Ask Your Preacher
Why are there different religions?
Having Trouble Counting
Dear Having Trouble Counting,
There are several reasons why there are so many different religions out there:
- Paul condemned the Jews because they worshipped God without knowledge (Rom 10:2). Many people follow whatever seems best to them and when our feelings design our religious beliefs, confusion ensues.
- Rom 1:18-23 says that when people suppress the truth about God, they exchange the truth for a myriad of other false beliefs.
- God warned that there would come a day when false teachers infiltrated Christ’s church and started teaching things contrary to Scriptures (2 Tim 4:2-4). Paul told the first century christians to watch out for the “falling away” (2 Thess 2:3). Division and false teaching in the name of Christ is a very common thing. Wherever there is an opportunity for selfish gain, false teachers crop up and attempt to lead people astray.
There are tens of thousands of different religions in America that refer to themselves as “Christian”, and even more than that when you add things like Islam, Buddhism, etc.… yet God says there is only one true faith (Eph 4:4-6). So how can you know whether a church is Christ’s church?
Jesus says that we can know them by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20). A church is faithful if the way they worship, preach, and live is in accordance with Christ’s teachings. A faithful church keeps Christ’s commandments (Jhn 15:14). Most churches today have added all sorts of things to their worship (from rock bands to belly dancing) and leadership structure (popes, community boards, franchised churches, etc.) that were never intended by Christ. We should never add to God’s Word, and we should never take away from it (Rev 22:18-19). A faithful church should be able to give you book, chapter, and verse for everything they do. We recommend the posts “Down With Denominationalism”, “Finding A Church”, and “Preacher Interrogation” for further information on what questions to ask. If you would like us to help point you in the right direction of a congregation in your area, please e-mail us at email@example.com, and we will do our best to put you in contact with a Bible-founded congregation.
Hi. I recently renewed my faith in God, but I have a question about something I am struggling with. I don't quite understand why Jesus was necessary… or rather, why God deemed it necessary to have Jesus die to save everyone. Couldn't God have saved lost souls without sacrificing Jesus? I understand that Jesus came to save souls and that as a christian, you have to believe in Him to be saved. I guess I just don't understand why it isn't enough to love God.
God sent Jesus to die on the cross, so He could be both a just God and a loving God. If God had simply forgiven us of our sins without paying for them, He would be a liar because God says that sin is deserving of eternal death (Rom 6:23). It wouldn’t be right for Him to simply remove our guilt without paying for it. It would be akin to a judge letting people go free simply because he liked them – a judge like that would be corrupt.
Instead, we see that God is both just and our justifier. Jesus’ blood pays the price of our sin (1 Jn 1:7). There are two ways to pay for sin. We can pay for the sin ourselves by spending eternity in hell, or God’s blood can cover the cost of sin. The Son of God came down and gave Himself to purchase us (Acts 20:28). Rom 3:25-26 says that God sent Jesus, so He could show that He was loving and still righteous.
In the Old Testament, it talks about unintentional sin. Is there also unintentional (accidental) sin in the New Testament, like Paul before his conversion? Thank you.
Sinful By Mistake
Dear Sinful By Mistake,
Unintentional sins are committed every single day. Paul said that all of his sins had been committed out of ignorance and in a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:13, Acts 23:1). Paul also pointed out that he still needed mercy for his unintentional sins. Ignorance is an explanation for our sins, but it doesn’t excuse our guilt. God is patient with us, but eventually, we are responsible for seeking to remove our ignorance by finding the truth of God’s Word (Acts 17:30). It is understandable when people sin because they don’t know any better, and that understanding engenders God’s compassion (as it should ours), and that is exactly why God’s love sent His Son, so we might have a way of escape from our unintentional rebellion (Jhn 3:16).
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).
The Bible says we all must give an account before God. But it also says the blood of Jesus covers our sins, and God remembers them no more. If we are in Christ and do our best to be faithful and obedient, what is the account christians will give before God? What if the account we give is displeasing to God?
Don’t Judge Me
Dear Don’t Judge Me,
The verse that says we all must give account for ourselves before God is Rom 14:12, and it is in the context of explaining that brethren shouldn’t judge one another but leave the judgment up to God (Rom 14:10). The point of that verse isn’t that we all need to be able to eloquently speak to God on the Judgment Day; it is that we each are responsible for our own behavior and choices in life. You can’t get to heaven riding anyone else’s coattails.
If you are in Christ, then on the Judgment Day, your meeting with God will be a pleasant one – He has forgiven your sins and will tell you to enter into His joy (Matt 25:21).