Question #1: I chanced on the website on typing out for Bible Truths. I'm a believer; for sometime, I'm seeking to know the truth concerning the use of jewelry as I know of certain churches having a ban on them using a lot OT scripture and NT. How is separation from the world(2 Cor.6:14-18) to be practiced by believers – does the outward form also have a part in it? 2. A friend who attends church with me, hearing the word for many years , but has no transformation--the Word doesn't seem to take any effect; but prays sincerely any a time for a change but to no effect. What's the problem? Thank you for taking the time to reply.
Response #1: As to your first
question, let me deal with the second part of it first. Yes indeed our
separation from the world is to take outward as well as inward form. If
it is only outward, it is hypocrisy (like that of the white-washed
tombstones to which our Lord compared the Pharisees), but if it is only
inward, it is dead (like the dead faith that lacks works condemned by
James). When we really believe the truth, the truth affects how we act
-- simple as that. There are, of course, limits to what we can do in
this world. In times past there have been many groups who have pursued
asceticism and various forms of withdrawal from the world. But clearly
our Lord meant us to stay in the world (Jn.17:15), and Paul makes it
very clear that truly escaping the world is impossible (1Cor.5:10). So
as Christians we are in the world, but we are not of the world. Indeed,
on the one hand, if God didn't want us to have any part of the world
whatsoever anymore, He would bring us home to be with Him immediately;
on the other hand, the only way that we can let our light shine into the
darkness of this world is to continue to walk in it, but to walk in it
as true disciples of Jesus Christ whom we love, not as friends of this
world (which we do not love: 1Jn.2:15-17; cf. Jas.4:4). So the biblical
way to separate from the world is to put Jesus first in our lives,
dedicate ourselves to learning and believing the Bible, putting that
truth to work in our lives, and helping others to do the same through
the spiritual gifts and ministries that God has entrusted to us. This
will require, of course, a process of spiritual growth and production on
the one hand, and a process of sanctification on the other. Both
processes are absolutely necessary to live full and effective lives for
our Lord and to maximize the witness of life and works to which we have
That brings me to your question about jewelry. How we behave in this life is important. Some things are definitely sinful, some things are definitely not sinful (see Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin). Some things may be "expedient"; others not. Scripture does have some things to say about jewelry. In the Old Testament, women of faith do wear it (e.g., Rebecca, a woman of great faith and virtue: Gen.24:30). On the other hand, here is what Paul and Peter have to say:
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1st Timothy 2:9-10 NIV
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
1st Peter 3:3-4 NIV
The first thing to note
about these two passages is that Peter and Paul are both saying the
exact same thing. Neither one of them is outlawing jewelry (or
hairstyling or decent clothing). What they are doing, rather, is making
the point that what really counts is what goes on in the person's heart.
That is, just as in the case of men, the spiritual advance and
production of a woman far outweigh the outward appearance. So, in my
view, neither of these passages outlaws these things for women. Rather,
both of these passages make the point that a beautiful outward
appearance is absolutely no substitute for spiritual growth, production,
and sanctification. If a woman has the former but not the latter, she is
failing in her spiritual life. On the other hand, if a woman is not much
in terms of outward appearance but is indeed growing in the Lord,
walking with Him and working for Him, and keeping herself pure from the
world, then she has much favor in God's eyes, even though the world may
dismiss her as "plain".
In all matters of application such as this, each person has to make their own judgment calls. Clearly, there are some forms of dress, be it jewelry, hairstyle, or clothing, that many people would find extreme, bizarre, or indecent. I would think that any Christian woman would think twice before adopting any such styles. It is also true that it may be a case of offending some of one's Christian circle if one adopts styles which are not generally considered extreme, but may be considered so by one's group. On the other hand, it is also important for Christians to live their lives to the Lord and not allow themselves to be so bullied by other people that they essentially give up their own free will. Where to draw the line on these matters takes spiritual maturity, reflection on the scriptures, and prayer. Ultimately, only the person concerned can make these sort of decisions correctly, and only with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
As to your second question, I find it not unrelated to the discussion above. You speak of your friend lacking a "transformation". I can only guess what you may mean by that. What I can say is that the most dramatic transformations come from within first and foremost, then over time work themselves from the inside out. Very, very often "transformations" that begin on the outside and which are very noticeable (and emotional) do not last. No one knows another person's heart – only God knows. It is certainly true that if one is really dedicated to Jesus Christ, this will affect everything in one's life sooner or later. In the absence or lack of a sanctified walk or a turning away from pursuit of spiritual growth, there is no accounting for whether or not a person is really responding the way God wants them to. But I do certainly allow as how many (possibly even most) believers today are "lukewarm" and not pursuing God's plans for them as they should and as Jesus would want them to do. In such situations, the best thing for us who do not wish to be lukewarm is to 1) make sure it is not a case of having a "beam" in our eyes, and 2) once we have our own spiritual houses in order to continue to intervene for our brothers and sisters in prayer, ever setting a good example for them in the Lord – the very things that you seem to be doing already.
