Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 1: Leviticus, God’s love story. The Gospel in the Old Testament.

I am a huge proponent of always reading and understanding Scripture in context. Read each word in the context of the verse, read each verse in the context of the whole chapter, read the chapter in the context of the whole book and read each book in context of the entire Bible.  Failure to do so inevitably leads to a corrupt understanding of who God is, His love, His holiness, His Law and the life-lessons He wants us to learn and act upon, and our devotion towards Him.  Heeding my own advice I started my study at Leviticus 1:1 and found myself reading a love story.  The very same love story I had found in the gospels.
I am not a biblical scholar and have not attended a theological seminary - but I can read.  And with my tax-funded high school education I did learn a little comprehension.  Regrettably, some choose to dwell in blissful and/or wilful ignorance of what God is actually trying to teach them in the Scriptures.  Believe it or not, the Book of Leviticus is all about God drawing people back into a covenant relationship, a precursor to that which He would fulfill with His incarnation in Jesus Christ.
King David wrote in Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
How often have you personally regarded the Book of Leviticus as a litany of ritual offerings and sacrifices? An endless inventory of do’s and don’ts?  Bloody and painful stonings or burnings for those who fail to follow God’s laws?  What do you mean, I can’t wear a denim shirt with leather elbow patches?
As I started reading, looking beyond the do’s and don’ts, I found phrases like, “…it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you”, “fellowship offering”, “he will be forgiven”, “they will be forgiven”, “the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven”, “an expression of thankfulness”, “freewill offering”, “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings,” “They shouted for joy…” “Be assured that I will send my blessing for you…” And on and on it goes.
Throughout Leviticus, as in the Gospels and the rest of Scripture, God is calling His people back into a right relationship with Himself, calling them to be holy, reminding them that He is holy and their sin needs to be confessed and atoned for in order for an intimate relationship to be possible.  In His divine wisdom and perfect sense of justice, God established that a blood sacrifice was the only way for sin to be dealt with; ultimately shedding His own blood so that the sin of anyone, who acknowledges the lordship of Jesus Christ, may be forgiven. 
God is not petty.  He doesn’t make rules just to keep you in check, to ‘yank your chain’ whenever He feels you’ve strayed too far.  We must always remember God is love. This must be the foundation of our understanding of how we expect Him to act.  Equally imperative is the fact that God is perfectly holy and perfectly just.  We cannot isolate one aspect of who we understand God to be from any of the others, as soon as we do our understanding of what God is teaching us in Leviticus will fall apart.  We cannot isolate God’s love from His justice and holiness.
There are four realities that God would have us understand in interpreting and understanding His ‘lessons’ or statutes:
  1. God is love.  This means that His motivation in establishing ‘rules’ for us to live by is ultimately for our benefit and His subsequent joy.  As any loving parent will caution a child, “Don’t touch that, it’s hot.  If you do you’ll get burned.”  God’s love for us is the ultimate form and expression of love.  It is selfless love.
  2. God is Holy.  This means no sin can come into His presence.  Every sin must be atoned for (dealt with).
  3. God is just.  Every decision God makes is perfectly just - the punishment must fit the crime.  This can only be understood in the context of God’s absolute holiness.
  4. God, out of His grace, chose Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish people, to be set apart.  In this setting apart, this choseness, God wanted the Jewish peoples to be a living example to the rest of the world; being visibly distinct in living lives that reflected God’s covenant relationship with them, to keep themselves unpolluted by the world and free from sin.

Not a single one of these characteristics of God can be detached or isolated from the other.  God’s sense of justice is in no way diluted by His love and his love is not diluted by His justice.  Ultimately, justice for mankind’s sin has [had] to be meted out and it cost God the death of His Son.
As we read through Leviticus you will discover different kinds of statutes:
  1. Instructions for restoring our relationship with God; acknowledgement/confession of our sin to Him and offering a blood sacrifice (in Christ, God provided the ultimate blood sacrifice, negating the need for animal sacrifices).
  2. Instructions on how to bring gifts of thanksgiving to God for His love and benevolence.
  3. Instructions for those who were set apart to lead and teach His people (the Levites).
  4. Instructions for daily living (how to best take care of ourselves).
  5. Actions that are sinful, detestable or abominable to God.

