What comes to mind when you hear the word “feminist?” Is it a strong woman who after years of being oppressed by men finally got the guts to break free and stand up to them? Or is it someone who is just simply fighting for equality of the sexes? A Facebook taken survey shows some of the first thoughts- liberal lunatics, perverted causes, trying to prove they are acceptable, superior, vulgar, godless, shameless, prideful, in bondage, angry, not celebrating differences, no peace or joy, insecure, screaming liberals..Sounds like the worst of qualities, right? But the purpose of this post is to walk you through what the majority think feminism is and to make my case that a lot of times the most threatening feminist is not the one in your face screaming obscenities. The most threatening feminist comes from within the church. Feminism is like a rotting, decay that is seeping into every single area of this culture.
According to history books, the 1st wave of feminism began around 1848, with a gathering in Seneca Falls, NY to fight for women’s rights. There was another wave that began around the 1960’s which greatly influenced the views of women’s oppression and roles of women in the family. The 3rd wave is said to have started around the 1990’s and is still continuing, though some argue we are currently in the 4th wave. For the 3rd wave, gender identity and sexuality were a big issue. No longer should women have to identify as soft, gentle, or feminine. Instead they were now proud and defiant. And men became viewed as the oppressor of all women, hence the phrase “toxic masculinity.” Masculinity was now viewed as “harmful” to women.
I would argue that according to Scripture, feminism began much earlier than 1848. We are told that in Genesis 3 as a result of sin and the fall that we would be forever cursed with “wanting to rule over” our husbands. Let’s talk about the two types of feminism that are perpetuating the culture and then we will dig more into Genesis 3. There is “secular feminism” which basically says “I am entitled to compete on an equal basis with men.” Then we have, as some call it, “biblical feminism” which states “ I seek the freedom to follow Christ as He calls me, and to use my gifts however I choose for His kingdom.” For instance, those who say “teaching and preaching have been given to me as gifts from God and though I’m a woman, God would want me to use my gifts.”I want to make the case for my view, that there is no such thing as a “biblical feminist.” The two words used together are an oxymoron.
I think any church going evangelical would deny that secular feminism is an issue within their local church. They would agree that men and women are different, have different roles and hold to the “Complementarianism” view. This view states that men and women have different roles that compliment each other when it comes to all areas such as the home, church, or family. Women are precluded from certain roles that require leadership over men. Men have a headship role, women have a support role. While many claim to have this view, they now have muddied the line as to what is an acceptable role for women in the church. The typical evangelical pictures a feminist as a typical man hating, female with an extreme liberal agenda who goes around and fights against men and for the right to abort her own children.
But as I will point out, the second kind of feminism mentioned is a much more imminent threat to Christians. There is a group of women who won’t be out fighting to participate in male sports or events. They aren’t out taking over the work place. But they are attempting to twist the Scripture to allow room for their “biblical feminism.” These types of women exist and are all throughout the church. Recently in a discussion on social media, the passage in 1 Timothy 2:12 was brought up. Paul says “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, rather she is to remain quiet.” Paul is forbidding all women from filling the role of pastor or teacher over men or exercising any authority over men in the church assembly. When this passage was brought up in the discussion, the woman commented “Well, that was just a cultural standard for that time” and secondly she stated “We shouldn’t limit God or put Him in a box because He can use whoever He wants to speak for Him.” Technically God can do whatever He wants according to Psalm 115:3-“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” However, God will not at any time contradict His Written Word.
How do we know that the standard set in 1 Timothy 2:12 wasn’t just cultural or geographical? We have to look at other passages. In 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 the very same commandment is laid out- “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” There is something new added to the beginning of that passage which is the statement “As in all the congregations.” This clearly implies that this is not a cultural standard but is God’s standard that was put in place for ALL of the churches or ALL of the congregations.
I’ve also heard Galatians 3:28 used to advocate that women can fill whatever role they desire in the church. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” To argue that this verse does away with God given roles of headship and submission is ludicrous. This verse is telling believers that there is no “spiritual inequality” with God, we are all one in Christ Jesus if we have been redeemed by His blood. No where does this verse state that the God ordained roles of male leadership within the church and home have been done away with. The fact is, that over and over again, the Word of God lays out a pattern of male spiritual leadership and female submission. So many churches, however, are trying to imitate satan in the garden of Eden when he said to Eve about the forbidden fruit “Did God really say?”..
So many so called “Christians” and church leaders are trying to incorporate feminism and women leadership roles into the church. The rotting decay of feminism has no longer been content with staying in the secular realm, it’s now seeping into the church, yes, even the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist churches. One example is last year, Brentwood Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch, ordained a woman to the pastorate. https://pulpitandpen.org/2019/02/17/southern-baptist-megachurch-ordains-female-pastor/ It was reported that they changed the ordination announcement from “pastor” to “minister” after some of the members complained. The woman was ordained at the church and given a pastoral position over men as “minister to senior adults.” Do the research and you will quickly find out that there is a rapidly spreading movement amongst churches to ordain women and allow them to teach men. Just check out this video of Southern Baptist darling Beth Moore preaching on a Sunday morning from the pulpit at Transformation church- https://youtu.be/MCIRf1S6cr0
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb; a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies at the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 All throughout Scripture you can look and see one common theme about children, they are a reward and a blessing from God. This passage in Psalms mentioned above gives us a view into how we as Christians are to view children and child bearing. We would never tell the Lord “please, stop you are blessing me with way too much money!” Or “please Lord, do not give me one more friend, I’ve just got too many!” We never tell the Lord to stop blessing us except for in the area of our womb! So that beckons the question, do you really view children as a reward and blessing? If we do, we would want as many blessings as He would give us. Why would anyone choose to cut off blessings that are straight from the hand of God? The reward of the womb? We have to be willing to look at this from a biblical perspective. There are three main reasons I see that are causing women to say no more babies- 1) It represents a total denial of self. “I just want to travel more.” ” I want more sleep,” “I just want 5 minutes in the bathroom alone.” Children will ultimately consume all our time. We will have to die to our self and the things we want to do in order to raise godly children. It is no longer about us. We sacrifice hours of being up at night, nursing babies, bandaging boo boo’s, cooking meals and preparing snacks, changing their diapers and wiping runny noses. There will be little or no time to indulge ourselves or let our flesh do what it wants to do. But this is the ultimate picture of Christianity. We must take up our crosses and daily die to ourselves and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24) We must die to ourselves. Our purpose is now to raise up godly children that love Him and His Word. We are a picture to the outside world of what that looks like through bearing children. Raising children will be the hardest thing you will ever do, but as the Scripture says, they are that most rewarding thing and they are a gift of God. Now most upon hearing the term “die to self” will cringe. It is in our flesh to not want to die. That represents something we do not want. But if we are going to follow Christ we must be willing to do so in every area, including his plan of how many children we have. 2) The second reason is because it represents putting all your trust and faith in Him in every area. This is a difficult thing to do. But what does the Scripture say? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding;in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 How many of us really trust Him in the area of childbearing? How about this statement -“I just can’t afford to have anymore” How much trust in the Lord is in that statement? Are you really saying that you don’t trust the Lord to take care of you if he chooses to sovereignly open your womb? Or what about those who say “I just can’t handle anymore.” Why not? Maybe your flesh feels overwhelmed at times but do you really think the Lord will not give you the strength to raise anymore children? Can not the sovereign God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth, sustain you and give you everything you need to raise the children He decides to bless you with? Or what about those who say “my health is just too bad to go through another pregnancy. I have really tough pregnancies.” Well how do you know that it’s not God’s will for you to suffer in that way? Maybe God wants to bring glory to Himself by showing you and others that He can do the impossible and safely bring you through another pregnancy, despite how miserable they make you feel. You could choose to be a living testimony and say “yes, I have awful pregnancies but I trust the Lord and if he chooses to open my womb then He will take care of it and use it for His glory whatever the outcome. You see, it requires putting full trust in Him and entrusting our very body and womb to Him. We might say “Lord I feel overwhelmed, but I trust you if you decide to open my womb and I trust you to physically give me the strength I need to be a mother.” 3) It represents many hardships and trials. The more children you have, the more worry will be present. As a parent we all worry about our children. Will they grow up to know and love the Lord? Will they choose a godly spouse? Or when they reach the driving years our main concerm will be “are they safe? ” There are many things we could sit and worry about. There will be many discipline issues along the way as they become independent and their flesh will desire to have its own way. There are the teenage years to think about, the dating, the rebellious middle schooler, the tenascious three’s, etc. It is no easy task raising children. There will be blood, sweat and many tears. But the more you sacrifice the more become like Christ. You will learn to lean on Him through every situation. You will literally learn that you cannot parent without Him. You will need that time in the Word or you can’t make it through the day. You need that time in prayer to ask Him to give you patience and to help you to be a godly example. You will rely on Him more fully to give you the strength to be both a wife and a mother. You learn to go to Him for for everything you struggle with in parenting and He becomes your greatest peace and strength throughout your parenting journey. So all of these things that parenting brings to you- denial of self, sacrifice, absolute trust, dependency on Him, those are all godly qualities. The more children you have the more you will possess these qualities. Please seek the Scripture about all these things! Let the Lord have control of every area in your life including your childbearing and you will find riches and rewards that cannot be described!
