What Quora & Satan don’t want you to know about homosexuality

This past weekend I received a “Be Nice, Be Respectful” violation for “hate speech” on Quora.com. My appeal was rejected and my account may be terminated. I am in the process of backing up all of my work, and I will be reposting many of my writings here on my website in the coming months.

Quora’s notice:

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My appeal:

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Quora’s Response:

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Here is what I wrote, to this prompt, which Quora has marked as “hate speech:”

From a Christian, non-LGBTQ perspective, what’s the best way for Christians to help LGBTQ people come to repentance?

First let’s see what the Bible says, specifically the New Testament:

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24

Okay cool. We’re supposed to judge correctly!

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proudarrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderouswithout self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, recklessswollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”  2 Timothy 3:1-5

That basically describes everyone in this present age. Now that we know what we’re dealing with (unrepentant people) and what we’re supposed to do (judge rightly) let’s move forward.

“9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” – 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Wow, so we see that the Bible is very clear! Christians aren’t to go around being the morality police to non-Christians. (This does not mean that Christians can’t have a say on what legally affects Christian taxpayers or what they’re forced to subject their own children to.) BUT Christians have an obligation to police so-called Christians who are engaging in behavior that God calls “evil.” If they are unrepentant, the Bible says to remove them from the congregation!

But what if they were born this way?! Well of course! We were all born with a sin nature!

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Now we see that homosexuality is considered a sin that shows that you are not God’s child, one who will inherit God’s kingdom. We see that some Christians formerly practiced such acts, but after becoming Christians, they no longer engaged in such acts.

“29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. – Matthew 5:29-30

Being born any type of way does not excuse sin. Jesus Himself directs people to maim themselves if that’s what it takes to prevent yourself from engaging in sexual sin.

What is the best thing you can do to share the gospel with someone? Simply share the gospel with them! People may have traumatic backgrounds, so lead with God’s love, without condoning their sin. Share the gospel how you would with a heterosexual person.

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” – Romans 1:18-32

We see that people already know God and they choose to worship anything but Him. Homosexuality is something that God sees as a sign of people who are wicked and willfully disobedient to His laws. You must make sure that you do not give approval to such acts while sharing the message of God’s love.

Even when Jesus spoke to sexually immoral people, he ended His conversation with a command.

“14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” John 5:14

“11 She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’” John 8:11

Originally posted February 10, 2018: https://www.quora.com/From-a-Christian-non-LGBTQ-perspective-whats-the-best-way-for-Christians-to-help-LGBTQ-people-come-to-repentance/answer/Rachel-Stephens-10

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Pastors duping God’s chosen people (Biggest SCAM revealed!)

I didn’t grow up like many of my non-religious peers. When I was small, my dad would drive me to visit his grandmother, my great-grandmother. Her small apartment was filled with the sounds of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) As she asked us for the 10th time if we’d like something to drink, due to her dementia, she’d ask my dad when we would be going to Israel. I was too young to remember her before her dementia, but she always made a point to bring it up. Apparently, in spite of her ailments, her trip to Jerusalem had made a lasting impact on her.

I loved to spend time with my grandparents, and my grandma was a fun grandma, the kind who loved to stay up until 2 AM watching TV and playing logic puzzles (she still does.) As the clock ticked later into the night, infomercials would begin to play. Jan Crouch, the founder of TBN, is burned into my mind. Jan, with her giant pink wig, extreme false lashes, would cry on camera, pleading for viewers to donate money to bring some poor Jewish Russian babushka to Israel so that she could be reunited with her husband and die in peace in the Holy Land.

Strangely enough, despite financial plea after financial plea to “Stand with Israel,” whether from Perry Stone, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, Joseph Prince, or any other prominent TV pastor, nobody ever mentioned sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the Jewish people of Israel. Growing up, this apparent disconnect never registered in my mind.

