How Many Times? (2 Peter 3:18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” 2 Peter 3:18, ESV.

In this single verse, the apostle Peter tells us everything we need to know about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus suffered only once.

He suffered and died for sinners, for persons who did not and do not deserve His sacrifice.

Jesus suffered and died to bring sinners to God ( not God to sinners, by the way ).

And how did Jesus accomplish this miracle?

Jesus brought sinners to God by “being put to death” — in other words, by execution which implies a courtroom, a judge and a sentence of death for guilt. Whose guilt? Not His own for He was and is without sin. The guilt that Jesus was sentenced to death for is mine and yours.

So stop pointing your finger at others.

We all alike condemned Jesus to the Cross.

And stop trying to crucify others.

Jesus needed to die only once.

Instead, rejoice! I say it again, Rejoice!

A Conversation about Michael Jackson and the Gospel of Jesus Christ


I posted on my Facebook profile a video of Michael Jackson performing MAN IN THE MIRROR which I assume is the title of the song. The lyrics include, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror…” and “I’m going to make a change.” I made a comment about Mr. Jackson making white socks look “rockin’ cool.”

The following is a conversation that ensued:

J.P.F. – “Yea, the little boys loved him and he loved and lusted after them.”

Carley (i.e. me) “Well what a nice thing to say… I was just commenting on his white socks…”

J.P.F. “Yea, it sure was not nice of him to molest all those boys. Just guessing but I don’t believe he is resting in peace. I’m just shocked is all that a professed Christian would post a positive comment of a pedophile. I assume you are against pedophilia and believe it is an obombination against God?” ( Notice Obambination )

Carley (me) “I wasn’t thinking of that when I posted this; I was only thinking of the meaning of the song and that his white socks would look stupid on anyone else. That’s all. I was making NO JUDGMENTS as I leave that to God. After all, the song says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” That’s what I do — I judge myself and not others… if at all possible!”

J.P.F. “God has already judged homosexuality to be wrong. Agreeing with God is not US making the judgement.”

Carley (me) “God thinks a lot of things we do are WRONG; it’s okay to agree with God, of course. But we don’t have to stick other people’s noses in it. God is much better at that than we ever will be. We are to proclaim the GOOD NEWS; i.e. Why are you so obsessed with other people’s sins? Why don’t you just look in the mirror like Michael Jackson suggested he should do? Start with the “man in the mirror.” Change him. Take the PLANK from your eye to see the SPECK in my eye, dude.”

J.P.F. “You won’t stand against sin and stand on the side of God? OK I think the Bible clearly teaches we are His mouth peace and the Gospel is not just hHeaven as a promise but that sins nailed Jesus to the cross. We should agree with God and HATE sin. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Timothy 5:20″

Carley (me) “You can hate sin without hating the sinner or belittling him or her. You can stand with GOD who is LOVE and recognize that He forgives and that MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT (James 2:13). I can throw out verses, too. But GOD is the ultimate judge and I trust Him.”

J.P.F. “I don’t hate Michael Jackson. I also don’t promote how wonderful he was or what cool clothes or comment on his dancing. I simply stay clear. From what I can see he was NOT a friend of God and I certainly do not want to be disloyal.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s fine. Of course. I just didn’t think of his sins when I posted this; I just thought about his song which I happen to like. Take good care of yourself. And God bless. PS My point here at this juncture is to suggest that our sins do not disqualify us from doing valuable things with our lives. We are ALL sinners and we ALL fail, but we also have things to offer to other human beings. If that is not true, what’s the point of being here on earth at all?! Your position seems to be that if you commit a murder let’s say you will never do anything that is GOOD — I don’t happen to believe that is true. God says, “Go, and sin no more.” He says, “You are forgiven.” That is worth celebrating. Love always wins. Don’t you remember the man who prayed to GOD, “Thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there.” And God said, “At least that sinner over there has his head down in shame. I tell you, he is the one who is justified, not the one who thinks he is already justified.” You need to re-read the GOSPEL, Mr. F.”

J.P.F. — I believe if someone commits murder they can never do any good? Wow, where did you get that in anything I ever said? I happen to be a wicked, miserable, no good sinner that has been forgiven, not by my own doings but by the Grace and Mercy of God. I need Him now as much as the night I got Saved. There is still nothing good in me but God.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s something I agree with, Mr. F. I too am a miserable sinner saved by grace. Perhaps Mr. Jackson was saved, too — perhaps in the moment of his death, or perhaps at another time that you and I are unaware of. Let us not judge him; let’s just hope he met his maker with a clear conscience. If he didn’t, that’s not our problem (now), but his. God bless.”