It wasn’t too long ago that I was introduced to the terms monergism and synergism. You don’t have to know the meaning of these terms to be saved, but the meaning behind these terms is very important to understanding the gospel and the new birth. I did some study on the two words wanting to have a full understanding of what they meant in regards to salvation. Let’s look at the definitions.
Monergism- the view within Christian theology which holds that God works through the Holy Spirit to bring about the salvation of an individual through spiritual regeneration, regardless of the individual’s cooperation.
Synergism- The doctrine within Christian theology that individual salvation is achieved through a combination of human will and divine grace.
I put a tweet yesterday that had people about ready to hang me and declare me a heretic. It said this- “If you are not a Monergist, you are not a Christian.” Of course, people came out of the woodwork to declare me wrong and also that I should repent and pray about my attitude. To which I will say this- When I see something so clearly taught in Scripture I cannot recant it. I will lay out my case with Scripture as to why Monergism is biblical and is part of the gospel according to Scripture.
The essential foundation of the gospel is realizing our own depravity. We are dead, totally depraved, in bondage to sin, under the wrath of God, our flesh completely unable to to please God and even our righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” We see in Scripture the reaction of those who are confronted with this reality such as the tax collector in Luke 18:13 who stood far off and wouldn’t dare lift his eyes to the heavens and face a holy God- “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
We see all throughout Scripture verses detailing our inability to do anything right with our flesh.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is (A)hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; (B)indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.“ Romans 8:7-8
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23
“For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:18
Scripture paints this very clear picture of the flesh and nature of man being unable to do anything to please Christ before he is quickened to life by the Spirit. It cannot produce one right thought or action. So how does one get saved? What does the Scripture say?
Look at the verses describing regeneration and the new birth.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
“I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols.” Ezekiel 36:25
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,” Colossians 2:11
All of these speak of a divine action solely done by God. The individual has nothing to do with his natural birth and nothing to do with his spiritual birth. So where does faith come in? Aren’t we to have faith in Christ in order to be justified? Faith is the result of regeneration. Can any natural man be willing to accept the truth of the gospel?! The Scripture says the natural man cannot even understand, let alone embrace the truth of the gospel of Christ.
If you hold to a synergist view of salvation, you must accept that man in his free will has the natural ability to accept or reject God. So God’s grace takes you part of the way to salvation and then natural, fallen, rebelious man must make the final decision to accept or reject. Blasphemy! This is an absolute contradiction to the Word of God.
The Scripture teaches us that salvation has zero to do with the will of man. “So then, it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16
God’s will alone is what produces salvation. It is absolute arrogance of a carnal mind that attributes any part of our salvation to our wicked flesh. When we attribute our salvation to anything other than a work of God and His grace and mercy we are not accurately representing the gospel according to Scripture.
“who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13
Salvation is initiated and completed by God.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
If any person contributes any part of their salvation to their fleshly choice, they would have reason to boast and would also have merit. This is a works based, man centered gospel that cannot save. I sat under this type of gospel for salvation for over 20 years and walked the aisle and prayed a prayer and “accepted Jesus.” I wasn’t actually saved because false gospels, such as the synergist gospel, can’t save. I wasn’t actually saved until later in my 20’s when I began reading the Scripture on my own. The Lord just sovereignly gave me a new heart with new desires. Think about the operation of a heart surgeon. How much participation does the one receiving the heart transplant do? They lay there put to sleep, fully unable to do anything in getting that new heart. The surgeon makes the incision and places the new heart. And then the patient has new life. This is how our spiritual salvation works. God does it all. I didn’t have to agree for God to save me. I didn’t choose to be saved. The Scripture says He is the chooser (John 15:16) and the seeker. (Luke 19:10)
This is the gospel of Christ. That we are unable to save our ourselves or do anything to please Christ. He saves us by giving us the gift of faith and the ability to believe. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
Belief is given to us through grace- “And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,..” Acts 18:27
The Scripture teaches us that no man can understand or would seek after God on his own. “no one understands; no one seeks for God.” Romans 3:11 Only after a person is quickened to life by the Spirit can he have faith and believe in Christ and is then justified. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Romans 5:1
Regeneration and justification are two separate entities. Regeneration must occur in order for a man to have faith. 1 Corinthians 12:3 makes this clear. “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.” In order to call Him Lord and place faith in Him you must have the Holy Spirit. Natural man cannot accept the things of God. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
The Lord must do a work in the heart before you can even understand. “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” Acts 16:14
Believing you played a part in your salvation is not in any way consistent with the Scripture and the gospel message taught. The synergist must put some kind of faith in his flesh if he wants to hold to that doctrine. This is a scary place to be. This would leave room for boasting and merit and is clearly a works based salvation that the Bible condemns. True salvation is monergistic and strips away any room whatsoever for fleshly merit or pride.
True salvation does not require our cooperation. The Scripture says all who are drawn will come. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;..” John 6:37
It is described as a “circumcision of the heart” that is done “without hands.” That phrase without hands means it’s a divine act that is done without human participation. “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,” Colossians 2:11
Why are we told we must affirm synergism as if it’s the same gospel taught in the Scripture? It’s antithetical to what the Scripture teaches and leaves room for boasting. “The message of the synergists is “God only helps those who help themselves” and is the opposite of the truth. Monergists say “He helps those who could NOT help themselves.” So I stand by my original statement because I see it clearly in the Word. “If you are not a Monergist, you are not a Christian.”
“ He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5
There is one passage of Scripture I have always wondered about and have never been able to fully understand or explain.
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:15
You read that passage and you’re like what? Women saved through child bearing? There was a story of one tribe who believed this meant literal salvation so the women were encouraged to bear as many children as possible so they would have a greater chance of entering heaven. We know that not every woman who gives birth to a child is a Christian or receives eternal life. So this is one of those passages where the context must be studied to see what Paul is teaching. This is where proper hermeneutics comes in. In studying the seven different views of the passage, I stumbled upon an article that really brought this passage clarity and helped me understand it.
Andreas Köstenberger, professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote another amazing commentary on the passage and his explanation of the passage was mind blowing to me. Let’s examine the language of the word “saved” in the passage to help us understand the meaning. “Sozo” in the greek here is not salvation, but is defined in the Strong’s concordance as “to keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, or to “preserve.” Köstenberger says the meaning here is that “women will be spiritually preserved or protected from Satan by adhering to their God ordained role related to the family and the home.”
Wow. Amazing clarity. This is contrasted with Eve, who transgressed those boundaries and fell into temptation. We can compare the use of the word “sozo” to another passage in 1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
“It is not speaking of literal salvation of the hearers, but hoping to protect them and preserve from the false teachers and the devil.”
Let’s break down the rest of the context. In vs 12, Paul lays out the boundaries for women in the church- “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Then breaking down the reasons behind this in vs 13-14- “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” It was God’s created order from design and also laying out the devastating scenario of the fall in which the reversal of God’s created order took place. So Paul is addressing the glaring question..”How can women today avoid the mistake that Eve made?”
Köstenberger goes on to explain how that question is answered. “By adhering to their God given boundaries (male headship) and tending to their God given responsibilities.” I can say for myself, that all of the times I have fallen into sin or temptation, are times when I have stepped outside of the boundaries of my husband and his headship. He cannot protect me if I don’t follow his leadership. Also, when I am idle and not keeping busy in the home, I am more prone to temptation and sin. We are warned in Scripture about this type of woman-
1 Timothy 5:13 “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
Women who do not stay busy in the home and neglect their “caretaking” roles are more prone to sin. Titus 2:5 lays out our non-negotiable role as women of taking care of our homes so that the Word of God will not be reviled. “To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Women who pursue priorities outside of the home and neglect that role are more prone to fall into gossip, adultery, coveting, and temptation to sin altogether. Married women should be under the protective leadership of their husbands and not neglecting their God given roles of “caretaker.” This passage helps us to see what is necessary to preserve women from the destruction of sin. This is not to say women at home will never sin. But in neglecting this duty and stepping out from our head, we are more likely to sin. This is the reason behind my fighting feminism as hard as I am. So many women are being deceived and convinced they need to pursue goals and dreams outside of the home all at the detriment to their family. The Scripture teaches us this is not only to our family’s benefit for the woman to be at home, but also for the woman’s spiritual benefit and preservation. Society has convinced women that they don’t need a man. This is absolutely contrary to the Scripture which teaches that men are are head and a hedge of protection and wisdom.We see the mistake Eve made and we are taught how to avoid that. We can avoid that by submitting to God’s design of male headship and not neglecting our roles of taking care of our homes.
Why are so many women not content to do this? Buying into the lie of society that says being at home is not a worthy enough goal. The lie that says women don’t need a leader and to submit to a man. Taking care of our homes and raising up children should be the most important priority for a godly woman. 1 Timothy 5:14-15 gives us more detail on what encompasses “childbearing” and connects the temptation of straying with their lack of being busy at home.
“Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.”