You might also have a look at these links:
Should Christian Women Wear Pants?
1st Corinthians 11: Hats or Hair?
Are women required to wear hats or veils in church?
What length of hair is considered long?
1st Peter 3:3-5.
The Creation of Eve
I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to write me back.
Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the prompt reply. The details are much appreciated. I'm from India. I was concerned about the issue because there are churches here that don't give baptism and communion to people who come to believe in Christ, unless they remove their jewelry. I do not understand how far this is Biblical. How should we relate to such churches? when we are trying to win people to Christ, such strong stand on such issues , don't you think ,will bring a legalistic approach? Thank you for taking the time to respond.
The situation you
describe certainly does seem to me to be, as you put it, "legalistic".
Of course, I have no direct knowledge of the exact situation and am
ignorant about many aspects of your culture and history. Still, the idea
of denying communion in particular for such things strikes me as
particularly offensive. After all, communion is a sharing in the
remembrance of Jesus Christ, His perfect person and His sacrificial work
for us on the cross. As Paul makes crystal clear in 1st Corinthians
11:17-34, believers need to be very careful to "judge the body" before
partaking of the Lord's supper, that is, we need to be very careful to
confess our sins before taking part in this one true sacrament of the
Church which proclaims our allegiance to and remembrance of our Lord and
what He did for us. But that is an individual responsibility. As I said
in my last e-mail to you, no one can know the heart of another person,
and it is unclear to me how an arbitrary standard of dress such as you
describe here could possibly have anything to do with evaluating the
true condition of a person's heart. Indeed, it could very well do much
more harm than good, for such a requirement might well lead a person to
think that as long as they are abiding by the dress code, they are fine
to take communion; whereas, in fact, as 1st Corinthians 11:29-31 makes
clear taking communion with unconfessed sin in the heart leads to severe
divine discipline (whereas there is no indication whatsoever from
scripture that wearing ear-rings, for example, makes any difference at
There is good news here, however. The Lord is present where any two or three believers are gathered together in His Name (Matt.18:20). No "church" or denomination has a copyright on communion. Communion belongs to all followers of Jesus Christ. Any two or three believers gathered together can formally remember Him – only they must be careful to do so in a scriptural and sanctified way (see the link: "The Communion Ceremony outside of the Local Church"). In fact, the notion that only some "church" can grant communion is how heresies such as those promoted by the medieval Roman church got their start. And today, of course, this tendency is certainly not at all restricted to Roman Catholicism. There are many groups, churches, and denominations which seek to give the idea that they have a special claim or "franchise" on communion. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We should all remember Jesus when we eat and drink, and we are definitely not restricted to a traditional church ceremony to practice communion.
As to baptism, here I am far less concerned because water baptism is not really a genuine sacrament in any case. Water baptism was a transitional ritual designed to teach about repentance. John baptized with water. Jesus did not (Jn.4:2). Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matt.3:11; Jn.1:33; Acts 1:4-8). Holy Spirit baptism, not water baptism, is the only true baptism, the "one baptism" mentioned by Paul at Ephesians 4:5. This is why Paul could say "I thank God that I baptized none of you (i.e., "with water": 1Cor.1:14)". All who believe in Jesus Christ receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). This is the "baptism" talked about throughout the epistles, and the only "baptism" that is of any account in the Church. At best, water baptism can be a teaching ritual. But at worst it is a very confusing "magical" ritual, the false impressions regarding which are often used by cults and cult-like semi-Christian groups to manipulate and control their members. But there is no "magic" in water baptism. It does not impart any sort of "grace", and certainly has nothing at all to do with salvation. Please see the following links for more information:
Is water baptism required for Christians today?
Baptism and Following Jesus
"The baptism which now saves you": 1st Peter 3:21
An Extended Conversation about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Sin, Baptism, Resurrection and the Book of Revelation
Being Born Again and Baptism
Is baptism necessary for salvation?
Keep on fighting the
good fight of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord!