When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, my Zionism grew. In high school I’d write about Israeli politics, and how US foreign policy should favor Israel. I was a vocal supporter of Israel over everyone. As I got older, I continued to write, with some of my writings being translated into Hebrew, and calls and emails from Jewish professors and lobbyist groups came my way. Supporting Israel was integral to who I was. Being a Zionist was just a logical part of being a Christian, or so I thought.

In August 2010, my world came crashing down. My dad, who had also been a Zionist, showed me videos of Orthodox Jews assaulting Israeli Christians. Spitting, hitting, pipe bombs – why were these Jewish men trying to kill Christian women and children? Didn’t they know that we love them?! I had been completely ignorant of the Israeli government’s discrimination against Israeli Christians. Yes, the Israeli government loves foreign Christian tourists’ money, but it’s the Christian residents of Israel that were bearing discrimination, harassment and dwindling protection under the law. I had had no idea this sort of treatment would be overlooked by the Israeli government.

Churches never speak about the harassment Israeli Christians face. Not only that, many churches partner with pro-Israel groups that are vocally opposed to Jewish outreach and evangelism by Christians. While our Israeli Christian brothers and sisters bear persecution, not too dissimilar of the same persecutions faced by the apostles and Paul, the US churches stay silent. Unfortunately, big name pastors have traded the truth of the gospel for the chance to make money as a covert lobbyist for a secular government. What better way for a foreign, secular government to raise funds than to prey on religious and charitable people by telling them, in their own churches, that they must send money, or else they’ll face the wrath of their God? It’s a brilliant marketing scheme, but it’s completely unscriptural.

If you’d like to find out how Genesis 12:3 has been used to dupe Christians into supporting the secular government of Israel, please watch this episode of Crack Your Bible:

Christians, first and foremost, need to wake up. God’s promises to Abraham, then Abram, concerning blessing those who blessed him, and cursing those who dishonored him, were for those who belong to Christ only. There has never been two separate covenants, one between the Jewish people and one for Christians. God’s covenant with Abraham has always been between Him and those who put their faith in Him. Do those who reject Jesus have faith in the God of Abraham? No! Prior to Jesus’ ministry on earth, there were those born of Abraham who rejected God, and there were those born of Abraham who put their faith in God’s promises. It’s the second group who God counted as His children. This hasn’t changed.

It’s time Christians read their Bibles and closed their wallets to lobbyist groups and their church partners who are opposed to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of Israel. The best way to support Israel is to stand with our Israeli Christian brothers and sisters and support their ministries, and to share the gospel with your Jewish friends and neighbors. The Jewish people and Israel don’t need your money. They need Jesus.

-Rachel

If you're going to support Israeli evangelism outreach ministries financially, make sure you know where your money is going AND make sure the organization isn't vocally opposed to Jesus. . . As of 2012, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews boasted raising nearly US $600 million, despite their CEO being vocal about his opposition to Christian evangelism of Jewish people! . . https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/47005 . . Follow #CrackYourBible for #TuesdayTruths – every Tuesday you'll see a fun fact relating to Christianity, the Bible and apologetics Stay tuned for a new video on Mon/Wed/Fri on YouTube – Link in bio. . . . . . . . . . #apologetics #Bible #BibleQuote #BibleStudy #BibleVerse #blessing #blessed #Christian #Christianity #CompetitiveEdge #encouragement #forgiveness #GodsWord #gospel #inspiring #Jesus #JesusIsLord #JesusSaves #lifehack #praise #prayer #scripture #thankful #thankGod #truth #wisdom #prayforisrael #standwithisrael

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2017 Financial Review for Crack Your Bible

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to go over some of the Google Analytics for Crack Your Bible. I am so thankful for all of the support from the Crack Your Bible family – those who watch, share and upvote my videos and social media posts. This is a labor of love and during Crack Your Bible’s first year, we gained a 100+ subs on Instagram, 560+ subs on Quora and nearly 1,000 subs on YouTube without spending any money on marketing.

