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Wayne Grudem, theologian and Professor at Phoenix Seminary says it this way. But, the Justice of God also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid for he could not accept us into fellowship with himself unless the penalty was paid. Here Paul says that God had been forgiving sins in the Old Testament but no penalty had been paid—a fact that would make people wonder whether God was indeed just and ask how he could forgive sins without a penalty. No God who was truly just could do that, could he? It is not helpful for us to ask which one is more important, because without the love of God, he never would have taken the steps to redeem us, yet without the justice of God, the specific requirement that Christ should earn our salvation by dying for our sins would not have been met.

Both the love and justice of God are equally important. There are some big ideas and large words in that quote. But hopefully it helps you to get a picture of the situation. God is just and therefore cannot let the penalty go unpaid. Jesus volunteers to pay the penalty so that God can remain just and display His love for us in a way that is completely unbelievable.

Nope, the debt had to be paid. The only way was for God to pay it Himself. He was the only one qualified to pay it. He alone was without His own sin. It had to be Jesus or we were doomed to hell forever. When Jesus went to the cross for us, God literally placed all of the guilt from our sins on Jesus Isa , When Jesus was on the cross He became so filthy with our sin that God could no longer look upon him. God turned away, and for the first time in history Jesus felt separation from His Father.

These verses tell us that it was God Himself that actually placed our sins on Jesus. But how could this be? Some have objected that it was not fair for God to transfer guilt to an innocent person, but we need to remember that it was actually Jesus who volunteered to pay the penalty. There was no coercion. Jesus voluntarily went in our place. The difference, of course, is that in this situation it was an unjust debt.

In our situation we owe it, big time! Hopefully that helps some. As a Christian of many years I am still so young in my journey and it is a constant learning curve for me. Raised in a non-christian house I have been surrounded by non-christians all my life. My acceptance of Christ as a teenager was something that disturbed my non-christian family and to this day, they still question my faith.

Their disbelief is primarily that God is a figment of ones imagination and is a means by which people seek solace in times of need or by which people try to control others. Therefore they want no part in it. On the other hand they feel that in saying humans are sinful and wrong Christians are passing judgement and trying to impose their beliefs on others. We are bigots and we are doing a horrible thing by trying to indoctrinate them and most especially their children.

For me to tell them in any way shape or form that they are being sinful and are doing wrong would cause them to feel anger and hatred towards my faith and to detest the fact that I love the Lord with all my heart. Nina, thanks for the comment and question. First I would just like to encourage you to keep pressing on fighting the good fight. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to stand by your beliefs in such a hostile environment.

Remember that God says you are blessed when you are persecuted for His name. In fact He says to consider it joy! My advice to you would be to wage a campaign of prayer. Prayer is SO powerful! It is usually the first thing we talk about but the last thing we do. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in your family; to convict them of sin and prepare the way for you to share.

If your family made it clear that they do not want you to try to persuade them to believe, I think you should respect their wishes and pray that God would soften their hearts. Yiu cannot do anything to save them. Apart from a work of God in their hearts giving them faith, they will not hear or understand your words. This is what Paul tels us in 1 Cor Consider fasting in and praying. As you pray for God to work in them, also pray the the Holy Spirit will fill you with the power to live like Jesus. If they see a real change in you, how you react, how you serve, and how you love, they will see your faith as a source of strength, not a crutch to help the weak.

They will know your faith is real when they can see it lived out. Repay evil with kindness. Love when you are attacked. You cannot do this in your own power. It will have to be God working through you, this is why it is important to pray for Him to do this work in your heart. Confess your sin. Repent of anything God shows you that needs to change. Your focus needs to be on your life. As you do this eventually God wil begin to make headway into their hearts.

God can use your life as contrast to theirs and point out their sin. He will guide you and show you when the proper time is to share why there is a change in you. This part takes some discernment so pray for that as well. As a general rule, wait until they ask you what is going on. When you do speak about God be sure do do it from a position of humility, acknowledging your many faults and showing thanks for how much God has saved you from. There are times when it is appropriate and necessary to point out their sin, but if they are seeing you and Christians as judgmental, then the best approach may be to talk about your sin and what God has saved you from.

