CTT | Pleading the Blood of Jesus?

Have you ever heard someone giving a testimony and in their details of what they did in response to the situation or spiritual warfare they were engaging in was to Plead the Blood of Jesus over the situation, their surroundings, or themselves? Once again, we will be addressing a popular Charismatic / Pentecostal practice of “pleading the blood”. If you’ve never heard of this practice, this charismamag article will explain their teaching on this practice.

Where are we taught to include this in our prayer?

The CharismaMag article doesn’t say. That’s because it cannot be found in Scripture. Nowhere do we find any reference to pleading the blood of Jesus Christ over a situation, person, or place. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, there was no mention of declaring, decreeing, or pleading anything.

Matthew 6:5-15 (ESV) | The Lord’s Prayer

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them,for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Notice Jesus’ teaching here about the purpose of prayer. He warns not to pray like the hypocrites that they may be seen by others (decree / declare / plead?). We don’t pray to demons, or principalities or powers, or schemes of the devil… we pray to Our Father in Heaven. In fact, the closest example of invoking a plea / command in an attempt to exorcise a demon went horribly, horribly wrong for those doing the invoking.

Acts 19:11-20 (ESV) | The Sons of Sceva

11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

They confessed and repented of their mysticism (don’t think it was only pagan mysticism, Jewish mysticism is included here), and burned their costly implements. The Word of the Lord, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what increased and prevailed, not invoking the name of the Jesus Paul preached… if the Name of Jesus didn’t work for these mystics, neither will invoking His blood in this way.

But how can this be wrong for Christians?

First, I go back to the critical point that we are never instructed in Scriptures to pray that way. Second, there is a lot of convoluted philosophical rationale based on proof texting that starts with idea that Jesus has been given all authority… which is true… but ends with an odd notion that we are deputized to decree the blood of Jesus over ourselves (as believers), others, situations, and places to expand Christ’s Kingdom here on earth. For starters, let’s go to the Great Commission (a passage not quoted in the article):

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) | The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Indeed, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Jesus gives us our charge here… to make disciples, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them all that Jesus has commanded us. Were we given all authority? No. We were given a charge by the One to whom all authority in Heaven and on Earth resides.

Here is where the philosophical rationale comes in… by first limiting the understanding of the authority of Jesus Christ coming only from His shed blood. The blood He shed on the cross He gave as payment for our sins and unrighteousness. He laid down His life for the sheep, His body was broken for us, and His blood is the new covenant. If my wording seems familiar, you’ve probably guessed by now where we are going to look next.

1 Corinthians 11:23-34 (ESV)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

This is for believers, those who are by faith adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the New Covenant, that He laid down His life on the cross for our sake, so that in Him we might be justified by faith. This is a serious matter, one not to be taken lightly by any means. I really wish the phrase “pleading the Blood” was connected to the communion cup… but it isn’t.

The next step in the logic train, is to confuse our charge of preaching Law and Gospel pointing the lost to Christ with some self-aggrandizing theology of expanding the Kingdom of God by exploring new lands and claiming them in the Name of Jesus. I don’t know if this comes from dispensationalism or post-millenialism, but it’s self-focused and works-based. God saved you when you were dead in your sins and trespasses… He doesn’t need you to expand His Kingdom. By Grace you get the opportunity to preach the Gospel. This is an important distinction to grasp. For the purpose-driven folks reading this… I’m sure there is a lot of resistance to this idea. We’ll continue working through that barrier as the weeks progress.

Finally, the end of the logic train is the notion that (despite it NOT being taught in Scripture to do so) the “pleading the Blood” thing is taught as spiritual warfare. As deputies of Jesus Christ, the logic goes that it’s somehow your job to pray against demonic forces a certain way to secure peace, reprieve, health, and even salvation for another who is imprisoned in darkness. What we should be doing is preaching the Word of God to those who are in bondage while praying to God the Father for their salvation.



There is no Scriptural basis for praying this way. This is at-best, a bad mysticism-driven alternative to preaching Law and Gospel, Sin and Grace, Repentance and the Forgiveness of sins. We pray to God, not to the enemy. We Preach the Word of God, not our desires mixed with an invocation of the Blood of Jesus Christ to give our desires validity. It is natural for the flesh to want some measure of control over any given situation… even if it has to invent those measures and proof-text the philosophy behind it. This natural, fleshly desire is to be submitted to the Scriptures along with every other temptation. Pray to God, not things, situations, nor spirits. For additional thoughts on this matter, the folks at GotQuestions? covered this. Their focus is primarily on the Word of Faith (WoF) movement.