To see Crack Your Bible’s demographic analytics, feel free to watch the video below.

(I forgot to add in a couple expenses when I filmed this episode, so the final expenses are slightly higher than the total I said in the video, which I break down in this post.)

Finances

Expenditures

Because Christians in ministry are always accused of somehow being in ministry “for the money” I’m including a list of my expenses. To date, I have never asked for donations, Patreon, or any other financial assistance. My husband and I have paid for 100% of the expenses related to Crack Your Bible, as I have not felt led by the Holy Spirit to ask for financial assistance at this time.

Table 1 covers the expenses I undertook specifically for Crack Your Bible during 2017. Table 2 lists items I already owned prior to starting this channel and additional expenses that I chose not to charge to Crack Your Bible.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 12.43.08 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-30 at 12.44.03 PMRevenue

You’re probably wondering how much money I’ve made with Google off of YouTube AdSense or other ad revenue. When I first began my channel in January of 2017, the Adpocalypse had not yet begun, but a month or two in, YouTube changed their policy that only channels with 10,000 views could be monetized. After I hit 10,000 views, almost EVERY. SINGLE. VIDEO. that I’ve ever posted is demonetized for at least the first 48 hours after I post it. This is when videos get the most traction and is deliberate censorship from YouTube, as most of my videos become re-monetized. This is despite the fact that YouTube claims that they only review videos with more than 1,000 views in the first week of posting – which, due to being a small channel, has never happened to me.

The yellow $ shows which videos were demonetized. You can also see the number of views each video received next to the 3 bars. Note that when the videos were remonetized (green circle) none of the videos had 1,000 views.

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Demonetized 2017

As far as revenue from YouTube, YouTube only pays a creator once they have amassed $100.00 in revenue, which I have not, so I have not received any money this year.  Here is the channel’s analytics:

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A word of advice for anyone who wants to go into ministry – make sure you’re actually called to do ministry. While all Christians are to fulfill the Great Commission, not everyone is called to be a teacher. You don’t decide to become a teacher – the Holy Spirit will decide whether or not you should become a teacher.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.James 3:1

None of this could be possible without the emotional and financial support of my husband. Ministry is not a business that anyone should go into for the money, but to answer God’s call. This is a full time job but it could never financially support us, so please don’t quit your job thinking that you’re going to strike it rich teaching the gospel. Not only is that the wrong reason to preach the gospel, you’re going to end up homeless.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 

13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Thank you for your support and I look forward to sharing Jesus with you in 2018

-Rachel

Satan is KILLING the spreading of the gospel with this 1 lie! (Ladies, listen up!)

When going to fight against your enemy, is it better to fight on your own, or is it better to have one person who fights alongside you against your mutual enemy? Obviously, there is strength in numbers!

When it comes to fighting against Satan, Christians have gone into battle with a self-imposed handicap – women are being told that the Bible says that women are not allowed to teach the Gospel. Armed with the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit and the breastplate of righteousness, godly women are told to stay silent when it comes to the realm of teaching or preaching the gospel.

Like Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Christians are needlessly going into spiritual battle at a disadvantage due to their own lack of knowledge. . Unfortunately, due to a lack of historical knowledge, Christians are wasting precious time trying to follow rules that either never existed or are misapplied to their lives.

Satan, the author of confusion, has people within the church arguing about whether a woman should be allowed to teach even Sunday School, as that would be akin to “having authority over a man.” Many ungodly men are eager to shut down godly women who are on fire for Christ by misquoting 1 Timothy 2:11-15, and 1 Corinthians 14:34–35.

What did the Apostle Paul mean in his letters to both the Church at Corinth and the Church at Ephesus? Is there any way to figure out what Paul truly meant? There is!

Paul didn’t exist in a vacuum; both he and the people that made up both churches lived amongst Greek and Roman pagans, who had their own cultural and religious practices. To understand Paul’s letters, we cannot overlook the historical and cultural context of both the cities of Corinth and Ephesus.

