The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: gospel

Three Rebellions, Two Babies, and One Ultimate Solution

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I felt moved to write this a while back. It’s my understanding of the overarching narrative of the Bible, centered around the gospel, and why the gospel–why Jesus–is so needed. This Good Friday seemed like an appropriate time to post it. If you’re reading this, I hope it ministers to you.

And remember as you read–however much the darkness currently seems to be winning, Sunday’s on the way.

***

Eons ago, in the eternal past, the eternal God, Yahweh, the great I Am, for reasons known only to himself, decided to make a family for himself. He created a race of beings that we know by different names – angels, watchers, elohim, sons of God – and he created a universe for them to inhabit and have stewardship over. Like any good parent, Yahweh involved his children in his work and plans and delegated power and authority and responsibilities to them.

But he wasn’t done. He decided to create a second set of children, different from the first, crafted out of the dust of the earth, made in his image and filled with the breath of his Spirit. He first prepared a planet just for them – or rather, for us – and within that planet he prepared a special place. A garden, set upon a holy mountain that intersected with his abode in Heaven, where his human and angelic children could co-exist and have fellowship with him. He gave his new kids dominion over the earth, charging them with its stewardship and with governing it.

But there was a problem. It was a problem that Yahweh had foreseen and planned for before his first creation. In order to be made in his image and have true fellowship with him, his children must all be given free will and agency. The problem is that free will can’t exist without the potential for disobedience, rebellion and sin.

Sure enough, one of his chief angels became full of himself and grew jealous of God and his newest creation, and he rebelled. And when he saw God’s new children and the special place we’d been given, he hatched a scheme to spoil it by tempting these new children to disobey the one command they’d been given.

Sin entered the world, and with it violence and corruption and death and destruction and decay. Generations later, more angels grew jealous and rebelled by coming to earth and further corrupting humanity, not content just to lead us into sinful, destructive practices but corrupting our very DNA by mixing it with their own. Their hybrid offspring, giants, called the Nephilim, overran the earth, committing atrocities against humans and nature and further corrupting Yahweh’s creation.

Yahweh looked down on what had been done and knew it couldn’t be allowed to continue. He chose one man who hadn’t been genetically corrupted, along with his sons and their wives, and preserved them as he flooded the earth to destroy the giants and cleanse it of evil.

But cleansing the earth didn’t cleanse the hearts of the human survivors. Sin was still a part of their genetic makeup. Within a few generations, humanity once again rebelled and rejected their Father. So he disinherited them and handed them over to his angelic sons to govern, while he set one couple apart for himself. An elderly, childless couple from whom he would create a nation of people belonging exclusively to him.

Again, some of these sons of God rebelled against Yahweh and set themselves up as gods over the people, demanding worship and leading them into idolatry and exceedingly corrupt and depraved practices.

Meanwhile, God gave that elderly, infertile couple a miracle baby. And from that son of their old age, he grew his own nation and raised up a leader for them from their own people. He gave them a Law to help them remain set apart and to keep them from straying into the ways of the rebellious nations and their imitation gods, and he gave them a land to call their own.

But the Law, with all its rituals, still couldn’t cleanse their hearts. It provided outward righteousness, but it couldn’t make them inwardly righteous, and again and again, Yahweh’s own special people rejected him and rebelled, wanting to be like the nations around them. So he gave them a king to rule over them. Generations and generations of kings. But the kings themselves rebelled, and led the people in worshiping the imitation gods of the nations instead of worshiping Yahweh.

And so, after centuries of wooing them, pleading with them, warning them, and giving them every opportunity to turn back to him, he gave them up to their enemies, exiled them from the land he’d set apart for them, and sent them into bondage and slavery.

At every turn, this whole human experiment seemed like a failure.

But really, it was all going according to plan.

Because Yahweh is God–omniscient, all-knowing and, well, a lot smarter than we are. A lot smarter than the beings he created who try to pass themselves off as gods, too.

You see, way back in the eternal past, when they, we, and all of this was still being conceived in the mind of God, he was well aware of the problem of free will and that creatures possessed of such an attribute would inevitably fall into sin and corruption and wreak havoc on his creation, and on each other.

And he already had a plan to deal with it.

