Ask Your Preacher
If God is so powerful and mighty, can't He just destroy the devil and evil? Why doesn't He just be, like, “BAM!”… and the devil and the evil in the world be gone?
God does have the power to destroy the devil and all evil, and eventually, that is exactly what He will do (Matt 25:41). God tells us that the reason He hasn’t destroyed all evil is because that would involve destroying all sinful people as well. After all, sin is what causes evil. God, in His abundant patience, is waiting to give as many people as possible the chance to repent and turn to Him, so they can be forgiven (2 Pet 3:5-9). God promises that one day He will destroy all evil; the really question is: whose side will we be on in that day?
Will God still love me even if I turn out to be bisexual?
Of Two Minds
Dear Of Two Minds,
God loves everyone, and He doesn’t desire any soul to perish (Ezek 18:23), but that doesn’t mean that you will go to heaven if you live a homosexual lifestyle. The Bible clearly says that homosexual behavior is sinful (Jude 1:7).
Homosexuality is such a controversial issue because modern society teaches that people are born homosexual, but this simply isn’t true. You are not forced to have a sinful homosexual relationship. The argument of the homosexual community is that they are born desiring people of the same sex and that they have no choice. That simply cannot be true. God makes it clear that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13). Even if you are born with a predisposition toward homosexuality – you aren’t forced to act upon it. We always have a choice. There is always a way of escape from sin. We often use 1 Cor 10:13 as a proof text that no one is born “gay”. Homosexuality is like all other sins; we sin when we act upon the lust. God does not tempt us to sin (Jas 1:13). It is our own lusts that entice us to do the wrong thing (Jas 1:14-16). One person has a tendency toward anger, another has a tendency toward alcoholism, and some may, in fact, have a tendency toward homosexuality – but that tendency does not force them to sin. We need to put away all filthiness of the flesh and be doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:21-22). The bottom line – you don’t have to be bisexual! You can lead a life of fulfillment and holiness as God intended.
Any advice for a christian who has stumbled along the way, repented, confessed this sin to the elders, got back up, and continued trying to fight the good fight, but left feeling the elders are disgusted, disappointed, and aloof? It breaks my heart because my entire life I have felt rejected by my family, only to feel such love and respect from my spiritual family. Now when the elders see me, they turn away, never shake my hand, and make me feel alienated, rejected, worthless, and so incredibly saddened by my sin; I don't feel worthy of assembling with the saints. I suppose this is simply the consequence of sin. I hate myself.
We are so very sorry for your pain. The sting of our own actions and the consequences that come along with them can sometimes be so much more devastating than we ever thought. Luke 18:13-14 tells the story of a man that prayed fervently and humbly over his sin to God, and God accepted him. The same is true for you, regardless of how others treat you; remember that if you truly repent and turn to the Lord, God will exalt you.
You don’t need to hate yourself because the Lord doesn’t hate you. Paul taught that part of being a christian is learning to accept the Lord’s view of us above our own. Paul said that no matter how humans judged him, what mattered was God’s judgment (1 Cor 4:3-4). It can be very hard when others are not as quick to forgive us of our sins as the Lord is, but that is life. Think of it as an opportunity to show grace to others when they struggle with forgiveness the way you have struggled with other sins – you can be patient with them because you know what it is like to struggle to become the person you are meant to be. Everyone has their weaknesses, and the church is full of imperfect people.
The other thing that you can do is approach the elders on this issue. God says that if we believe our brother has something against us, we should seek to reconcile with them (Matt 5:23-24). When you talk to them, it may or may not be that the elders are actually being aloof and purposefully rejecting you. Sometimes, our own disgust and disappointment with ourselves causes us to interpret others’ actions as disgust and disappoint… when they don’t mean anything of the sort. The only way to rectify things is to clear the air through communication. You had the strength to confess your sins to them; you have the strength to discuss this problem with them.
Is a Christian allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink beer?
Does A Body Good?
Dear Does A Body Good,
God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank). We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.
As for cigarettes, anything that purposefully poisons our bodies is wrong to use. There was a time where the facts were not clearly known about the effects of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars on human health. Those days are long since gone. The data is exceptionally clear that smoking is always harmful to the human body and that smoking has no positive health benefits. God tells us to treat our bodies as a temple (1 Cor 6:19). Our bodies are a gift from God, and life is something to be cherished. When we purposefully abuse our bodies with unhealthy lifestyles, we rebel against God and show ungratefulness for the life He has given us. Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1). Who knows what work He has prepared for you in the days and years that would be lost if you died from the effects of smoking?
I know this sounds odd, but I watched a show, and I felt bad, so I jokingly thought, “If I watch it again, I will go to hell.” I was twelve or thirteen when I thought that. Well, I’m fourteen now, and I flipped through the channels and saw it again. Am I going to hell? Please help me; it really is stressing me out. I’m nervous.
Scared For My Soul
Dear Scared For My Soul,
Saying that you will go to hell for watching a show won’t guarantee your eternal destiny any more than saying, “I’ll go to heaven if do watch this show.” We aren’t the final judge of our eternal home – Christ is (2 Tim 4:1). If you have done what Christ teaches you must do to be saved, you will go to heaven (read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for specifics on the steps of salvation), and if you turn away from Christ, you will be lost (Acts 4:12). Everyone deserves to go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), but Christ offers to save us if we love and obey Him (Jhn 14:15). What you did in the past doesn’t matter; what you do now is what counts (2 Cor 6:1-2).