Ask Your Preacher
I'm confused. You say when God kills innocent children that it is a blessing to them. I want my children to go to heaven. One way to guarantee that would be to kill them. I guess I could repent of that sin, quit having children, and live a life worthy of heaven from that point on and see them again one day? I don't get it.
Dear Morbid Mom,
You are referring to a comment we made in the article “Flood For Thought”, and in the context, we specifically said that there is a difference between God ending a life and murder. Your “plan” (we know it was hypothetical) to kill your children and later repent wouldn’t work because of one verse – Galatians 6:7. Gal 6:7 says that God cannot be mocked; there are no loopholes with our Creator. God isn’t like the IRS; we can’t just tweak the numbers and skirt justice. If you purposefully killed your children in order to fast track them to heaven in the hopes of eventually meeting up with them… God wouldn’t be tricked by your plan.
How many different types of works does the Bible mention? I'm having a hard time figuring out when something is physical work, spiritual work, or some other type of work.
Hard At Work
Dear Hard At Work,
As a general rule, there are two basic types of works talked about in the New Testament. The works of the law are perfect works, i.e. a life without sinning. These are the type of works that Paul discussed in Romans. We cannot be saved by perfect works because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:28).
The other basic type of work found in the New Testament is the work of faith. Works of faith are when we serve God based upon our trust in Him and desire to become more like Him. Works of faith are a requirement for salvation – it is impossible to have faith without some sort of action that shows your trust (Jas 2:17-20). Faithful works aren't perfect, but they show obedience and loyalty.
In the New Testament especially, almost all circumstances can be broken down into those two categories. However, as always, context is final judge.
Does Acts 16:30-31 mean baptism is not required for salvation? Paul said, “Believe and you will be saved”… not believe and be baptized.
Dear Without Water,
Baptism is a requirement for salvation and Paul never taught that it wasn’t required. It is important to remember to keep all verses that we read in context and to compare those verses to the rest of the Bible.
For example, Paul told the Philippian jailer that he needed to believe in Jesus in order to be saved… but then what did the jailer do? In the very next verse (Acts 16:32) it says Paul preached to them about Jesus, and then (Acts 16:33), the jailer was baptized. So what does it look like to believe in Jesus? You get baptized.
Also, the Bible says that we have to take the sum of God’s Word if we want to understand a subject (Ps 119:160). A single verse can be abused to say just about anything we want it to, but when we take the whole Book we get God’s wisdom. Rev 22:18-19 says to never add or subtract from God’s Word. When we look at other verses about salvation, we see that many things are required to be saved. We must have faith (Eph 2:8), repent (Acts 3:19), confess Christ (Matt 10:32), and be baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Mk 16:16). In short, if we want to know the truth, we need to take the whole Bible to get it.
I don’t get it. So much of the Bible makes no sense to me. For example, the Flood… the Bible said God flooded the world but saved Noah and Noah's family only. The Bible says the reason this was done was because God saw too much wickedness in the world. But I just can’t imagine every child or baby living then in the world being wicked, but the Bible says God killed them all. But in another verse, I remember hearing it said children and babies are not accountable until, like, a certain age… maybe puberty? So all those kids and babies that were drowned in the flood were innocent, yet killed anyway. It makes no sense at all to me.
Too Tragic For Thought
Dear Too Tragic For Thought,
The Flood was a blessing to Noah and his family because they were saved from the sinful influences of that ever-violent generation (1 Pet 3:20)… but it was also a blessing to those innocent children. You are right; all children are born sinless, and they aren’t accountable for sin until they are old enough to be responsible for their own behavior. All children go to heaven. Read “What About The Children?” for further details on the fate of the young.
It is important to realize that when God ends a life, it is not the same as when another human snuffs a life out. God knows that when a child dies, it isn’t the end of their life but the beginning of a new one. When God ends a life, He also has a new life to offer them. All the innocent children that died in the Flood had no chance to grow up faithfully and turn to God because the generation was so wicked that there was no hope for their future. God redeemed those children from such a horrific fate, and He started the world anew with righteous Noah and his family.
What is a stigmata? Is it satanic or something?
Stymied Over Stigmata
Dear Stymied Over Stigmata,
Stigmata are supposedly miraculous bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands and feet. The term is often heard in association with the Roman Catholic church which considers it a potential sign of sainthood because it is supposedly a miraculous sign from God that the person is a saint. The Catholic church gets this from taking Paul’s statement in Gal 6:17 completely out of context.
People throughout the centuries have attempted to recreate Christ’s wounds on themselves or associate unexplainable physical abnormalities (bruising, bleeding, etc.) with Christianity. This is totally false. God never calls for us to recreate the crucifixion in our own lives. We are called to be servants of the Christ who already paid that price for us (Gal 2:20).