Besides being the creator of everything, another thing that sets Yahweh apart from the other so-called gods is that he’s one unified being made up of three distinct persons–Father, Son and Spirit, or what we call the Trinity. These are all in perfect union and of one mind and one accord–and they were in agreement that the answer to the problem of free will would be none other than the second person of the Trinity, the Son, also known as the Word of God.

Another miracle baby entered the world. The Word made flesh, the Son of God in a manger, the second person of Yahweh himself come down, not just to interact with us on the mountain top, but all the way down into our suffering and muck, to live, suffer and die as one of us, so that we could live forever with him.

Let this sink in: before he ever created a single being, Father, Son and Spirit all knew that their created children would rebel and fall into bondage to sin and death, that they would by and large spurn and reject him. And they knew and agreed that the Son would enter this world as God incarnate, Jesus the Messiah, and give his life to save us.

And they thought it was worth it to make us anyway, free will and all.

God loved us so much, even then, that he gave us the freedom to rebel and reject him. And though it pained him to let us live with the consequences, he allowed it to show us how dark, painful and meaningless life is apart from him. He allowed his own special nation to fail to keep the law, to turn away from him again and again. He allowed it in order to show them their need for a savior, for a better mediator than the human high priest who made sacrifices for them year after year–for a perfect Lamb of God who is also our Great High Priest, who gave himself as the once and final sacrifice to satisfy the requirement of the law, cleanse us of our sins, and restore not just God’s chosen nation, but all of the disinherited nations as well–all humanity–to eternal fellowship with our creator.

And still, even now, he gives us the freedom to choose. We can choose Jesus and eternal life in his Kingdom and accept the free gift of salvation, bought and paid for with his blood.

Or we can refuse it and remain in our sins, in bondage and slavery to the darkness and the imitation gods of the world.

Those of us who choose Jesus will one day enter into his Father’s eternal Kingdom, after he does away with the old creation and makes all things new. And we will enter with our free will intact. But there will no longer be a danger that we’ll rebel and reintroduce sin into this new creation, because like an obstinate child who’s allowed to touch a hot stove, we’ll have learned our lesson the hard way. All these long millennia of human history, of death and decay, of evil and corruption, of suffering and oppression and hardship and sorrow, will have effectively inoculated us against using our freedom to defy God and his infinite wisdom.

And those who don’t learn that lesson? Who refuse to give their lives to Christ? Who believe they know better than God? Who choose to remain in their sin? They won’t be allowed to continue. Like a cancerous tumor, they’ll be rooted out and eradicated at the final judgment, cast into the Lake of Fire to perish along with their progenitor, Satan, that first prideful, rebellious elohim who started it all, where their corruption won’t be allowed to touch God’s new creation or his faithful children.

And even in that final act of judgment is mercy, because he won’t force you to spend eternity with him if you don’t want to.

The choice is yours.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” –Joshua 24:15

 

It’s Time to Get Real

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to share my faith journey here on my platform. I keep putting it off because there’s so much I want to share and say, and I don’t know where to start. But getting started is always the biggest hurdle. The only way to get over it is just to pick a point and go for it.

So I’m going for it. I feel like this is necessary because in a time when so many Big Name Christians are “deconstructing” their beliefs and falling away from the faith loudly and publicly, obviously wanting to take as many people as they can down with them, it’s important to hear stories from those who, like me, have faced challenges, carefully examined their beliefs, scrutinized scripture, and come out stronger in their faith than ever before.

First, some background. I came to know Christ at a very young age. I’ve been saved as long as I can remember, and there’s not a time in my life that I’m conscious of when I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus or a reliance on God. I’ll spare you the details, but growing up with a narcissist and alcoholic for a father, my faith got me through a lot of chaos and hard times. I’ve been a prayer warrior from the age of four or five. I learned very early on how to effectively pray.

That’s both because and in spite of the fact that my family were believers. My earliest church memories are of a Vineyard-style charismatic church down the road from where we lived. My dad, though he was apathetic about God, didn’t want us going there and so at some point he started taking us to a Methodist church. He soon stopped going, but my mom continued to take us there faithfully for years, until the teaching there started taking an uncomfortably progressive turn. After that, she got us back into a non-denominational charismatic church with a strong Full Gospel flavor. And all the while, every summer a nearby Baptist church bused all the kids in my neighborhood to their Vacation Bible School. I say all of this only to point out that I had a pretty eclectic religious upbringing, and I’ve never had any loyalties to any particular denomination.