Paying or not paying taxes has nothing to do with being a religion. It has absolutely nothing to do with if they are religions or not. Is that what you think? The word religion certainly has many definitions like many words in the English language. I have done this very clearly in my blog above. Do you disagree that Christianity is not a religion by the definition that I gave?

No argument there. We agree. However, this is not the common use of the word. There is much more implied there than that they believe in a god of some kind. Also, people can believe in the existence of a god but not be religious and not belong to any religion. I believe in the existence of my wife. Belief is absolutely necessary in order to have a relationship. This is no different than the fact that I believe in the existence of my wife because I know her. That is not intellectually honest.

In it, a Christian is supposed to obey God without question. The fact that we are communicating shows that at some level we ARE having a relationship. I may not be able to see God, but I can and certainly do hear Him and feel Him. My relationship with Him is undeniably real. Since I am the only one who can testify what MY relationship with God like, I think I am in the best position to comment on it. He is very real. He speaks to me frequently in unmistakable ways. He stirs my heart and my spirit and moves me to want and desire new things that I never thought I would ever desire before.

It is only someone who knows God, who has experienced this same thing that can understand this or will believe it. But, once you have, there is no doubting it. My relationship with Jesus is as real to me as any earthly relationship. In so many ways it is deeper. It is one of mutual love. That is what you cannot understand without experiencing it.

The relationship between me and my Savior is not one of slave to master. It is one of close brother to brother. It is one of son to loving Father. I gladly choose to obey because I love Him and I know that He knows what is best. His plan and His way is the best way. It is in my best interest to follow Him because He knows everything all ways and has chosen the best path for me. Additionally, He is continually at work in my heart changing me. He gives me new desires and I find that I no longer want to go my way. There are certainly times when I disobey and go my own way and not His.

However, without fail this turns out to my detriment and to the detriment of those I love. When I repent and turn back to His way He is always there with open arms welcoming me back and helping me want to grow. What arrogance to think that we can tell God what is right and that He is wrong. It is simply a fact that God is right. It is His very nature. He cannot be un-right. Right and wrong only make sense in relation to God. Without an external God separated from His creation there is no such thing as objective right an wrong. We would have no concept of right or wrong apart from God.

Everything would be purely subjective. So, of course God is right. I have a real relationship with my earthly Father. However, there are certainly times when we disagreed. Yes, this was wrong. There were consequences when I disobeyed. He was still my father and I was still his son. I still have a relationship with him in fact a very good one. I am not his slave just because he gave me healthy boundaries, set rules and called me to obey them. They were for my safety and well being. Do you think that perhaps my Dad may have know a few more things that I, as an 8 year old boy, did?

Is it possible he might have known better than I did if it was a good idea for me to go walking around town at midnight? Perhaps the almighty God of the universe might know a little bit more than you do? You are a sinner. Like all of us you have chosen to rebel against the holy, just and good God of this universe. You have thumbed you nose at Him and and the sound of submitting to Him is like nails on a chalk board to you.

You would rather continue to go your way because you have believed the lie that you know better than God what is good and right for you. If you only could see the truth that of what you are missing. If you only knew that the real freedom, the real joy, the real hope, the real life is only found when you fulfill the purpose for which you were created and repent of your way and let God lead. It is my prayer that you will. There is a real eternal hell at stake here. Just as God cannot be un-right, He can also not be unjust.

His very character is just. He must punish evil and sin. If He overlooked it He would be unjust. The only hope of escaping this punishment is the fact that Jesus agreed to take this punishment for those who repent and agree to let God lead. Jesus stepped in on the cross and took our punishment, the penalty that we rightly deserved so that God could remain just and so that we could live. This was the only way both could be satisfied. If you do not repent and place God in His rightful position of Lord of your life, you will pay for your own sin in hell for all eternity. However, if you swallow your pride, admit you are wrong and that He is right, and place your trust in Him, you can live forever with Him in a love relationship that will grow and grow for eternity.

This is the most rewarding and wonderful relationship you could ever have. I know from personal experience. I was where you are now. But I gave in, I realized my way was not the right way. I realized that I was drinking out of the toilet when I was being offered fresh, purified water. I came to Him dirty and full on sin and my own pride. I laid it all at the foot of His cross and repented and it was all gone, in an instant.