“Child bearing is not simply limited to the act of “bearing or giving birth” but is including a woman’s familial and domestic role.” -Andreas Köstenberger
“The home is the domain where a married woman fulfills herself in God’s design.” -John Macarthur
Oh how I pray for women to see this and live this out! God has designed us in a beautiful role and responsibility for birthing, nurturing, raising and discipling our children. We have been given the role of caring for the home, running it well, making it warm and beautiful. We provide for the needs of our family and diligently serve them. The role of women being subordinate to men is not a punishment, but is indeed a privilege. It’s a privilege to have a leader, protector, and provider. May Christ give us joy and and keep us from sin and temptation as we fulfill our glorious role at home!
“Wives, (AS)submit to your own husbands, (AT)as to the Lord. 23 For (AU)the husband is the head of the wife even as (AV)Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is (AW)himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit (AX)in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22-24
3 “Likewise, wives, kbe subject to your ownhusbands, so that leven if some do not obeythe word, mthey may be won without a word bythe conduct of their wives,..” 1 Peter 3:1
“to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:5
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18
1Co 11:3 – “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
We can’t deny that all throughout Scripture, women are taught to submit to their husbands. But what does that look like? How do we go about striving to do this in our marriages? I want to help give you some practical ways to implement this in your marriage.
The definition of submission is- the condition of being humble, compliant, or yielding control to another. We are told to “yield control” to our husbands. And not just in some things, but Scripture says in ALL things. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:24
There is not one area where we are to lead and have the final say. We know because of the fall that women will naturally attempt to rebel against this and usurp authority. Wives will want to rule over their husbands. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Genesis 3:16 We can determine the meaning of this passage because the word for desire there is the identical Hebrew word and grammar used in Genesis 4:7 where it speaks of sin seeking to rule over man. “The man and the woman will face struggles in their relationship now. Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self will. The woman’s desire will be to Lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design.” – John MacArthur
We have to be aware as women that our flesh will always try to fight this design. It is in our sin nature. I am a leader, very strong willed, stubborn, and very outspoken. My natural disposition makes this even more more difficult. I regularly come before the Lord and repent and ask Him to help me be a submissive wife. I ask Him to help me to honor my husband’s decisions and let him lead without fighting with him.
I’ve been married almost 14 years and the Lord has refined me greatly over the years. I want to lay out some biblical principles regarding submission that will be helpful in your marriage.
First, trust your husband enough to let him lead without questioning or arguing. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” Philippians 2:14 By arguing with your husband, it shows you don’t actually trust his leadership abilities. By arguing with the choices he makes, you are implying you could do it better. It is ultimately pride. This is not what biblical submission looks like. Having a Christlike attitude is yielding that control and doing it with gladness, not complaining. This requires major dying to self. Choosing to die to self and obey Christ.
I will never forget not too long ago, watching my husband up in the pulpit preaching and thinking “Wow, he has so much wisdom.” That was a game changer for me as far as my submission goes. I realized I should fully trust him to lead our family and that God has given him much wisdom in order to lead us. Also, males are less emotional and able to make decisions without emotions playing a part. The Scripture teaches us Eve was deceived, not Adam. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14 I would argue that men are wiser and are given as our head to protect us from being deceived. The times I have fallen into bad situations or sin is usually when I have stepped outside of my head and disobeyed my husband. He cannot protect me if I do not follow his leadership. Let me add, If you feel like your husband is lacking in wisdom, ask the Lord to give it to him. The Scripture does not say “only submit if your husband has great wisdom.” We are still called to submit even if we feel our husbands lack in that area. If your husband is not saved, ask the Lord to save him. Know that we are never to submit if our husbands ask us to sin against God. We are to obey God, rather than men when it comes to an area of sin.
Secondly, Submission to your husband is honoring to God and will strengthen your marriage. Our main goal as a Christian, is to represent Christ well. He has set these standards in place so our responsibility is to be obedient to him. Even if your marriage is struggling, the butterflies and sparks aren’t present, you still offer submission to your spouse as an act of obedience to Christ. Also, godly men find biblical submission beautiful and attractive. When I am seeking my own and rebelling against his leadership, it is a huge turn off. It’s literally a repellent for biblical men for a woman to usurp authority. However, when they see the softness, the attitude of humility, the submission and respect, it will draw them to you and strengthen the bond between the two of you. I see so many marriages struggling because they cannot grasp this simple fact! If your marriage is struggling, make a concerted effort to work on this area and yield to your husbands leadership.
Thirdly, submission is not a burden, nor does it take away your voice or your value. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 We know that their is no spiritual inequality with God. We are all one in Christ Jesus. But this passage does not negate our roles as men and women. The man is the head, the woman is to submit to his leadership. These commandments are not burdensome.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
In a biblical marriage, the husband loves the wife sacrificially and considers her as more important than himself. In all of his decisions he considers her wants and desires. But the final decision is to be made by him. His desire is for the well being of his wife and children. He will value the wife’s input and also listen to her concerns. I’m very outspoken and so I can voice what I like, but I’m in sin when I try to usurp authority and make the decisions.
We have to trust God and know that He will hold them responsible for their leadership and decisions. God was actually protecting women by not giving them the massive responsibility of leading and providing for the family. This is a heavy role they have been given. To lead their families in godliness, make wise choices, provide for the members of their household. We should make every effort to support them in this difficult endeavor. We should not make it more difficult for them by resisting their leadership, questioning their ability, and arguing with their decisions. We are to be a “help meet.” Are you helping your husband be the best leader he can be? Or are you hindering him by always questioning him? We need to ask ourselves these tough questions and ask the Lord to help is to strive to honor, submit, and respect our husbands. Men are strong, wise, able to lead and protect those of us who are more fragile. Let’s embrace these differences and the roles that God designed!
Trigger warning: this is a touchy subject and I’m well aware many women struggle in this area.
I am amazed at how many women I see who after being married for 5, 10, 15, 20 years have decided that their husband is no longer worth pleasing when it comes to their physical appearance. They have the mindset “well, he better love what’s on the inside and not care about what’s on the outside.” This idea has some value to it, because he most definitely should care about what’s on the inside. But to deny that God has made us visual and given us physical attraction to one another is to deny reality. Women should always make their main priority to strive for godliness. I want to lay out a case that with that striving for godliness will come the desire to love and please your spouse. This includes the physical aspect. To submit to him in all areas, even in the areas of dress and appearance. As a hair stylist, I would have women who would come into the salon and tell me “my husband prefers my hair long, but it’s too much to take care of so I’m chopping it off.” It always made me sad to see their husbands opinions thrown to the wayside.
While there is not a specific verse that details “wives, stay pretty for your husband” there are guiding principles given in Scripture that I want to use to lay out my argument. For example, the Scripture never explicitly says “mow your lawn and take care of your house” but we know there are warnings against laziness and slothfulness and we are admonished to be good stewards of what God has given us. We know that sacrificing what you want for the other is the key to a successful marriage. For instance, my husband hates beards. He says they itch him and annoy him. He has one at the moment and has for the past 2 months. Why? For one reason, because I like them. I asked him to grow one. So out of love for me he grew one.
I have to admit, I love his beard. It’s a weakness for me. In the same way, I cut my hair off several years ago. Later on he told me he preferred long hair. I grew my hair out for one reason, he likes it long. I want to please my husband because I love him and value his preferences. He’d love me just as much with short hair, but that’s beside the point. I “want” to grow my hair for him, not because he expects it or forces me to grow it.
I want to take you to some Scripture to make my point. Because my opinion doesn’t really matter. God’s Word is the authority in all matters.
15 (“A)Behold, (B)you are beautiful, (C)my love; behold, you are beautiful; your (D)eyes are doves.
16 Behold, you are beautiful, (E)my beloved, truly (F)delightful.”
Here we have a passage in Song of Solomon 1 vs 15-16 detailing the physical appearance of his bride to be. In this book of Scripture, the word “beautiful” is used over ten times. This poetic imagery given to us is by King Solomon and his maiden as he admires the beauty of his love and then marriage to her. This is a beautiful picture of the physical attraction that takes place between two people who desire to enter into a marriage covenant together. Do you remember the first time you laid eyes on your spouse? There may have been immediate attraction or that may have come on gradually as you spent more time together. But the fact there is physical attraction between two people who enter into marriage cannot be denied. This topic is not untouched in Scripture and yet somehow we are told to never speak of such things.
Take for instance, Jacob and Rachel. We are told about her in Genesis 29:17- “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.” There was a physical attraction between Jacob and Rachel that was not present between him and Leah. Was he in sin for being attracted to Rachel? No. Physical attraction is given by God. God has given us eyes to see and behold beauty and to be attracted to our spouses. We try to make men out to be shallow for caring at all about the outward appearance when this is a reality that should not be denied.
Esther was another woman in Scripture whose beauty was detailed- “He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7
Psalm 45 details a royal wedding and we are told- “ You are the most handsome among the sons of men” and the king will desire your beauty.”