Instead of attaching some form of pleading the blood to your attempts at commanding authority over spirits, Preach the Word to the lost and hurting. Also remember that Christians still need to hear both Law and Gospel. We need to hear that our sins have been forgiven by the finished work of Christ on the cross. How wonderful it would be to redefine “plea the blood of Jesus” as a reminder of the communion cup, the sign of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ!

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Come as You Are” by Crowder

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

There has been a lot of movement in the Top 20 Charts. Today we will be taking a look at the #8 song “Come As You Are” by Crowder. I’m not sure who his target audience was, but this song is for the Christian who has lost sight of the Grace of God and is being crushed by a burden he could never bear. For the Christian who has been led astray into works-based false theology (purpose driven, word of faith, prosperity, or graceless legalism), this is the call to return to the Only Gospel of the Jesus Christ, to the Grace of God. To the prodigal son and the foolish Galatians alike… come as you are.

VEVO Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove Website)

Crowder from the album Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner, come kneel

Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal

So, lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer, come home
You’re not too far
So, lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures

Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t cure

Come as you are
Fall in His arms
Come as you are

There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner, be still

Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal

Publishing: © 2014 sixsteps Music / worshiptogether.com Songs / Inot Music / 9T One Songs / Ariose Music (ASCAP) / Valley Of Songs Music (BMI) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Thankyou Music (admin. worldwide at EMICMGPublishing.com, excluding Europe, which is admin. by Kingswaysongs) (PRS)
Writer(s): David Crowder, Matt Maher and Ben Glover

Positive Elements

I listened to this song about fifteen times this morning. The message of this song is one that every Believer needs to hear as often as they find themselves in need of forgiveness and restoration (that should be daily). Yes, we need to hear Law and repent of sin, but we also need to hear “you’re forgiven” and “come as you are”. As I listened to the song, I couldn’t help but think of the Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:11-24 (ESV) | The Parable of the Prodigal Son
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

My mind also went to Galatians 3, where Paul is urging the Galatians to guard against false doctrine.

Galatians 3:1-14 (ESV) | By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written,“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Dear Christian, come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been, come brokenhearted let rescue begin, come find your mercy, Oh sinner, come kneel. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal. So, lay down your burdens lay down your shame. All who are broken lift up your face. Oh wanderer, come home, you’re not too far. So, lay down your hurt… lay down your heart… come as you are. Focus on the picture Jesus painted of Our Heavenly Father. Come as you are, come home, you’re not too far. Have you been worn down with graceless law (asceticism, Dominion theology, Hebrew roots, etc.) or other false theology of works (word of faith, soul ties, purpose-driven-seeker), or you simply aren’t being fed the Gospel on a regular basis. “Being Saved” isn’t the just a one-time deal that happened a long time ago when you first believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ… The Gospel is home, it’s where the Father’s table is set, where we live and breath, and where we find rest. We live in the “already” and the “not yet”, where we are simultaneously “justified” and “sinner”… until the last Day, when Jesus Christ will come for His bride…

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (ESV) 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

While the Lord, Jesus Christ, tarries… we must remain hidden within Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. The Gospel is the bread and water of Jesus Christ, the Promise. Jesus Christ is the mana from heaven in the wilderness, the rock from whom water flowed… He taught us the Law more perfectly, and He IS the Gospel. So come home, lay down your burdens, and enter into His rest.

Hebrews 4:11-16 (ESV) 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


This song might be dismissed as an evangelistic song for unbelievers… that would be a mistake. The song doesn’t preach Law and Gospel, it doesn’t call the unbeliever to repentance, it doesn’t declare the message of the Gospel, because without the Law the Gospel resolves a problem the unbeliever doesn’t acknowledge. This song is for the believer who has succumbed to condemnation, shame, or false doctrine. While all of the promises in this song are available for the unbeliever if he would believe, repent, and be saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ… the problem of unbelief is that they don’t believe they are sinners, or that they need Jesus. This song is calling to the individual who knows they need Jesus but have bought into the lie that they have to first earn the Grace of God by some work. The call of salvation is the call out of the kingdom of darkness… a call that can only be made by the Word of God, not the will of man.

