Archive for the ‘RELATIONSHIPS’ Category

The Sword Of Peace

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

      Some passages that say God is peaceful (Rom 15:33, 1 Cor 14:33, 2 Cor 13:11, 2 Thess 3:16, Heb 13:20, and Isa 2:4).  Some passages say that God is a warlord (Psa 18:34, Exo 15:3, Psa 24:8, 2 Sam 22:35, Psa 144:1, and Joel 3:9-10).  So how am I to understand both set of Scriptures when one talks of peace and the other talks of war?

Sincerely,
Character Building

Dear Character Building,

God says that we should be at peace with all men as much as it depends on us (Rom 12:18).  It takes two to have peace, and even the greatest peacemakers must be prepared for war when others seek to destroy and commit evil.  God is that perfect peacemaker that desires good things for all but is unafraid to punish the wicked (Rom 12:19).  If God were unwilling to protect the righteous from evil, there would be no peace (Pr 17:15).  However, God knows how to both protect the righteous and vanquish the unrighteous (2 Pet 2:9).

Forgiveness Takes Time

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

      I know that forgiving those who have hurt us is absolutely critical to be a follower of Jesus, but how can we know for sure if we have truly forgiven someone?

Sincerely,
Introspective

Dear Introspective,

The only way to know for sure is to examine yourself – something God says we should regularly do (1 Cor 11:28).  Forgiveness can often take time because we aren’t as good at it as God is, but there are a few signs that you are truly forgiving someone.

  1. You aren’t embittered against them (Heb 12:15).  Bitterness is the product of holding grudges against someone and not letting go of your pain.  If you find yourself becoming an angry and embittered person – you probably need to work on forgiveness.
  2. Are you trying to forget about the injury they caused?  God says that forgiveness means that you no longer remember the transgression (Heb 8:12).  This doesn’t mean that you have amnesia, but it means that you aren’t dwelling upon it and keeping records of injuries against you.

As we said, forgiveness can be very difficult, especially if the person has hurt you very deeply, but it is possible to grow and become a truly forgiving person.

One Last Request

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

     It has always been my understanding that if we die in sin without asking for forgiveness beforehand, we go to hell.  For example, if I’ve lived in obedience to God all my life, but on the day I die I sinned and didn’t ask God for forgiveness, I’d go to hell.  Is that right?  Now I look at it, and it seems like I’m counting on my righteousness to gain entry into heaven.  If a believer sins (as we sometimes do) and dies without asking for forgiveness beforehand, does he/she go to hell?

Sincerely,
The Last Word

Dear The Last Word,

Your confusion is a common one because the Bible never explicitly states what happens to the sins that we didn’t specifically ask for forgiveness for.  There is no specific verse that deals with this issue; instead, we must look at some of the concepts that are scattered throughout the Scriptures.

  1. Jesus is our Advocate (1 Jhn 2:1-3).  Jesus is our High Priest, and He mediates between us and God (1 Tim 2:5).  Jesus wants to intercede for your sins, and He desires to help you get into heaven.
  2. God doesn’t desire anyone to be separated from Him (2 Pet 3:9).  No one will ever accidentally go to hell, and no one will accidently miss out on heaven because they didn’t have an opportunity to pray for forgiveness right before they died.  God is ready and willing to forgive (Ps. 86:5).
  3. God expects our obedience, and all forgiveness is dependent upon our willingness to draw near to Him with obedient hearts (1 Pet 1:14).  The Bible says that our obedience to Him purifies our souls.  God forgives the faithful and obedient servant (Heb 10:38).
  4. John paints a beautiful picture for us in 1 Jhn 1:7 by saying, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The word ‘walk’ means ‘to live continually’, and whenever we have that relationship but we accidentally sin, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us of our sins.

When you consider all of these concepts, the truth on the subject becomes evident; we are forgiven as we ask for forgiveness, and God gives grace in those times when we are unable or ignorant to ask for it.  So continue to ask and pray for forgiveness, but you can also have peace that God’s grace will protect your soul as you do your best to live faithfully.

Lay Down The Law

Monday, December 15th, 2014

      A lot of people I know believe some people should be killed for their crimes, even crimes such as stealing but especially killing.  But I was wondering, would God punish us for killing someone else that did wrong?  I believe so, but what does the Bible say on it?

Sincerely,
Do No Harm

Dear Do No Harm,

God authorizes governments to punish its citizens as it deems fit.  God has given governments the ‘sword of terror’ to bring wrath down upon evildoers (Rom 13:3-4).  God allowed the government of Israel to stone criminals (Lev 20:27) for various acts of wickedness against man and God. Stoning definitely would count as capital punishment!

Government authority and individual authority are different things, though.  God tells us that we aren’t to take vengeance upon ourselves (Rom 12:18-19), but instead, we are to do good to our enemies (Rom 12:20). We are to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39) and go the extra mile with people (Matt 5:41).  The government has the right to punish ‘an eye for an eye’, but we as individuals do not (Matt 5:38-39).

Hitting the Books

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

     I’m trying to learn to communicate with God.  I know we speak to Him through prayer… so does He speak back to us through the Bible?  When I ask for God’s perfect will on a subject, and I ask Him for confirmation in the Bible, and I open it and read on what He says, is the word that I read a promise?  Thank you for explaining, and God bless!

Sincerely,
Looking For Direction

Dear Looking For Direction,

God speaks to us through His Word.  If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions.  Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160).  It isn’t as simple as just opening the Bible and putting your finger on a page and looking for a sign; the Bible takes study and effort.
God doesn’t answer our prayers by directly speaking to us, but His Word says that we should pray without doubting (1 Tim 2:8) and that we should ask in faith (Jas 1:6). God says there are very few things that will cause Him to ignore our prayers.  Read “Whose Prayers Count?” for the list of things that will make God turn His back on your prayers.  God never gets tired of hearing from His children.  Christians are to constantly seek Him in prayer.  The most direct example of this is Christ’s parable of the unjust judge in Lk 18:1-5.  Christ taught that parable, so “men ought always to pray and not to grow weary”.  God wants to hear from His people.  So don’t stop asking for help; He is listening.

Kingly Counsel

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

     Let’s say there’s a king, a good one, in Israel.  He makes sure the nation is well and obedient.  He would make sure that the Mosaic Law and God’s commandments were followed.  But let’s say there’s something he’s not sure about, like say, something political about how the laws should be enforced.  He would want inquire of a prophet or seer because they’re gifted to divinely talk to God.  Since a prophet serves as a mouthpiece for God, would he provide the king with political advice as well as spiritual?

Sincerely,
Reviewing Roles

Dear Reviewing Roles,

The kings of Israel would inquire of God all the time for all sorts of things.  The first king of Israel, Saul, was upset because God would no longer answer his inquiries when Saul started behaving wickedly (1 Sam 28:6).  King David asked for God’s advice even when it came to battle tactics (2 Sam 5:23).  It was commonplace for the righteous kings to ask God for advice in all sorts of spheres.