“Wondering” by Carley Evans


Wondering why some Christians are “open-minded” and others are not. Wondering how it is some Christians see Christ as kind and gentle, loving and forgiving while others see Him as mean and angry, hateful of sin and judgmental? How can people who claim to believe in the same God come out so differently after reading the same Bible and praying to the same Lord?
How can some believe God hates sinners while others believe God loves sinners so much He actually DIED for them? How can some believe God wants Christians to stand up against sin to the point of harming other human beings who happen to sin while others believe they too sin and are just as deserving of the same type of “revenge” against sin?
Why do some Christians feel capable of judging other human beings while others feel entirely unworthy of the task?
Oh Lord, help us to know the Truth so it and You may set us Free. Amen.

“Making God A Liar” ( I John 1: 8-10, KJV ) by Carley Evans


If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

No, I’m not a sinner. Yes, I am a sinner. But… I’m a sinner saved by grace. Now wait a minute; I’m saved. I do not sin anymore. If I sin, that proves the Holy Spirit is not in charge of me. And if the Holy Spirit is not in charge, then I am not saved. In fact, I am lost. If I am lost, then I am a sinner.

And so on. Circular reasoning?

The author of 1 John writes that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” He adds that “if we say that we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar.”

If we claim to be sinless, “[God’s] Word is not in us.”

What we are to do is:

1) Recognize that we are sinners.

2) Confess our sins which we fall into each and every day.

3) Trust that God forgives these sins and make us righteous by His sacrifice.

“A Woeful Man?” ( Romans 7:24-8:2, WYC ) by Carley Evans


24 I am an unhappy man [I am a woeful man]; who shall deliver me from the body of this sin?

25 [Forsooth] The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore I myself by the soul serve to the law of God; but by the flesh to the law of sin.

8 Therefore now nothing of condemnation is to them that be in Christ Jesus, which wander not after the flesh.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath delivered me from the law of sin, and of death [hath delivered me from the law of sin, and death].

Paul is fully aware of Saul. He speaks of the “old man”, the “woeful man”, the man trapped in sin throughout the seventh chapter of his letter to the Christians in the city of Rome. He asks the question we all – eventually – ask, “What will rescue me from this?”

His answer is “the grace of God.”

Our rescue “from the law of sin and death” is from God, not from ourselves. And because it is not of ourselves, but of God, the good news is that there is no more condemnation.

Let this soak in – you and I who are under God’s grace – are no longer condemned. We are prisoners set free. Our freedom is not because we did or do something for God, but because He did and does something for us.

Through Jesus Christ, we are saved. As Paul says many times, “let us rejoice!”

“Safe From Our Sins” ( Matthew 1: 21, WYC ) by Carley Evans


The Word tells us that Satan is like a hungry lion prowling about looking for sinners to devour. Since we are all sinners, he looks to devour all of us. Here in Matthew, the Lord reassures us that Jesus – born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit – makes us, that is, “His people safe from [our] sins.” And this is why Joseph is told in a dream to name his son, Jesus. Jesus’ name – Yeshua – means “to deliver, to rescue.”

I can’t think of anything better than God rescuing me from a prowling lion ready to devour me. And so, I am safe from my sins.

How about you?

“for that thing that is born in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall make his people safe from their sins.”

“Go, Love” ( Hosea 3: 1, Lexham ) by Carley Evans


And Yahweh said to me again,

“Go, love a woman
who has a lover and is committing adultery,
just like the love of Yahweh for the children of Israel.
Out in the world at large are two seemingly opposing views of God: one view is that God is so holy that He hates sin and desires to destroy all those who commit sin; the other view is that God is so loving that He loves sinners and desires to save all who commit sin. These two views of God are correct. The paradox is in the story of Hosea asked by God to marry an adulterous woman to show forth both sides of the same coin – God’s holiness and God’s love.
God calls sin what it is; that is, sin. God clearly tells Hosea the woman is guilty and to marry her despite her guilt.
God also loves sinners. God clearly tells Hosea that He loves the children of Israel despite the fact they are as guilty as the adulterous woman.
If God doesn’t hate sin, why does He punish Jesus, His only Son? If God doesn’t love sinners, why does Jesus leave Heaven to come to earth for that punishment? Why does God bother to die on the Cross unless He loves sinners?
And so, God calls us to two sides of the same coin. He calls us to hate and avoid sin while simultaneously loving and approaching the sinner.
“Go, love.”

