Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor; i.e., a discussion of rainbow consecrations in churches
The idea for this text began from a letter to the editor. Etelä-Suomen sanomat (a Finnish newspaper) (2/7/2017) contained a letter to the editor called Päivi Räsänen is a Pharisee written by a person named Teuvo (I leave out the surname as it is not important here). In the letter, Teuvo expressed his support for gay weddings to be held in churches and criticized Päivi Räsänen for being a Pharisee. He wrote like so, among other things:
Päivi Räsänen is a Pharisee
…Päivi Räsänen’s ideas are partly flawed. I was also expecting advice from her for the practicalities of love. Must we follow a love practice that is commonly known as the missionary, or abide by the rule “never on Sundays”?
I bet Räsänen would not take part in the Canaan wedding described in the Bible, as she would sit in the front pew and bang on her chest like the Pharisees, saying: I am glad I am not like those lesbians who celebrate in the Canaan wedding”.
The national church, also known as the state church, must follow the Finnish laws. If the law allows marriage between two men or women, the national church should also fix their policies in accordance with the law.
…I have participated in the “rainbow mass” held in the hall of Young Women’s Christian Organization in Lahti a few times, and an older retired pastor from Lahti announced there that he would also inaugurate minority couples. Excellent civilian bravery from a retired pastor in Lahti!
Since I agree with Päivi Räsänen, I wanted to speak out on the matter (many years ago, when I was an atheist, I used to think the other way around). I am not a member of the church, but I see concerning sings in the current trends. That is why I wrote about it in the opinion column. My comment was published (ESS 7/7/2017) but heavily shortened, which changed the tone of my message and left out some crucial arguments. The title was also changed completely: Officiants of gay couples guiding people to hell. (There was an episode where my mother, who does not agree with my view, urged me to call the editing staff who had altered the title and left out some essential points. She thought that people might see me as a homophobe, although it is quite the contrary. I decided to leave it, however. The media does not always take into consideration how distorted messages about people and matters might also affect the relatives).
This is how I originally wrote my comment. The underlined parts were missing from the news article:
Rainbow matrimonies and the church
Teuvo… spoke out about the inauguration of rainbow couples (ESS 2/7). He thought the attitude where the church does not officiate rainbow couples is unloving and Pharisee-like. He also mentioned Päivi Räsänen.
In my opinion, Teuvo does not seem to understand what this is all about: it is about shifting the line between right and wrong. Throughout times, churches have regarded homosexual sex to be wrongful behavior which affects one’s eternity (1 Cor 6:9,10: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.). Many other things also belong in this category, like extramarital affairs, murders, theft, etc. A good question is whether homosexual sex, murders, thefts, and extramarital affairs (someone might defend that with love, too) are still wrong, or whether they are now acceptable and correct behavior? Should the church always change their teachings about these matters based on Gallup polls? I think this is a sketchy thing to do.
One thing I am concerned about is the narrowing of freedom of faith and thought. I think that the attitude of Teuvo will lead to that. This attitude was prevalent in the communist states and in the Nazi Germany. Those communities prohibited church activities entirely or restricted what they were allowed to teach. They also demanded total allegiance to the government (For instance, Adolf Eichmann, responsible for the killing of thousands, claimed based on this policy that he had done nothing wrong, because he was only taking orders). Teuvo, do you want this kind of society that existed in the communist states and the Nazi Germany? That is where his way of thinking will lead. That is why I am concerned.
Then onto love and pharisaism. I would never think of myself as better than other people. And I don’t think Päivi Räsänen thinks like that either. Instead, like I mentioned, it is about different views in terms of what is right and wrong – not about superiority over others.
Moreover, you can look at love from different viewpoints. Some think that people officiating gay couples represent love. I, on the other hand, view those people as leading other people to hell. I consider real love to be warning other people of their wrong choices, like warning someone about thin ice: “Don’t go any further, or things might go very badly for you!” We can look at things from many angles.
