Ask Your Preacher
How do you confess to God? Do you have to confess in church, or can you do it in the comfort of your house? What if you are not Catholic? Will He still forgive you?
Where’s The Priest?
Dear Where’s The Priest,
The Bible teaches that we should confess our sins to God through prayer, and we should ask for forgiveness (1 Jn 1:9). This is a simple process that can (and should) be done whenever we pray. Jesus mentioned asking for forgiveness when He taught the disciples to pray (Lk 11:2-4).
The Catholic process of confession is very different from what you read in your Bible. Catholicism teaches that many sins cannot be forgiven unless a priest hears your confession – this couldn’t be farther from the Bible truth. Catholicism long ago departed from the Bible; the Catholic religion is based upon manmade teachings and traditions that have gone beyond what God wrote (1 Cor 4:6, Rev 22:18-19).
All the major faiths of the world preach that only through following their teachings and believing in their god will one reach heaven. This means everyone else goes to hell. To a christian, all the muslims are hell-bound. To a muslim, all the christians are infidels and will never reach God. I find it hard to believe that a loving God would set up half the world for failure. Each faith is strict about the requirements to spend eternity with God. How do we come to terms with this concept that ours is the only way?
Dear Too Exclusive,
One of the key components to any religion is that we accept that particular religion’s god as he is. It isn’t fair to simultaneously try and find which god is real (Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, etc.) and also have a pre-conceived notion about how we want God to behave. If the Muslim’s are right, then Allah exists, and it doesn’t matter whether Allah is loving or not – Allah is what Allah is. If the Buddhists are correct, it doesn’t matter whether we like reincarnation or not – reincarnation exists. The same is true with Jehovah, the God of the Bible. God is who God is, without regard to our opinion of how we feel He ought to be. We may feel that He has “set up” a large portion of society for failure, but if the God of the Bible is real (and we feel confident He is!), we must take Him at His Word that all have evidence of His existence and are without excuse if they don’t follow Him (Rom 1:20).
The key to finding which god is the true God is to look at the evidence – primarily the key documents for each religion. When you compare the Koran, the Dharma, the Veda, and other books of faith to the Bible… there is no comparison. The Bible is accurate scientifically, prophetically, historically, and contextually consistent; it never contradicts itself and contains truths that only God would know and yet can be proven true by practice. We highly recommend you read our article “Who Wrote The Bible?” for further explanation of the proof that the Bible is from God. When analyzing religion in the search for truth, follow the evidence, and it will always lead you to the Bible.
Why are innocent victims allowed to be violated in this world? Are they sacrificial lambs or what? I see no purpose in, for example, young children being allowed to be violated.
All suffering is caused by mankind and sin. When God made the world, He made it to be good - it was sin that destroyed that perfect vision. All wickedness and evil brings pain to God and grieves Him and He will only endure it for so long. In Noah's day, God saw all the violence that was in the world and it made Him deeply sad (Gen 6:5-6). God gives mankind the freedom to make our own choices, but that doesn't mean it doesn't pain Him to see the evil upon this earth. God tells us that the only reason He endures it is because He is longsuffering and desiring to give as many people as possible the chance to repent and turn to Him (2 Pet 3:9). It is a dark and ugly world, and God's love is the shining light in that darkness (Jhn 3:19). All the blameless and forgiven will be comforted in His arms in heaven (Rev 21:3-4).
Who was Jesus?
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (Jhn 3:16). Jesus is Deity, He has always been (Jhn 1:1-3), and all things were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16). Jesus is the living embodiment of God’s Word, and when He lived on this earth, He was tempted just like us but committed no sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus lived a perfect life and then voluntarily died (Jhn 10:17-18), so we might have life. Every single human has sinned (Rom 3:23), and our sin is deserving of eternal death and separation from God (Rom 6:23). Jesus paid that price for us by shedding His blood on our behalf (Col 1:20). When He was crucified on the cross, His death gave us life (Col 2:13-14).
Why does Jesus love us so much? Is there a specific reason?
The specific reason God (and Jesus as His Son) loves us so much is because of God’s character. His love for mankind has nothing to do with how great we are, any achievements we have performed, etc. The short answer is God is love (1 Jn 4:8). His love toward us is part of who He is and His great and unfathomable character. God’s love is the beginning of all love because we are made in His image (Gen 1:26). We love because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:10).