Ask Your Preacher
In a previous post titled "Big Dreams", you said "there are no more prophets since we have the perfect and complete Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10)". How do we know that 1 Cor 13:8-10 is talking about the Bible? What are some other things people think perfect/complete is?
Dear Incomplete Understanding,
The perfect that is described in 1 Cor 13:8-13 is typically thought to be one of two things. It is either perfect knowledge of God’s Will (also known as the completed Bible) or the Second Coming of Christ. So, let’s look at the details we are given about ‘the perfect’ and see which one fits better.
- ‘The perfect’ is something that would replace partial knowledge (1 Cor 13:9).
- ‘The perfect’ would remove the necessity for prophecy and new knowledge (1 Cor 13:8).
- When ‘the perfect’ comes, christians will still be expected to have faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13).
The third item on that list is proof that ‘the perfect’ isn’t the Second Coming of Christ. When Christ returns, we will no longer need hope or faith. Faith is trusting in something you can’t see (Heb 11:1); when Jesus comes, we won’t need to have faith in Him – everyone will see Him and every knee will bow (Rom 14:11). Hope is also something that ceases to exist when Jesus returns. Hope is always in something you haven’t attained yet (Rom 8:25). For example, if a child is told by his parents that they will take him to Disneyland, the child has faith in the parents’ promise and hopes to see Disneyland… until the day that he walks into the Magic Kingdom. Hope and faith only exist because Christ hasn’t returned yet. ‘The perfect’ has to be something that happened after prophecy and miracles ended, but before Jesus’ return. The most logical explanation is that Paul is discussing the perfect and complete knowledge that can be found in the completed Bible. Today, with a finished Bible, the church still needs faith, hope, and love, but we no longer have a need for prophecy, and we no longer have only partial knowledge of God’s Will (Jude 1:3).
Do people have past lives because sometimes I feel like I had a past life before. For example, I go some way, and I have never been there before, and I know my way around. I see someone for the first time, and I feel like we have met before.
Dear Deja Vu,
The Bible makes it clear that we only have one life; reincarnation doesn’t happen. Heb 9:27 says that we are appointed to die once, and then we face the judgment. Each human is given one life to live. The feeling of déjà vu that you experience from time to time is a normal human feeling, but it isn’t because of past lives.
When is the Sabbath? The Bible says its the seventh day. Why do so many keep Sunday as the Sabbath?
A Day To Remember
Dear A Day To Remember,
Saturday is the Sabbath day… but christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath. The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’. The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15). This rule was so strict that a man was once stoned for collecting firewood on Saturday (Num 15:32-36). However, this was a Jewish command, not a Christian one. The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25). We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16). Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2). We are not bound by the strict rules of avoiding all work like the Jews were, but we are told to treat Sunday as “the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10).
Why do some religions go by the laws of the Old Testament and others the New? I can't understand why there is so much confusion. Could you please tell me what verses they use to back up both views?
Of Two Minds
Dear Of Two Minds,
The confusion happens because people don’t understand the purpose of the Old Testament. Since God wrote the Old Law, why would He all of a sudden discard it? The key to why the Old Testament laws are no longer applicable is to realize that the Old Law was supposed to lead the Jews to Christ (Gal 3:24). The Old Testament prophesied of Jesus, and it prepared people for Jesus’ coming. When Jesus came, He didn’t discard the Old Testament – He fulfilled it (Matt 5:17). Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the fulfillment of everything of which the prophets of old spoke (1 Pet 1:10-12, Acts 3:20-21). Moses said that there would come a day when a Messiah would come… and that when He came, the Jews were to follow Christ instead (Acts 3:22-24). Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament by being the Messiah and paying the price for mankind’s sins. The Old Testament was a tutor to lead us to Christ (Gal 3:24), but now that Christ is here, He has fulfilled the law, and we are no longer bound by its laws (Gal 3:25). The Old Testament still provides many wonderful examples and lessons of morality (1 Cor 10:11), but its specific laws no longer apply.
Baptism needs to be rethought. If that is a condition, then Moses, David, Samson, and a host of others needed to be baptized. The thief on the cross needed to be baptized. If we use Scripture to prove Scripture, then you can't account for any child, including David's child out of sin, to enter heaven. You must correct yourself now and share this with all who lean on you for correct information. Just as communion is a physical act that helps us spiritually, so baptism is a physical act because we are physical beings hoping to become more spiritual – and we do with maturity. Some can't even be baptized. Do not lay this burden on people. God bless and do so soon.
Dear Very Dry,
We would never want to lay a burden on someone that isn’t found in the Bible, but we also want to make sure that we don’t take away a command that God has given us. We should never add or subtract from God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19). Having said that, baptism is definitely a command and requirement for salvation (Mk. 16:16). There are dozens of verses that reinforce this teaching (1 Pet 3:21, Acts 2:38-41, Matt 28:19-20, Acts 8:12, Acts 22:16, Rom 6:3, 1 Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27… just to name a few). The verses requiring baptism for salvation are many and clear – so now let’s deal with your concerns.
- Moses, David, and Samson didn’t need to be baptized because they lived under the Old Testament law. They didn’t need to be baptized, just like christians don’t need to be circumcised and don’t need to make animal sacrifices. They lived under a different contract (‘testament’ means ‘contract’). Under the Old Testament, baptism wasn’t a requirement. Under the New Testament, it is.
- The thief on the cross didn’t need to be baptized because he didn’t live under the New Testament law either. Jesus’ church didn’t come into existence until the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-6 and Acts 2:38-41). For more detailed information on the thief on the cross, read “The Thief On The Cross”.
- Children aren’t saved by baptism because they aren’t old enough to be held accountable for their sins; every child goes to heaven. Read “Baby Bath” for specifics on the spiritual purity of children.
- Communion is a physical act that has spiritual consequences, just like baptism is a physical act that has spiritual consequences. The apostle Paul specifically said that if someone doesn’t take the Lord’s Supper properly, they will be guilty before God (1 Cor 11:23-27). We live in a physical world, and the choices we make here have eternal ramifications. Baptism is exactly like communion – if we don’t do it right, we will be guilty before God.
Hopefully, these verses give you some comfort that we are preaching and teaching exactly what the Bible says. It is our goal here at AYP that no one will ever miss out on heaven because we failed to properly preach the whole counsel of God – and that includes the requirement of baptism.