Some more discussion about the matter. Newspaper writings, especially letters to the editor, are issued with a small space, forcing the writer to abstract everything into a rather brief message. Whereas, this topic can be viewed in a much broader sense. Hence, I will be bringing up some essential points, first about Pharisaism:
- (Luke 18:9-14) And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
As was mentioned earlier, Teuvo stated in his comment that “Päivi Räsänen is a Pharisee”. In addition, he wrote: “I bet Räsänen would not take part in the Canaan wedding described in the Bible, as she would sit in the front pew and bang on her chest like the Pharisees, saying: I am glad I am not like those lesbians who celebrate in the Canaan wedding”.
When it comes to the former Pharisee-like thinking, where one considers themself morally superior to other “sinners”, I have myself gone in the other direction. I believe it is also the case in the life of Päivi Räsänen.
When I took my first steps in my path of faith, I saw my own mistakes, not the mistakes of others. I was weighed down by my own burden of sin, like the Publican in the allegory of Jesus, and I was not thinking about other people’s mistakes. And the same still continues for me. As God has shown me my mistakes, it has led to humbleness, and I can no longer throw stones at others. My judgmental attitudes towards other people have diminished over the years. I do not claim that I would have become perfect in this sense, but I have been on a clear path. Tapio Nousiainen explains in his book Kristuksen kanssa kärsimyskoulussa [In the school of suffering with the Christ] (s.98,99) about similar growth:
Now we are approaching an important phase, a turning point really.
With all suffering, God has aimed to achieve one goal: that we would see ourselves as the Holy Spirit sees us. Of course we in this day and age would not be able to go through seeing our real selves. So unclean and entirely wretched it is, when one gets to peek behind the curtain. But what we can bare, the Holy Spirit will show us.
When the man got to this stage, he felt how God’s presence went deeper inside him. Slowly, he started to see himself. How conceited, ambitious, hungry for praise, power-seeking, unclean, thin-skinned, grumpy, indecent, bitter, schemer, lustful, spiritually lazy, Pharisee, slanderer, sectarian, spy, mendacious, obsessed and jealous man he truly was.
Surely, if God went any deeper it would have revealed new aspects, but it would have been too much for the man. The man threw himself in front of God and cried in agony: “Oh God, how am I like this? How could you ever save me and tolerate me all these years? I am completely hopeless. I cannot save myself.”
Isaiah’s cry from the Bible (Isa. 6:5) is really fitting to the man: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
God must take things this far, before one can really benefit from learning. Everything after that is ascending from the low point.
Interestingly, Paul experienced similar growth. He said in the beginning that he was the cheapest of the apostles, then cheapest of the holy, and at the end of his life he called himself the greatest sinner.
- (1 Cor 15:9) For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
- (Eph 3:8) To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
- (1 Tim 1:15) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
T.B. Barratt, known as Pentecostal apostle in Europe, has also referred to his experiences. He had been a believer for decades before he received Pentecostal baptism from above. However, right before the baptism, he saw his own flaws and shortcomings very deeply. This is opposite to the Pharisaic thinking:
It took place yesterday, Sunday, October the 7th, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and now I will tell you all how it happened. My soul is burning! I feel as if I was the happiest man in the world. Everything has become new. I am full of joy, peace, and love towards God and all people! Through the days he has led me, my heart continually shouting, “Forward! Forward!” Since my difficult illness over 20 years ago, there have always been forces, good forces, which have driven me forward. The question of sanctification has been my dearest subject; I have fought for it, even though I have not experienced it. (…)
But how wretched I felt in my own eyes before the purity and holiness of God! I saw my own ambition, selfishness, stubbornness, and carnality. Oh, my God, I saw so much, so much that would grieve the Holy Spirit! I was broken and bent to the ground over and over again. (1)
Love also matters
- (1 Cor 13:1,2) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
- (Eph 4:15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Teuvo also talked about love in his letter. He viewed supporters of rainbow movements and officiants inaugurating them as representatives of love.
