Archive for the ‘RELATIONSHIPS’ Category

Born Free

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

     I don’t understand this scripture: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5 NIV)

Was I born a sinner?  I thought all children were born sinless?

Sincerely,
Troubled

Dear Troubled,

The NIV reading of that text sure sounds like David is saying that he was born in sin, but the NIV isn’t a word-for-word translation and takes liberty in translating that verse (read “What’s The Best Translation” for more details on Bible translations).  Other translations, such as the New American Standard and New King James (much more literal translations), simply say “I was brought forth in iniquity.” (NKJV)  This is a much more generic statement than saying David was born sinful.  Ps 51:5 could mean one of two things:

  1. David was born sinful.
  2. David was born into a sinful world.

We need to look at other verses to see what the Bible teaches about babies being born in sin.  The sum teachings of the Bible say that babies are born without sin, and babies are perfect in God’s sight (even David, the writer of Psalm 51, recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]).  Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15).  Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.

The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society.  If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).

Tracking Our Trajectory

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

     If God knows everything that will happen in one’s life, then why does He put people on earth if He knows they are doomed to go to hell?  Like, if He knows that one will go to heaven but the other will go to hell, why put sinners who are damned to hell here?  Why is that?  Isn’t that a little unfair?

Sincerely,
Feeling Toyed With

Dear Feeling Toyed With,

God knows our days upon this earth, but He also gives us the freewill to shape various aspects of the world that we live in.  Just because God has knowledge of how you and I will behave does not mean that He causes our behavior to happen in a certain way.  Foreknowledge is not the same as causation.  A doctor may know that a patient is going to die of cancer, but that doesn’t mean the doctor caused the patient to die of that ailment.  God gives mankind the freedom to make decisions, but He also has the wisdom to know how those choices will affect the future (Job 12:13).

Missed Call

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

     Does God hear or answer an unsaved person’s prayer?   I am saved but have been wanting some Scripture to answer my question.

Sincerely,
Is He Listening?

Dear Is He Listening,

God recognizes the prayers of the faithful only. There is no doubt that God hears the prayers of christians (Jas 5:16). God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He is far from the wicked (Pr 15:29). God is constantly listening to hear the prayers of christians, but He sets His face against those who do evil. God says that even a christian who isn’t treating others well (specifically their spouse) will have their prayers hindered (1 Pet 3:7).

God does not answer the prayers of those who are ungodly. When Israel turned away from God, He stopped answering their prayers (Micah 3:4). When Judah became wicked and followed false teachings, He stopped hearing their prayers and accepting their worship (Isa 1:13-15). The same would hold true for those who fall away today. God will stop listening to and answering their prayers. It isn’t that He doesn’t hear them – He simply ignores their requests. Those outside of Christ are promised that if they seek God, they will find Him (Lk 11:9). All of mankind has the ability to ask for truth and find it, but only christians can ask God as a child asks a father (Mat 7:11). The ability to seek God’s help through prayer is a blessing given only to those who serve God (Jhn 9:31).

A Day Of Account

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

     The Bible says we all must give an account before God.  But it also says the blood of Jesus covers our sins, and God remembers them no more.  If we are in Christ and do our best to be faithful and obedient, what is the account christians will give before God?  What if the account we give is displeasing to God?

Sincerely,
Don’t Judge Me

Dear Don’t Judge Me,

The verse that says we all must give account for ourselves before God is Rom 14:12, and it is in the context of explaining that brethren shouldn’t judge one another but leave the judgment up to God (Rom 14:10).  The point of that verse isn’t that we all need to be able to eloquently speak to God on the Judgment Day; it is that we each are responsible for our own behavior and choices in life.  You can’t get to heaven riding anyone else’s coattails.

If you are in Christ, then on the Judgment Day, your meeting with God will be a pleasant one – He has forgiven your sins and will tell you to enter into His joy (Matt 25:21).

A Humble Meal

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

     My husband is a good christian and a kind man.  He is an attorney and works very hard, but he just can’t seem to attract a steady flow of income.  My mom and I pray for him every day.  It makes me wonder, after twenty-four years of marriage, why God does not answer our prayers.  I don’t know what to do if we are somehow blocking God’s blessings somehow.  I don’t know how to help my husband.  Obviously, God must be waiting for some good reason, but it is difficult when the lights go out or we can’t afford even the basics.  He will get good clients for a while and then have a long dry spell.  Do you think the Lord is trying to teach him something?  So many thoughtless people have money and security.  It seems the Lord is looking the other way (although I praise Him for His blessings every day).  What can I do?

Sincerely,
Lawyer’s Wife

Dear Lawyer’s Wife,

We all have our struggles, and it sounds like this one is your family’s.  It would be easy to give you advice if your husband was unwilling to work, but as you said, that isn’t the case.  Sometimes, good people struggle with burdens that seem very unfair.  After all, the righteous David had to hide in caves and mountains while wicked Saul lived in luxury.

In Ps 73:3-12, the psalmist, Asaph, ponders why it is that wicked people prosper and the righteous are downtrodden.  The question vexed him deeply because his enemies succeeded while he, a godly man, was constantly in pain (Ps 73:13-14).  Eventually, Asaph went to the temple and thought about the end of a wicked man’s life (Ps 73:16-17).

A life of wickedness is a slippery slope – one lie leads to another until all you have is a tangle of lies and deception (Ps 73:18).  The wicked man has no peace because he is totally dependent upon his own strength and wiles for success… every moment of life is lived upon a precipice (Ps 73:19).

Contrast that life to one of a righteous man.  God holds the hand of the righteous, so they will not despair (Ps 73:23), and God is a righteous man’s counselor and friend (Ps 73:24).  Ultimately, the righteous go to heaven, and the wicked spend eternity in hell (Ps 73:25).

It may seem like wicked people prosper, but eventually, their wickedness becomes their downfall.  Sometimes, their sins take years to catch up with them (pay attention to some of the latest headlines in politics and Hollywood), but they always do.  If a man becomes wealthy through evil… he may have money, but he won’t have peace.  As Pr 15:17 points out, a wealthy feast filled with hatred isn’t nearly as enjoyable as a humble meal eaten with loving friends.  Financial prosperity is not synonymous with happiness.

You are doing the right thing.  Continue to encourage your husband.  You are learning one of the most valuable lessons in life – to be content with what you have and place your trust in the Lord (Php 4:11-13).

Tempted And Tried

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Temptation and trials – what is the different between the two?  Who gives us trials or do we put ourselves in them?  Who gives us temptations or do we put ourselves in them?  Why do we go through both?  Is it a test for us to pass or to build us up spiritually?

Sincerely,
Trying

Dear Trying,

The Bible says that God never tempts us to do evil (Jas 1:13).  God never purposefully puts us in a situation with a desire for us to sin.  The devil wants to devour you with sin, but God never does (1 Pet 5:8).  However, God does put us in situations in order to find out what we are made of.  God tested Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1).  God put Abraham in a position where he could succeed or fail – but the key is that God wanted him to succeed (Gen 22:14-18).  Abraham was tried by God (Heb 11:17), so God could bless him.  God may put us in circumstances that are difficult, but His desire is always to benefit us.

On the other hand, the devil tempts us for the purpose of destroying us – just like he did with Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4:1).  That is why God promises us that He will never allow the devil to tempt us beyond what we are able to handle (1 Cor 10:13).  The devil tries to set us up for failure, and the Lord tries to set us up for success.