As an avid and frequent
visitor, I'm thrilled to see your new posting on
Hamartiology. Can't wait to get in and
digest it! Thank you so much for all you do. As an old Christian, I
can't tell you what a blessing your site and lessons have been. I can
almost feel myself growing everyday. I've been looking forward to a new
study.....I've taken great comfort from your study of Peter's epistles
and coping with Personal Tribulation. I'm going through some health
issues, and I find great comfort there. It keeps me from being such a
whiner. Please continue. You are performing a wonderful service for our
Lord. I'm sure that you and He will have wonderful long talks when we
are rewarded for our faith.
Take care and may our Lord continue to bless you.
Thanks so much for your
encouraging words! Indeed, it is difficult even to conceive of the joy
and delight we will all experience on that day of days when we are
finally united with the Lord we love forevermore. I appreciate not only
your sentiments, but even more your dedication to spiritual growth
through persistent study of the Word of God. What could be more
important in this life than growing closer to Jesus through His Word and
helping others do likewise? As to your health issues, it's not easy to
keep a perfect attitude under pressures like that. Understanding how to
think, what to say and do is one thing; actually following through with
the consistency of our convictions is quite another, and therein lies
the testing that is the stuff of refining faith and demonstrating the
quality of it to the world at large, men and angels both. None of us is
perfect in this regard –
believe when I say that I know that from
personal experience. But through mutual encouragement, mutual prayer
support, the comfort of the Spirit, and the dynamic power of the truth
of the Word of God, we can get through, and not only that –
we can turn
every problem and disadvantage into a powerful witness for the Lord in
whom we have put our trust. I will certainly remember you in my prayers.
Keep on fighting the good fight of faith!
In our dear Savior, your brother in Jesus Christ,
Thank you for those kind words. I'm certain that the angels of our Lord were rejoicing with you too that a lost soul has finally found its way to Jesus and Satan must be very angry that one soul is one soul too many to slip by. I'm ready and prepared for the battle that will now begin. I find studying the Bible for many, many years; searching for the truth; researching many topics such as angelology, the Book of Enoch, etc., has had a resounding affect on my life.
Knowing what I know about the daily intense spiritual warfare that's occurring everyday, and how the ultimate prize are the souls of mankind --with that knowledge gained, and the Holy Word of God that were constantly witnessing to me causing great struggle between my spirit that was crying to God and my carnal flesh that was opposing everything possibly; it was tearing me to pieces. I had so many restless nights. The fear of dying and losing that chance of accepting Christ into my life was torturing me constantly.
Many times I could actually "hear" my spirit literally praying the prayer of forgiveness while I was asleep. It was a friend that I spoke to that encourage me to step up to the plate and do the right thing. There was no doubt that God was knocking on my door in a way that my spirit literally was in pain and torment because of my stubbornness not to open the door to my heart and my well-being. Yes! My hand was on the door knob and that tormented my spirit even more. Now I have a peace that has come over me that's indescribable. I was constantly in fear of death. I knew very much the consequences of refusing that great salvation and the sacrifice that was made on the cross. I knew of Heaven and Hell. I knew of the unending torment of the myriad of souls that denied Chris and how horrific the sounds of remorse and despair that are howling in the fiery winds of Hell.
Now, I'm not afraid anymore. I no longer lust after the carnal flesh, but now lust after the things of godliness. I'm not afraid of dying anymore. I know now that if I die, I know where I will be: walking hands-in-hands with Jesus, lying in the white fields with the lions, walking with God's Holy angels, and walking into that place where the Seraphim even fear to tread --the very presence of God Almighty.
Please include my email address to receive any and all notifications. I certainly will be using your website to further develop my growth in the Lord and the Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin sounds very interesting and intriguing. I agree with you that there's so many junk out there and I'm very skeptical when there isn't any biblical cross-reference.
I'm looking forward to intensive studies through your website. It was by accident stumbling across ichthys.com. I was amazed on the ton of information on ichthys.com and I want to thank the Lord for using your knowledge and sharing that with the public. I'm honored to be called a child of God and your brother in Christ.
In His Grace,
You are most welcome!
You are also now on the list. It will be a while before anything else
major is posted (several months at least), but, as I say, there is
usually an e-mail response to be found posted every weekend (without
You have a very inspiring testimony! I am gratified and humbled that you deem these materials worthy to help you in your journey to the whole truth of God. Please feel free to write me any time! I look forward to hearing from you.
Your brother in Jesus Christ for all eternity.