But as expressed in my comment, this is essentially about shifting the line between what is right and wrong – not about superiority over others or a lack of love (It is true, of course, that these things can be discussed in an unloving manner, and many have been guilty of this). Throughout times, the church has considered homosexual sex as wrongful behavior that affects people’s eternity (1 Cor 6:9,10: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.). The list includes murders, thefts, extramarital affairs, and other sins. Should the church change their teaching about these matters, as well, if that is in favor of Gallup polls? Should churches preach from now on that adultery is no longer wrong if the adulterers love each other, or that theft and murder are now acceptable? If we can change the morality law in one aspect, what is stopping us from tweaking in other ways too? I think there is a fine line, as I mentioned earlier.
James Sire has well explained the change that has slowly morphed our society. The reason behind the change is Christian theism’s loss of significance. That is why changes happen in moral areas:
However, even in our relativity we cannot escape the feeling that some things are just ”right” or ”natural” and some are not. For centuries the majority of society considered homosexuality as obscene. Nowadays many people deny this. But they do not deny it on the basis that there are no moral categories, so much so that this area of homosexuality should have belonged to the other side of that boundary, which separates descent from obscene. Homosexuals do not usually accept incest! Accordingly, people having different moral values do not change the fact that we constantly make moral judgments and live by them or against them. Everyone lives in a moral universe and in the end everyone thinking about this in the slightest knows this and would not want to change it.
Theism teaches, however, that we do not only live in a moral world, but that there is an absolute yardstick, according to which all moral values are being measured. God Himself and His good (sacred and loving) nature is that yardstick. Additionally, Christians and Jews claim that God has given His yardstick in the laws and principles written in the Bible. Inter alia, Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount and Paul the Apostle’s ethical teaching are God’s ways of revealing us His nature. Therefore, there is a yardstick for right and wrong and if someone wants to, they can get to know it. (2)
Teuvo also wrote highly respectfully about the retired priest who was willing to officiate rainbow couples. I, on the other hand, think they are leading other people to hell. And as I expressed, I view warning people about their wrong choices as a sign of real love, like warning people about thin ice: “Don’t go any further, or things might end up badly for you!” Things can be viewed from different perspectives.
Then, why do some priests think and act like the retired priest? There is a simple explanation. They reject the former and many other Bible verses about this subject. They do not believe them to be true. Basically, they claim that Jesus and His disciples were either unknowing or liars. They consider themselves greater experts than the Son of God from heaven, Jesus, and the disciples appointed by Jesus. I think this demonstrates great arrogance.
What about real love? Many people might criticize Christian faith and people following the teachings of Jesus and the disciples. Christian faith has been very practical in this area, not only words but actions too. People have been serious about the Bible, which has brought about positive reform in society. Below, you will find some examples from hospital care:
During the Middle Ages the people, who belonge to the Order of Saint Benedict, maintained over two thousand hospitals in the Western Europe alone. The 12th century was remarkably signigicant in this respect, especially there, where the Order of Saint John operated. For example, the large Hospital of the Holy Ghost was founded in 1145 at Montpellier, which quickly became the center of medical education and the medical centerl of Montpellier during the year 1221. In addition to medical care, these hospitals provided food for the hungry and took care of widows and orphans, and gave out alms to those who needed them. (3)
Even though the Christian church has been criticized a lot throughout its history, it has still been the forerunner in medical care for the poor, helping captives, homeless or the dying ones and improving working environments. In India the best hospitals and educational institutions connected to it are the result of Christian missionary work, even to that extent that many Hindus use these hospitals more than the hospitals maintained by the government, because they know that they are going to receive better care over there. It is estimated that when the Second World War began, 90% of nurses in India were Christians, and that 80% of them received their education from missionary hospitals. (4)
Many of the best, still existing medical institutions in India’s peninsula were founded by Christians’ initiative, often against the wishes of the colonies. Missionaries have had downright an exceptional impact on health care in Asia and in Africa. They have taken care of leprous, made groundbreaking discoveries in epidemic doctrine, developed national healthcare systems, educated basic healthcare employees and founded school institutions for women doctors and nurses. (5)
In church the affairs of this life were as much taken care of as were the affairs of the future life; it seemed that everything that the Africans accomplished, originated from the missionary work of the church. (Nelson Mandela omaelämäkerrassaan Pitkä tie vapauteen [Nelson Mandela in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom])
What about hospitals and relief agencies sustained by humanists and atheists? They have only been spectators, in this respect. English journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), turned secular humanist, yet honest, took a note of this. He paid attention to how a worldview affects culture:
I have spent years in India and Africa, and in both places I have come across ample righteous activity maintained by Christians belonging in different denominations; but not once have I stumbled upon a hospital, or an orphanage, or a leper colony based on humanity maintained by a social organization. (6)
Towards a communist model. When it comes to the most extensive human rights violations in history, they were committed in the last century. Atheism-based communism and Nazism were the ideologies that led to the loss of tens of millions of lives, either in wars or in persecutions put in place by leaders.
