in this matter; just as with anything that has an extreme, there are also "tendencies" which begin to "lean" in those directions.

This questioner speaks of "crew-cuts". Indeed, this is a tendency towards feminism and lesbianism. Both, positions of rebellion against God's order of "male and female". (Gen1:27, 5:2) Attitudes of a woman usurping the male role for themselves. However, is short hair, in and of itself.. "male"? Is it only long hair that is female? Let us not forget Samson who was instructed by God to not cut his hair. Some of the most macho "tough guys" have longer hair, pulled back into a pig-tail. But there is no mistaking the fact that they are "male". In the same sense, for some women, short[er] hair works better. Having been married to a person whose hair was more "springy/wirey" (inherited from her mother), I know very well the considerations of trying to let such hair grow long. It is hard to make it look nice. As anyone knows, it is possible for a woman to have short[er] hair, and yet look very "feminine". Notice carefully the difference between "feminist" and "feminine". The two terms, while being quite similar in spelling, are essentially -opposite- in meaning and every ideology they represent.

This matter also can apply to "dresses vs pants". Many in the 'pharisee belt' also condemn women wearing any kind of pants. Pants are no more intrinsically "male" than skirts are "female". e.g. the Scottish -male- "kilt". But there is a difference between men's pants and those designed for women. Let men be men, and women be women.

And then... there is a difference between "feminine" vs "alluring". Does the woman's attire present a "lady" or a "seductress"? And what constitutes a 'seductress'? Do we follow the rules of the pharisee belt, where there is so much hypocrisy? As an example of this hypocrisy: years ago I considered, briefly, the notion of applying to teach music at one of Canada's prairie province Bible institutes. As I was reading through their catalogue, on one page related to dressing standards, I remember distinctly the exhortation to women about "form revealing clothing"; and then, a few pages later there was a picture of one of their students or staff in some campus setting, wearing a 'tight' knit sweater. Where/when I went to Bible school, there were standards for the women; a certain measurement in relationship to the knee. And yet the school's hypocrisy allowed some of the women who were either 'more popular', or in one case, a grad student who, due to her prior education, was also a music teacher, to 'get away with' skirts considerably shorter than the standards. And certain of these ones also were flirts.

So, is the female "form" evil? God obviously made men and women 'different' in that department; and He designed and created each to be 'attractive' to each other. How do we know we are seeing a man or woman, unless we see the differences? God did not create such a thing called, "unisex"! In the O.T. a beautiful woman was noticed for being "beautiful of form and appearance". (Gen29:17) Just like the Jews had their "Sabbath day's journey", nowhere taught in the Law; the modern pharisees give tape measurements. So-many inches above/below the knee, so-many inches below the neck, so-many inches of sleeve; the hair to the shoulder, to the mid-back, to the waste. Whose rules are right?

While -WHAT- a women wears is certainly part of the equation, the biggest part of this question is answered by understanding -HOW- she wears it. Does a shorter skirt automatically translate as "seductress"? Or is it the "attire of a harlot"? What is involved in a seductress? She is one with a "crafty heart"... loud and rebellious, feet that do not stay home, lurking at every corner, with a face of "impudence", and enticing speech and flattery. Find her described in Proverbs ch7. Her heart manifested out through her behavior...

You see, you can be dressed as a pharisee, but if you are possessed of sensual impudence instead of the the "meek and quiet spirit" (1Pt3:4), your phariseeism is for naught.

Thus, perhaps you now understand the repeated "Don't you Dare"s in the study. If you are dressed like a pharisee, but not minding your husband; and you condemn another man's wife for wearing (for instance) a shorter skirt, but she does so in a "meek and quiet spirit" under the authority of her husband, not flirting nor otherwise behaving alluringly to others; in God's eyes she is the righteous one, and you are not. If you look in the Scriptures, the only place God gives instructions that include rulers or tape measures, is in the building of the tabernacle, temple, utensils of worship, the New Jerusalem, etc.

So... how short a skirt is too short? How long should the hair be? Like I already said... these things I am not going to answer publicly. If you are married, that is between you and your husband. If you are unmarried, that is between you and God. If you have considered the matter of the "stumbling blocks" (Rom14:13,20, 1Cor8:9) and your conscience is clear and you are operating "of faith" (Rom14:23), don't pay the pharisees any mind! No, not "..even for an hour". (Gal2:5) Just remember that, no matter what you do, if it is different from what the pharisees do, somebody will find something to criticize in you... 'because' it's not the same way 'they' do it! But also remember: You stand or fall before your Master. (Rom14:4) Don't forget that most of those pharisees are not going where you are going. (Rev2:5) You are of two different citizenships. (Phil3:20) So, whose "well done, good and faithful servant" do you want to hear? (Mt25:21)

Amen!

[Top]


Return to: Q/A