In this three part series, Crack Your Bible is tackling the question, “Can Women Teach (or must they stay silent?)”

Part 1 is an overview of Paul’s teachings and the many women who taught with Paul to spread the gospel all over the Roman Empire.

Part 2 is an in-depth look at the Church at Corinth.

Due to the fact that men and women of all social standings were freely associating, Paul gave special instructions on covering their heads. While men today have zero qualms about wearing hats, Christian women are beginning to wonder if they’ve missed the mark by not covering their heads. Not only that, but unbelievers and new believers were fighting to have the floor when it came to these newly formed church meetings – and Paul had to restore order out of the chaos

Part 3 is an in-depth look at the Church at Ephesus.

Due to the fact that Gnostic and pagan practices from the cult of Artemis were familiar to the new members of the Church at Ephesus, many false doctrines were being preached as if they were the gospel of Jesus Christ. Groups of women were afraid that they were risking their salvation by getting married and having children, while other false teachers were sure of speech, but completely wrong in their doctrine. Paul had to restore order and stop the promotion of doctrines of demons coming out of the Church at Ephesus.

It’s not good for man to be alone! Don’t handicap yourself in this spiritual battle. Armed with this knowledge, Christians can strengthen their witness, stop wasting time and they can become successful against the schemes of the devil.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

The Rapture Won’t Happen Today – False End Time Predictions

Today is my 30th birthday. As I sit starring out at the clouds that seem to float faster than usual, I can’t help but remember that while I sit here relaxing, Christians around the world are worried that Jesus is coming back in two short days, on September 23.

For at least the past 5 years, pastors and people in the prophecy community have been counting down to this date. First it was the tetrad blood moons in 2015 which would definitely be the hallmark of Jesus’ return, despite the fact that these tetrads aren’t rare.

As those dates came and went, other heavenly “signs” were supposed proof that Jesus’ return is imminent. Now with the August eclipse, the multitude of hurricanes (during hurricane season) and North Korea, an enemy the US has been engaged with for more than 50 years, these are supposed to be the obvious hallmarks of Jesus’ return.

It frustrates me because the Bible is clear:

You’ll begin to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See to it that you don’t panic. These things must take place, but the end won’t have come yet, because nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only a beginning of agonies.” – Matthew 24:6-8 ISV

While of course some claim that this was only speaking of the destruction of the 2nd Jewish Temple in 70AD, we see that the Roman campaign wasn’t known for “famines and earthquakes in various places.” Likewise, the 2nd coming of Jesus won’t simply come because of war and natural disasters.

It seems as if the pre-tribulation crowd, the most common theology in Western Christianity, has simply forgotten the other things that must happen before Jesus’ return.

“Then they’ll hand you over to suffer and will kill you, and you’ll be hated by all the nations on account of my name. 10 Then many people will fall away, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people, 12 and because lawlessness will increase, the love of many people will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the inhabited world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.– Matthew 24:9-14 ISV

While outside of the Western world, Christians face severe persecution, in Israel, Europe, most of North and South America, Australia, Russia, South Korea, the Philippines and South Africa, Christians are able to practice their religion as one of the majority faiths in their countries. We haven’t reached the point where Christians are hated by ALL nations. Christian families aren’t betraying each other as members of their family fall away from the faith. Likewise, there are major areas of the world where the Gospel hasn’t been proclaimed, such as the countries strangled by Islam and/or communism.

15 So when you see the destructive desecration, mentioned by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader take note), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 Anyone who’s on the housetop must not come down to get what is in his house,18 and anyone who’s in the field must not turn back to get his coat.

19 How terrible it will be for women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies in those days! 20 Pray that it may not be in winter or on a Sabbath when you flee, 21 because at that time there will be great suffering, the kind that hasn’t happened from the beginning of the world until now and certainly won’t ever happen again. 22 If those days hadn’t been shortened, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened.