The song isn’t specifically Christian, in that it doesn’t name Jesus outright, so it could be easily hijacked by any false religion. That always seems to be a concern here, in that there is an assumption that everything played on a “Christian Station” must be Christian. That isn’t always the case, so this concern bears mentioning.


I love this song. I cannot get enough of it. I know so many hurting Christians who suffer from malnutrition.  They attend church week after week hearing only Law (and mostly man-made law at that) and aren’t faithfully reminded, grounded, and restored in the Gospel of Grace.  Worse yet, there are so many who’ve been led astray after false doctrines and false teachers selling empty promises blaspheming the Name of Jesus. Pray for them, reach out to them, remind them to “come home” to the Gospel of Grace, Jesus Christ. This isn’t a song for the unbeliever… though the unbeliever might actually really like it. It doesn’t preach Law and repentance.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

There has been a lot of movement in the Top 20 Charts. Today we will be taking a look at the #7 song “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle. Overall I think the song is okay for Christians with solid Biblical foundation but it is sufficiently vague in all the right places to be dangerous for one whose doctrine is incomplete or shaky.

VEVO Lyric Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove Website)

How Can It Be

Lauren Daigle from the album How Can It Be (Single)

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Publishing: © 2014 Sony ATV Timber Publishing (SESAC) / Sony ATV Timber Publishing & Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Ponies Riding Shotgun (ASCAP
Writer(s): Words and Music by Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson

Positive Elements

Okay, so for the Christian with solid Biblical foundation, this song points to a lot of Truth. If your doctrine is flawed, you’ll still find it very comforting but the “why” might be askew (I’ll expand on that later). For now, let us look at all of the great inferences that can be made by those who know what Scriptures say.

I am guilty. Confession. We are guilty. This guilt isn’t limited to what we’ve done, but extends to who we are as descendants of Adam, born into his sin. We are fallen, born dead in sins and trespasses.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath,like the rest of mankind.

Romans 3:20-25 (ESV)20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

I dare not lift [these dirty hands] up to the Holy One. This line is more of a lie the enemy tells us, the condemnation he tries to lock us down in. As we saw in Romans 3:20, through the law comes knowledge of sin. There is a portion of scripture that the enemy might use to levy his condemnation on Christians, “I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands”, thus blocking Christians from praying due to their unholy hands. But remember, the enemy is a liar and he twists scripture. Let’s turn to 1 Timothy 2.

1 Timothy 2:1-10 (ESV) | Pray for All People
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Chorus. This is a positive because the song moves from this condemnation from the enemy right into the chorus where the singer is declaring the Truth of the Gospel (if we are assuming the “You” is Jesus Christ). I highlighted the Gospel portion in the passage above. You plead my cause (…there is one mediator between God and men), You gave your life (who gave himself as a ransom for all). The message of the Gospel is that Christ paid the penalty of our sin, and He who had no sin became sin in our place.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (ESV) 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The second verse falls back into sharing some of the shared struggles we have with condemnation again, for the sins we commit. Again, the enemy seeks to break our worship and prayer by keeping us in despair thinking we’ve let God down. God knows our hearts… and His Word makes clear that He loved us even when we were lost sinners. Since our salvation is not a result of our works, it cannot be undone by our lack of perfection… it wasn’t our doing to begin with.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

By Grace we are saved, through faith. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ is not condemned. The bridge reflects back the availability of forgiveness and restoration when we fall. The “How Can it Be” reflects the Mystery of the Gospel.

1 John 1 (ESV) | The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Colossians 1:24-29 (ESV) | Paul’s Ministry to the Church
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

For the Christian who is firmly planted in the Word of God, this song brings to mind many a great promise of the work of Christ on the cross. However… for the one who lacks knowledge found only in the Scriptures…


This song is vague. The Name of Jesus isn’t named. The only non-pronoun reference is “the Holy One”. Now, the line “you gave your life” helps narrow it down to a Christian message, for only Christianity grants the message of God laying down His life to save creation. While we pointed to several Gospel texts and asserted that various lines in the song made inferences to them, the song itself doesn’t explain any of it.