[Wilful] ignorance of God’s Word is nothing new.  Jesus told the Pharisees You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions [opinions and ideas]” Matthew 15:6.  In addressing a number of Sadducees (who were posing a hypothetical question) Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”  Matthew 22:29  How often do we put God in a box, assuming our reading of what God has said is in error (or that the text or translation is in error) because it does not match our paradigm, our preconceived notions or beliefs?  Heaven forbid! Who are we to instruct God on what is right or wrong?

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 2: Leviticus 18:22

“If God is not sovereign over the land and its people, then the land and its people become cut off from the Creator.  A God-centred worldview is replaced by a man-centred and self-centred worldview.  So the people of Israel drove God out of their lives to become their own gods, masters of the land, their world, and their destiny.  They could now rewrite the law and redefine what was right and wrong, moral and immoral.” From the Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn.
Following the many conversations that have arisen since the US Supreme Court’s decision concerning same-sex marriage in June 2015, I notice a consistency in the way individuals, including what seems a very large number of professing Christians, twist the words of God, of Christ, to somehow place God’s love above God’s justice.  This is heresy!  In Psalm 89:13 we read, Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.”  As soon as we start messing around with the nature and attributes of God He ceases to be God."
It is this light that Leviticus 18:22 becomes an immovable object in any discussion concerning same-sex relationships.  Leviticus 18:22 is as unambiguous as it is possible to be. Unlike some other Scriptures Leviticus 18:22 is not susceptible to misinterpretation; you don’t need to compare it to other Scriptures, you don’t have to interpret it the context of other Scriptures or historic times, it’s meaning is not diluted in differing translations.  It is not contradictory to any other Law or Scripture.  There is no subtlety of ambiguity in what God says.  God simply says that sex between two men is an abomination [dictionary definition: detestation, loathing, hatred, aversion, antipathy, revulsion, repugnance, abhorrence, odium, execration, disgust, horror, hostility]. 
Perhaps things are different in this regard now that we live in an ‘age of grace’?  No, not so.  In Numbers 23:19 God speaks through Balek, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Jesus went on to say, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” Matthew 5:18. In Luke 16:17 He says, “… that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.” and Jesus went on to say, If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15.  Humans distort God’s Word at their peril and offend God when they do so.
Some have asked why do those who stand in opposition to same-sex marriage place such a strong emphasis on Leviticus 18:22?  I believe the answer is simple – because it is so clear and explicit.  This is the opposite tack those who support same-sex marriage take – quoting verses and passages of Scripture out of context in efforts to make their case, appealing exclusively to the love attribute of God. No, no, no!
Culture in and of itself is not necessarily bad, it is when we give culture pre-eminence over Scripture that we have a problem.  We are very good at manipulating Scripture to fit our culture. This culture can pull us away from the truth. According to 1 Corinthians 2:14 those that manipulate Scripture live in cultural delusion, "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 3: What did Jesus say about Leviticus 18:22?