But from the time I was about 14 on, we attended the same non-denom charismatic church. Some might label it hyper-charismatic. It was heavily steeped in prosperity and Word of Faith teaching and practiced a lot of things that I wouldn’t realize until much later were unbiblical. A lot of it never sat quite right with me, but I couldn’t articulate why, and I thought the problem was with me.

Fast forward to my early thirties, when I met the man who would become my husband. By this point I had stopped attending church, though I still prayed regularly and cracked my Bible open on occasion. One evening, early in our dating relationship, I sat across from him at a coffee shop and fell more and more in love with him as he spoke animatedly and enthusiastically about the Bible, and simultaneously more and more convicted that I, a life-long Christian, knew so little about what was actually written in the word outside of the passages that prosperity teachers love to return to again and again.

The next day, I opened my Bible and started reading through the Epistles. I kept it up, day after day, and soon it became a habit. I started it mainly so I could keep up with Matt in conversation, but it didn’t take long for my eyes to be opened to the deception I’d been under for so long, and how so much of what I’d been taught was not actually what the Bible said.

That was the beginning of what I call my Great Spiritual Awakening, a process that is still ongoing today. Since then, I’ve gone through so much and learned even more. I’ve grown in ways I’d never imagined, but I’ve also fallen into — and been delivered from — other forms of deception, which I’ll be talking about here in future posts. The point of all of this is to say, the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

I’ll say that again: the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

We’re in a time right now where deception is rampant, both in the Church and in the greater world outside. We’re constantly being deceived by the media, by politicians, by doctors, by false teachers and false gospels, by conspiracy theories and people accusing us of being conspiracy theorists if we merely question the narrative, by gaslighting and propaganda… the list goes on. It’s mind-boggling, and it can feel next to impossible to know where to go for actual truth, especially in a culture that denies that objective truth is even a thing that exists.

But God’s word is truth, and it can arm you against deception and equip you to see through the lies.

For a good long while, I’ve been praying about how God wants me to show up in this small space I’ve carved out here online, and how he wants me to use my talents. He’s given me a gift for wrangling words, and I’m sure I’m meant to do more with it than tell stories about ghosts and zombies or write about dogs and cats for a living. I’ve been hesitant to dive in, partly because, like I said earlier, there’s so much to say and it’s overwhelming. And partly because it’s such a huge responsibility. I don’t want to presume to take the place of a teacher, and I certainly don’t want to come off as trying to be anyone’s Holy Spirit substitute, pushing my personal convictions onto others.

But what I know for sure is that I want to use the measure of talent and influence I’ve been given to be a light in the darkness and to combat deception with truth. And more than anything, I want to inspire women to put away fluffy, shallow Instagram Christianity and pick up their actual Bibles, to learn what is actually written in its pages, to arm themselves against deception and armor up against the spiritual onslaught that’s facing our Church, our nation and our world.

The time is past for me to fly under the radar and be timid about sharing my faith and experience.

So from here on out I’m going to be using this space (not exclusively, mind… I’ll still talk about writing, and life, and whatever strikes my fancy) to do just that. If you’re concerned I’m going to be constantly preaching, that’s not my goal. The Bible is actually a really cool and amazing book, and I hope to help you see that. And to say that Jesus himself is amazingly cool is the mother of all understatements.

We’re going to get into some interesting stuff. I”m going to share some personal stories. We’re going to talk about why I quit doing yoga, and the Enneagram, and mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer. We’re going to talk about the historicity of the Bible and why you can trust it. We’re going to talk about the supernatural and the Powers that are waging war in the unseen realms. We’re going to talk about HOW to study your Bible, as well as WHY. We’re going to be examining false gospels and heresies and why they’re false and heretical. We’re going to look at what truly makes a Christian, Christian. I’m going to be pointing you to good teachers who can explain everything so much better than I can, and reviewing and recommending books and other resources. And more!

These times are scary, but they’re also exciting. And I was scared when I started this post, but now that I’ve laid all of this out I’m excited about this new direction.

What a time to be alive, y’all. Let’s do this.

Photo by Ryan Riggins on Unsplash

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén