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Harmful Habits

Friday, May 23, 2014
Is a Christian allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink beer?

Sincerely,
Does A Body Good?

Dear Does A Body Good,

God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13).  Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank).  We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.

As for cigarettes, anything that purposefully poisons our bodies is wrong to use.  There was a time where the facts were not clearly known about the effects of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars on human health.  Those days are long since gone.  The data is exceptionally clear that smoking is always harmful to the human body and that smoking has no positive health benefits.  God tells us to treat our bodies as a temple (1 Cor 6:19).  Our bodies are a gift from God, and life is something to be cherished.  When we purposefully abuse our bodies with unhealthy lifestyles, we rebel against God and show ungratefulness for the life He has given us.  Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1).  Who knows what work He has prepared for you in the days and years that would be lost if you died from the effects of smoking?

A Choice To Make

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Why did God give us free will if He knew we would sin?

Sincerely,
Free Thinker

Dear Free Thinker,

Free will goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but then He gave them access to the tree and the freedom to choose for themselves.  If God hadn’t put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil into the garden (Gen 2:9), Adam and Eve wouldn’t really have had free will… which is an integral part of what makes mankind “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27).  If Adam hadn’t had the opportunity to choose to do the wrong thing, he really wouldn’t have had the opportunity to choose to do the right thing either.  It is that choice that sets us apart from the animals.  Free will comes with the risk that we will do the wrong thing, but it also gives us the ability to choose to love God.  Without free will, humans would just be glorified robots.  Furthermore, God prepared beforehand a way back to Him for those who rebelled (Eph 1:5-6).  God allows us to choose, and through the blood of Christ, He allows us to choose to return to Him (1 Pet 2:25).

 

Give That Day A Rest

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The fourth commandment clearly states to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy.  Why do so many churches not keep this command?

Sincerely,
For The Fourth

Dear For The Fourth,

The Sabbath was a holy day for the Jews, not for Christians.  The Old Testament has a myriad of laws that are no longer binding in the New Testament: animal sacrifice, clean and unclean foods, and various festivals… just to name a few.  2 Cor 3 is an entire chapter devoted to explaining how the Old Law has been surpassed by the New Law.  2 Cor 3:3 especially clarifies the issue when it states that our law is “not in tables of stone”, a direct reference to the Ten Commandments that were written on stone tablets.

Gal 3:24-25 makes it clear that the Old Law was a tutor to bring mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under that tutor.  The Sabbath is a part of that Old Law.  In the New Testament, christians meet on the first day of the week to worship, take the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), and take up a collection (1 Cor 16:1-2).  In short: different covenants, different days.

The Old Testament law given by Moses was a covenant with the Jews (Deut 5:1-5).  The New Testament law given in Christ is for all of mankind (Acts 2:38-39).

Who changed the law?  God did.

When did it change?  When the church began.

 

Lofty Aspirations

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Are we judging fallen angels?  Jesus said we will judge the angels.  Also, are we to be angels (I read we will be as angels)?

Sincerely,
Ready For Wings

Dear Ready For Wings,

Yes, christians will judge angels – the same way the Queen of the South judges spiritually lazy people.  The verse in question is 1 Cor 6:3.  We have to keep in mind that there are many ways to bring judgment on others.  In our case, we will bring judgment on others through our example.  God uses people’s examples to condemn others in similar circumstances.

  1. The Queen of the South condemns those who won’t seek the truth (Matt 12:42).
  2. The citizens of Nineveh will condemn those who won’t repent of their sins after hearing the gospel (Matt 12:42).
  3. Christians will condemn those who have excuses for why they didn’t serve God (1 Cor 6:2).

Angels that denied God and went to serve Satan (Rev 12:9) will have no excuse for not having served God.  All christians will stand as a living example and condemnation against the angels that chose to deny God and turn to evil. I f we, having not seen God (Ex 33:20), can still serve Him… the angels who are ever before Him (Matt 18:10) are without excuse.

The Bible never says we will become angels when we get to heaven, but we will be like the angels in that we won’t marry (Matt 22:30).  That is the only similarity between the angels and us that the Bible ever gives us.  As far as we know, we will continue to be distinctly different creatures from them.

In Harmony With Nature?

Monday, May 19, 2014
Is it still considered murder to kill a bug?  Or is it okay?  What if you accidentally hit something with your car?  Are you going to go to hell?

Sincerely,
Nature Lover

Dear Nature Lover,

Murder only applies to humans.  God designed people and animals differently.  We are created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) – animals are not.  When an animal dies, its life dissipates and goes back to the earth; only human souls are eternal and go to meet God (Eccl 3:21).  God gave mankind dominion over all the animals of the earth and gave us the right to subdue the earth (Gen 1:28).  It isn’t a sin to kill an animal.

 

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