He took it all upon Him and suddenly I was set free in a way I cannot express. I have never been the same since. I am a new person. I truly do desire this for you. I will pray for you and I am here if you have any questions. The greatest thing he has never known. Matiny, This is a good question. You are referring to John Ironically and most likely not coincidentally , it is a subject that was directly discussed in the sermon preached at my church on the same day you posted your comment.

I highly recommend that you listen to this sermon. I think it will help answer your question and provide you with my perspective in better detail. The sermon above is much more thorough than I can be here, but I will try to give a quick summary of my thoughts. The scriptures are very clear that we, as New Testament followers of Jesus, are not under the specific and direct commands of the Old Testament law. This can be clearly seen in numerous Scripture passages. A few are: Eph. The Mosaic Law was not intended as a universal and eternal reflection of the will of God.

It was intended for a particular time, place and people. In Christ, it is no longer binding. Abel, Noah, Abraham and many others were declared righteous before the law. Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets and many others born under the law were declared righteous not through obedience to the law but through faith in the promises of God. Now, in Christ, we relish in the final revelation of the fulfillment of the promises in the coming of the object of the faith Jesus Christ who alone justifies.

We are not under the law but under grace Romans However, this is not a passport for living how we want and thumbing our nose at God. But what is the law of Christ? This can be answered by looking at a few verses. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. The law of Christ is love; love for others and love for God. Jesus tells us that love fulfills the whole law Matt We are called to love. By doing so, we fulfill all the intent and purpose of the rules of the law without needed to obey the letter.

Jesus actually modeled this for us when He was on earth. That is where the passage you asked about comes in.

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Look at the verse the immediately follows the one you quote, John You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us with this commandment to love. Thus it is actually His work, not ours. The Holy Spirit empowers us and helps us love overcoming our selfishness. He says that if you try to obey part of the law then you are obligated to keep the whole thing. As we place our faith in God, he changes our hearts. The Holy Spirit helps us to genuinely love God and love others.

This faith works itself out as love in our lives. Therefore, those who have faith will love, and thus, fulfill the law of Christ. Not sure i understand your post. These things themselves have no moral implications. They are just things. How they are used and why they are used is what is relevant. It is always about the heart. Pradeepa, The short answer to your question is that it is because of sin. Sin always divides. As I explained in the post above, sin separates us from God.

It also separates us from each other. We see this every day. As a result of sin, marriages split up, friends part ways, relationships are strained, etc. Relationships are always impacted when we sin usually our horizontal relationships with others, but always our vertical relationship with God.

We repeatedly see this example in the Bible. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they became separated from God. We see this with the Nation of Israel. When King Solomon sins by worshiping idols, the result is that his kingdom is divided.

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It is split into two kingdoms Israel and Judah. The once unified Nation of Israel is torn in two as a result of this sin. This is similar to what has happened to the Church. However, when Jesus left, Satan remained. His desire is to spread dissension and division Romans The Church has a real enemy that is continually warring against it to try to create as much division as possible. Additionally, Christians still have sinful natures. We are far from perfect! We still sin. Sin also has the effect of clouding our minds so that we cannot perceive things correctly.

It tends to skew our interpretation of things. Thus, there were many disagreements of how to interpret various things in Scripture. The result of this sin is that divisions came up. Sometimes they even fought over these disagreements. In most cases these disagreements and different interpretations of Scripture were not major, but were more minor. However, it is the proclivity of mankind to focus on our differences instead of the more important points we agree on. Some of these points of disagreement are listed in my post above what day of the week to meet on, forms of music to use, ritualistic prayers, dietary requirements, etc.

These things are minor points and should not cause fellow believers in Christ to divide. But, all too often, our sinfulness comes out and we fear those who do not agree with us. In addition to these minor points, theological differences caused division. Many of these differences are about concepts about God and how He works that are very difficult for us humans to understand such as the role of human free will in relationship to the sovereignty of God.