Has the 3rd Jewish Temple been rebuilt where there’s a possibility that a desecration in the Holy Place could even take place? Have those in Judea fled? Have Sabbath laws become the law of the land, so the city gates will trap believers inside the city of Jerusalem, when it’s time to flee? NO!

Too many churches erroneously teach that Christians won’t face hard times and Jesus will rapture us before things on earth get tough. The Bible teaches us otherwise. Throughout the Bible, both men and women of God faced trials, tribulation, uncertainty, yet God still had His hand over them. So while they had to go through hard times, they were never alone. Likewise, when we face trials and tribulations as Jesus’ return comes nearer, we can be confident that while God won’t remove these trials, He will be with us always. We will never face these persecutions alone. God will remember us as He cuts those trying days short.

Churches are doing a great disservice by teaching the erroneous doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture and devoting countless hours to working out the days or the times of Christ’s return. When people aren’t raptured and rather face persecution, the Church will experience the “great falling away” and the Church will have no one to blame but themselves.

It’s easy to hold people’s attention when you play into their fears – and their hopes – that Jesus will return on X date. It’s difficult to hold people’s attention when you tell them about the trials they’ll face and how they will need to hold fast to their faith. It’s hard to teach others about who Jesus is and how to defend their faith when most people want simple, inoffensive, non-committal answers. People want to feel safe without having to do anything, which… well, that’s not how God works. We’ll have to give up everything to follow Jesus – and that’s not always simple, inoffensive and it definitely requires commitment.

While the world may seem like a scary place, and the teachings of those who try to predict, to the day, of Jesus’ return may feel comforting, it’s important to remember that we can be strong in our weaknesses because Jesus is with us. We don’t need to be afraid. We don’t need to put our trust in bad theology. God has given us the tools to bravely stand up for our faith, even unto death. We can face this coming storm boldly, because we know that Jesus is with us until the end.

Until the Temple is rebuilt, ignore these fruitless arguments concerning Jesus’ return. Instead, rest in Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and the knowledge that He is with you until the end.

 

Born this way: sexual sin + serving God

One of the most controversial issues that has faced Christianity over the course of the past 20 something years is – what to do about homosexuality? While some denominations are allowing homosexuals to pastor their congregations, and others are allowing them to marry in their churches, it’s important to note that we were all born in sin. (Ephesians 2:1-3) (Titus 3:3)

God has given us the ability to become “overcomers” regarding all types of sin – not just homosexuality. (1 Corinthians 10:13) While yes, we’re human and we can and easily do fail, we don’t have to be slaves to what we know is not God’s design for us. We can leave behind our old ways and support each other to make sure we don’t stumble again.

While some denominations have boldly spoken about their support of homosexual behavior, we must not lie to those who are struggling with sexual sin – they must change their behavior. (2 Peter 2:9-10 )It’s important that Christians stress that we can’t serve both God and our old sin nature. We have to make a choice and we must speak the truth at all costs.

“You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” – James 4:4

(I posted the following to Quora on July 16, 2017 in response to the following:

“I’m queer, short and small (some of my body parts are girly in size) (5′7″), fatherless, unemployed, neglected, lonely and lost… But I still believe God exists& that he has the right to do whatever he wants to cause he made, despite it, in my own way try to love& serve him even if he hates me.” [SIC])

God doesn’t hate you. God hates sin, because He is Holy and because He loves you. I want to let you know that when it comes to sin, we were all born this way. Sexual immorality, lust, hatred, greed, hatred of God’s laws – these were our default behaviors. (Psalm 51:5-6)

The difference is that when we decide that we are going to reject Satan’s authority and transfer that authority over to Jesus, we become “new creations.” (2 Corinthians 5) This is much like renouncing your citizenship of your birth country when you swear allegiance to a new country in which you’re becoming a citizen.