There is no repentance. The only hard claim is the first line I am guilty. Any subsequent reference to sin is emotive (a feeling of dirty, disappointment, shame) or softened (I fall, let you down). The only reference to the Holiness of God is couched in a sense of condemnation. In fact, if you throw out the sound doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, you lose sight of the fact that Jesus took the full brunt of the Wrath of God as payment for our sin. What remains is a language of sin as though it is a person and our enemy directly, apart from the Holiness of God. You get a Joel Osteen-esque language of sin being a system of “mistakes” or “blemishes” that Christ died to clean up for us. An improper view of sin (Law) undermines the Mystery of the Grace of God in the Gospel.


I wish the song had been written more explicitly, naming the Name of Jesus and calling for repentance. The song is written vaguely enough to suggest that everyone is forgiven already because of Christ, and that our biggest problem is the feeling of guilt/condemnation. It is so close to the Truth… but not quite there. For the Christian, particularly the one with sound doctrine filling in the blanks, this song is great. I believe it only needed some minor additions or adjustments to stand on its own. The problem comes when we encourage Christians (and unbelievers) declaring them forgiven without calling them to repentance. This is a major problem in the visible church and a common issue with these top-20 songs.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,

Why This List Should Just Go Away

nopeI see this Internet Meme or Poster passed around on Facebook and included in Blogs and church marketing campaigns and it always grieves me. It popped up again twice this week, so I’ve decided it’s time to debunk this message. Now, I am certain that many of you have “liked” or “shared” something of this sort before in social media or in email. I’ve seen it and refrained from commenting on it before. My desire here is not to condemn anyone for sharing something that they thought was good or helpful or even accurate. At first glance, it seems like a good thing, right? I mean, how could encouraging folks that they aren’t beyond God’s reach possibly be bad? I think that such an approach to this meme is innocent enough, but once you look at the details, I think you’ll realize that nothing with these types of errors and falsehood could ever be considered “good”. In fact, there is no redeeming this concept, it is fundamentally flawed in its approach and execution.

I chose this particular iteration because it took the route of placing in a Scripture reference as “fine print” as if to say that the poster is Biblically accurate. We’ll get to that a little later, but I want to address the heart of the problem with this poster first.

Do You Seriously Think God Can’t Use You?

Okay, so right at the start, we are in a bad spot. The person who is thinking, “God can’t use me” needs to be corrected in their thinking. The Bible isn’t about us, it’s about God. The Gospel isn’t about us, or our potential, or whether or not God can use us. So, the person to whom this poster is speaking is already suffering from false doctrine, and a poor understanding of the Gospel. Our salvation isn’t dependent upon what God can use us for… it is wholly and completely dependent upon what Jesus Christ did upon the Cross for us. That He bore our punishment as the final atoning sacrifice so that in Him we are free from our sin, free to serve God, free to love Him.

Genesis 1:1 (ESV) 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1-3 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We serve a God who created everything out of nothing. Whatever He does, He does by His Will, for His purpose, for His glory. That we get to play any part is by His Grace and Mercy. He doesn’t need anyone or anything to bring about His Purposes.

Another problem with this premise, is it is born out of this “God sees potential in you…” or “God has a destiny for you…” false Gospel narrative. It comes from the notion that God has planned some level of greatness for each Christian. This is heavily marketed to Youth Ministries. I suppose the desire to inspire and motivate young Christians to be faithful to God and to have a desire for good works is a good desire, but this method is abusive. Not everyone is called to be a patriarch or a revolutionary. In all of the Bible, only one person got to be a Moses, a Joshua, a Peter. Moreover, God isn’t limited to only using heroes of the faith, or believers for that matter… He used King Cyrus to restore Jerusalem after the Exile… a pantheist! There are millions of faithful followers of Christ whose names never made history, and that’s okay, so long as their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The truly frustrating part about this point is that the “fine print” passage of scripture resolves all of this bad teaching if it would just be given proper attention in full context. So, Let’s look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 (we’ll underline the portion that appears on the poster).

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

The real question isn’t about how many failed people God has used before, it should be about whether or not you believe your sins are covered by the Blood of Jesus. Who are you to question whether or not the blood of Christ has the power to cleanse you of your unrighteousness? Either you’ve accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ or you haven’t. If you have, accept what the Bible says of you, and “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord”. If God had ruled anyone out due to their sin, we wouldn’t have the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV)
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The answer to “can God really use me” isn’t “well, He’s used a lot worse”. The answer to that question should be, “…if it were about who can be used of God there wouldn’t be anyone left, God would have judged us all long ago. It’s not about what we can do for Him, it’s about what He did for us.”

