Ask Your Preacher
Why did God give us free will if He knew we would sin?
Dear Free Thinker,
Free will goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but then He gave them access to the tree and the freedom to choose for themselves. If God hadn’t put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil into the garden (Gen 2:9), Adam and Eve wouldn’t really have had free will… which is an integral part of what makes mankind “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27). If Adam hadn’t had the opportunity to choose to do the wrong thing, he really wouldn’t have had the opportunity to choose to do the right thing either. It is that choice that sets us apart from the animals. Free will comes with the risk that we will do the wrong thing, but it also gives us the ability to choose to love God. Without free will, humans would just be glorified robots. Furthermore, God prepared beforehand a way back to Him for those who rebelled (Eph 1:5-6). God allows us to choose, and through the blood of Christ, He allows us to choose to return to Him (1 Pet 2:25).
Are we judging fallen angels? Jesus said we will judge the angels. Also, are we to be angels (I read we will be as angels)?
Ready For Wings
Dear Ready For Wings,
Yes, christians will judge angels – the same way the Queen of the South judges spiritually lazy people. The verse in question is 1 Cor 6:3. We have to keep in mind that there are many ways to bring judgment on others. In our case, we will bring judgment on others through our example. God uses people’s examples to condemn others in similar circumstances.
- The Queen of the South condemns those who won’t seek the truth (Matt 12:42).
- The citizens of Nineveh will condemn those who won’t repent of their sins after hearing the gospel (Matt 12:42).
- Christians will condemn those who have excuses for why they didn’t serve God (1 Cor 6:2).
Angels that denied God and went to serve Satan (Rev 12:9) will have no excuse for not having served God. All christians will stand as a living example and condemnation against the angels that chose to deny God and turn to evil. I f we, having not seen God (Ex 33:20), can still serve Him… the angels who are ever before Him (Matt 18:10) are without excuse.
The Bible never says we will become angels when we get to heaven, but we will be like the angels in that we won’t marry (Matt 22:30). That is the only similarity between the angels and us that the Bible ever gives us. As far as we know, we will continue to be distinctly different creatures from them.
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.
Do christians have free will?
All humans have free will. We can choose to turn to God, or we can choose to depart from Him. The Bible states time after time that you have choices in life and that those choices make a difference. Jhn 3:16 says that Christ died for the sins of all mankind, and those who choose to believe in Christ will receive forgiveness. Joshua told the Israelites to choose which god they would follow (Josh 24:15). God has consistently told mankind that we can choose life or death (Deut 30:15). Jesus calls us to come to Him and receive freedom from our burdens (Matt 11:28). We must choose to follow the narrow road to salvation (Matt 7:13) and flee from wickedness (Jas 4:7). We can choose to obey God and receive salvation, and we can choose to turn from God and lose our salvation (Heb 3:12-14). God is constant in His love and willingness to help all mankind (Heb 13:8)… it is our choice whether or not we heed His call.
What is faith?
Faith is belief, trust, and loyalty to something or someone. If you have faith in your friend, you trust them and are loyal to them through thick and thin. If you have faith in your car, you believe that it will run smoothly even though you aren’t a mechanic and aware of everything going on under the hood. Faith always involves trusting something you can’t see or control (Heb 11:1). You have faith in your friend’s judgment to give you directions; you place your faith in the author of a manual or instruction book to help you properly assemble a piece of furniture; you have faith in a traffic light to properly change colors and not direct you into cross-traffic.
In the case of God, our faith is built upon His Word (Rom 10:17). We trust God’s Bible to guide our lives and direct our steps (Ps 119:105). Our faith in God is shown in our actions – it is impossible to have faith without action (Jas 2:17). If someone says they believe in God, but they don’t obey His Bible, they are no better off than the demons (Jas 2:19). Faith in God is a lifestyle. We hear what His Word says, and then we act upon that command. After all, if we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15).