In an email exchange, a professor at a Christian college asked me, “How much do we cherry pick when it’s convenient and on what basis do we make those decisions?”  He then went on to argue what Jesus did not say, that Jesus did not regurgitate all the commandments found in Leviticus, as if Jesus had somehow invalidated the Book of Leviticus by not doing so.  How often have you heard people randomly quote other verses from Leviticus, ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material’ 19:22 as being a meaningless commandment we do not follow today, as if a random verse used out of context somehow invalidates the command in 18:22.  The professor misses the point entirely, that God introduces the section that includes 19:22, saying, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”  Not wearing clothing made from more than one fabric was just one of many examples God provided to the children of Israel, to be a constant visual reminder that they were to keep themselves unpolluted by not following the practices of the nations around them, to keep themselves holy. Today, born-again-Christians (there is no other kind according to Jesus), have the constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be their reminder to live holy lives.
Throughout the gospels Jesus repeats again and again that the essence of God’s Law will not be repealed until the end of time.  Jesus becomes visibly angry at those who disparage and discount God’s Law, especially those who would consider themselves scholars of God’s Word – ‘Teachers of the Law’.
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus directly refers to sexual immorality, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”  Seeing as the pre-incarnate Jesus wrote and instituted Levitical Laws in the first place, including what we now identify as Chapter 18, it is irrational to suppose He somehow forgot what He wrote and is now invalidating these laws by not regurgitating each one word-for-word.  To the contrary, not only is He validating these laws, Jesus identifies the source of our desire to break these laws.  Our corruption of God’s law originates in the heart.
Matthew 15:1:20 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law… asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? ….”Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions [your own concepts, ideas and beliefs], violate the direct commandments of God? …….you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 4: Judging others? Or simply pointing them in the right direction?

Jesus said, “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”  Matthew 7:2
Jesus also said, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”  Matthew 16:27
How often have people wagged a boney finger in your direction and chastised you for simply having an opinion, especially one that is biblically contrary to their opinion?  “Who are you to judge me for by beliefs or actions?  What gives you the right?”
Thankfully, I don’t have to judge anyone – that is Jesus’ exclusive prerogative. And I hope that I treat others as I would want to be treated, with respect and in a Christ-like way  by people who will point me in the right direction when I go off course.  I have been blessed by many godly individuals in my life who have done just that. But please note, Jesus was not prone to using mushy platitudes. I hope nothing I have written here is construed as judgmental. Factual, yes. Judgemental, no.

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 5: It’s not that kind of love.

Some have inferred there was some kind of homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan and used this as the basis for arguing God’s condoning of such relationships.  This, as with many other ‘proof texts’, is pure manipulation of the text.  The Hebrew word ahab is used of the love of Isaac for his wife Rebekah (see Genesis 24:67), of parents for children, for example Abraham for his son Isaac (see Genesis 22:2), and of Jonathon for David, his closest friend (see 1 Samuel 18:1). Jonathon’s totally unselfish treatment of David is a human example of the type of love God has for us, agápe love as it is used in the gospels. Jonathon put David’s interests before his own.  The Hebrew word dôd is the erotic form of the word love as found in the Song of Solomon – not the kind of love shared between David and Jonathon.  As the text describes, it was the highest form of love, “…better than that of a love between a man and a woman.”  Agápe love is a choice, not a feeling.
The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words when used outside of their respective contexts. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are as follows:
Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
Agápe does not have the primary meaning of affection nor of coming from one’s feelings.  Jesus displayed this Agápe kind of love by going to the cross and dying even though He didn’t feel like dying. He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. Jesus sought the betterment of mankind, regardless of His feelings.
We, too, can agape (love) our enemies, even though we don’t have any warm feelings of affection for them. If they are hungry, we can feed them; if they thirst, we can give them a drink. We can choose to seek the betterment and welfare of others regardless of how we feel.  The Apostle John said, “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1John 3:18. Jesus referred to His love for others (John 13:34; 15:9, and 12), but He never directly told anyone, “I love you.”
Eros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” 
Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
Although phileo-love is encouraged in Scripture, unlike agápe-love, it is never a direct command. God never commands us to phileo (love) anyone, since this type of love is based on feelings. Even God did not phileo the world, He operated in agápe love toward us.
Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. 
Nowhere in all of Scripture do the words dôd or eros denote erotic love between two people of the same sex.  Nowhere.
I would like to conclude this section by quoting a few excerpts from a totally unrelated topic, The Delight of Giving, an article by John G. Stackhouse Jr., printed in Faith Today
“Many of us have been told that agape love is the highest and best because it is unselfish.  Erotic or friendly love provide enjoyment, but agape is utterly self-forgetful and entirely concerned with the welfare of the other.  God loves this way and so should we.  
The problem is, God does not love this way. God does not love without regard for His own pleasure or purpose.  What sense would that even make?  I want to help these people because – well why?  Whether God loves us because He enjoys our delight, or because He wants to bring glory to Himself, or because it’s just the right thing to do, God is still getting something out of the bargain.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
Hebrews 12 directs us to consider, “Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith… [who] for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.”
Love is not a zero-sum game, despite Darwinist or agapist reductionists.  Love is a circle of reinforcing delight, a spiral of ever-increasing joy in mutual concern for everyone’s welfare.  It’s a win-win-win situation.”
I would like to add that the only thing that can corrupt and collapse this ‘ever increasing spiral of joy’ is our disobedience and rejection of God’s commands.

