Ask Your Preacher
If we are rewarded in heaven for our life on Earth, meaning that others will have more in heaven than others, will there be jealousy? I feel like I would be jealous of others that were rewarded more than I in heaven. I feel silly saying that because I would be thankful just to be in heaven at all, but I would feel like God loved others more than me. Is it okay to feel like I would be jealous?
Dear Going Green,
It is true that the Bible talks about storing treasures up for yourself in heaven (Matt 6:19-21), but that doesn’t provide us with many details as to how those treasures work – the mechanics are a total mystery. One analogy that seems to help people is to think of it like two people gathering water from a well; no matter the size of the container, the container will be full. Storing up treasures in heaven has been described as “getting a bigger bucket”. As we said though, this is simply speculation, and we wouldn’t be too dogmatic on the issue.
As for your concern of jealousy in heaven, we don’t know the mechanics of how heaven will work, but we do know that there will be no sin there (1 Cor 15:54-57). Covetousness is a sin (Jas 4:2). In this life, we struggle to rejoice in the joys of our fellow Christians (Rom 12:15); sometimes it stings when we see others with more than us, but the time will come when we will shuck this mortal coil, and those fleshly temptations to covet will no longer plague us.
Why does the christian worship God on Sunday? In the Ten Commandments it says Saturday is the Sabbath day?
Trying To Believe
Dear Trying To Believe,
The ‘Ten Commandments’ were Old Testament laws, and you need to live by nine of them. The entire Old Testament law, including the ‘Ten Commandments’ was done away with in Christianity (Gal 3:23-25). The New Testament law supersedes the Old Testament one, and the law written on stone tablets (the Mosaic law which includes the Ten Commandments (Deu 4:13) has passed away (2 Cor 3:3-11).
Having said that, the New Testament reiterates nine out of the ten commands. Christians do obey nine of the ‘Ten Commandments’ because Christ thought nine of them were worth keeping in the New Testament.
- Thou shalt not have any other god before me (Ex 20:3, 1 Cor 10:14)
- Thou shalt not make graven images or bow down to them (Ex 20:4-5, 1 Jhn 5:21)
- Thou shalt not take God’s name in vain (Ex 20:7, Heb 12:28)
- Honor thy father and mother (Ex 20:12, Eph 6:1-2)
- Thou shalt not kill (Ex 20:13, 1 Pet 4:15)
- Thou shalt not commit adultery (Ex 20:14, Heb 13:4)
- Thou shalt not steal (Ex 20:15, Eph 4:28)
- Thou shalt not bear false witness (Ex 20:16, Rev 21:8)
- Thou shalt not covet (Ex 20:17, Eph 5:3)
The only one of the ‘Ten Commandments’ left out is the keeping of the Sabbath (Ex 20:8). Christians aren’t bound to keep the Sabbath holy; Jews were. In the New Testament, we are told to meet on Sunday to take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7).
God forgives every sin, right? But what happens when you do that sin repeatedly?
Dear Do Over,
There are two pieces to the puzzle of repetitive sins:
- How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
- How do I remove this sin from my life?
The answer to the first part is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.
However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:
- Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
- Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.
Is the leviathan in Isaiah 27:1 really Satan?
Dear Asking Literally,
Isaiah 27 is dealing with the same topic as the proceeding three chapters – the blessings that exist in Christ and His victory over sin. To be fair, the language used in this section of Isaiah is some of the hardest and most apocalyptic language found in all the Bible, so there is room for disagreement amongst good brethren. Having said that, we believe that since the topic is Christ’s victory and the blessings found in the church – Satan is mostly likely the serpent that was slain in Isa 27:1. If it doesn't represent Satan himself, it probably stands for the world powers that Satan would use to try and defeat God's plans to make Christ's church to flourish. The language of Isaiah 27:1 is very similar to what is said in Rev 12:9-11.
I am leading a weekly Bible study. Yesterday was our first study, and we talked about why Jesus came to this earth. Now, I don't know how to incorporate the Gospel for new people and change the study for the people that have come multiple times. What should I do?
Bible Study Leader
Dear Bible Study Leader,
We aren't exactly sure what advice we can give you. One of the easiest ways to study the Bible is to study it expositorily. Take a book of the Bible, and study it from start to finish. This way you get exactly what God intended for mankind to learn. Being a teacher is a very solemn thing and puts us under a stricter judgment because of the power to lead people astray if we don't adhere to the Bible's teachings (Jas 3:1). If you aren't feeling that you have a comfortable grasp on the Scriptures, better to stick with an exact study of a book than to potentially veer into manmade doctrines.