As followers of Jesus, we call ourselves “Christians.” But the face is this word appears only 3 times in the New Testament. So the Bible uses a host of other terms to identify the followers of Jesus-children of God, citizens of heaven, lights to the world, members of His body, sheep in His flock. But there is one word used more frequently than any of these. Slave.
Really? Do a casual read through your English New Testament and you won’t see the word printed more than just a few times. “That’s because the Greek word for slave (doulos), has been mistranslated in almost every English version - going back to both King James Version and the Geneva Bible that predated it.”
In this scrupulously reseachered book, John MacArthur drills down through a historical mystery to the first-century followers of Jesus Christ. Their self identity had been radically redefined by the gospel: they had been set free from sin, yet having been bought with a price, they had all become slaves of Christ. And they had the frame of reference to appreciate exactly what that meant.
"We don’t hear about this concept in churches today," MacArthur says. "Slavery is a distasteful concept to modern sensibilities. So we hear that God loves people unconditionally and whants them to be all they want to be. Personal ambition, personal fulfillment, personal gratification - these have all become part of the lexicon of evangelical Christianity - and the essence of what it means to have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Truth be known, the gospel is not simply an invitation to become Christ’s friend. Associate in the battle. Companion on the journey. The Bible includes an unmistakable mandate to become His slave. This is what it means to be a Christian.
Inside cover description of Slave by John MacArthur
oh my, thank you my dear friend. :) i’m happy with how it turned out, but i’m even more excited to be a sister to beautiful hearted women like you and my tumblr fam. have a lovely evening lightheart :))
“The world puts a lot of pressure on you to achieve. God does not. In Him, you already have everything you need, and you didn’t earn any of it. You can stop campaigning, you’ve already been elected. The world can be a cold and competitive place, but make no mistake, God gives to us in love, not because of merit.”—Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com) AMEN Unka Glen. Praise You!, Father.
You had me going there for a minute. Things started looking pretty bad, like dang. Things looked like maybe I’d be stuck with this for the rest of my life. But then I remembered that making things look bad is pretty much the only trick you have. I mean, it’s not like you could stop me. If you…
This is the question we’re all dying to have answered, isn’t it? But, let’s be honest: the Bible isn’t specific on that. It’s clear that full-on sexual intercourse is a sin, but like many of life’s more complicated issues, it tells us that we no longer live by the written code, but that we serve in the new way of the spirit (Romans 7:6). That is to say, God Himself would like to direct us personally in this.
The reason for that should be obvious – every relationship is different. And the modern path to marriage is as far from the marriage customs of Biblical times as one can imagine. Unless you live in a part of the world where two shepherds meet on a hill to work out which of their 15-year-olds will be getting married and on their way to making babies later that year, we’re looking at a whole ‘nother thing.
But I’m wondering if we’re asking this question the wrong way. Rather than asking how much I can give in to my cravings before it does serious damage, perhaps we should start by asking, how good could this be? And by good I mean, how righteous could it be, AND I mean, how good can the sexy stuff be?
I think the right way to look at this, is to start by picturing the goal: a healthy Christian marriage. Emotionally healthy, spiritually healthy, and sexually healthy. Picture that for a moment. An emotionally supportive marriage, with two people passionately worshipping, praying and serving the Lord together, and then going home and spoiling each other rotten with pleasure. They even scare the neighbors a little every now and then (call the cops, I think I hear screaming!).
In this healthy Christian marriage, they have totally guilt-free, wild sex. They have it any time they like, as much as they like, and it gives them a deeper intimacy. It helps them to form a deeper bond. And sometimes it’s a very pleasant distraction from a tough day they might be having. And God smiles down on all of this because it’s working just as He intended.
Again, take a second, and picture that marriage.
Now, if that’s what we’re shooting for, then what we want to do is simply work backwards and figure out the path that takes us from where we are, to where we want to be. We know that we would need two emotionally and spiritually healthy people, with mature walks with the Lord, certainly. It would require two people who had worked through a certain amount of their own hang-ups and insecurities, definitely. But, then we have to ask: would we recognize a person like that when we saw them? Or would we get confused by the first hottie-with-a-Bible that crossed our path?
I think we need to learn how to recognize and identify what we’re looking for. And this is where Christians often get it wrong.
What we’re really talking about here is developing a sense of discernment – knowing a good situation from a bad situation, being able to correctly answer the question, “Could I ultimately have a healthy Christian marriage with this person?” And as much as inappropriate sexual intimacy can get in the way of that, inappropriate emotional intimacy can cause even more problems.
For Christians today, whether the sex is out of control or not, the emotions are definitely out of control. The level of emotional investment that people make in a relationship that’s maybe just be a few weeks old can be kinda frightening. We’ve all known a Christian couple that was essentially “married” from their first date. This is rather risky business, because they’ve actually done very little to get to know each other, and very little to answer that question, “Could I have a healthy marriage with this person?”
