Archive for June, 2011

Just Not Feeling It

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Why am I so numb to Jesus’ love?

Sincerely,
Deadened

Dear Deadened,

It is impossible to say why you (or anyone else) feel a certain way.  Emotions are fickle and can be deceiving.  Some people feel that they are saved when, in fact, they are lost (Matt 7:21-23), but whether our heart condemns us or not isn’t what saves us (1 Jn 3:19-21).  It is our adherence to God’s Word that saves us (Rom 1:16).  If you are doing what God says you must do to be saved, then you can have confidence regardless of how you feel (see “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for further details).  Serving God is often an issue of doing what is right without regard to our emotions… showing bravery when we are afraid, working when we are tired, praying when we feel we aren’t heard, and persevering when we are discouraged.  One of Satan’s greatest tools to destroy us is that we often don’t feel as we ought, and sin has a way of numbing us to the truth of God’s Word (Heb 3:13).  The only way to combat the callusing effect of sin is to choose that which is right and reject that which is wrong.  Do that, and we guarantee you will see your heart begin to soften.

 

Voluntary Lifestyle

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

If being gay is a sin, why did God make gay people?

Sincerely,
Not Happy About It

Dear Not Happy About It,

Homosexuality is such a controversial issue because modern society teaches that people are born homosexual, but this simply isn’t true.  You are not forced to have a sinful homosexual relationship.  The argument of the homosexual community is that they are born desiring people of the same sex and that they have no choice.  That simply cannot be true.  God makes it clear that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13).  Even if you are born with a predisposition toward homosexuality – you aren’t forced to act upon it.  We always have a choice. There is always a way of escape from sin.  We often use 1 Cor 10:13 as a proof text that no one is born “gay”.  
Homosexuality is like all other sins; we sin when we act upon the lust.  God does not tempt us to sin (Jas 1:13).  It is our own lusts that entice us to do the wrong thing (Jas 1:14-16).  One person has a tendency toward anger, another has a tendency toward alcoholism, and some may, in fact, have a tendency toward homosexuality – but that tendency does not force them to sin.  We need to put away all filthiness of the flesh and be doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:21-22).

 

National Identity

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Are the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ the same?

Sincerely,
Drawing Borders

Dear Drawing Borders,

Those two kingdoms are synonymous.  Eph 5:5 states that the kingdom belongs to both Christ and God, and Rev 11:15 points out that the kingdom belongs to the Father and to His Christ.

 

Court Conundrum

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

An atheist friend of mine asked me if I supported the death penalty.  Thinking back to the Old Testament, I know they stoned people for certain offenses, so I answered, “Yes.”  I have been thinking about it a lot in a New Testament context, and I haven’t been able to come up with any passages that address this.  One big problem I have thought of is that if I condone the death penalty, then I am in a sense taking away that person’s chance to repent and be baptized later in life.  I believe in some of the lists of sinners in several New Testament books, murderers are included (idolaters, sexually immoral, murderers, etc.) in the phrase “such were some of you”.  Are there any passages in the New Testament that address the death penalty under the New Covenant?  And if not, are there any principles that can be applied to figure out what God’s will is on this subject?

Sincerely,
Looking For Laws

Dear Looking For Laws,

The death penalty is a function of the government, and, as you said, when God designed Israel’s government, He believed certain deeds were worthy of the death penalty (such as blasphemy – Lev 24:16).  God’s attitude hasn’t changed about the death penalty (Heb 13:8, Mal 3:6).  What has changed is that God’s people are no longer a physical nation with national laws.  Christ’s church exists within all the nations of the world, and we must abide by our respective government’s laws (Rom 13:1-2).

So, is it okay for a government to put people to death for certain crimes?  The answer is ‘yes’.  God specifically says that He has given governments the authority to punish evildoers, and that governments are used by God to sustain order and be His avengers of wrath upon those that do evil (Rom 13:3-4).  Obviously, not all government decisions are good ones, and God never condones immorality, but in the case of the death penalty, governments are on solid ground when they execute justice.

 

Wakeful Spirits

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

What is soul mortalism or soul sleep?

Sincerely,
Soul Searching

Dear Soul Searching,

Soul mortalism is the belief that human souls are not naturally immortal and that during the time between one’s physical death and the Judgment Day resurrection, the human soul is left in an uncomprehending state or “sleep”.  This does not at all match the Bible’s teachings.

The Bible teaches that human souls, both good and bad, wait in Hades for the Judgment.  Hades (also known as Sheol) is the place of the dead, both the good dead and the bad dead.  The word ‘Hades’ literally means ‘the unseen place’.  Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment.  All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43).  All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23).  The story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Lk 16:19-31 shows us that both groups are fully comprehending and aware in Hades.

 

But How Can You Know

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

If you know that you had done something sinful, or you said something wrong, but you didn’t know what it was, could you still confess to it and ask for forgiveness?  If so, how could you know that you were truly forgiven?  I know God can forgive any sin, but how many times do you have to ask to rest yourself assured that you are forgiven?  I know the answer is once.  I KNOW, BUT IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE ENOUGH.  Please help.

Sincerely,
Remorseful

Dear Remorseful,

As you said, the answer is that you only need to ask once (1 Jn 1:9)… and that includes sins that you don’t fully understand.  David asked that God would keep him from “secret sins” (Ps 19:12-13).  However, that really isn’t your problem.  Your problem is that it doesn’t feel like you are forgiven because that seems too easy.  God tells us that we must have faith in Him (Gal 3:26).  Faith comes through hearing God’s Word and trusting in that Word (Rom 10:17).  Sometimes the Bible says things that we don’t agree with or that we don’t feel could be true… but that doesn’t change the fact that they are right.  When our feelings and God’s Word disagree with each other, we are the ones that need to accept that we are wrong.  God’s grace is much more glorious than we can possibly imagine – we all will spend our entire lives trying to wrap our brains around the depths of God’s love (Php 4:7).