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.” Song of Solomon 4:9
You see, physical attraction is not something that we should pretend doesn’t exist. “God has given to women the privilege of displaying beauty” as Author Wade puts it, and we should be good stewards of that. This kind of mentality takes work. I once saw a movie where the wife found out her husband was leaving her. So in an effort to win him back, she went and starting working out, got a makeover and fixed herself up and wanted to look beautiful all in an effort to win him back. But my thoughts were, why wasn’t she doing that in the first place? She had become complacent and not caring about her husband. We shouldn’t wait until our marriage begins having cracks to start making an effort. Loving your spouse will in turn give you an attitude of valuing their opinions and preferences. I’ve yet to meet a man who when they got married hoped their wife looked vastly different 10 years down the road. He was attracted to you for a reason. Make no mistake, our main priority is always to be pleasing to Christ. Seeking Christ and growing in our love for Him takes precedence. The overflow from that will be the attitude change towards our husbands and caring about his desires instead of our own.
Even from the earliest years, little girls want to be thought of as pretty. They love to play dress up and be a princess and put on makeup. This is part of our glorious femininity that makes us unique as women. We should never envy other women’s beauty, but be good stewards of what God has given us. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit and enables us to choose foods wisely and limit the amount. We have the ability to maintain a healthy weight and to exercise. Scripture also condemns slothful living and gluttony. (Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 23:21) It also tells us that bodily training is “of some value.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
Paul also says this- “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27 We are better equipped for marriage, ministry, parenting, and taking care of our homes if we are healthy and fit and take care of ourselves well. All throughout Scripture we are told to be good stewards of what we are given. Why would our bodies not be included in that mandate? We are to honor God with our bodies-
1 Corinthians 6:19-20-“ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Taking care of our bodies is a non negotiable responsibility to Christ. We represent Him poorly when we let ourselves go and become lazy. This can have devastating effects on a marriage and on our testimony and service to Christ.
Keeping these principles from Scripture in mind, I want to bring up an area that I feel has influenced these ideas that women have towards this topic. That’s the feminist movement. This movement teaches “love yourself” “you are enough,” “who cares what your husband thinks” and “you don’t need a man.” He should take you as you are and anything else is shallow and vain? Right? All of this thinking has effected the way we view our attraction to our spouse. It has been detrimental to many marriages. Why not have the attitude of I want to be attractive to my spouse? Does your husband like long hair? Wear it long. Does he love you in a skirt? Wear a skirt. Does he think you look extra pretty when you wear purple? Then wear that purple blouse. Does he prefer you natural? Then go light on the makeup. Does he like you to get fixed up? Then make an effort. My husband likes straight hair over curly so I try to wear mine straight even though I was born with naturally curly hair. It’s simple things like this that show you care. This attitude of “I don’t care what you like” has to go. We must die to self and make an effort in our marriage. It takes a constant dying to self to have a submissive attitude and a sacrificial love for your partner. I admit, I struggle with this attitude. I constantly have to go back to the Word and the Lord for strength is this area. Asking the Lord to help me be a help meet, let him lead, and to be a better wife. This is why godliness is to be our main priority.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:21-23
Only if our hearts are right with the Lord can we rightly view the physical aspect and it’s appropriate place within the marriage, not making it an idol but a priority. I pray that this blog will be edifying to you. I pray it will be convicting to as well. Truth always stings at first. I pray as women we will have an attitude of wanting to submit to Christ, submit to our husbands and loving our husbands enough to care about all of his wants and desires, even when it comes to the physical aspect. Our value doesn’t come from pleasing man, but pleasing our Savior.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
(Side note- I’m not at all implying these efforts will keep a marriage together. I’m teaching the value of these things, but only Christ can hold a marriage together over the years.)
It is absolute arrogance to attribute your salvation to the flesh. But I hear this language all the time. If someone is asked “how do you know you are saved?” You get answers like “I prayed a prayer,” “I believed in Jesus,” “I accepted Jesus into my heart.” Notice the common link between these answers? The use of the pronoun “I.” Your salvation is not dependent upon your flesh. It’s not something you did, but something He did.
When we attribute our salvation to anything other than a work of God and His grace and mercy to us, we are not accurately representing salvation according to Scripture. You can share the gospel with someone until you are blue in the face, use persuasive language, and the most compelling Scripture, but unless the Holy Spirit moves on their heart it is futile. I want to lay out a biblical case that shows it is God’s will that initiates and births salvation, not man’s. We see this over and over again in Scripture.
“children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.” John 1:13
It is not man’s will or desire that produces salvation, but God’s. How is one born again? What about the Pharisees? Wasn’t Jesus persuasive enough? How about Judas? Did Jesus not give an accurate gospel presentation? Did He not use the right language to get him to “make a decision?” Could Jesus not have brought the Pharisees to salvation of He wanted to? Or Judas? What does the Scripture teach regarding them?
“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12
The defection of Judas was not a failure on Jesus’ part, but was foreseen and foreordained. John 13:18 tells us why Judas was not saved. He was not chosen. “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” The Arminian view would have to attribute Jesus with some amount of failure as to to be able to win Judas to Himself. But this is not what Scripture teaches. Judas was not born again because he was not chosen of God. He was not a sheep because it was not God’s will. What does the Scripture teach about those who are not sheep? Are they not sheep because they just won’t wise up and choose Christ?
“but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.” John 10:26
Notice the language there. You do not believe..why? Because you are not a sheep. God has chosen His sheep and it is those who will obey and follow Him.
We know according to Scripture that no man can come without the Fathers giving. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37 It is the Fathers giving that enables the coming. They don’t come, and then the Father gives. Salvation is initiated by God. Only those whom the Father draws will be saved. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44 No man comes out of his own desire or will. We know that all are not drawn because all men are not saved. Had they been drawn and given by the Father, they would come and believe and be raised up on that last day.
This is very important that we understand this doctrine. This is what the Scripture teaches about how one is born again. God chooses man for salvation, not the other way around.
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
If you are saved, it’s because God chose you. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16
“And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is GRANTED him by the Father.” John 6:65
“even as he CHOSE us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:4
“Therefore, as the ELECT of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God CHOSE you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Let’s look at the language in Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,” The definition of granted is -given, as a favor or right, or awarded.” It has literally been “given to you to believe.” Faith is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He has caused you to be born again. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has CAUSED us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3
He has made you alive. “even when we were dead in our trespasses, MADE us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“ Ephesians 2:5
Salvation has zero to do with the will of man or his choice from his perceived free will.
“So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Romans 9:16
The two metaphors given in Scripture to describe regeneration and salvation are demonstrated using terms such as “birth” and “wind.” Two entities that we have absolutely no control over. Did you get a say in where you were born? Or when you were born? Or the manner in which you were delivered? Absolutely not. In the same way, you have no control over your spiritual birth. It is a Monergistic act performed by God without cooperation from your fallen, unregenerate nature. How about the wind? How much control do you have over nature and when and where the wind blows? Has anyone ever controlled a tornado? You cannot control the wind anymore than you can control your salvation. It blows where it blows. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
The Spirit moves about wherever He chooses. He quickens to life those who are the sheep in God’s timing. Now after someone is born again, you can see the effects of by witnessing their transformed life and their fruit, but you cannot control when or where that is going to happen. This is a great burden knowing that when we share the gospel it is not our responsibility to bring people to salvation! “Salvation belongs to the Lord;” Psalm 3:8
Salvation is also used in the analogy of a seed and the sower. “I planted, lApollos watered, mbut God gave the growth. 7 So nneither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 Just ask any farmer how much control he has over his crops. He can plant and water all day long but it is up to the Lord to grow it.
The farmer cannot ensure the growth of his crops in the same way we cannot ensure the salvation of another individual and cause them to bear fruit just because we presented a compelling case for the gospel. God gives new hearts and open eyes according to His will. If one is not saved it is because God has not willed it.
So that His purposes of election might stand. “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—“ Romans 9:11
We are told to share the gospel and plant the seed, but God gives the increase. God has to remove a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
This should give us great assurance in our salvation! God started it, it was birthed by Him, not our will or desire, and He will carry it out until the end. God’s will produced your salvation. “
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 If we are saved all glory goes to God.
“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5
“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” Proverbs 11:22
We have all heard of these worldly sayings about beauty and the verses in Scripture warning about women who have beauty but no discretion. The world, to a large extent, is obsessed with physical beauty. The U.S. cosmetics industry was estimated to amount to about 49.2 billion dollars in 2019. Women are obsessed with the latest fads to look younger, thinner, and prettier. Ads and commercials promoting beauty products abound and target women and girls of all ages. So what is a Christian’s perspective to be on beauty? What does the Bible say? Should we value or esteem external beauty? We know according to Scripture that God actually used physical beauty to accomplish eternal purposes.
Biblical Examples of God using physical beauty to accomplish His eternal purposes. Acts 7:20 – Moses “was beautiful in God’s sight.” Joseph was handsome in form and appearance (Genesis 37:6). Esther 2:7 – “The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at. “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.” Genesis 29:17
Growing up in a conservative Christian home, I was taught modesty from an early age. But the Lord did not save me until close to the age of 21. I did not have any convictions about the way I dressed and how I presented myself until after that. My teen years were filled with short skirts, string bikinis, tube tops and heavy makeup.
