Here at Fireside Grace, we focus on giving deep revelation, seeking the heart of God, and discipling people to be representatives of Jesus. However, sometimes we feel it's necessary to get back to the basics and cover the elementary principles of Christianity for those that are seeking Jesus, new to the faith, or are just trying to answer difficult questions that are being presented to them as they evangelize. Today's blog is going to address those questions.
The first question I would like to address is a statement:
"If God would just show me that He is real, I would drop everything and serve Him right now."
Naturally, we want to respond with, "A wicked generation asks for a sign!" However, that's taking something a little out of context and is not helpful in your quest to evangelize the unsaved. I have discovered that the least effective way (besides not evangelizing at all) to minister to the lost is to call them wicked. That scripture, in its original context, is the Pharisees asking Jesus to prove he is the Messiah and fit their agenda of what a messiah should like. A better response to this question would be to demonstrate God to the person. For us, we will prophesy, lay hands on someone and see them heal, give words of knowledge and wisdom, or do whatever God is leading us to at that time. I would also point out that you don't need to see to God to believe him because we live in faith.
Adam, Eve, Satan, and Satan knew God face to face. Satan was an angel that sat at the throne of God and covered God with his wings. However, they still fell from the presence of God. Think about that. People think that if they just saw God they'd worship him. That's not always the case. This sentiment is a lie that was created by satan to keep a person in doubt.
The next question I would like to address is one that was posed to me when I was a non-committed believer. I was still getting drunk, just getting free from sex outside of marriage, getting free from Porn, smoking weed, and doing all kinds of things that the world does. I was drunk and evangelizing to my friend about how he needed God. He turned to me and asked,
"So you're telling me that your God will let me do everything that we're doing already, and he will still let me go to heaven? Why would I worship your God when I can do all that for my god and not have to go to church or believe in Jesus?"
This question stems from hyper-grace (or heretical-grace) which states once saved always saved. It presents itself in many forms and one of which is, "why would I worship a God that will let me do whatever I want as long as I repent?" This not a new lie from satan. This is one that was addressed by Paul thousands of years ago. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!" -Romans 6:15.
The truth of the matter is that when we are saved, we are supposed to surrender our lifestyle of sin and turn to God with all of our hearts. Many people think that once you are saved you are always saved, and I know this is going to be controversial, but I don't believe that for a minute. I believe it may be hard to lose your salvation, but it's not something you are guaranteed. Yes, God is forgiving and will forgive any sin you repent of. However, if you willfully continue to sin, knowing what's right and what's wrong, then you haven't repented. According to the Bible, repentance of sin is turning from sin (literally walking away from it) and not returning to it.
Here's why I don't believe in once saved always saved, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame." -Hebrews 6:4-5.
If it were not possible to lose your salvation, then this scripture would have no right to be in the Bible. As it stands, however, we can see that the author of Hebrews clearly understood that a person could know Holy Spirit, operate in the gifts, and have been enlightened (meaning Jesus is now their light), and walk away and choose to fall away to ever return to God. That's not to say that if you backslide and get caught up in a sin that you lose your salvation. This is talking about straight-up ignoring God after you know him and willfully choosing to sin rather than walk with God.
The next question I hear commonly is,
"why has the church cause so many issues like slavery and the crusades?”
That's a relevant question. The simplest answer is that is what happens when people blindly follow religions, churches, and leaders and not God almighty. Wicked people take the scripture and twist it to justify their sin. The bible did outline how someone is supposed to treat slaves in the old testament. They were told by Moses to treat them with love and respect, honor, and eventually free them after six years of service. A slave under a Hebrew owner would typically be treated like family and many times they would choose to remain indebted and serve a family forever because of how great they had it.
This is a tough one for people to grasp today, and I don't justify or condone humans owning or enslaving anyone else, but we are still slaves as Christians. what does that mean? It means that we were bought by a man in exchange for his death and resurrection at the cross. We are not our own. Our bodies don't belong to us. However, we serve a loving God that allows us to choose if we honor him with our bodies or dishonor him.
"I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:19-23.
By blaming the church for slavery, it is showing that you are putting your faith in what you see and mankind, not in God. Bad men will use religion to control people and justify their sins. Righteous men will dig into the word of God, question what they have been taught and what is acceptable according to their culture, and find answers for themselves. That's how we live as Christians. We don't just accept that we need Jesus, we question everything and look for answers per the word of God.
“Why do we have to go to church? Why not just hang out at other Christians' houses?”
The simple answer is that you don't have to go to a church building. It's so ingrained into American culture that church is building, that even pastors sometimes think a person is sinning by not going to a church building. Scripture tells us that we are the church. We are the body of Christ. In Paul's day, the believers would meet at each other's homes and have big Holy Ghost parties where they would sing songs, practice operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, take communion, and share sermons or what God had taught them.
To answer the underlying question, why do we even need to gather together, it is because it strengthens us as believers. We get to hear other's testimonies of what God is doing for them, see the gifts in operation, and be with people who share the same faith as us. Jesus says that where two or more are gathered, there He is in the middle of them. The word used for in the midst or middle is Mesos. This word derives from the Greek word Meta which means change. It shows us that by just talking to someone that is Christian, Jesus is in the middle of it and is changing us as a result thereof.
Next question and then we'll call it for this Blog:
"Why should I trust the Bible? How do I know that it's dependable? It's written by fallible men, then why does everyone think it's the infallible word of God?"
Great question. Essentially what is being presented here is that there are mistakes in the Bible. The truth is, that there are not. The scripture, in its original context and its original language, is not flawed. The "contradictions" that we supposedly see in the Bible are a result of a misunderstanding, not reading the text in its original language, lack of research and understanding, and lack of understanding the nature of God or taking scripture out of context.
For Example, here are some "contradictions" as a result of poor translations or taking scripture out of context.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” — Romans 14:5
The contradiction presented here is that we can choose what is a holy day and what isn't. This doesn't seem like a contradiction to me, but when you read the scripture in Romans 14:5 you see that Paul is telling his audience not to judge anyone based on what holy days they choose to observe. He isn't talking about the sabbath, he is talking about religious holidays that people were following. Paul was saying, whatever you decide to do, let that between you and God. He was telling us not to condemn a brother or sister for not eating certain foods or choosing to not celebrate a holiday like the feast of tabernacles or Chanukah. Paul was telling us that whatever we choose to do, let's do it for God or not do it for God, but let us not judge each other.
Here's one more "Contradiction:"
'“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” — James 1:13
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham…” — Genesis 22:1"
What the scripture says when you read it in Hebrew is that God TESTED Abraham. God doesn't tempt us to do evil. The devil is the one that tempts. A temptation is an urging of a desire to do something, especially something that is wrong. If God were to tempt someone, then He would have no right to say that we need salvation through Jesus. After all, He would then be the author of sin, and His will would be for us to sin, therefore, we would have done nothing wrong and would be vindicated by the will of God.
Well, let's wrap it up here. I'm sure we'll get more questions, and we will give more answers. Until then, be blessed Fam.