Ask Your Preacher
I have heard many interpretations and predictions on what it is thought the mark of the beast will be. One of those thoughts is a microchip placed in your hand. Would it be wrong to implant my dogs with microchips? This seems to be the most effective way of keeping up with them and preventing them from getting lost, but is it wrong?
Devoted Dog Breeder
Dear Devoted Dog Breeder,
The verse you are referring to is Rev 14:9. However, take comfort – it isn’t referring to your pups. The book of Revelation is dealing with the struggle between christians and the idolatrous nation of Rome; therefore, it can’t be referring to modern microchipping, no matter what the televangelists and pop-culture preachers say.
It is important to remember that the book of Revelation is a book written with symbolic and figurative language (Rev 1:1). It is a vision the apostle John received on the island of Patmos that uses apocalyptic dream-like visions to teach on a real-life subject that was “soon to come to pass” and “at hand” (Rev 1:1 and Rev 1:3). Considering John wrote the book somewhere between 65 A.D. and 100 A.D. – we are about two thousand years too late for the vision to specifically apply to us. Today, you need to obey the Gospel in order to be in God’s light (1 Jn 1:5-6). We recommend that you read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”, so that you can feel confident about what will save your soul. There is more to it than simply asking Jesus into your life, but it has nothing to do with unmarked hands or microchipping.
Where in the Bible does it say that the kingdom is the church? From my reading, the kingdom is still in the future when Christ comes back.
Looking For Citizenship
Dear Looking For Citizenship,
Jesus and John the Baptist said the kingdom was near (Matt 3:1-2, Matt 4:17). Jesus taught His disciples that the kingdom would come within their lifetime (Matt 16:28). Jesus also taught that His kingdom wouldn’t be a physical kingdom, but a spiritual one (Lk 17:20-21, Jhn 18:36). Jesus used the terms ‘church’ and ‘kingdom’ interchangeably (Matt 16:18-19). The Bible teaches that you enter them both through baptism (Jhn 3:3, Acts 2:41). The Bible teaches that God is calling people into the church (1 Cor 1:2), and He is calling people into the kingdom (1 Thess 2:12). Lastly, Paul says that the christians who are in the church are also in the kingdom (Col 1:13). The church is synonymous with the kingdom.
Why did Jesus have to die for our sins in order to be forgiven by God? Couldn't God have just forgiven man without the sacrifice of His son?
Let’s Make A Deal
Dear Let’s Make A Deal,
Rom. 3:21-26 covers that specific question. Jesus died on the cross because the Father wanted to justify us, and He also wanted to remain just. It wouldn’t be fair for God to simply forgive our sins because He liked us. That would be like a judge that punished the guilty… unless they were his friends. Only a crooked judge would show that sort of partiality. However, God is a righteous God. God doesn’t deny that our sins deserve eternal death (Rom 3:23). The Father sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. It wouldn’t have been fair for God to show partiality, but it is fair for Him to pay the price of our sins for us. It cost Jesus’ blood, but those who trust in Christ have been given the gift of having their punishment paid in full.
What does it mean to be born again?
Womb To Grow
Dear Womb To Grow,
A born-again person is just a christian; it is another way to say that you are saved. The terminology comes from Jhn 3:1-6 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about salvation. In Jhn 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom (the kingdom is the church – read “A Kingdom For All Nations” for further details on that). Nicodemus asks how it is possible for someone to be born again (Jhn 3:4), and Jesus explains that we must be born of the Spirit and water (Jhn 3:5). We are born of the Spirit when we listen and obey the words of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible (Jhn 6:63, 1 Cor 2:13), and we are born of water when we are baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:4). When we heed the Scriptures and are baptized, we are born again… and we become christians (Mk 16:16, Matt 28:19).
If we are saved by grace through Christ alone, and not by works, why does the Word say that at the Judgment, Christ might say to some, "Depart from me; I never knew you" (Matt 7:23)? It seems to suggest that after being born again, we then must do something to stay saved. Some of them were obviously doing wonderful works in His name (Matt 7:22). Can you help me understand?
Working On An Answer
Dear Working On An Answer,
When Paul says that we are not saved by works, he is talking about perfect works (Rom 3:27). Paul was dealing with the argument that a man could be saved by living by the law and that he didn’t need God’s grace (Rom 3:28). We are saved by faith in God, not perfect works. However, that doesn’t mean that what we do doesn’t matter. James says that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:20). The choices we make in life show who we have faith in. We know we have faith in God when we listen to His Word (Rom 10:17) and then do our best to live by what it says (Jas 1:22). Abraham is a perfect example of this. Abraham was saved by faith (Rom 4:9), but we are also told that Abraham was saved by works when he offered Isaac (Jas 2:21). God knew Abraham’s faith when Abraham lived by that faith (Gen 22:12). Our actions do define us. We have all sinned (Rom 3:23), and God in His grace, sent His Son to pay the price for our sins, but that doesn’t mean that how you live doesn’t matter. Matt 7:23 is referring to those people who say that they trust the Lord but aren’t living by His Word. Those people won’t be saved.