All of my motives were impure and sinful. I wanted acceptance and popularity, and I got it. I was on the homecoming court every year, winning homecoming queen, I won the Ms. Rossville title in the beauty review, I was on the cheerleading squad and the center of attention. And yet at the end of the day, I was insecure, hurting, and empty. I had developed an eating disorder starting shortly after high school and into my modeling career I was pursuing at the age of 21. Thankfully after a car accident that landed me at home and stuck with a broken arm, the Lord led me to pick up my Bible and start reading. He saved me and gave me a new heart as it speaks of in Ezekiel 36:26.
Here I am doing hair with my broken arm ☝️
All of my modeling pursuits had landed me with some big offers and call backs offering to fly me all over the place to display my beauty and all while wearing skimpy clothes and bathing suits. I had a choice to make. Pursue the world or pursue Christ. Galatians 1:10 was the verse that convicted me- “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying (A)to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a (B)servant[a]of Christ.” My desires had been changed. I wanted holiness and righteousness. I wanted to pursue Christ with all that I was leaving my worldly desires behind. Over the course of the next few years, the Lord began to sanctify me in all areas.
Many changes happened in my hearts desires but one thing didn’t change- I am an absolute lover of fashion. Working in a clothing store for years and the modeling industry gave me a interest in clothing. That desire of loving fashion has never left. But the Lord began to convict me about the types of clothing I was wearing and modesty became a real desire for me. I no longer wore short skirts or strapless tops, even my makeup began to change. I used to cake on as much eye makeup and eye shadow as I could and dark lipstick. I’ve heard it said that what is the on the inside will eventually work it’s way to the outside. I believe that is true. I didn’t want to hide my features with dark makeup, but merely enhance my God given features. I am feminine to the core and love fashion, makeup, jewelry and looking pretty. And the Lord has allowed me to keep that passion though He has refined it quite a bit.
I have recently discovered a lot of legalistic/pious ideas regarding makeup/beauty/fashion on social media. There is the idea that holiness is equal to plainest. That we are to hide ourselves from the world or else we are prideful and sinful. We can NEVER display beauty in any form without feeling shame. I’m trying to fight this way of thinking and answer this dilemma biblically. We can and should try to accent our features and look pretty without being immodest or doing it for the wrong reasons. If your mindset as a married woman when you get dressed for the day is “let me see how much male attention I can get” them obviously it is sin at that point. I honestly have great pleasure in dressing up, putting on a makeup, feeling like a woman and I have the Christian liberty to do so without being judged as vain. I was always taught growing up that beauty was a curse. But is it? Why are we taught that? Why is beauty not a gift from God? Did He not design our features? Can we not recognize a painting as beautiful whose artist is a human but not recognize a human as beautiful whose artist is God Himself?! Why are we not allowed to think of beauty as God’s gift?
I’ve been made to feel shame and guilt over accepting any compliments in regards to my physical appearance. It’s to be immediately regarded as vanity and pride if you take any satisfaction in being told you are beautiful. And of course, you are leading men into lust if you look beautiful. While we should absolutely strive for modesty Owen Strachan puts it this way -“modesty cannot necessarily repel all lust. We should never expect that it will, nor hold modest individuals guilty for the unrighteousness of others.” And to an extent, I’ve been made to feel guilty despite the fact I go to great lengths to make sure my apparel is modest and not exposing my body. I have literally been shamed for posting pictures of my face on social media. (Ironic, since it’s called “face” book) All effort that is put in to make sure no inappropriate photos or revealing photos are posted is now not good enough. Your face is a stumbling block and can cause men to sin. This type of mindset leads to the idea that any women with physical beauty should just cover their faces and stay in their homes as to not risk causing someone to sin. Never post a selfie or else you are being prideful and vain and your motives are impure.
Here’s another quote by Owen Strachan- “Scripture does not ask us to mask ourselves in plastic bags or never talk with others.” Physical beauty is actually a gift from God and can be used to bring glory to Him. As Author Wade puts it in his book Strength and Beauty, “women display God’s glory through beauty.” There is a big difference to being a slave to your looks and vanity and displaying the beauty that God has given you with modesty. As Author Wade puts it- “our job as women is to be beautiful and make things beautiful.” Bringing children into the world, nurturing them, making our homes beautiful, these are all wonderful responsibilities the Lord has given us. We display our spiritual beauty through our good works.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10
This passage details how the women of the church were becoming a distraction in worship and pridefully showing off their wealth instead of humbly demonstrating good works. The Bible tells us that physical beauty without good works and fear of the Lord amounts to nothing.
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
There are attributes that give us great beauty that is not external. We are beautiful when we submit to our husbands and God’s role for us as women. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22 There is great beauty in a woman who joyfully submits to her husband and his leadership. Godly qualities radiate beauty in women. Ultimately, a woman with much physical beauty yet lacking fear of the Lord has inner corruption that makes her ugly. We should seek Christ and study His Word so that we may radiate an attitude of godliness and known by our good works.
So we have established that the fear of the Lord is to be our main priority, but let us put the idea that physical beauty is to be despised aside and choose to see it is a gift from God. But also, let us not elevate it to an extent where it becomes our focus. Teach our children to pursue righteousness and godliness above all else. We should set our minds on things above. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 A godly woman should take care of herself and desire to be pleasing to her spouse or if single to attract a mate. Physical beauty that is displayed modestly is not sin and should go hand in hand with good works and a humble spirit. Pride must be kept in check. A godly woman radiates beauty inside and out and seeks to glorify Christ with all He has given her. Let us not be envious of other women but be thankful and taking care of our bodies to the best of our abilities.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”.Psalm 139:13-14creation
19 “Or (M)do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, (N)and you are not your own? 20 For (O)you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [c]and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Growing up and pursuing a modeling career after high school, I’m no stranger to the goal of pursuing physical fitness. I did many beauty contests and modeling competitions starting in my teens. This in turn led to self image problems and eating disorders. Shortly after the age of 21 while pursuing a modeling career, the Lord saved me and gave me a new heart. From this new heart sprang new desires. I began to have convictions that my life and my body were no longer my own and that modeling was an unworthy pursuit. So I decided to drop it all after receiving multiple offers in the career and pursue a seminary degree in Christian Education. Around this time, I noticed that I began to gain a little weight but attributed it to not modeling anymore and that I had loosened up on my diet a little. But after a year, I had gained 30 pounds despite working out every day and trying to eat healthy. I was also super tired and sluggish. I began to be miserable and depressed. I can remember crying out to the Lord for help and answers. I told Him I just wanted to be healthy, not for my glory, but for His! I began to suffer from other health problems so I finally began seeking out drs to help me. Finally, after months of different drs, I found an endocrinologist that was willing to help. He ended up diagnosing me with PCOS (Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease)
This is a disease where multiple small cysts line your ovaries and in turn throw off your body leading to weight gain, infertility, hair loss, skin problems, etc. Thankfully, I only had the weight gain and not all of the major symptoms. But if left untreated, it would get worse over time leading to fatty liver disease and obesity. I was immediately put on diabetes medicine since the disease throws off your insulin which contributes to weight gain. And I began trying to eat a healthy paleo diet. After the first 9 months I had lost 25 lbs and was feeling more like myself. 15 years later and I’m currently 52 pounds lighter than I was when I first got diagnosed. Shortly after that I got married and the Lord decided to bless me with 5 beautiful children despite being told that I may not be able to conceive due to the PCOS.
I stayed on the medicine throughout all of my pregnancies and was able to get the weight off after each baby. I picked up running as a hobby and that, along with my healthier eating, has reversed my PCOS completely. Now when I go to get my bloodwork done it comes back within all of the normal levels. The downside of all of this was that my obsession with my body and being fit began. It became an idol for me. The health benefits were very beneficial, but the mental aspect was devastating. I began to have an eating disorder all over again. After years of battling it and praying about it and giving it to the Lord, He finally gave me freedom. It can still be a trap if I’m not careful and those of us who are weak in this area need to be on guard.
So years of struggling with body image and weight and diet led me to the Scripture to find wisdom in this area. Wanting to seek the wisdom of the Lord in all area, I began to pour over passages that dealt with this and in turn led me to write this blog. I want to use some passages that make the case that we are, as Christians, to strive to be fit and healthy, but at the same time, not allow that desire to consume us or become an idol. “
“for while (A)bodily training is of some value, godliness (B)is of value in every way, as (C)it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – Timothy 4:8
We are told that bodily training is of some value, so it’s not worthless, however, godliness is to be the main priority. Also Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that he disciplines his body- “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
We are also told in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that we are not to be mastered by anything, which includes food- “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.”
In the Proverbs we are admonished against gluttony –
Proverbs 23:2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Proverbs 23:21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
We are no longer our own, but our bodies belong to God- “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,” 1 Corinthians 6:19
And in Galatians 5 vs 22 we are told that self control is given as a fruit of the Spirit- “But (A)the fruit of the Spirit is (B)love, joy, peace, patience, (C)kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 (D)gentleness, (E)self-control; (F)against such things there is no law.” So when we put all of these passages together we can form a clear view on what we are to do as Christians in regards to our bodies and taking care of them. Being healthy and physically fit is a responsibility that we shouldn’t take lightly and we should steward our bodies to the best of our abilities to serve Christ with all that we can.
This is an area that few Christians are willing to speak out on because so many have allowed this to become a stronghold in their lives. This is definitely an area that will not be addressed in most pulpits as to avoid stepping on toes or offending the crowds. We must pray the Lord would give us boldness to address this and also for self control and strength to be good stewards of our bodies. Being healthy in turn will allow us to have more energy to share the gospel and minster to those around us. We must be careful to not make it an idol, but at the same time not succumb to apathy and laziness. It’s best to set small goals and start moving more and cutting out foods that you know are destructive to your health. I also think it’s extremely important, if you are married, to take care and maintain your body for your spouse. There are some medical conditions that make this harder, but it’s still a worthy goal to pursue. You should desire to be physically pleasing to your spouse and letting yourself go is another way of saying “I do not care if my mate finds me attractive.”
The best way to approach this topic is prayerfully and also asking the Lord to give you guidance according to the Word. Stay grounded in the Scripture so that you do not err in making your body an idol. Also it is important so that you will have the desire to not be lazy or apathetic about your health, but to strive to be pleasing to Christ in all areas. Let’s not sweep this important topic under the rug but hold one another accountable and encourage one another to pursue being healthy.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
-If you would like more info on a paleo diet, I’m super passionate about nutrition and would love to help you! My email is -Lauranlou27@aol.com
In this modern day, politically correct society, we have several boundaries and guidelines set in place. Certain topics are considered socially acceptable when in public and some subjects are just off of the table. You don’t bring up your new mink coat to your local PETA advocate. You don’t bring up your conservative, pro-life views to your liberal, democrat co-worker. You don’t say in the state where I live (TN) that you are not fond of the TN Vols. These are just some common guidelines to avoid being labeled an outcast or a divisive individual. But the number one topic that is most repulsive to ever bring up in your local Baptist church? The topic of election and God’s sovereignty over salvation.
Growing up in an Arminian atmosphere and typical SBC church, I was always taught that I had something to do with my salvation. To say otherwise, was to become a trouble maker and I noticed the reactions I began to receive from those around me were not pleasant. True stories- I have literally been almost kicked out of women’s Bible studies for addressing God’s sovereignty. I have also been told by friends and family that “I’m just too far gone” for even thinking that God would determine a persons salvation. Women have left my Sunday School classes over the years for this very kind of teaching. Church members and deacons have come against my husband and I for the sole reason that we spoke of election and were slapped with the “evil Calvinist” label. This topic all together is completely taboo in the majority of churches in my area. It is referred to, as the great George Mueller once used to call it before God opened his eyes, “a devilish doctrine.” I cannot even begin to elaborate on all of the difficulties that have come with taking a stand on the sovereignty of God. I would have been better accepted in the local churches if I was a proclaimed atheist or agnostic.
I want to share a little of my back story before I get into defending this doctrine with Scripture. As I mentioned earlier, I was brought up a typical Arminian. It was ingrained into me early on that I “needed to give my heart to Jesus” and “make the right decision.” Also the dreaded “Calvinist” word was only used in a negative light. It was literally the doctrine of satan. By around age 22, I had written me a little notebook of verses I titled “my book against Calvinism.” In it were all the typical Arminian verses and arguments to supposedly refute this wicked doctrine. I can remember being so shocked when I enrolled in seminary the next year to find out that some of my professors were part of this dreaded “Calvinism cult.” I met my husband in seminary in 2007 and for the next 6-7 years remained staunchly against Calvinism.
So how did I make such a drastic change? We had a family friend from our first church were we served that was a staunch Calvinist and began to share and reason with us about the sovereignty of God in salvation. And shortly after that we got our hands on a little book entitled “The Sovereignty of God” by A.W. Pink. Within about a year of reading about reformers and reformed theology, watching godly Calvinist men preach expository sermons, studying the Scripture, and reading about the doctrines of Grace that our eyes were finally opened. I began to come to terms with the idea that God was sovereign over my salvation. That He chose me. My salvation was not of my own will or choosing. It was not due to the fact I was smarter than another, raised in a family that took me church, or chose to pray a prayer and make a good decision. It was literally all of God. As Jonathan Edwards says “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”
My passion of speaking on this topic started so many years ago and never really ended. I’ve been called a “cage stage Calvinist” for nearly 7 years now. To this day, I can speak of no greater doctrine and nothing brings me greater joy. It brings me such security to know that my salvation wasn’t dependent upon me. I’ve never wept or thanked God more for saving me than after having my eyes opened to the doctrine of His sovereignty and election. The much resented “Calvinists” had actually been right all along. I was convinced the Scripture clearly taught God’s election and His sovereignty over men’s hearts. I want to lay out a brief Scriptural argument and then discuss why this view is so hated among most professing Christians. As A.W. Pink says “men will hotly and insistently deny this doctrine until they are taught of God.” This is a doctrine that is loathed by the natural mind. That God can and does choose who would be saved. It takes a work of the Spirit to open ones eyes and cause them to love this truth.
It’s such an amazing truth that is literally woven throughout all of Scripture. Starting from the very beginning in Genesis we see God initiating and seeking those whom will be His. “It was God who sought Adam and it has been the order ever since.” – A.W. Pink We see God seek after Adam in Genesis 3:9 and then we see in vs 21 a failed attempt at covering sin with fig leaves. God instead provided His own covering with the future representation of the sacrifice of Christ by killing an animal and involving the shedding of blood for remission of sins. The idea of God being the seeker and the chooser and sovereign over all mankind is prominently displayed throughout the Old and the New Testaments. Passages like Job 42:2 that tell us “I know that you can do ALL things, No purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Isaiah 45:7 displays God’s sovereignty over all of creation. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Amos 3:6 declares His power over all things, even disaster or ruin doesn’t come to pass without the Lord’s decree. “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?”
God’s majestic sovereignty is the golden thread that is woven throughout every passage. That He is sovereign over creation, over his creatures, and over good and evil. There is nothing that exists that is not subject to Him. We see another theme displayed throughout His Word- that He is not limited by sinful man. In fact, He actually controls men’s hearts. Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” The we have Proverbs 16:33 that tells us nothing happens by chance, the Lord determines every outcome. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”
Even as early as Genesis 20:6, we see God’s omnipotence over man when God tells king Abimelech that He did not let him sin against God- “Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning (H)against me.” So the idea that God is subject to man and his choices or some type of free will is not found anywhere in the Scripture. This begets the question- Is God the author of sin? We know that nothing happens unless God has purposed it. Take for instance the most evil act that has ever occurred on the earth. Was it not when God’s only begotten Son, who was sinless and lived a perfect life, was beaten and nailed to the cross to die a terrible death? Is there anything more atrocious than that?! And yet what does the Scripture tell us- “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23 This was God’s plan. It was not mere sinful men who chose to execute Christ but God had ordained this and brought it to pass.
So we see God is subject to no man. No man can alter God’s plans. The idea that God wishes to save some men but they will not let Him is a concept not found in the Word. Can a sovereign God not overcome a man’s unbelief? Has he not foreordained all whom will come to salvation in Christ? Is He now made subject to man and salvation contingent upon a man’s choice?! So what are we told in regards to salvation? How then is a man saved?
-2 Thessalonians 2:13- “brothers beloved by the Lord, because God CHOSE you (AA)as the firstfruits[d](AB)to be saved, (AC)through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
-Ephesians 1:4-5: “even as he (B)CHOSE us in him (C)before the foundation of the world, that we should be (D)holy and blameless before him. In love 5 (E)he predestined us[a] for (F)adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, (G)according to the purpose of his will,”
1 Peter 1:2- “to the elect”..according to (B)the foreknowledge of God the Father, (C)in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and (D)for sprinkling with his blood:”
Acts 13:48- ..”and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”
Romans 8:29- “For those whom he (C)foreknew he also (D)predestined (E)to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be (F)the firstborn among many brothers.”
Romans 9:16- “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
The Scripture is rich with passages that teach us the doctrine of salvation, or soteriology. God elects and chooses those for salvation before the foundation of the world. A man does not seek God of his own will or desires. (Romans 3:11) God Himself is the seeker. (Luke 19:10) He is also the chooser. (John 15:6) We cannot out of our dead, fallen nature make a right decision to follow or choose Christ. (Ephesians 2:1) Our salvation was something that was predestined ahead of time. Look at the language of the words used in Scripture. “Election” means to “pick out.” “Predestined” is the decree of God by which certain souls are “foreordained” to salvation. “Chosen” means having been selected. You cannot get around this language no matter how much theological gymnastics you try to use. We can do absolutely NOTHING to save ourselves.
Now upon hearing this doctrine of unconditional election, the flesh has a natural tendency to reject it. When I speak of election, I am not referring to election that a classical Arminian believes in by saying that God chooses based on foreknowledge of an individual putting faith in Him. When I speak of the doctrine of election, it is unconditional election- that God prior to his creation of the world, predestined some people to receive salvation and those are the elect. The definition of “foreknowledge” as referred to in verses like Romans 8 vs 29 is a “predetermined choice to set His love on us and establish an intimate relationship.” We cannot fathom the idea that God being loving would choose some and not others. Our human minds try to assault God’s perfect character by insisting that this must not be “fair” or “loving.” Fairness would send each and every one of us fallen sinners to an eternal torment in hell. But God, being rich in mercy, has chosen to save some. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that we cannot try to reason or understand God’s ways with our human minds.