“Saved Through Him from Wrath” ( Romans 5: 1-10, HOLMAN ) by Carley Evans


So much of the good news is contained in the first ten verses of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. He says clearly that we are “declared righteous,” that “we have peace with God,” that “we have obtained access” to “this grace in which we stand.” We may know with certainty that “this hope will not disappoint us.” Why? “Because God’s love has been poured out.” We have been given the Holy Spirit. And all this was given to us “while we were still helpless.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s you and me! This willing death of God’s Son “proves” God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Therefore, “we will be saved through Him from wrath.” After all, says Paul, if Christ died for us while we were His enemies, “how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His Life!”

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that,but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

“God Is Everywhere” ( Psalms 138:8, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Satan before the Lord
Satan before the Lord (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I should climb up to heaven, thou art there; if I sink down to the world beneath, thou art present still. ( Psalms 138:8, KNOX )

A puzzle here in David’s words and in the oral rendition of the story of Job – God is everywhere! We imagine God is incapable of being in the presence of evil, but that is obviously not so. Yes, He turns from His Son at the Cross when all the sins of the world attach themselves to Jesus; but God is found even if we climb to the heavens or descend to the realms of death and hell. That the Lord comes into the presence of the Enemy, Satan is evident in the beginning moments of the story of Job.

One day, when the heavenly powers stood waiting upon the Lord’s presence, and among them, man’s Enemy, the Lord asked him, where he had been? Roaming about the earth, said he, to and fro about the earth.Why then, the Lord said, thou hast seen a servant of mine called Job. Here is a true man, an honest man, none like him on earth; ever he fears his God, and keeps far from wrong-doing. Job fears his God, the Enemy answered, and loses nothing by it. 10 Sheltered his life by thy protection, sheltered his home, his property; thy blessing on all he undertakes; worldly goods that still go on increasing; he loses nothing. 11 One little touch of thy hand, assailing all that wealth of his! Then see how he will turn and blaspheme thee. 12 Be it so, the Lord answered; with all his possessions do what thou wilt, so thou leave himself unharmed. And with that, the Enemy left the Lord’s presence, and withdrew. ( Job 1: 6-12, KNOX )

God’s ability and willingness to be in the presence of the Enemy is nearly as difficult to understand and accept as His ability and willingness to suffer and die. God is engaged with death and evil. To think He is not is to misunderstand Him. God does not create death and evil; but He allows both. In so many ways, He uses both. Why?

Some would say, “To manifest His Power.”

“You Too Were Chosen Out” ( Ephesians 1: 3-14, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Recently I’ve had more difficulty with the idea that some will spend eternity in hell. Always bothered me that a god with infinite power to save would then allow some to perish. I know there are Christian sects ( cults? ) that believe all will be saved. After all, God so loved the world – the whole world, it seems. Yet, the Word clearly teaches the reality of a hell, of an eternal separation from God.

I also believe the Word teaches that God ultimately is the one who decides. This is so obvious to me I find it hard to understand how others push against this truth. God chose Abel over Cain, Joseph over his brothers, Abram and Sarai over every other couple ( and this despite their age! ), Moses over Pharaoh, Jacob over Esau, Mary over every other young woman in all of human history. That God chooses specific individuals is clear. Yes, I hear you. You argue that God chose these people for specific tasks. I argue God just chose them, period.

Paul writes so eloquently of God’s sovereign desire to save.

3Blessed be that God, that Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing, higher than heaven itself. He has chosen us out, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be saints, to be blameless in his sight, for love of him;marking us out beforehand (so his will decreed) to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ. Thus he would manifest the splendour of that grace by which he has taken us into his favour in the person of his beloved Son. It is in him and through his blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. So rich is God’s grace, that has overflowed upon us in a full stream of wisdom and discernment, to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will. It was his loving design, centred in Christ, 10 to give history its fulfilment by resuming everything in him, all that is in heaven, all that is on earth, summed up in him. 11 In him it was our lot to be called, singled out beforehand to suit his purpose (for it is he who is at work everywhere, carrying out the designs of his will); 12 we were to manifest his glory, we who were the first to set our hope in Christ; 13 in him you too were called, when you listened to the preaching of the truth, that gospel which is your salvation. In him you too learned to believe, and had the seal set on your faith by the promised gift of the Holy Spirit; 14 a pledge of the inheritance which is ours, to redeem it for us and bring us into possession of it, and so manifest God’s glory.

We are God’s possession. We have the promised Holy Spirit. We are washed clean and blessed by His Son’s blood. We are chosen out from before the foundation of the world to be saints!

Everything is summed up in Christ, all things in heaven and on earth.