Other theological points of disagreement centered on who should be baptized and how. Instead of bearing with one another and allowing each other to disagree on minor matters like this, churches split up over them. They formed whole organizations of churches around their way of thinking. Groups who believed that the right way to baptize was by immersing the person in water instead of sprinkling water over them split off. Groups of churches that believed that infants should be baptized at birth joined together and separated themselves from churches that believed only believers in Christ should be baptized.

The result was that the Church, as a whole, lost out. In most of these cases there are correct points on both sides as well as some errors and over reactions. We cannot put God in a box, and the reality is that we need perspective of the whole Church to better understand Him. By surrounding ourselves with only the people who think like us, everyone loses.

I look forward to the day when Jesus returns and there will no longer be any denominations, nations, or any other divisions; only followers of Jesus. God will correct all the wrong thinking in all of us, align us and help all of us to see and understand more of Him than we can now. That is my short answer, I hope it helps some. Pradeepa the various different denominations to my understanding have come about much in the same way that cultural differences come about.

When the disciples were sent out to all the ends of the earth to spread the Good News, they naturally came across people from very diverse backgrounds and cultures which resulted in slightly different traditions and practices within the one faith. I imagine a lot of this is reflected in the various different denominations that you come across today.

Nina, Thanks for the response. However, that is not really historically accurate. The Church had already spread over the entire known world. At this point it split in two. It further divided when the Protestant Reformation occurred in the 16th century. The king of England also split the church in because he wanted to get a divorce. Hi, I heard that when people die, instead of going directly to heaven or hell, they sleep until the day God would comes back and question us about our sins.

I was just wondering if that was correct? It is false teaching. The bible never teaches that. There are several clear bible passages that directly contradict it. Jesus claimed He would never die John and They are clearly alive and not asleep. The apostle John sees saints alive in Heaven when he is taken there by an angel in Revelation. So Christians, why is your religion more valid, than say, Hinduism? What is so veeeery believable about Christianity that you take it above all other religions?

I pointed out a few in a previous blog, such as how Christianity is unique in the fact that is about God coming to man instead of man […]. Alex, This is a good question. I chose to write a blog post to answer it. This will allow me a little more space to more fully address your question. See blog linked below:. Your entire essay here can easily be undone by the first sentence of your fabricated definition for religion. DS, thank you for the comment. In fact, it seems you have completely missed or intentionally avoided my entire point.

Yes, Christianity is a system of beliefs that one adheres to. That is not my point, though. I was very specific in how I defined religion. Christianity is unique in that it is a belief without requiring anything more than believing. It is this last part that characterizes religion. Religion says you have to EARN it.

In Christianity the work is already done by God. All that is necessary is to trust is His work. Jesus earned it for us on the cross. Everyone has a belief that they adhere to. Religion is not just believing something. Religion is a belief that requires you to to do something to earn favor from God. This is why Christianity is so different from the others. Religion is the reason why they are killing us innocent Men Woman and Children..

The end result was complete failures. I believe God has chosen me to share Gospel among Hindus and will use some of the teaching shared here on this blog. I have goose bumps from reading all of this. To everyone who responded so kindly to the people who had questions and doubts, may God bless you. All I know is that my life has dramatically changed since I invited Jesus Christ our Lord into my life.

I am not religious, but instead have a wonderful relationship with Him. As I have learned over the years, trying is religion. If you let Jesus captured you heart you would not be trying anymore because you will be living it. Let Jesus capture your heart. Tubs, Thank you for your comment. I must disagree with you, however. That is not at all what I intend to say with this blog post.

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It totally depends on WHY you are trying. It should be clearly understood that the bible calls us to try to live how God wants us. We are to try to live like Jesus did. There are countless more I could list. The above verses among many others make it very easy to see that as Christians we are indeed called to strive, toil, work, obey, and labor. Not just trying but trying very hard! When then, does it become religion? The answer to this question is what I was attempting to explain in this blog.

It is all about why you are working. Why are you trying? Do you think you can make him love you more by doing good things? If so, THIS is religion. If you think it is like earning a reward, then you are working from religion. However, that is not why Paul and the other New Testament authors worked hard. Paul understood that his good works were worthless. I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.

I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.

