April 24, 2018

Gender and Salvation

Contrary to what our society wants to tell us, there are some distinct differences in men and women. God created humanity this way for a reason. The differences are to compliment each other, they are not to make one gender more valid than the other, they are designed to work together to create balance in the home, family, community and society.

Within this understanding there are some things that are part of the personality of the individual, but for the most part at the core there are certain things that are key characteristics. God's creation is intentional, with so much attention to detail that some times it is hard to even wrap one's mind around all of the intricate care that God lovingly set in order to create the world that we live in and our human bodies designed just right for the atmosphere and gravity of the Earth.

There are some cognitive differences in men and women.  I wont bore with too much scientific fact, but I will say that in many cases men and women process information differently, and they respond to that information differently. Again, I will state that personality in the individual does play a key role in this, because each person has some unique qualities, as God did not create us as one clone, but part of the beautiful variety that is throughout creation. For example, all trees have the same basic features, but there are multiple varieties of trees, the same can be said of birds, flowers, on and on.... God clearly loves variety because it is expressed throughout creation. In this way, each individual is unique, but with some sameness of humanity.

Salvation is defined in the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms as follows:

"God's activities in bringing humans into a right relationship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ.  They are saved from the consequences of their sin and given eternal life. Biblical images for salvation vary widely." 

This definition uses some very active words. It also clearly states that salvation is more than just the relationship with God, but also with one another.  This is very important to understand the Christian community of faith that develops among those who are saved.  No where in this definition is a distinction of gender, which means that salvation is for both men and women.  But when we look at the  Christian community of faith, in almost all cases there are more women than men within congregations.

Salvation is available to all.  How men and women process information can be very different, especially when it comes to self introspection. This is important because when presenting the Gospel to men and women, there is some need for intentional use of facts, because men get details and facts in a very different way than women do. This is often reflected in communication styles.  Men want the bottom line fact first, and women can navigate through the details and eventually get to what should point to the facts.

For salvation to take place, one must be aware that one's relationship with God is not right. ... That one is a sinner. To acknowledge this fact in one's spiritual state of being requires conviction. Our legal system has lead us to think about conviction in a certain way, that relies on how the information is understood by others.  But the type of conviction that leads one to realize they  are in need of Jesus Christ and salvation, is internal. In other words, the facts have to be presented to the individual, not the group of peers.  The group of peers may see the facts without a shadow of a doubt, but for salvation to take place the individual must see one's own sinful nature as based on the facts presented to one's own self.  This level of self honesty means that the person must be humbled by the Holy Spirit of God opening ones eyes, to be honest with one's self about one's own actions and motives.

Conviction of sin is defined in the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms as follows:

"The sense of the reality of sin in one's life as known by the work of the Holy Spirit ( John 16: 8-9)."

When a person is unwilling to face the facts of their own wrong, it takes the Holy Spirit to show the individual how far way from God they truly are, how are away from doing right they truly are in their own way of being. Sinners and backsliders, are able to justify their ways, or the even ignore reasoning.  But once one truly becomes aware of the fact that one is wrong, in word and deed, something has to change. Either the individual will take the "Romans Road" or will continue to reject God, Jesus Christ, and salvation.

In recent years, the preaching of the Gospel has become quite docile when it comes to stating the facts. And this is reflected in the lack of men who are active participants in church. This is reflective of the lower numbers of men who are accepting salvation in Jesus Christ.  Maybe the "hell, fire, and brimstone" type sermon of the past seems a bit harsh, but some time the facts are harsh. Sin is harsh. The consequences of sin are harsh. What sin does to one's life is harsh. What sin does to one's physical body is harsh. What sin does to the state of one's soul is harsh.

Men must be presented with the facts. The church can not follow the trends of the world and sugar coat the truth. Men respect truth and honesty, even when it is not what they want to hear. No one  will receive the truth or the facts, until they are willing to surrender their own self sufficiency and realize that what is needed can not be supplied by self. But salvation is available to everyone, both men and women.   God is not hiding salvation from anyone, nor is God trying to make it an unsolvable riddle. The truth of the Gospel is plain and clearly states the facts.

Men may not like asking for help or directions, but when a man realizes that his soul is at stake, in danger, the urgency will become real.  A sin sick soul can only be healed by the Power of God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. A man can not save his own soul, a woman can not save her own soul.  We all need Jesus.