Ask Your Preacher
I was told by someone from the church of Christ that I was not saved because I was not baptized in the church of Christ. When I was baptized, I was doing it for Jesus and then for the body to show my faith. Am I not saved?
The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”. Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the point when someone goes from being lost to being saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized (Php 2:12). Ask yourself the question, “When I was baptized, did I believe baptism was when I became saved, or did I think I was saved before I was baptized?” If you believed you were saved before you were baptized, then you didn’t do it for the right reasons.
If I am a homosexual, why should I believe in God (I am going to hell anyway)?
Whether we believe in God or not, God still exists. Ignoring the fact doesn’t change that reality. Read “Is God Real?” for some of the evidence that God is. Whether someone chooses to follow or believe in God is irrelevant; we will all see Him at the Judgment Day (Heb 9:27)
Homosexuality is such a controversial issue because modern society teaches that people are born homosexual, but this simply isn’t true. You are not forced to have a sinful homosexual relationship. The argument of the homosexual community is that they are born desiring people of the same sex and that they have no choice. That simply cannot be true. God makes it clear that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13). Even if you are born with a predisposition toward homosexuality – you aren’t forced to act upon it. We always have a choice. There is always a way of escape from sin. We often use 1 Cor 10:13 as a proof text that no one is born “gay”. Homosexuality is like all other sins; we sin when we act upon the lust. God does not tempt us to sin (Jas 1:13). It is our own lusts that entice us to do the wrong thing (Jas 1:14-16). One person has a tendency toward anger, another has a tendency toward alcoholism, and some may, in fact, have a tendency toward homosexuality – but that tendency does not force them to sin. We need to put away all filthiness of the flesh and be doers of God’s Word (Jas 1:21-22).
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.