Of course, physical intimacy, as it turns out, reaches in and tweaks all those emotions to the max. Sex gives a sense of emotional intimacy that new relationships just aren’t built to handle. Heck, when even secular movies are telling you that the “friends with benefits” thing (sex with no commitment) doesn’t work, well then, it’s time to be honest about how bad we’re all messing this thing up.
What this all winds up with is hugely emotionally entangled relationships between two people that don’t really know each other.
Instead of all of that, what if we said: I’m just gonna start getting to know people. It doesn’t matter if I use the word “date” or not. I’m gonna get to know a variety of Christian people of the opposite gender, and start trying to develop my sense of discernment. There isn’t gonna be anything physical with any of them at this stage, because that would only cloud things. My goal is to have a better idea of what I’m ultimately looking for.
As you begin to find answers to those questions, you’ll probably also find that some things within yourself need work. No problem – you’re up for a challenge, aren’t you?
After you properly discern who you should be with, THEN we can look at physical intimacy.
As I mentioned before, we need to get some direction from the Lord on this. So let’s say I pray about it, and I feel like kissing is as far as we should go, and I ask my beloved to pray about it, and she gets the same answer, then (hold onto your socks) you’re supposed to kiss. I mean, you’re supposed to figure out how good kissing can be. I mean you’re not supposed to skip over that like it’s some consolation prize on the way to the big show, I mean you’re supposed to really enjoy this part of your relationship.
Maybe down the road the Lord says it’s time to do other stuff, like couch wrestling, etc., or maybe He doesn’t, but it’s about enjoying and savoring every moment and every permissible thing, guilt free, and knowing why this person is a wise choice, because you’ve done the hard work of finding out.
- There should be a mentor, or pastor, or spiritual guide of some sort that can help you make all these decisions, especially the sexual ones. You can’t imagine how utterly clueless people can be about sex and about relationships. A lifetime of watching romantic comedies will not adequately prepare you for anything.
- You should be able to answer: Could we have a healthy confrontation with one another when things get out of bounds? Are our core values and expectations about money, family, and lifestyle shared?
- You should have emotional intimacy before physical intimacy, and that should evolve slowly over time as you both become more vulnerable to one another, and learn to trust one another.
- This relationship should look more and more like a team. Volunteer for something where you can see how you work together. Whether this relationship works out or not, you need to learn how to hold up your half of a good team.
- This relationship should be about learning who you are in relationships, looking at the things you want to change, and developing a sense of the kind of person you might be compatible with.
- Bottom line, you need to set boundaries and keep boundaries, and if you can’t do that, you aren’t ready to be in a relationship. We’re talking about sexual boundaries, emotional boundaries, and even boundaries on how much drama you let your friends and family inject into this thing.
The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). Freedom from guilt because you know you’re keeping good boundaries, freedom to enjoy what you know is permissible, freedom to explore a whole new life with a helpful companion and lover at your side.
— This post is a joint project between Jed Brewer (jedbrewer.tumblr.com), and Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)
Because a little sin leads to more sin. Because my sin invites the discipline of God. Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted. Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me. Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual…
“We live in a world of dangerous extremes. ‘These are extreme times,’ Dr. King said. ‘The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?’ The world has seen Christian extremists who will blow up abortion clinics and dance on the doctors’ graves. We have seen Christian extremists who hold signs that say, ‘God hates fags.’ The world has seen Christian extremists who declare war in the name of the Lamb. But where are the Christian extremists for love and grace?”—Shane Claiborne (via from-bones)
We are apart again, it is wonderful to enjoy the presence of the Lord, but we fully acknowledge that there is nothing that compares to worshiping the Lord together. It took us awhile to get used to worshiping together, but now it feels so strange being apart from each other. God is doing a great…
Extreamly thankful for the example of this God fearing couple.
“He does not want a girl who trifles with Christianity. He wants a woman who is radically given to Christ. He does not want a girl who prays tepid, lukewarm prayers. He wants a woman who lives in defiance of the powers of Hell. He does not want a girl who is self-adorning with the latest fashions and trends. He wants a woman who is adorned with the inner jewelry of Christ-given holiness. He does not want a girl who dishonors and belittles her parents. He wants a woman who honors the authorities God has placed in her life and serves them with charity and gladness. He does not want a girl whose Bible is an accessory to her wardrobe. He wants a woman whose hunger and thirst is to know the Lord, and who diligently feasts upon His Word. He does not want a girl whose tongue is a deceptive weapon of selfishness. He wants a woman whose words drip with the honey of the name of Jesus.”—Set Apart Girl Magazine (via sketchmedesire)