“The Two Become One” (Ephesians 5: 25 – 26, HCSB) by Carley Evans

A man “is to love his wife as himself.” (Ephesians 5: 31) A man is to love his wife “just as Christ loves the church and gives Himself for her.” A man is “to love [his] wife as [his] own body. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5: 28) He is to “provide and care for” his wife as he cares for his “own flesh.” (Ephesians 5: 29)

“This mystery is profound,” writes Paul. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5: 32, 31)

When a man hates his wife, he hates himself. And “the Lord is a witness between [the man] and the wife of [his] youth.” God says, “‘You act treacherously against her, though she is your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.’

“Didn’t the one God make us with a remnant of His life-breath? And what does the One seek? A godly offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.”

God says, ” ‘If [you] hate and divorce [your] wife, [you] cover [your] garment with injustice.’ ” (Malachi 2: 14 -16)

If you hate and divorce your wife, the wife of your youth; then you hate your own body, your own flesh. And this mystery is also profound. When two become one flesh, the tearing apart renders each less than the whole.

“You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because He no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands.” (Malachi 2: 13)

A man is to care for his wife as he cares for his own body, his own self for he and his wife are one.

“A Father’s Good Gift” (Ephesians 6: 4, KJV) by Carley Evans

Fathers, do not exasperate your kids – “provoke not your children to wrath.” Rather, raise your children to know the Lord, primarily by teaching them the Word and setting an example for them to follow. Do not lie to your sons and daughters, but tell them the truth in love. Be gentle with them as they have tender spirits. Do not subdue them to the point where they are incapable of expressing themselves, but allow them room to speak their minds.

Since masters are not to threaten, surely fathers are not to threaten their children.

Granted, spare discipline and you will regret the result. Solomon promises that if you “train up a child in the way he should go…when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22: 6)

Jesus recognizes that fathers are good to their children — that fathers have a natural inclination to love and protect their children. Fathers do not give evil to their sons and daughters when good is requested. Instead, a father gives the good gift — knowledge of the Lord.

“So God Delivers” (John 1: 17, HCSB) by Carley Evans

God gives us the law through Moses, carved by His finger on tablets of stone.

God gives us His grace and His truth through Jesus Christ His Son, both carved not on tablets of stone by on our hearts.

As God promises, so He delivers.

“I remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so they may follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them.” (Ezekiel 11: 19)

Again, He says, “I give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances… I save you from all your uncleanness.” (Ezekiel 36: 26 – 27, 29)

God saves us. He rescues us from our uncleanness by putting His Spirit within us, by changing our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.

“Love Is From God” (1 John 4: 8, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

First, “love is from God.” (1 John 4: 7) Love does not and never has and never will originate in us. In our natural state, our fallen state, we are incapable of producing love. “Love consists in this: not that we love God, but that He loves us.” (1 John 4: 10)

I repeat this: Love is not from us; rather, love originates in God. “We love because He first loves us.” (1 John 4: 19)

Because love emerges directly from God, “there is no fear” in this love. “Instead, perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4: 18)

What have we to fear since God is for us? Who is able to condemn us since God justifies us? Because God is on our side and because He justifies us, we are to “love the one born of [God.]” (1 John 5: 1) How can we condemn our brothers and sisters when God sets aside His condemnation of us? How can we hate one another when God puts His hatred of the sin in us upon His Son?

“The one who loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4: 21)

“Living Water” (John 4: 10, HCSB) by Carley Evans

The gift of God of which the woman at the well is unaware stands before her and asks her for a drink of water. She knows enough of Jesus to realize He should not be asking her for anything for she is Samaritan and He is Jewish. Jesus should be avoiding her and her entire geographic region; but He is not. Instead, He is come to make her acquaintance and to ask for her assistance and to give her the greatest gift ever — living water. This water He gives quenches her thirst, meets all her needs at every level of her being. She will never want again as long as she accepts His gift — and His gift is Himself. He is the Living Water.

Come now, let us reason together: God is giving Himself to you. Won’t you take His drink and never thirst again?

“End Results, Not The Means” (Titus 3: 4 – 7, KJV) by Carley Evans

Who saves us?

We are saved by “God, our Savior.”

When are we saved?

We are saved “after the kindness and love of God, our Savior” appears.

Why are we saved?

We are saved “not by works of righteousness which we do, but according to His mercy.”

How are we saved?

We are saved “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He sheds on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

What is the result of our salvation?