“For(A) My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For(B)as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
And Romans 9 details God’s election to salvation and goes on to tell us not to question our maker-
“So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For (A)the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, (B)“For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He (C)hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For (D)who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? (E)Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
It is an absolutely true statement, that unless God Himself opens your eyes to His sovereignty in salvation, you will not see it. The flesh refuses to acknowledge that it took no part in salvation. Pride lingers and convinces a man that he must have played some role in his belief or salvation. But the Scripture teaches us that our very faith is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
The only reason that one man believes and another does not is all due to God’s sovereign election. To deny this is to deny the very Word of God. There is absolutely no way around these clear truths found in abundance throughout Holy Writ.
To rail and to fight against God’s sovereignty over salvation is to side with the flesh and is the ultimate human pride. We must pray and ask the Lord for wisdom according to His Word and ask Him to teach us. Those who are unwilling to be taught and are stubborn, absolutely refusing to study Gods truths in this matter, should have no confidence that they are born again. One who has the Spirit of Christ abiding in Him will be brought to an understanding of the truths about God and His Word in regards to their salvation. The doctrine of the election of God and His sovereignty is a glorious truth that we should hold in high esteem. It should be a great comfort to believers giving them eternal security because they have been chosen of God can never lose their salvation. All that the Father gives will come (John 6:37) He will raise us up on that last day (John 6:40) and no man could ever pluck us out of His Hand. (John 10:29)
My prayer for those of you reading is that you would be absolutely convinced of God’s sovereignty over salvation by reading the clear truths in His Word and that you will proclaim it without fear of rejection. It may not be a popular doctrine, but it is absolutely the crucial doctrine as related to our soteriology. All other doctrine flows from this very key foundation. You may get tossed out of Bible studies, scorned in your local church, ridiculed by friends and family, but rest assured, the sovereignty of God should be proclaimed, defended, and exalted wherever we go!
On October 31st, most modern Americans can expect neighborhood kids to knock on their doors and ask for Candy. For reformed Christians, however, October 31st calls to mind a very different and unexpected kind of knock on the door. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his controversial and revolutionary 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This defiant act against the Roman Catholic Church sparked the Protestant Reformation. Thus, some 500 years later, Protestants are still celebrating what has become known as “Reformation Day” on October 31st. Christians around the world owe a debt of gratitude to Martin Luther, an obscure monk who put his life on the line to challenge the prevailing and very false doctrines of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. The Lutheran Church, one of many denominations that grew out of the Reformation, bears his name. In trying to study more about this man and Lutheran doctrine itself, I began to read the historical doctrinal standard of the Lutheran church, the Book of Concord. Contained within that book are the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s larger and smaller catechisms, and three different ecumenical creeds. During my study of Lutheran doctrine, I have found much truth. However, I have also found at least four clear errors 1) Baptismal Regeneration, Error #2, Error #3, and Error #4. This post is the first in a series of four in which I will refute each one of these errors with scripture (a method with which Luther himself would no doubt be satisfied). In this post, I refute the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration.
The burden I felt as I researched this doctrine was overwhelming. I began to see there was just so much error and contradiction to the gospel. I now feel so compelled to write on this topic as to not allow the gospel of Christ to be distorted in this way. I will begin to lay out my argument using Scripture as my only guide and Authority. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8 Before we begin, let me state that I’m aware that many of the early church fathers held to and taught a form of baptismal regeneration. Even though many of these teachers were spot on, in the end, these were fallible men. They are not above the Scripture. The Word must be our ultimate authority over all matters. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16 So church fathers cannot be our authority. Church tradition can not be our authority. Creeds and confessions can not be our authority. There is only one, the Written Word of God.
So with that said, the first error within the Lutheran doctrine is the belief that baptism is a necessary component for salvation. Otherwise known as, baptismal regeneration. To quote Charles Spurgeon- “We ourselves are not dubious on this point, we protest that persons are not saved by being baptized. In such an audience as this, I am almost ashamed to go into the matter, because you surely know better than to be misled. Nevertheless, for the good of others we will drive at it. We hold that persons are not saved by baptism, for we think, first of all that it seems out of character with the spiritual religion which Christ came to teach, that he should make salvation depend upon mere ceremony. The false religions of the heathen might inculcate salvation by a physical process, but Jesus Christ claims for his faith that it is purely spiritual, and how could he connect regeneration with a peculiar application of aqueous fluid? I cannot see how it would be a spiritual gospel, but I can see how it would be mechanical, if I were sent forth to teach that the mere dropping of so many drops upon the brow, or even the plunging a person in water could save the soul. This seems to me to be the most mechanical religion now existing, and to be on a par with the praying windmills of Thibet, or the climbing up and down of Pilate’s staircase to which Luther subjected himself in the days of his darkness. The operation of water-baptism does not appear even to my faith to touch the point involved in the regeneration of the soul. What is the necessary connection between water and the overcoming of sin?”
When speaking to those who hold to this view of baptismal regeneration they have several Scriptures they will refer to that supposedly support this, one of them being John 3:5. 5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Let’s take a look at this passage. To assume that a water baptism itself is in mind because of a reference is made to water is unwarranted. The entire passage is talking about the spiritual aspect of being born again. So it goes to reason that he was not referring to literal water (in either baptism or physical birth referring amniotic fluid) but the need for spiritual cleansing. Both water and Spirit are used this way in the Old Testament. Remember, Scripture interprets Scripture. So let’s look at other passages. For example, Psalm 51:2 asks God to, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Even in the New Testament, water is sometimes used in reference to the idea of spiritual cleansing or purifying. Titus 3:5, for example, says, “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Here both washing and the Spirit are paired together just as Jesus does in John 3:5. Staying in that same chapter vs 8 tells us how the Spirit regenerates a person. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Just as wind cannot be controlled or predicted, neither can a person control or predict a persons regeneration. If one could indeed have their sins cleansed upon their being baptized, then they would clearly be able to control and predict the precise moment they were united with Christ and cleansed from unrighteousness. And going further in that same passage vs 16 tells us again how one is saved, no baptism mentioned. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 6:3-5 is another passage that is used to back up this view. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,” The phrase “baptized into” occurs five times in the NT in four different verses. To be baptized “into Christ,” is to be publicly identified with the thing you are being baptized into. The focus is not the baptism itself but on the thing the baptism represents. In the case of Rom. 6:3-5, being baptized into Christ is a public identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection which is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4-
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” In all of the four places that the phrase “baptized into” occurs, it is an identification to something. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. It wasn’t the baptism that brought repentance; rather, baptism was the result of repentance. To be baptized in such a time where the culture had such different view of gods and many strict and religious laws and doing so meant to publicly identify oneself with the death, burial and resurrection from Christ. One who is baptized is NOT made dead to sin by baptism or even cleansed from sin by the physical water itself. Hebrews 9:22 makes that so clear- “
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” What are men cleansed with? The Scripture is clear. With blood. What gives remission of sin? The blood and received by “grace through faith.” So if one adds any kind of physical or external component, such as water, and makes that necessary for cleansing or remission of sins it alters the gospel.
1 Peter 3:21 is another passage used in the argument. But in reality, 1 Peter 3:21 actually makes the case for the symbolic nature of baptism. Let’s look at it- “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It is clearly stated here that it is an “appeal” to God for a clear conscience. What saves a person is not some external rite of baptism, but a “pledge”or an “agreement” with God to get into the ark, which represents Christ, the ark of safety and salvation. We do so by faith in Christ, in his death, burial and resurrection. The waters of baptism itself do not do the saving! In the example of Noah that is used, the waters did NOT unite the ones outside the ark or the ones inside the ark to Christ. You miss the whole point of the passage to imply that water is the saving factor there. Noah and his family were spared because of their faith in Christ and him and the other seven members of the family stayed dry.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 All of the apostles believed that it was the blood of Christ that redeemed, cleansed, and forgave us our sins. No where are we told to look to a water baptistry for salvation. Now going back specifically to the Lutheran book of Concord I want to post some specific statements found with within the doctrine. Section number 83 on article IX. Of Baptism-
Also stated in the larger catechism “Therefore state it most simply this, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of baptism is this, namely to save.” Also listed, of what profit is baptism? There is a huge difference in the teaching of the “importance of baptism” and the “necessity of baptism.”
So here we have direct quotes from within the Lutheran doctrine linking baptism with delivering us from the jaws of the devil, making us God’s own, suppressing and taking away sin, remaining efficacious until the end, it works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and evil, gives eternal salvation to all who believe “this.” And then guess what they use to back up that entire view? Only one verse appears- Mark 16:16. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That verse clearly does not teach that baptism saves because looking at the back half of that verse, the lost are not condemned for their “lack of baptism” but for their unbelief.
