Ask Your Preacher
Since all sickness is a consequence of sin, why are some innocent children dealt a greater portion of this consequence than others? Why might one child be born healthy and another not? Is this random chance, or are some favored divinely?
Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for children. Though, as you mentioned, sickness isn’t doled out equally. Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few health problems. There are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of sickness.
- We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8). The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next. What you do affects you and those around you that you come in contact with. When you behave godly, certain things happen; when you behave sinfully, other things happen. That is a universal principle of life. If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make. Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives.
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter He is going to build His church on him. Why would Jesus build His church on a man? I know, in a sense, it also had to do with Peter's confession in the previous verses, but Jesus specifically says He will build His church on the apostle Peter. Why was Peter given a higher level of authority?
Dear Building Inspector,
Jesus didn’t build His church on Peter; He built it upon a much sturdier foundation – Peter’s confession. This is one of those times where what Jesus said can be a little confusing to us English-speaking folks because there is a little bit of color that the Greek text gives that makes the text a little clearer. In Matt 16:18, when Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter”, He uses the word ‘petros’, which means ‘a small stone, boulder, a detached stone’. Then Jesus says, “Upon this rock I will build my church”. The word used for ‘rock’ is ‘petra’ in this case. ‘Petra’ means ‘a rock ledge, cliff’; ‘petra’ is the word used for a massive and immovable rock that is attached to the earth. Jesus is making a play on words in Matt 16:18. In essence, He is saying that even though Peter is a rock, Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God is an even sturdier foundation than Peter is. Peter is a small rock, but faith in Jesus as God’s Son is a massive, living rock that you can build the church upon.
Is it wrong to go to tanning beds or use spray-on tans?
UV is Ultra-Vain?
Dear UV is Ultra-Vain,
There are two issues to consider with tanning – the health issue and the vanity issue. First of all let’s look at the health concerns. Overall, the Scriptures lay out a general principle of healthy living and not overindulging. Moderation is the key, and there is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1). We are told that we need to take care of our bodies because they are a gift from God (1 Cor 6:19). Every activity involves certain health risks, and tanning is no exception. Each christian needs to assess the arguments for and against tanning for themselves and be a good steward of the body God has given them.
The second issue is vanity. God tells us that we need to be careful to not be the type of people that are vain and focused on our outward appearance all the time (1 Tim 2:9-10). Tanning is typically done as an act to beautify the body – this isn’t inherently wrong, but it can be if not kept in proper perspective. Remember that beauty fades, but character is forever (Pr 31:30).
Will people who have not heard about Christ go to hell?
Let’s look at a few teachings on this topic and see what the Bible says about those who aren't christians because they haven't heard about Christ.
- Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault. God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8). The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
- People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence. It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure. If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
- God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him. Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse. God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
- God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell. He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5). If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.
God is the final judge. We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27). The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.
Men (and a woman, Deborah) like Ehud, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, and Othniel served as judges. Then men (whether good or bad) like Jehu, Omri, Solomon, Pekah, David, Josiah, Amon, Saul, and Uzziah served as kings. A king and a judge ruled over Israel, but Jehovah was still supreme over them, so in biblical terms, what's the difference between a judge and a king?
Don’t Judge Me
Dear Don’t Judge Me,
Kings ruled the nation; judges delivered the nation. When the kings were instituted, it was because the people wanted a king to guide them in place of God (1 Sam 8:4-7). Kings were in total control of the laws, military, and executive powers of the nation.
On the other hand, the judges were sent by God to deliver the nation but didn’t necessarily rule the nation. Take Samson for example. Samson never functioned as a legal guardian or lawgiver for Israel, but he was sent by God to deliver the nation from Philistine oppression (Judg 13:5). We often get confused because when we think of the word ‘judge’, we think of someone presiding over a courtroom, but that wasn’t what the Old Testament judges were. The judges of the Old Testament were sent to bring judgment upon the nations that were oppressing Israel. When Israel was suffering and cried to God, God sent them judges to deliver them from suffering (Judg 2:16).