Ask Your Preacher
If you know that you had done something sinful, or you said something wrong, but you didn’t know what it was, could you still confess to it and ask for forgiveness? If so, how could you know that you were truly forgiven? I know God can forgive any sin, but how many times do you have to ask to rest yourself assured that you are forgiven? I know the answer is once. I KNOW, BUT IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE ENOUGH. Please help.
As you said, the answer is that you only need to ask once (1 Jn 1:9)... and that includes sins that you don't fully understand. David asked that God would keep him from "secret sins" (Ps 19:12-13). However, that really isn't your problem. Your problem is that it doesn't feel like you are forgiven because that seems too easy. God tells us that we must have faith in Him (Gal 3:26). Faith comes through hearing God's Word and trusting in that Word (Rom 10:17). Sometimes the Bible says things that we don't agree with or that we don't feel could be true... but that doesn't change the fact that they are right. When our feelings and God's Word disagree with each other, we are the ones that need to accept that we are wrong. God's grace is much more glorious than we can possibly imagine – we all will spend our entire lives trying to wrap our brains around the depths of God's love (Php 4:7).
What is soul mortalism or soul sleep?
Dear Soul Searching,
Soul mortalism is the belief that human souls are not naturally immortal and that during the time between one’s physical death and the Judgment Day resurrection, the human soul is left in an uncomprehending state or “sleep”. This does not at all match the Bible’s teachings.
The Bible teaches that human souls, both good and bad, wait in Hades for the Judgment. Hades (also known as Sheol) is the place of the dead, both the good dead and the bad dead. The word ‘Hades’ literally means ‘the unseen place’. Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment. All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43). All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23). The story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Lk 16:19-31 shows us that both groups are fully comprehending and aware in Hades.
Why do people when they are saved still become sad or angry even when there is no apparent reason?
Stiff Upper Lip
Dear Stiff Upper Lip,
Becoming a christian doesn’t remove our humanity, and it doesn’t make us automatically perfect. It isn’t a sin to be angry or sad – Jesus felt both emotions (Jhn 11:35, Jhn 2:14-16). Also, christians aren’t immediately cured of every immaturity and sinful habit just because they are baptized. Every christian starts out as a babe in Christ and then spends the rest of their life growing and improving (1 Pet 2:2). Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven (Eph 2:8).
What happens to us between death and resurrection? Our minister spoke about this tonight; he used Luke 16:19-31. He said this was a true story and not a parable. Do we know we are saved before Judgment Day? I thought we were in a state of sleep, but he said this is wrong. Please help me to understand if you can; thank you.
Dear Light Sleeper,
The story of Lazarus and the rich man found in Luke 16 isn't a parable; Jesus tells it as a true story (Lk 16:1). The Day of Judgment will only happen once, and then all of mankind will be divided between heaven and hell (Rev 20:12-15). However, until that time, all the dead will wait in Hades. Hades (also known as Sheol) is the place of the dead, both the good dead and the bad dead. The word ‘Hades’ literally means ‘the unseen place’. Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment. All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43). All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23).
Scriptures like 1 Kings 8:46, Ecc 7:20, Isa 64:6-7, Psalm 14:3, Prov 20:9, Rom 3:23, 1 Jn 1:8, Rom 5:12, Isa 41:26, and Rom 3:10-12 all say that there is no one righteous, just, or without sin. But what about Noah (Gen 7:1), Job (Job 1:1), Zacharias & Elizabeth (Lk 1:5-6), Abel (Matt 23:35), Joseph (Matt 1:19), and Cornelius (Acts 10:22)? The Bible seems to say that these people were just and righteous. And also verses like 2 Sam 22: 21-27, Ecc 9:1, Jas 5:16, Ps 24:3-4, Lk 6:45, Matt 13:47-48, and Jhn 5:29 seem to say that there were, and maybe are today, good people on this planet. So what are the passages that I mentioned first talking about?
Dear Justified Confusion,
The first set of verses you mentioned are addressing the fact that all of us have fallen short (Rom 3:23), and no man has a right to boast before God that he has earned his salvation (Rom 3:27). No one is righteous without God’s help. Abraham sinned, but God counted him as righteous because of Abraham’s faith (Gen 15:6). Nobody is righteous based upon his or her own merits. However, God, through Christ’s blood, reconciles the faithful to Him, so we can be righteous through faith (Col 1:20).