One in Christ Jesus

Galatians 3:28-29. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s see, and heir according to the promise.”

Have you ever wondered how hard it was for Paul to grasp this truth that he so eloquently expressed?  He was, after all, a Hebrew of the Hebrews.  By his own admission, he believed himself to be above the Gentiles. Men were of more importance than women (except, of course, for the one woman who would bear the Messiah!). Free men were of more value than slaves. At least, that’s what he believed before he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.  His whole world was turned upside down and inside out, and his thinking was rearranged when he came face to face with Jesus Christ.

Believers have no business holding themselves or anyone else as being of more worth or value than anyone else. Jesus died for all mankind. He didn’t separate out people by gender, race, or color. His blood avails for every man, every woman, who ever walked the face of this weary earth.

As believers, we are one with Christ, and one with each other. No matter how many more join the ranks of the redeemed, still the Body of Christ is One. Sometimes I’m afraid we forget, in the midst of all the turmoil in our country and our world, that when one believer is persecuted, jailed, beaten, or killed, the whole body is affected.

And when one more lost soul comes to Christ and joins the body of believers, the whole body is affected.

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Later on today, around 8 p.m., I’ll be aboard a plane with seven other team members. We’ll be flying to Slovakia, where we’ll spend about a week helping a new church work there. We’ll be sharing in some physical labor, and we’ll also be involved in church services and a three-day conference involving other churches in the area. I’m very excited to be a part of this team, and I would ask you to pray for us. Pray for unity with each other; pray for wisdom; pray for physical health and well-being; pray that the Word of God will be shared with as many people as possible.

I wish Terry could come, but that’s just not possible right now. So pray for him, too, as he faces over a week without me 🙂   I am going to try to blog about the trip as it unfolds, but I’m not sure about the availability of wifi, so if you don’t see any new postings until I get back home, you’ll understand why.

I’ll be 68 years old on Saturday, the Fourth, the day we’ll be landing in Budapest and getting into vans for the drive to our final destination.  That’s a pretty cool way to celebrate 🙂

Have Ye Not Read?

Matthew 19:4-6.  “And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Did you notice that Jesus completely by-passed the academic and traditional arguments?  He didn’t bother to address the Hillel/Shammai debate, because it wasn’t  something that originated with God!  Instead, He went right to the beginning, first causes, what God originally instituted in the Garden of Eden when He presented lovely Eve to lonely Adam.  How do I know she was lovely? She was perfect!  She was the only perfect woman who has ever lived. She was the original Miss Universe. 

Marriage, as instituted by the Creator, is an argument against polygamy, divorce, and homosexual “marriage.” 

First, He created them male and female. It was a one-to-one ratio. God did not make multiple women from whom Adam could select his bride. One man, one woman. 

Second, He created them male and female to become on flesh. In no other instance than divorce do we find a man or woman who willingly lops of a big chunk of his own flesh. The one-flesh principle is more than sexual intimacy. It goes far beyond that, to a man and a woman becoming so much a part of each other that when one dies, the other suffers intense pain at every level. When two people live together in such complete oneness, they are indeed one in God and in the eyes of man. One unit, one couple, one flesh. 

Third, He created them male and female to be the reproductive unit that God established to populate the earth. That population could not have been accomplished if it were male-male or female-female. 

Ephesians 5 shows us what the believing husband and wife represent. Christ and the church and the love of Christ, the obedience of the church, the oneness which exists between Christ and the church, all to be seen in the relationship of husband and wife. 

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

                                                                                          Ephesians  5:29-32

Men who abuse their wives are abusing themselves. Women who disregard their husbands are disregarding themselves. Divorce, no matter how horrible the marriage may have been, is a painful process that has lasting effects on everyone concerned. It is not to be taken lightly. 

Did the Pharisees walk away enlightened and encouraged?  We’ll see. 

 

 

Sexual Assault: Focus on the Male Victims, part 2

My purpose in these posts is to help dispel some fallacious beliefs that have developed over time. Similar to beliefs about female victims, there are some very harmful ideas out there; for instance, the idea that if a woman was raped, she was probably asking for it.  Good grief.  Does anyone really believe that—-that rape is something you “ask for”?  In any case, there are similar myths out there about male victims that need to be addressed.

Many male sexual assault victims feel intense guilt and confusion  if they were aroused at any point, or even enjoyed the attention they were getting at first. Typically, the predator will win the boy’s trust and affection with a lot of attention, gifts, and long intimate conversations. The boy will begin to respond when touching starts, not realizing the ultimate goal of the predator. If the boy shows any sign of enjoyment or arousal, the predator can say, “See, you wanted it; you liked it.”  And because the boy is inexperienced, he is confused and feels shame and guilt.

Fact:  Men’s bodies and brains react differently than women’s do. It is possible for a boy to experience some arousal without wanting or enjoying being manipulated into the experience.

It is absolutely possible for a boy or man to be raped. That doesn’t mean he wanted or liked it.