When we are saved, we are “justified by His grace;” and we are “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Here — in three verses — Paul gives us the who, when, why, how, and what of salvation. Another result of our salvation — which Paul mentions prominently — is that we “who believe in God must be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Titus 3: 8)

And again, he writes: “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they not be unfruitful.” (Titus 3: 14)

Good works and fruitfulness are the end results of our salvation, but they are not the cause of our salvation. The causal factor in our justification is God’s mercy and grace, His love and sacrifice for us, which He plans before time begins and brings to fruition on the Cross and in His resurrection and through His giving of His Holy Spirit.

“Neither Do I Condemn You” (1 Kings 17: 18, HCSB) by Carley Evans

The widow asks Elijah, “Have you come to remind me of my guilt?”

Elijah asks God, “My Lord God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow I am staying with by killing her son?” (1 Kings 17: 20)

Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answers. “Neither do I condemn you,” says Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8: 10 – 12)

God does not send His Son, Jesus to earth to condemn us, but to save us. (John 3: 17) “Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the One and Only Son of God.” (John 3: 18)

In the land of Gennesaret, the people bring the sick on mats to Jesus when they recognize Him. “Whenever He goes into villages, towns, or the country, they lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touches it is made well.” (Mark 6: 56)

Jesus does not come to remind us of our guilt, but to rescue us from it. Like Elijah, he does not come to kill our sons and daughters, but to heal them of their illnesses, raise them from the dead and bestow on them the gift of eternal life.

‘When We Create “Dren” ‘ ( a commentary on the movie “SPLICE”) by Carley Evans

Dren is the conglomeration of human DNA spliced with the DNA of multiple species, likely lizard, frog, bird, fish, scorpion, mouse by my estimation. The movie is “SPLICE;” the premise is not “do we create a creature such as this?” but, “what is our responsibility once we do, since we inevitably will create a creature such as Dren?”

Dren is partially human, but only partially. Much of Dren is beast. But she expresses human emotion, human needs, human sins. After seeing “SPLICE,” I asked myself — “does Dren have a soul?”

Because I believe that the human soul is contained in our very DNA, I’d have to say that Dren has a soul — perhaps a partial soul as she has a partial human nature. Is there such a thing as being partly human, of having a partial soul?

This is the question we must face as science wrestles with its desire to create a being such as Dren. Dren is a direct result of man’s search for an end to illness, an end to death.

Dren is Satan’s counterfeit human being — Satan’s counterfeit solution to suffering and death. And like us, Dren is the victim of Satan’s rebellion against God.

When mankind creates Dren, mankind will have come to its very end. We will look at Dren, and see a soul, but one cut into a myriad of pieces — one which perhaps can never be made whole. We will look in the mirror, and cry for ourselves. Of this, I am certain.

“Strengthened For Every Good Work And Word” (Psalm 9: 10, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“There is salvation in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other Name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.” (Acts 4: 12) If you know God’s Name, you trust in God. You trust in God because He does not abandon those who seek Him, but makes Himself available for us.

“God brings [us] out to a spacious place; He rescues [us] because He delights in [us].” (Psalm 18: 19) “May He give [us] what [our] hearts desire and fulfill [our] whole purpose.” (Psalm 20: 4)

“We always pray for you that our God considers you worthy of His calling, and by His power, fulfills every desire for goodness and the work of faith, so that the Name of our Lord Jesus is glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1: 11 – 12)

“[God] calls you to this through [the] gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 14) From the beginning, God chose you “for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 13)

God does not abandon us; rather He “encourages [our] hearts and strengthens [us] in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 17)

“The Pledge Of A Good Conscience” (1 Peter 3: 21, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Like the ark saves the eight people from the drowning of the world, so baptism with water saves us “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The water of baptism does not wash us of physical dirt, says Peter, but is “the pledge of a good conscience toward God.”

Jesus promises us a “good conscience toward God” — and this is not a condition which we produce under our own power. Rather, this peace with God is His gift to us in conjunction with the gift of His Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit comes to us once Jesus is resurrected from the grave. As Jesus goes to sit “at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him,” the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, God’s own children. (1 Peter 3: 22)

Our baptism is a statement — through the washing of water, Jesus promises we are saved. We are become new creations, created in Him for God the Father. We are bought at a price; and are worth more than we can imagine to God. After all, we cost Him His Son’s human life. We cost His Son His Father’s presence.

As we emerge from the waters of baptism, we declare to all — ‘I belong to the Lord. My conscience is clean.’