Ask Your Preacher
In the Old Testament, it talks about unintentional sin. Is there also unintentional (accidental) sin in the New Testament, like Paul before his conversion? Thank you.
Sinful By Mistake
Dear Sinful By Mistake,
Unintentional sins are committed every single day. Paul said that all of his sins had been committed out of ignorance and in a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:13, Acts 23:1). Paul also pointed out that he still needed mercy for his unintentional sins. Ignorance is an explanation for our sins, but it doesn’t excuse our guilt. God is patient with us, but eventually, we are responsible for seeking to remove our ignorance by finding the truth of God’s Word (Acts 17:30). It is understandable when people sin because they don’t know any better, and that understanding engenders God’s compassion (as it should ours), and that is exactly why God’s love sent His Son, so we might have a way of escape from our unintentional rebellion (Jhn 3:16).
Was Jesus actually God in the flesh? Is the trinity a true, factual idea? Or was Jesus created by God, and is He indeed His Son, like I am my dad's son? Thanks for your time.
Dear Family Facts,
Jesus is God. Jhn 1:1-3 and Jhn 1:14 say that Jesus is God. Col 1:15-17 says that all things were created by Jesus… which means Jesus wasn’t created. We often say that there is only one God… but technically, that is not the complete story. There are three Gods in the Godhead, and They all work together in perfect unity. Jesus is God (Matt 28:9), the Father is God (2 Thess 1:2), and the Holy Spirit is God (Gen 1:2). The word ‘God’ just means ‘deity’. Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all deity. They function with complete unity (Jhn 10:30), but They are separate Beings. Jesus emptied Himself and became a human (Php 2:4-8). Jesus is God’s son because He was miraculously born (Matt 1:18), because the Father raised Him from the dead (Acts 13:33), and because Jesus obeyed Him as a Son (Jhn 8:28). It is that unique honor and connection that creates the Father-and-Son relationship between these two members of the Godhead.
What is the gift of the Holy Spirit that christians are promised by Peter in Acts 2? I don't think it's God's Word since faith comes by hearing, and you must hear the Word of God before you can believe and become a christian. Also, not all christians at that time or today had/have access to the inspired Scriptures. I followed Peter's instructions, but I don't have any "spiritual" gift. I get very confused when it comes to the Holy Spirit's role after the perfect has come.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is salvation. In Acts 2:38, Peter offers the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized. The problem is that in this verse, Peter doesn’t specify whether the gift is from the Holy Spirit or the gift is the Holy Spirit. We need to compare Peter’s sermon in Acts to other verses. What do other verses say you receive when you are baptized?
- Mk 16:16 says you will receive salvation.
- Acts 8:16 shows that several people had been baptized but hadn’t received the Holy Spirit – which means that the Holy Spirit can’t be what the gift is.
- Acts 10:47 shows several people receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism, also proving that the gift of baptism isn’t the actual Holy Spirit.
- Rom 6:4 says you are given a new life through baptism.
- 1 Cor 12:13 says that you become part of the church when you are baptized.
- Col 2:12 says you are raised with Christ in baptism.
- Gal 3:27 says you put on Christ when you are baptized.
- 1 Pet 3:21 says baptism saves you.
The truth can always be found in the sum of God’s Word (Ps 119:160). Baptism washes away your sins, and you receive the gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is a heavenly gift offered to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Heb 6:4, 1 Cor 2:11-13).
What is faith? When we have faith, do we have faith like when we sit on a chair or fly on a plane? What type of faith does the Word of God say that we should have? How many different types of faith are there? We all are given a measure of faith, but yet, the Word says that there is only one faith; what does this mean? Do we function on different faith, or do we all function on the same faith… but differently?
Dear Finding Faith,
The word ‘faith’ simply means ‘to place your trust in, to believe’. In the context of the Bible, the word ‘faith’ is specifically referring to our trust in God.
Faith is an inevitable element of life. Anytime you trust something you can’t see, it is an act of faith (Heb 11:1). When we take an aspirin, we have faith that it isn’t laced with arsenic. When we drive, we have faith that the traffic light is telling the other lanes to stop when it tells us to go. We visit restaurants because we have faith in the recommendation our friend gave us, and we buy houses based on our faith in the home inspector’s report. Everyone lives by faith – this is an important aspect of life.
Sadly, most people are quick to place their trust in manmade things like airplanes and cars, but very slow to place their faith in God. The Bible says that faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17). That is what the Bible means when it says there is only one faith (Eph 4:5). There is only one standard for a faithful life – the Bible. The Bible is the book of the faith and then how we follow the faith determines our level of individual faith.
When we study and then live by the teachings found in the Bible we are living a life of faith in God. It isn’t enough to just say we believe in God, our works must back that statement up (Jas 2:14-17). Even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19), but salvation comes to those who do something about that belief.
(This question is in response to “Legal Council”.)
You said, "No congregation has the right to impose their decisions on another local church." But in Acts 15, James, the bishop of Jerusalem (not an apostle) sends a letter of decree to the local congregation that was circumcising Gentile believers. This became binding on that local congregation (and the practice obviously stopped). Also, you said, "The only difference would be that the council in Acts 15 affected the entire universal church because the apostles were there, and the apostles had authority over all the church." Where in the Bible does it specifically say that the authority of the apostles ended when they passed on? Is that just an assumption?
Make A Decision
Dear Make A Decision,
James wasn’t the only one who sent that letter – he was one of the elders from Jerusalem, but the letter was sent by the apostles and the elders (Acts 15:23). The apostles were the ones with the authority to lay the decree down for all the churches. Paul points out that as an apostle, he had that authority and responsibility in 1 Cor 7:17 and 2 Cor 11:28.
It isn’t an assumption that the apostolic authority ended with these first apostles. In order to be an apostle, a man had to be specifically sent forth by Christ (the word ‘apostle’ means ‘one sent forth’) and have witnessed His resurrection (Acts 1:21-26). Elders only have the authority to shepherd the local congregation they are at (1 Pet 5:2). Universal church authority ended with the apostles.