What led to the tragic development of the early 20th century? It is often thought that people were different back then, but that hardly is the case. Instead, it is more likely that Europe became more secular and the leaders no longer had any point of reference to Christianity (For example, the autobiography of Stalin tells how one day Stalin became an atheist. Similarly, Joseph Goebbels diary entries from December 29, 1939, include the following mention of Hitler’s attitudes: “Führer is deeply religious, but completely against Christianity. He sees Christianity as a symptom of ruin. And it is. It is a branch of the Jewish race. You can see that in the similarities of their rituals.” (8) Those leaders did not honor God, nor did they think they were responsible for any of their actions, and that is what led to the heinous acts we now know today. Well-known author, George Orwell, understood this. He wrote during the war, in 1944, how Christianity’s loss of significance enabled the rise of ideologies, such as fascism and communism:
Western civilization, unlike some Oriental civilizations, is partly built on a belief on personal immortality. The West’s whole notion of what constitutes as right and wrong is fairly difficult to sperate from that. There are hardly any doubts that this modern cult of power-worship is connected to the feeling of a modern human that life is here and now, and it is the only life we have.
Since for thousands of years people have been raised with the idea that the soul never dies, we must now make a considerable psychological effort to get used to the idea that the individual does die eventually. If we cannot develop a system of good and bad independent from heaven and hell, the civilization is likely doomed.
We cannot expect much from the future before we realize how much we have lost in the degradation of Christianity. (9)
This is a good place to shift our attention to freedom of religion and thinking. Communist states hardly had any freedom, because Christianity was either completely banned, or strict restrictions were placed on what could be taught. Nazi Germany also shared the same policy: Gestapo was closely monitoring what was taught in churches. It had informants and all political opposition was suppressed. These societies can be viewed as similar surveillance societies that George Orwell wrote about in his book 1948.
What about modern day? It is highly possible that history will repeat itself and freedom of religion and thinking will be narrowed down again, as happened in the 20th century. Today, the narrowing of freedom of religion and thinking will be the work of cultural liberals who in the name of love support similar sexual moral, which was represented by the first communists. (When communists gained authority, they facilitated, e.g., divorce processes, legalized abortion, and it was taught that there should not be any restrictions on free sexual affairs.) I believe the Western world is headed towards thins kind of development, which is what can be anticipated based on Teuvo’s letter. Humans have always been the same, and if society strays further from God and the teachings of Jesus and the disciples (e.g., Germany was in the 19th and early 20th centuries a leading country in religious criticism and liberal theology), there is no other direction. That is why I am concerned about the current trends and see us rapidly slipping back into the ways we had one hundred years ago. Shifting to surveillance type-model, like in communism and Gestapo, is not far. Cultural liberals, who often talk in the name of equality and love, are the leading pioneers in this shift.
The following quotation sheds light on the narrowing in freedom of religion and speech. The authors in the book do not represent Christianity, yet they have also seen the current shift. They think that cultural liberals are pleading for removal of freedom of religion and speech.