Paul understood that he had to discard these attempts to earn favor from God and rely only on God to make up the gap and save him. However, it was the understanding of how much grace and mercy God had shown him that made him want to work so hard. He worked hard out of love for God and a desire to show gratitude with his life. He also worked hard to gain an eternal reward in heaven.

God promises that he will reward all the work that is genuinely done for His glory. So, it is not trying that is religious. If so, then we should just do whatever we want.

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That is NOT biblical Christianity. We are still called to try and try as hard as we can. But, our reason for trying has changed. We now try out of love and gratitude and in expectation of an eternal reward that will never fade away. I also work as an Engineer at The Boeing Company. Glad I could help. God bless. I am doing a research paper on Christianity vs Religion how being a Christian is religious or a religion.

Good morning Mr. Driscoll How are you? I do believe in the Word of God. I do believe Christianity is not a religion of system of rules it is based on relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Their are so much cult religions out their in the world that is based on a system of rules by man. Since we have a relationship and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. The enemy wants to hurt us by killing us off because we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and not a false God..

I suppose everyone is free to make up their own definition of words, but you can hardly blame the rest of the world for not acknowledging your invented definition. Amanda, First off, thanks for the comment. I hope you understand that what I have written comes from a desire to help you and others.

It is certainly perfectly fine if we disagree on this. I appreciate your point that many dictionaries and other sources do not define religion as I have done here. I know and understand this. The truth is that there is not great agreement on the actual definition. I surveyed several sources with widely differing definitions. There are also many that include my definition as one of the definitions for religion, so I am not out in left field by myself here. Consider these:. From Dictionary. From the freedictionary. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion. I could certainly site others. Notice the use of practices, obligation, activity, devotion, and rituals above. The point here is that there is certainly a use and way in which the word religion can mean exactly what I am saying here. I think this gives me some room to point out that there is a major element contained in all of all the world religions that is absolutely missing in Christianity.

That just comes down to an argument over how you want to define religion. The point is that there is something vastly different about Christianity. This is the point you are missing here. There is something common to all religions that is absent in Christianity. But this is not true. Belief is NOT something you can chose to do. It is not an action. It is a state of being. It is like the color of your skin. No you could not. You could think about a pink elephant but you do not actually believe it is floating over your head.

This is because your will does not control your beliefs. You believe what you think is actually true based on the evidence you observe. Rules are about choices. Rules govern behavior, not mental states of being. Additionally, I agree that Christianity depends on belief.

Belief is a requirement, but this is not an action you perform. If you possess it, it is something given to you by God. This is made clear in the bible in Ephesians Similarly, all other religions require belief. Even non-religions require belief. Everyone has belief. This is because it is a state of mind. You believe something. You cannot be absent belief. Yes, Christianity requires belief, but so does anything else. So does Buddhism, Islam, Shintoism, or even atheism. But, there is a fundamental difference about Christianity from all the other world religions that you are refusing to acknowledge: that is all that is required.

Every other religion adds to this works, rituals, acts of service, essentially requiring you to earn it yourself. This is the point I am trying to get across here. Jesus has already done all the work for you. He has earned your redemption and restoration.

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He has actually dealt with sin and evil and addressed it something no other religions does. Christianity is the only one to address the problem of evil and offer a solution. I am certainly not that smart. Is this not an accurate statement? Think about it for a moment. What other religion has God doing the work needed to make it right Himself? I sincerely wish you the best, Amanda. I pray that you will not see this response as argumentative.

Regardless of whether you and I agree on if Christianity is a religion or not, I hope that we can both agree on the vast, amazing way in which it is different and unique. I hope that you will spend some time considering how different Christianity is. I truly think that it is the only one that makes any sense. I do not understand how anyone could think that sinful, flawed humans can try to earn our own way to a perfect and holy God. How can I expect a perfectly just God to overlook the things I have already done? I can never earn this. Then here is the offer of Christianity: God offers to pay it for me.

This actually makes sense, since He is the only one qualified to pay it. This allows Him to remain just, punishing the evil but also to display His love by not giving me what I deserve. Maryjo, Thanks for the comment. I absolutely agree with you. God saved us not because of our works, but he also has called us to do works which he has appointed for us. Consider Eph This idea is made explicit. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. I talk some about this idea in some of my response to comments.