When we’re Christians and we sin, it grieves us because this attitude, this behavior, is incompatible with our new life as a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We want to be back into our new default behavior, which is “Holiness.” (Romans 6) God is Holy, so we must be Holy. (Leviticus 20:7)

Because we live in a fallen world and do not yet have a glorified body with Jesus, (1 Corinthians 15) we have to make the decision every day to die to ourselves and the desires of the flesh. It’s hard! It’s uncomfortable! It’s a struggle! (Romans 7) But… we are victorious in Christ and through Him, all things are possible. (Philippians 4:13)

You have to make a decision, do you serve one master – sin nature, desires of the flesh, Satan – or will you choose to die to yourself every day, to serve God? You can not serve 2 opposing masters, so you must decide for yourself. (Revelation 3:15-16)

Christians, even back in Peter’s day, came out of a sinful lifestyle. The people you used to run with will question why you are no longer choosing to do the things that you once did. If it happened to those in Jesus’ day, it will happen to you too.

“Therefore, since the Messiah suffered in a mortal body, you, too, must arm yourselves with the same determination, because the person who has suffered in a mortal body has stopped sinning,

2 so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God.

For you spent enough time in the past doing what the gentiles like to do, living in sensuality, sinful desires, drunkenness, wild celebrations, drinking parties, and detestable idolatry.

4 They insult you now because they are surprised that you are no longer joining them in the same excesses of wild living.” – 1 Peter 4:3-4

Now onto the second matter. It does not matter if you’re small, thin, have feminine features – (Exodus 4:10-14)there is not a default look that men must have, so put that out of your mind. Likewise God is not a respector of persons (Romans 2:9-13) – He is not impressed, nor disappointed by your material goods or social status. He is a champion of the widows and the fatherless. (Psalm 68:5-6) He will be your refuge (Psalm 9:9) – if you’ll make the decision to make Him, rather than the desires of your flesh, the Lord of your life.

Photo: Levi Saunders

If I’m “saved by Grace,” why shouldn’t I live a sinful life?

One of the larger misconceptions about Christianity is, “why would I stop sinning if Jesus has already died for my sins?” Christians unfortunately have a poor track-record explaining the concept of “salvation apart from works” vs. “heavenly rewards based on our works.”

While of course Christians don’t want to grieve God by sinning, (Ephesians 4:30) many are unaware that Christians will face judgement before God. This judgement doesn’t concern the ultimate salvation that they have in Jesus’ Christ finished work on the Cross, but it is one where they will give an accounting for the works that they did here on earth before God, and will be rewarded, or have their rewards taken away.

(The following was originally posted on July 14, 2017 on Quora.)

People make this a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

To even be considered a “Christian,” a Christian must “bear good fruit” or produce the works that show that one has truly put their faith in Jesus Christ, rather than give Him lip service only. (Matthew 7:15-20)

While Christians are “saved” by putting their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and as such, accept God’s grace, Christians will also face judgement. Now this judgement is not one concerning salvation, but one where our deeds will be judged. (2 Corinthians 5:9–10) We will be rewarded or our rewards removed, based on our works. We aren’t saved by our works, but we are held accountable and rewarded based on our works at this judgement:

“1 Brothers, I couldn’t talk to you as spiritual people but as worldly people, as mere infants in the Messiah. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you weren’t ready for it. And you’re still not ready! 3 That’s because you are still worldly. As long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, you are worldly and living by human standards, aren’t you? 4 For when one person says, “I follow Paul,” and another person says, “I follow Apollos,” you’re following your own human nature, aren’t you?

5 Who is Apollos, anyhow? Or who is Paul? They’re merely servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord gave to each of us his task. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept everything growing. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant, but God, who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own action. 9 For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God’s building.

10 As an expert builder using the grace that God gave me, I laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. 11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus the Messiah. 12 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s action. 14 If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:1–15

Photo: Christal Yuen