People who call themselves cultural liberals are the ones threatening the freedoms that classical liberals hold as the basis of free society. Because of them, nonconformists have to fear for their freedom of speech. They will come into our bedrooms to see if money is being exchanged, they will march into our companies to make sure there are enough women in the administrative board. They will invade our churches and tell us what can be taught about sexual ethics and will make sure that the preaching is done by a woman. (10)
It is important to note that God has known these things the whole time. Bible prophecies have mentioned the apostasy before the Second Coming of Jesus (2 Thess 2:1,3 Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him… Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition). Furthermore, David Wilkerson’s famous book, The Vision, e.g., includes detailed and exact predictions about the current trends in society and the church.
William Booth, the founder of Salvation Army, received a similar prophecy in his later years, now more than one hundred years ago. His prophecy is about change in the leaders of society and church. It depicts the state of Christendom the day before the Second Coming of Jesus:
1. "At that time politics is without God. (...) There will be a day when the official state politics of the entire West is of the kind that nobody in a leading position fears God (...) the new generation of political leaders will rule Europe; a generation that does not fear God in the least;
2. Then there will be heaven without hell (...) There will be a day when a great withdrawal of what the Bible says to be "the Gospel of the full truth" will take place. At that time a "gospel" for the itching ears of the people will be preached. The hearers will determine what is preached from the pulpits. Then, the common order for the pulpits will be 'speak mild, sweet words; speak about heaven, leave us in peace so that we would not have to be strained when you preach about hell.'
3. Christianity is full of forgiveness but without repentance. The teaching of the Bible that there is not forgiveness without repentance will disappear from Christianity.
4. The day before the coming of Jesus will be full of the joy of salvation, with people who have not been born again from above.
5. There is a lot of religion without the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:5 Jude 18,19).
6. Christianity without Christ. Christ is not anywhere where the 'BLOOD and FIRE ' are not valid – deny one of the two and you will have forms of Christianity but without Christ."
Inclinations and lust
- (Mark 7:21-23) For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
- (Eph 2:3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
- (Mark 4:18,19) And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
- (James 1:14,15) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
When it comes to homosexual inclinations, people often think it is an innate quality, like skin color. This is the major reason behind positive attitudes in society towards this inclination. However, it is noteworthy that many homosexuals themselves deny the innateness of their condition. They do not believe in the inherent nature of their inclination, but instead, refer to their past experiences (relationships, sexual abuse…). This also used to be the general view in psychology too. Some homosexuals might defend their inclination as innate, but not all agree:
Bill Hybels: I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (11)
What is the Bible’s explanation for this condition? Sin and lust. Homosexual lust is no different to other kinds of lust. In this sense, we are all in the same boat, because everyone has some improper tendencies and lusts. Heterosexual lust, which might materialize, e.g., as watching pornography, is not any better than homosexual lust. Jesus taught:
- (Matt 5:27,28) You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
In addition, one may have other desires and harmful attitudes. Some of them might be inherent, some not. Not all people share the same kind of suffering, but there is not one person whose mind would be entirely free from all lusts and harmful attitudes:
• Bitterness and unforgiveness
• Tendency to over-eat
• Hate and despise, e.g., towards foreigners. One might suffer from self-hate also.
• Envy towards successful people
• Hunger for power
• Pedophilia, i.e., sexual lust after children
• Addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs
• Fear of people and dependence on other’s opinions
• Pride and comparison to others
What about trans people who are dissatisfied with their gender? It is impossible to determine their inner state based on their appearance and physical body. It does not seem to be a physical condition but a matter of mentality (there is often an underlying wish for a child of the other gender, which has been openly expressed). Thoughts in their head guide them, and they believe they are happier if they were born in the body of the opposite gender.
The thoughts of trans people are not out of the ordinary, however. Any one of us might be dissatisfied with ourselves at some point in our lives. This dissatisfaction might manifest itself in different ways, but it all comes from the thoughts in our mind. We think we would be happier if we were different.