Artistic License or Falsehood?

Now that we’ve settled that matter, we have a whole different problem to contend with. The laundry list of characters and character flaws that are supposed to demonstrate God’s ability to use us is filled with… well… falsehood. Some of them I’ll accept as Artistic License… but they are still presented in support of a false narrative concerning the Gospel and Christian walk.

  • NOAH WAS A DRUNK Really? Who writes this garbage? He got drunk once and became the first recorded victim of incestuous rape. Let’s look at what the Bible says about Noah.
    • Genesis 6:6-9 (ESV) 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
    • 2 Peter 2:4-10a (ESV) 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
  • ABRAHAM WAS TOO OLD Too old for what? Here we have a shifting sense of the point being conveyed. Are we now saying Abraham was too old for God to use him,ortoo old for Abraham to have a child? Even that is wrong, because he firstfatheredIshamel by Sarah’s slave. So he wasn’t too old for procreation. Even after God gave him the son of promise, Isaac, Abraham lived another 75 years… that’s nearly an entire lifespan for us now.
    • Genesis 17:15-21 (ESV) 15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”
    • Abraham was making excuses and trying to get God to take Ishamel as the son of promise. God refused the request, but made it clear that Ishmael would become a great nation, just outside of His covenant.
  • ISAAC WAS A DAYDREAMER Seriously… whoever came up with this nonsense hasn’t read the Bible. Nowhere in Genesis 22-27 is there any indication of a proclivity for daydreaming, especially not in the sense that this is somehow a character flaw that God needed to overcome. The closest we can come is in Genesis 24 when Abraham sends for a wife for Isaac. In the past chapter, Sarah has died and been buried. This is important to remember since the bulk of 24 tells of events taking place far away from Isaac.
    • Genesis 24:58-67 (ESV) 58 And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” 59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
      “Our sister, may you become
      thousands of ten thousands,
      and may your offspring possess
      the gate of those who hate him!”61 Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. Thus the servant took Rebekah and went his way. 62 Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
    • So where is this Beer-lahai-roi? It is the place where the Word of the Lord came to Hagai, after Sarah had treated her harshly and caused her to flee. It is the name of the well and it means “the well of the Living One who sees me” (Genesis 16 (ESV))
  • JACOB WAS A LIAR I’ll concede this point as “Artistic License”. Yes, Jacob lied, and it didn’t go well for him. Still, Jacob was chosen by God as the heir of Promise over Esau while still in the womb. He lived a hard life, and wrestled with God and walked away with a permanent limp.
  • LEAH WAS UGLY That’s quite a stretch. We know only that her eyes were weak (or soft), and we know that Jacob’s desire was for Rachel. Now, she might have had a lazy eye or poor eyesight, the text doesn’t go into detail, but to say that this means she was ugly is a fabrication. It is also guilty of presenting a false notion that maybe it’s easier for God to work with pretty people, since this list is supposedly about the kinds of character flaws God has overcome so He could use certain people. Rank falsehood.
    • Genesis 16:13-14 (ESV) 13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
    • It just occurred to me that this might be an attempt to address those Christians who are crippled by ugly duckling syndrome (of which I was for a very long time). Is pointing to Leah really the answer to this false premise? Laban tricked Jacob by swapping daughters for the wedding, and then God opened Leah’s womb before Rachel’s because of Jacob’s treatment of Leah. This is the kind of garbage that comes from trying to inject human reason into Biblical historical narrative and then allegorizing it for today’s “hardships” rather than simply preaching law and Gospel.
  • JOSEPH WAS ABUSED First of all, Joseph was abused because his brothers hated him for giving a bad report of them and for sharing his dreams. Prophetic dreams, given to him by God. But this list isn’t about teaching Biblical truth (clearly), this list is someone’s human attempt to reach hurting Christians by twisting Scripture. All of it under a false premise that somehow we need to believe in ourselves that God can use us. That is a false Gospel. We need only believe in Jesus as the Christ, our atoning sacrifice, our Redeemer, who loved us enough to die on a cross for our sin.
  • MOSES HAD A STUTTERING PROBLEMUhm, No. This is a common myth. First of all, Moses was making excuses and trying to back out of God’s calling.
