As a ten-year-old, my Sunday School teacher in the Anglican Church invited us to stay behind to receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. I was the only one in my class to accept that invitation. Little did I know that within a short time, my family would be torn apart as my parents separated for several years and then divorced. The Lord saw me through that time in a way that left me unscarred. I never perceived that I, like many of my friends in similar circumstances, came from a ‘broken home’.
From the Anglican church (where I went on many youth leadership camps called Happening), to Christian Assemblies in boarding school (where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit), to His People (where I attended 2 years of Bible School) I was always active in “church”, usually leading or part of the worship team. And yet until I met Richard, when I came to the US for the blessing of my sister’s marriage to his son, I had doctrinal questions that were unanswered from the pulpits I had heard from for 18 years.
In one single Bible study, all those questions that had rattled around in my head, unsettled, were answered. Every. Single. One. And I didn’t ask the questions!
One of the main ones was the false doctrine that the church is the Bride of Christ. If that is true, the Lord (who never changes) was unjust in destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, as He would be requiring men to do the same thing that resulted in His judgment of those cities – to love Jesus as their husband, also known as homosexuality. The church, in relationship, is to submit to Jesus in the same way that a wife is to submit to her husband. In identity, the church is the Body of Christ, an army. Jesus’ bride is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21&22).
When I was 18, I made a list of characteristics I wanted in a husband and asked the Lord for him. I went through some of what most women today go through in relationships, because I obviously didn’t trust the Lord and thought He needed my help. The Lord brought Steve and me together in a wonderful way a decade later.
After we married, we would read the Word together and I would get sleepy. Steve pointed out I had a demonic spirit that was keeping me from hearing the Word, and that I’d picked it up in church. I was a bit offended, but when He offered to pray, I agreed (figuring it couldn’t hurt) and I have not had that issue again.
When I arrived in the U.S. to marry Steve, I was so full of the doctrine of undiscerning churches that I didn’t even know if I was a sinner. By the end of my first year as a mother I had come to know 3 things about human nature. 1) We’re all selfish. 2) We’re rebellious. 3) We’re destructive. These things I saw in my young son, and in myself as a new mom and just a person. Seeing it was simply a part of my coming to know that I am indeed, and always will be, a sinner.
The only difference between me and someone else is Jesus. His Blood is sufficient to atone for all my sins and His grace to cover them. It’s that simple Gospel that is the only way to be acceptable in the Lord and to have His righteousness accounted to one. There is nothing else you can do, including all the things you do ‘for’ the Lord, that will mean you are able to enter into heaven when your turn comes to stand before the Lord for judgment. And your day WILL come, as will mine. This life is our opportunity to be reconciled to Him and learn to walk in His ways that we may enjoy that perfect peace He has for those that obey Him in eternity.