What is a glaring issue with the very idea of baptismal regeneration is the idea that a person had the ability to pass from being a “natural/carnal man” to a “spiritual/righteous man” through baptism; yet, from where does this desire to be baptized even come from? I was told by one in the Lutheran church that “baptism completes salvation.” This is at completely at odds with the teaching of total depravity. If a person is the enemy of God, dead in trespasses and sin, how is it that he is able to do something pleasing to Christ and to even desire to be baptized? “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1 Obviously, this is impossible. You would have to be regenerated or justified before you got in the water in which case baptism is no longer necessary to salvation. Let me state this clearly- To believe that water baptism saves is no minor error.
Acts 2:38 is probably the most quoted of passages in the baptismal regeneration camp.”And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So how do we interpret this passage? “The word “eis”in the passage translated for is sometimes translated in the Bible against, among, at, unto, upon, etc. It might properly be translated here “baptized upon the remission of your sins” or “baptized referring to, or pointing toward the remission of your sins,” or “baptized in the remission of your sins.” When one repents, he receives the remission of his sins. “This very same preposition “eis” is used in Mathew 12:41-
If you use the exact same reasoning as Acts 2:38 and applied it to Matthew 12:41 it would make no sense. It would read “the people of Nineveh repented in order to receive the preaching of Jonah.” We know Jonah’s preaching occurred first and THEN the people repented. There are also other passages that if we used that same logic, such as Matthew 3:11, that would have to be a contradiction to interpret them like that. Yet it seems so many have literally formed their doctrine from this one verse without taking into account that holding to the view that a water baptism unites us to Christ would have to contradict the entire rest of the Scripture that tells us otherwise. Staying in that same passage in verse 44 it tells us exactly who was baptized that day- “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” This was a believers baptism. They were believers who upon repentance were baptized. So the teaching in Acts 2:38 cannot be teaching that we are baptized for the cleansing of our sins. We are brought near and united to Christ by one thing- “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
The last part of the concerning doctrine pertaining to baptism is the belief that the water combined with the Word, somehow mysteriously turns into “divine water” and therefore baptism itself becomes a Work of God. Notice the following statements from the Book of a Concord- “to answer the question what baptism is, namely this, that it is not mere ordinary water, but water comprehended in God’s Word and command and sanctified thereby; so that it is nothing else than a divine water; not that not that the water itself is nobler than other water, but that God’s Word and command are added.” “Baptism is quite another thing than all other water, for God Himself stakes His honor, His power, His might upon it. Therefore it is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water.” So there in front of you is the Lutheran view of baptism. But what saith the Scripture? There were no Scripture references given to back up this view, that the water when combined with the Word become “divine.” Does the water become divine? Does God stakes His might and power in the water? Heaven forbid we should teach these ideas that distort the gospel of Christ.
There is clearly Scripture to refute this view. Romans 1:16-17
16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
There is power in one place- the righteousness of Christ and His gospel and is revealed by faith. The gospel is in the power of God to salvation and it tells us what is necessary in order to be saved. Paul leaves baptism out of this passage because he clearly did not consider baptism necessary to salvation. Pay attention to that phrase “the righteousness of God.” It is actually better translated “from God.” And appears over thirty times. Other terms from the Greek mean “justified” or “justification.” The gospel reveals that on the basis of faith and faith alone, God will impute His righteousness to ungodly sinners. We are justified without a water baptism according to Scripture. This is the very heart of the gospel at stake here. God’s way from the very beginning was to justify sinners by grace, on the basis of faith alone. Any teaching that implies our sins are not cleansed until we are baptized is a teaching that is NOT according to the Scripture. It is a faulty interpretation of the Scripture to make the claim one must be “baptized into water for the cleansing of sins.”
Genesis 15:6 “Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” And what did Jesus himself clearly say in regards to the gospel in John 6:28-29? 28 “Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing (A)the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, (B)that you believe in him whom (C)he has sent.” Did Jesus just forget to mention baptism in there? No. Scripture lays out time and time again why saving faith looks like apart from a water baptism. We cannot make the claim that God stakes any power whatsoever in the water. That is an absolute clear contradiction to Scripture. The statement that “pure salvation and life” is found within baptism is another absolute contradiction to Scripture. Where is life found?! In the water of baptism? 35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am(A) the bread of life.(B)Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes(C) in me will never be thirsty.(D)” John 6:35
To claim that life can be found or attained within the waters of baptism when combined with the Word is to absolutely distort the saving gospel of Christ. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 Here is their doctrine regarding infant baptism-
To make the claim that one such as an infant, who has no understanding of the gospel can be baptized into Christ and regenerated is absolute contradiction to the Scripture which teaches us that we will be given understanding according to the gospel and experience sorrow over sin and trust in Christ. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
No passage in Scripture ever refers to “water” or the “water combined with the Word” as being our salvation or the way to life. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 To teach that one can be justified in Christ but still need to be baptized for the “cleansing of sin” is to teach that Christ’s blood is not sufficient to save or to cleanse. We are brought “near” to Christ and receive for forgiveness of sins by one thing- the blood of Christ. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
Lastly, to address the claim that baptism is “God’s work.” The definition of a work is this- “Any physical, religious, ceremonial or moral activity that would be required for a believer to gain salvation, or to be justified.” So in order for baptism to fall into the category of “God’s work” as our faith and salvation, it would have to be monergistic in nature ( the doctrine that the Holy Ghost acts independently of the human will) and it would have to be a “gift” from God. Nowhere in the Scripture is baptism referred to as a “gift” like our faith is in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Also we know baptism is a work the Bible because the Scripture considers circumcision a work. Many hold to the belief that baptism replaces circumcision. In Galatians 2 the Judaizers were trying to teach a works based gospel linking circumcision to salvation. Paul then confronts this false gospel head on in order to preserve the truth of the saving gospel. In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul asks, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2-3). Also in Galatians 2 15-16 he speaks out against circumcision and works of the flesh-“We ourselves are Jews by birth and not (A)Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that (B)a person is not justified[a] by works of the law (C)but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, (D)because by works of the law no one will be justified.”Clearly taught in Scripture is that among those works of the law was circumcision! We are commanded to be baptized in the Scripture, but we are not told baptism is a gift nor are we told it is “God’s work.” Baptism requires participation and cooperation on the part of man. Under the definition of works listed above, Baptism clearly falls into that category and it is clearly not a monergistic act. The following verses demonstrate baptism is a work of the one who is doing the baptizing.
And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38)
“Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47)
“I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,” (1 Corinthians 1:14)
Baptism is a work of man. Baptism is not a monergistic act. A monergistic act is our spiritual circumcision of the heart that regenerates us according to Colossians 2:11-12 “In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” We do not cooperate or participate in this “spiritual circumcision” made “without hands” which indicates it’s a divine, heavenly act of God.
Let’s look at one more statement from their doctrine on baptism-
To state as the above statement from the book of Concord that in “baptism is obtained the forgiveness of sin” and that we can look to our baptism for assurance of our salvation is an absolute distortion of the gospel according to Scripture. I am greatly burdened by this doctrine. Let me state this clearly- To believe that water baptism saves is no minor error, but a spiritually fatal one. Baptism does not save nor justify the souls of men and I fear many are being deceived. Please understand how crucial this error is. It is the difference between life and death. The difference between the gospel according to Scripture and a gospel that damns.
“A great winnowing time is coming to God’s saints, and we shall be clearer one of these days than we now are from union with those who are upholding Popery, under the pretence of teaching Protestantism. We shall be clear, I say, of those who teach salvation by baptism, instead of salvation by the blood of our blessed Master, Jesus Christ. O may the Lord gird up your loins. Believe me, it is no trifle. It may be that on this ground Armageddon shall be fought. Here shall come the great battle between Christ and his saints on the one hand, and the world, and forms, and ceremonies, on the other. If we are overcome here, there may be years of blood and persecution, and tossing to and fro between darkness and light; but if we are brave and bold, and flinch not here, but stand to God’s truth, the future of England may be bright and glorious. O for a truly reformed Church in England, and a godly race to maintain it! The world’s future depends on it under God, for in proportion as truth is marred at home, truth is maimed abroad. Out of any system which teaches salvation by baptism must spring infidelity, an infidelity which the false Church already seems willing to nourish and foster beneath her wing. God save this favoured land from the brood of her own established religion. Brethren, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not afraid of any sudden fear nor calamity when it cometh, for he who trusteth to the Lord, mercy shall compass him about, and he who is faithful to God and Christ shall hear it said at the last, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” May the Lord bless this word for Christ’s sake.” (-Charles Spurgeon)
Paul stated clearly and without reservation in Galatians 1:8-9 that God made only ONE gospel. Logically and theologically, there can be only ONE gospel, not two, three, or more. Either baptism regenerates or baptism does not regenerate. Both cannot be true. One of these beliefs is a false gospel and deserves condemnation, and that condemnation rests on baptismal regeneration. Any gospel that points to a water baptistry for regeneration is a false gospel. Any gospel that believes the grace of God is offered through a water baptism is a false gospel. Any gospel that teaches the baptism completes the salvation process is a false gospel. Any gospel that teaches water is necessary for justification is a false gospel. May we look to Christ alone for our assurance and not the water!
Romans 4:5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Galatians 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.