• Eating disorder Anorexia nervosa is a good example. The disorder can make a person feel bigger than they are, even if they were rather thin. It distorts body image and makes people believe they would be happier if they were skinnier.
• Heavy drug and alcohol use often originate from strong feelings and thoughts of inferiority. People use substances to get rid of their weaknesses, inferiority and negative thoughts.
• Plastic surgery is concerned with dissatisfaction to one’s body. The results can sometimes be good, when the seemingly ugly aesthetical feature is removed. That is not always the case, however, as one might be overtaken with the mindset controlling their life.
• Men might be dissatisfied with their body, and growing muscles can be their way of attempting to lift their self-respect and satisfaction.
• Too much focus on achievement can result from bad self-esteem and dissatisfaction with oneself. Workaholism can be a symptom of buying acceptance form self and others.
• Self-hate and self-contempt are manifestations of deep dissatisfaction with oneself. At its worst it can lead to suicide or self-harm. Usually, self-hate begins with rejection from others and the way one reacts to that rejection. Other’s rejection in itself does not cause self-hate, as it has to do with our own negative thinking. That is, if we can think rationally, we can be happy, even if the whole world was against us.
The issue of not having contrition
- (2 Cor 7:9,10) Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.
It is common for the media to take an arrogant approach towards Christian faith and moral. For example, supporters of free sexuality have condescendingly talked about sexual abstinence before marriage. These “open-minded and progressive” people have tried to explain how abstinence is causing guilt, shame, and forces people to suppress their feelings.
These blind guides do not take into consideration to what careless sexual behavior can lead: Teen pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and situations where children have to grow up without their other or both parents. People also fail to take into account economical costs to society. Those can rack up to hundreds of millions or billions of euros, all because people want to live a selfish lifestyle.
What is the reason behind these wrongful teachings (Matt 18:7: Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!) or our improper behavior? It is the lack of contrition and not truly having remorse over our actions. This applies as much to murderers, thieves, financial criminals, and drug users as it does to adulterers and homosexuals. Trans people are also rebelling against God, when they do not accept the gender they received in birth.
Contrition is good for us, not in itself, but in that it makes us look for forgiveness. A person who does not admit to having ever done anything wrong and does not look for forgiveness, cannot be forgiven. It is that simple. That is why you should confess any sins you can think of and turn to God, like the prodigal son in the allegory of Jesus:
- (Luke 15:18-20) I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,
19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- (1 John 1:8,9) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You should also understand that you cannot receive eternal life through actions, but only through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He carried your sins to the cross and through Him you can get closer to God and have your sins forgiven, as shown in the following passages:
- (John 5:39,40) Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:
- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
The prayer of salvation. Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and I have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven by Your atonement work and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation You have given me. Amen.
1. Martin Ski: T.B. Barratt - Helluntaiapostoli, p. 108-110
2. James W. Sire: Missä maailmassa? Maailmankatsomusten perusteet puntarissa (The Universe Next Door. A Basic World View Catalog), p. 36,37
3. David Bentley Hart: Ateismin harhat (Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies), p. 65
4. Lennart Saari: Haavoittunut planeetta, p. 104
5. Ramachandra, Vinoth, Gods that Fail, Carlisle: Paternoster Press 1996, 216
6. Malcolm Muggeridge: Jesus Rediscovered. Pyramid 1969.
7. Maurice Rawlings: Rajan taakse ja takaisin (To Hell and back), p. 33,34
8. Goebbelsin päiväkirja 29.121939, siteerattu teoksessa F. Taylor (toim.) The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-1941, Lontoo, Hamish Hamilton, p. 77
9. Timo Vihavainen, Marko Hamilo, Joonas Konstig: Mitä mieltä Suomessa saa olla, p. 229
10. Timo Vihavainen, Marko Hamilo, Joonas Konstig: Mitä mieltä Suomessa saa olla, p. 44
11. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 132
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!