Ask Your Preacher
When a person hears the Word, accepts Christ, repents, confesses Christ, is baptized, I understand they are put in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Now, this is followed by a life of obeying God's commandments, enduring temptation, loving one another, and living for God. But are God's commandments just to believe in Christ and love one another? What are the commandments we have to obey?
I’d Like A Checklist
Dear I’d Like A Checklist,
After you are baptized, you become a christian (Acts 2:38). As you said, after that, you spend the rest of your life growing and following God’s commandments (1 Pet 2:2). All of the specific commandments are too numerous to list here because the whole Bible is full of God’s commands (Ps 119:160). All of God’s teachings can be summed up in “love God” and “love your neighbor”… that is what Jesus said on the matter (Matt 22:36-40). All the rest of the Bible is full of specific rules and principles that help us to properly love God and our fellow man. A life dedicated to God is built upon the Bible’s teachings (Rom 10:17), and His Word, in its entirety, should be the guide for our lives (Ps 119:105).
What should I do if I've committed blaspheme terribly? I was baptized when I was six (I think), and I've gotten closer to God, left, gotten closer, and left. Blaspheme is something I struggle with. Why do I do these things? I'm fourteen now.
Watching My Mouth
Dear Watching My Mouth,
We can be forgiven for using the Lord’s name in vain… but only if we repent and turn to the Lord. God has provided a means for all sins to be forgiven – His Son’s blood. When we become christians (read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for details on how to become a christian – this is important because part of becoming a christian involves mature, adult choices that were impossible for a six-year-old to make), all sins are forgiven, even our previous blasphemy against God. There is no single act that is so evil that Jesus’ blood can’t wash it away (1 Jn 1:7). Many of the first-century christians had horrible sins in their pasts (1 Cor 6:9-11). The key is to get up every time you fall down (Pr 24:16). Continue to work on cleaning up your language, and you will eventually succeed.
If one never knows about God or heaven, are they doomed to hell if they never even knew He existed?
Blind To The Truth?
Dear Blind To The Truth,
Let’s look at a few teachings on this topic and see what the Bible says about those who aren’t christians because they haven’t heard about Christ.
- Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault. God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8). The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
- People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence. It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure. If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
- God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him. Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse. God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
- God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell. He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5). If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.
God is the final judge. We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27). The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.
What age is it when you know right from wrong and if you sin you go to hell?
Counting The Years
Dear Counting The Years,
The age of accountability is the age when a child becomes accountable to God for their sins and would be judged for them… exactly at what age that happens is the tricky part of your question. We can tell you what the Bible says on the subject, but it doesn’t say much.
We know any baby that dies goes to heaven. David’s son died, and David made it clear that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). Also, Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11). This tells us God doesn’t have the same expectation of a child’s behavior as He does of an adult’s. Children are not bound by the same rules as adults. A child doesn’t have the mental capacity or maturity to be held accountable for their mistakes like adults are.
In order to become a christian, there are several things God expects you to be capable of doing:
- Take responsibility for your sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for your own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
If a child is not capable of doing those things, they cannot be held accountable for their eternal future.
This still doesn’t answer the question though because every child matures at a different rate. Everyone agrees that a five-year-old can’t be held accountable, and that a twenty-year-old can. It is the age spectrum in between where our judgment gets fuzzy. Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), can accurately judge the hour in which a child makes that transition into accountability.
Do you have to be baptized to go to heaven?
Immersed In Questions
Dear Immersed In Questions,
The most well-documented and clearest doctrine in the New Testament is baptism… yet, it is also the most commonly ignored topic in the religious world. It is impossible to be saved without being baptized. Peter said it best when he said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21). Every person that became a christian in the New Testament was baptized – immediately. You won’t find a single person in the book of Acts that wasn’t baptized. When the first sermon was preached after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles told the people that they needed to “repent and be baptized… for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul tells us that baptism is a burial with Christ, and only after that burial do we receive a new life (Rom 6:3-4). Baptism was so important to Paul that he was baptized even before eating or drinking (Acts 9:18-19), which shows how important it is because Paul hadn’t had food or water in three days (Acts 9:9)! Belief is not enough; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). It is only when our belief is combined with obedience that we have living faith (Jas 2:17-18), and the very first command to obey that God gives us is to be baptized in the name of His Son (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:16).