    • Exodus 4:10-17 (ESV) 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”
    • Acts 7:17-22 (ESV) 17 “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another kingwho did not know Joseph. 19 He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. 20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
  • GIDEON WAS AFRAID Yes, yes he was, and rightfully so. However, God called Gideon. I’ll give this one an “Artistic license” pass.
  • SAMSON HAD LONG HAIR AND WAS A WOMANIZER If we are going for the whole “Champions of old had major flaws, too” bit… Solomon wins in the category of womanizer. But are you KIDDING ME with the long hair bit? No really… (I confess, I’m more than a little frustrated by this list) how does this even fit into this list at all. Trying to reach out to the “long-haired hippy” crowd or the “pony-tailed biker gang” by having them equated with Samson? Let’s look at why Samson had long hair, shall we?
    • Judges 13:1-7 (ESV) 1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so theLord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, 7 but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
    • His long hair was commanded by God. I’m going to close out this list with Scripture references only, and we’ll close briefly. Wow… what a horrible meme.
  • RAHAB WAS A PROSTITUTE Yes, before the Israel came and she served Israel. James mentioned her in his teaching James 2:24-26 (ESV).
  • JEREMIAH AND TIMOTHY WERE TOO YOUNG God chose Jeremiah as His Prophet, and Timothy had some of the best training possible since Christ ascended into Heaven. He was discipled by the Apostle Paul, and his Jewish mother and grandmother had taught him the Scriptures from a young age.
  • DAVID HAD AN AFFAIR AND WAS A MURDERER Yes. Internal inconsistency, for by then God had already used him mightily. What makes David special is his heart of repentance, a heart that was after God.
  • ELIJAH WAS SUICIDAL I can’t… ugh… no, this is false. We covered this recently in a CTT post, and you can read the account in 1 Kings 19 (ESV). He felt like he failed God and asked God to kill him (for his perceived error).
  • ISAIAH PREACHED NAKED … any research at all, here?… God told him to do this, just read the text. Isaiah 20 (ESV).
  • JONAH RAN FROM GOD Yes, he did. Because he didn’t want Nineveh to repent, for he knew God would forgive them if they did, and he wanted Nineveh to be judged. Book of Jonah.
  • NAOMI WAS A WIDOW How is this even on this list? This isn’t even remotely a character flaw or a sin.
  • JOB WENT BANKRUPT This is just… I mean I can’t… *sigh*. Book of Job. The steadfastness of Job.
  • PETER DENIED CHRIST Yes. Jesus warned him he’d do it, and it happened. He repented and was restored.
  • THE DISCIPLES FELL ASLEEP WHILE PRAYING Yes, they did… and then they fled when Jesus was arrested.
  • MARTHA WORRIED ABOUT EVERYTHING “everything” is a stretch. Jesus pointed out that Mary had chosen the better thing to focus on (Luke 10:40-42 ESV).
  • THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WAS DIVORCED Yes. But why stop there? She was a Samaritan, She had been married 5 times, and was currently sleeping with a man who was not her husband. And yet, God loved her enough to point out her sin and presented Himself as the source of life.
  • ZACCHEUS WAS TOO SMALL … that’s just petty, even for this list. Why even include him on this list? He was rich.
  • PAUL WAS TOO RELIGIOUS No, he was wrong. He persecuted the church with great zeal out of ignorance. He didn’t realize that Jesus was the Christ until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. I hate that the seeker-sensitive crowd throws this out as an attack at those like myself who insist on taking everything to the Scriptures, but I digress… this pain is almost over.
  • TIMOTHY HAD AN ULCER Yes, and Paul encouraged him to drink a little wine for his stomach. You see, Timothy was trying to just drink water even though Paul taught at length about the food and drink laws no longer applying. Perhaps Timothy was struggling with religiosity? Let’s face it… we all will struggle with this from time to time.
  • LAZARUS WAS DEAD Yes, and his death was part of God’s plan to demonstrate His Lordship over death and the grave. John 11 (ESV)

This list is not only unnecessary (for the lost or the saved) it is wrong. Bible twisting is evident in the majority of the examples cited, and the aim of the meme shifts in odd ways as the list progresses. Just… stop. This is not what we, the Church, are supposed to be doing to God’s Word. This is NOT faithful stewardship of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is falsehood. This is wrong. In closing, let’s look to Paul’s encouragement to Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,
In Him,