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I am so glad I found this page. Thank you so much for clearing things up for me. I have a question for you philipians. Could you please help me understand the tithe in the Church. There is so much controversy on this topic.

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I thought that was something that was done only in the old testament. I would greatly appreciate your help in helping me understanding this topic. Abby, thanks. You ask a very good question about tithing. Hence the word tithe. Many Christians will mistakingly try to apply this to us today, but I never do so. Like many New Testament ideas it is much more ambiguous and fuzzy than the old Law.

In some ways the law was easier because it was so cut and dry. The New Covenant is all about relationship and listening the the guiding of the Holy Spirit. There are very few cut and dry rules. Because we each have the Holy Spirit we are given much more freedom to listen to His individual guidance for each of us. This does not mean it is easier now or that the call to holiness is less high. It just means we need to put out a little more work to determine what we should do. We should pray and ask the Spirit to help us know how much we should give. He says whoever loves this life will lose it but whoever gives up this life will gain life John It is all or nothing Romans The call in the New Testament is much higher.

It could mean that, but most likely not. He has given it to you so that you can use it for His glory. Your money is like the talents given to the servants in Matthew God has entrusted it to you so that you can make wise use of His money. We should alwyas be looking for what will bring the greatest glory to God. Ultimately, we will all answer for what we did with it. You can bring glory to Him by loving and caring for your family. He calls us to do this. I have found that you cannot out give God.

My personal experience is the more I give the greater He blesses me. Give sacrificially enough that it hurts and requires faith. Give regularly to your local church body. And give cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver 2 Cor If you give out of compulsion you might as well not give at all. These three principles are good general guidelines to help you.

Christianity or Churchianity is so institutionalized that it, in my opinion, is totally different from following Jesus. I try to follow Jesus and not the religion called Christianity. I do not agree with a lot of christian views. Edwin, Thanks for your comment. I think responded to yourself. It would seem that you actually agree with me. Fair enough. So do I. That is actually what I mean above when I am talking about Christianity. So we agree. I do it because I want to help support the church and pay the pastor who gives so much to me and because I want to help others and because I love God and it is an act of worship.

You can give something freely without it being religion. By your understanding no one could never do anything good, help anyone, or ever attend church or they would be religious. This is ridiculous. Most have it more right than wrong. Thanks for your reply. Indeed we do agree in a lot of things. The thing is that I have heard this statement christianity is not a religion too often. I really believe it is a statement by which people look down on others i. But how can we say that, when a Jew is keeping the Sabbath, he is religious?

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Perhaps he wants to do this because he believes it to be a good and healthy thing and not a rule that he has to observe or else… We must be honest to others and ourselves! When a pastor and I have done this also… is teaching about tithing -a lot of times Malachi is quoted. My reaction above is perhaps somewhat raw. I have been a member of a G12 church that claimed to be non-religious. But we were forced to do a lot of things unwritten rules and regulations and I have seen this in a lot of other churches too.

As I am looking for help for the whole thought I had, I found in the right track. Honestly, I am so close to you that I am your contemporary. How can i view christianity other than following a set of rules? Maybe its to prove our love and faithfulness for God? But if thats the case then the rules are being put on a petistool. Because if u dont follow them then it shows that u have superficial faith. What if following the rules brings us closer to God? We put SO much emphasis on how: If u have faith in Jesus then ur saved and going to heaven which i believe.

And also that: God will always forgive u if u sin and repent which i believe ; so if those two things are true whats the point of rules? Why cant we give into temptation and then repent? Im just saying; either christians disregard the rules and do what they want which proves superficial faith, or christians follow the rules to grow closer to God which makes following rules the focus because its ur stepping stone to grow closer to God.

I just have trouble wrapping my head around where rules should be at in my faith and how i should follow them and how much of my focus i should have on following the rules God tells us to follow. That is engraved in my mind to believe that if you are not following rules then u do not have real faith. And by rules i mainly mean drunkenness and sex. Its annoying being in college and going to FCA every wednesday and bonding with people over conversations about Jesus, then seeing the same people get drunk and have sex on the weekends. So if they are saved and going to heaven then why should i discipline myself not to fall into the same temptations as them?