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 6: Origins.

There is no convincing evidence on why some people consider themselves to have same-sex attraction.  I have scoured the internet and found nothing conclusive.  There are the following observations:
  • Homosexuality is exclusive to the human race.
  • Homosexuality runs counter to evolutionary theory.  It is an evolutionary dead end.
  • There has been nothing discovered in human DNA thus far to indicate anything hereditary.
  • God says that homosexual acts are an abomination (His words – not mine).
  • Many people who identify themselves as gay were sexually abused as children and is a probable contributing factor. In Canada approximately 1 in 100 identify themselves as homosexual.  
If we are to believe God’s opinion of two men lying together as denoted in Leviticus 18:22, then it seems to be a reasonable assumption that its origins were in The Fall, one of the many consequences of original sin.
Therefore the only ‘origin’ I can reasonably offer is what I wrote in Section 3:  
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus directly refers to sexual immorality, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”  Seeing as the pre-incarnate Jesus wrote and instituted Levitical Laws in the first place, including what we now identify as Chapter 18, it is irrational to suppose that He has now somehow forgotten what He wrote and is now invalidating these laws by not regurgitating each one word-for-word.  To the contrary, not only is He validating these laws, Jesus identifies the source of our desire to break these laws.  Our corruption of God’s law originates in the heart.
Regardless of origin, fundamentally, homosexual acts are rebellion against God, see Romans 1:26-32.

© David Harrison 2015

  • Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 7: Consequences.

    As we move through the Book of Leviticus, towards its conclusion, we find in Chapter 26 two sections of text described in my NLT Bible as Blessings for Obedience and Punishments for Disobedience.
    Before I get into the issues surrounding the blessings and punishments I want to again address those who would say that the texts I am going to refer to were for another era, for another people.  I believe this has proven to be a perilous error. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were to be a living testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness to the nations around them, to draw others towards them.  Foreigners who wished to follow Jehovah God were welcomed into this family.  In becoming part of His family they understood that all the laws, regulations and blessings were now theirs.  Today we are invited to become part of God’s family by accepting the atoning death and Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say that we will no longer receive God’s blessings for obedience and God’s discipline for disobedience.  My own life experiences bear this out.
    Blessings for Obedience.  “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains.  The land will then yield its crops… You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.  I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear… I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people.  And I will fulfill my covenant with you.  You will have such a surplus of crops you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest!” Leviticus 26:1-13.  And on He goes naming one blessing after another.  
    If you visit the Mennonite areas of Philadelphia, where they still farm the land according to Levitical law, you will find the most fertile land in all of North America!  In the Book of Malachi God teaches about the principle of tithing, giving back a portion to God as an expression of gratitude.  My own experience in this regard is that it is simply impossible to out-give God. As the Hymn goes, “Blessings all mine with ten-thousand besides…”  Quite simply, the blessings for obedience to God are unlimited.  We choose to obey God because we love God.
    And then there is the flip-side which we seem all too quick to ignore and all too quick to complain when it comes about.
    Punishments for Disobedience. “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, I will punish you.  I will bring sudden terrors upon you – wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away….” Leviticus 26:14-16.
    As we read, “I will bring sudden terrors upon you – wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away.” Is it fair to draw a parallel between Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 26:14?  I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.  As for me I can only look at the evidence, with millions of people dead (more than 25-million by 2008) for failing to live their lives the way God called them to.  And yes, there are many innocent victims as a consequence of other’s [selfish] actions.  We still live in a fallen world.
    Many will quote the oft used platitude, ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner.’  Jesus loved sinners by directing them away from their sin.  Having dealt with the bigoted hypocrites who accused her, Jesus ended His conversation with the woman caught in adultery by saying, “Go and sin no more.”  It is impossible to agape love those who find themselves in sin by not doing likewise.