If we are all going to end up in heaven then why should i try so hard not to have pre marital sex or do whatever sinful thing im tempted to do? I feel like my view of christianity is what u consider religion. Or what true christianity is. Or what God truly wants from me.

Thank you for your comment. I think I understand your struggle. Atonement is what we lead with and the gospel must come first! The priests were so concerned about making the people holy before God that they even consecrated the gate. I think one of the applications we should make from this text is to not wait until the building is completed to dedicate it. As long as we meet our liability and safety requirements, we should consecrate each room and part of the property as it is recreated. I am becoming acutely aware that even the best this life has to offer is tainted with sin and is laced with disappointment.

Vacations include bickering, lovers who desire union stumble with selfishness, beautiful hikes include sore feet, expensive entertainment includes patrons who are demanding and parties are dimmed by those absent. The best this life has to offer is still not perfect. Back to Nehemiah 3, the priests begin the restoration project. That may even be expected. The priests were the ones who led the Israelites into the Promised Land the first time as we read in Joshua But what is unexpected is the irreligious showing up to help in the restoration project.

Look at verse 2 carefully. Because nobody was supposed to be living in Jericho! At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates. They were disobedient to God. They were in a sense irreligious. I love how God works. My friends, if you are new to church, you get to stand shoulder to shoulder with us born into the church. Look at verse 3. Well, each of these gates were simply named after their function and the Fish Gate was so named because it was the entrance to the fish market. Our family was just there and watched the fishmongers throw fish around.

Fish is a major source of food and protein for people and these restorers in Jerusalem would have needed protein. Fish markets are places of great commerce and much money exchanges hands at fish markets. Fish can be very expensive. For the Jews to rebuild the Fish Gate was to bring more nourishment and business. Nehemiah understood this dynamic that a market was needed to rebuild the economy. Can you identify with any of those people? Anybody here work for the government? City planners, those in the water department or street cleaning, teachers who I would like to talk to and pray with after the service regarding the impending strike , doctors, nurses, police officers and even those from the CRA are all welcome here.

Their perfume was not about personal vanity but about being a prayerful community as they offered up incense to God. If not, then are you a neighbour? If so, you can probably relate to Jedaiah. He saw what needed repair outside his window and went to work. To this point, there has been a lot of male names in the list. My dad said that my wife Lori was the handyman son he never had. Grab a hammer ladies! And sons are not left out either. Verse 18 describes brothers working together. In verse 30, Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired the wall.

You younger siblings grab a hammer! And do so with great vigor as Baruch is said to have done with in verse 20 in some manuscripts. Rich and poor, men and women, sons and daughters all did their part. In fact, I love the fact that the rich got down and dirty and not for photo ops. Who here senses the Lord wants them to help out and care about recycling and garbage and cleaning up and the bathrooms during 4. You can actually have some practice now as our present custodian Linda Morrell will be on sick leave for some surgery at the end of the month.

Talk to Ed Hodgins if you are willing to help out in this temporary paid position. But there is going to be needed lots of clean-up. Maybe God will want some of you to push a mop! Look what Nehemiah did in verse This was a different Nehemiah than the cupbearer to the king and author of the book. We need some of you to step up and help us remember our history of reaching out to children and the community and help us build an amazing play structure for them. We envision young families and single parents and grandparents bringing their kids here as a third space for them to play safely and find a place of community.

Back to Nehemiah 3, we also find how the Jews were concerned about security. We know that the number one concern of young families today is the security of their children. We need you to be a part of that security plan going forward. And then behind the scenes, we may forget that these workers needed food to sustain them, which is hinted at in verse 11 with mentions of the Tower of the Ovens.

These ovens baked consecrated bread. So have you found a person in Nehemiah 3 to identify with? The religious and irreligious, the ministers and merchants, the government workers, the young and old, the men and the women, the sanitation and the security workers? Except one, those who refuse to the take the towel. Many other rich and upper class got rid of their robes and put on their work clothes, but not the Tekoite nobles. May none of us be considered part of their lot. Instead, may we be like Jesus who did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many Matthew