    Jesus also provides a stern warning to those who condone, or even promote behaviour that is contrary to God's teaching.  Given that the context of his warning is towards those within the church/family of God (that is those who will be "in the Kingdom of Heaven"), Jesus is very explicit in his condemnation of those who belittle God's laws by insinuating that when it comes to sex outside of a heterosexual marriage - anything goes - no harm done - show a little tolerance, etc.  At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven."  Matthew 5:19

    Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 8: Why the focus?

    Why do Christians expend so much energy and attention on the issue of homosexuality and Leviticus 18:22?  Why ignore all the other ‘sins’ listed in Leviticus 18? Why not jump on these?
    I would argue that it is the homosexual community that has made 18:22 an issue.  These are the same individuals who would try and persuade us that this way of life is normal and acceptable.  Not only do they seek to have everyone accept/condone this lifestyle, they promote and celebrate it, often belittling and attacking those who would seek to honour God’s commands.  Conversely, the other ‘sins’ listed are for the most part still frowned upon – we do not promote and celebrate incest or bestiality.  But who knows, even adultery is being promoted on websites and in the media as socially acceptable these days.
    Once again, seeking to examine the issue in context, we read God’s viewpoint: “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.  I am the LORD your God.  So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you.  You must not imitate their way of life….” Leviticus 18:1-3. And then at the end of the chapter God says, “So obey my instructions, and do not defile yourselves by committing any of these detestable practises that were committed by the people who lived in the land before you.  I am the LORD your God.”  Yes, these commandments are given specifically to the Israelites (God’s people), but God also notes that these acts are detestable even when practiced by others.  In God’s eyes His principles hold true for all of humanity.

    As Kevin deYoung noted, "It cannot be overstated how seriously the Bible treats the sin of sexual immorality. Sexual sin is never considered adiaphora, a matter of indifference, an agree-to-disagree issue like food laws or holy days (Rom. 14:1–15:7). To the contrary, sexual immorality is precisely the sort of sin that characterizes those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There are at least eight vice lists in the New Testament (Mark 7:21–22; Rom. 1:24–31; 13:13; 1 Cor. 6:9–10; Gal. 5:19–21; Col. 3:5–9; 1 Tim. 1:9–10; Rev. 21:8), and sexual immorality is included in every one of these. In fact, in seven of the eight lists there are multiple references to sexual immorality (e.g., impurity, sensuality, orgies, men who practice homosexuality), and in most of the passages some kind of sexual immorality heads the lists. You would be hard-pressed to find a sin more frequently, more uniformly, and more seriously condemned in the New Testament than sexual sin."

    Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 9: Justification and Resistance

    We read at the introduction to the parable of the Good Samaritan of the ‘teacher of the Law’ questioning Jesus.  After having acknowledged that he had at least a head-knowledge of the Law we read, “But he wanted to justify himself…” Luke 10:29.  This is the attitude of those who know the Law but want to wiggle their way around it, posing the same question as Satan, “Did God really say…?”  Did God really say, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”?  Once again in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus brings us back to the very core of the situation, it is an issue [attitude] of the heart.
    Once we’ve justified something to ourselves our hearts are hardened further and our attitudes become more entrenched.  The next logical step is physical rebellion and outright resistance to God’s laws.  Society has reached the point where, in many jurisdictions, it is even against the [man’s] law to provide counselling to those who wish to abandon the gay lifestyle and seek reparative and/or conversion therapy. In my research I have not been able to find legal bans on any other kind of therapy for an identifiable state of being or ailment.
    German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience.”

    © David Harrison 2015