Ask Your Preacher
Who I am going to marry? Who do I love? Does he love me? How old am I?
Go Ahead, Answer My Questions
Dear Go Ahead, Answer My Questions,
We are just men here at AYP and not prophets. We can't tell you the specifics of your life and future. However, we can give you some principles for how to look for a spouse. Read "Dating" in our archives for some of the Bible teachings on finding a spouse.
My husband and I have really noticed a major increase in signs of the end times. It seems people are blatantly ignoring the truth. Do you think we as a society are living in the book of Revelation? Do you believe any of the seals have been opened? If so, which ones? Thanks!
Dear Mrs. Prepared,
There are a great many opinions about when the world will end, but the truth is nobody knows because God doesn’t say. God told the Thessalonians that the end would come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess 5:2). If anything, the one thing you can count on is that it won’t be when people say it is. In truth, a christian shouldn’t worry about when the end will come… we should live every day like the end could be today.
Paul told the Thessalonians (who were quite fixated with the return of Christ) that they should live every day soberly, as if any day might be the day (1 Thess 5:4-6).
People have been using details from the book of Revelation to “predict” the end of time for centuries. Unfortunately, the book of Revelation has nothing to do with the end of time. Revelation is a book dedicated to what would “shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1). Specifically, Revelation dealt with the coming persecution that the church of the first century was about to face. It is a figurative and symbolic book (Rev 1:1 – notice the word ‘signified’, that means ‘symbolic’) that God used to prepare those saints for the trials they had ahead of them (see our post “Left Behind” for more details). Using the book of Revelation to “forecast” the end of time is using the book out of context.
The other thing that we must be aware of is that every generation and every individual (us here at AYP included) is convinced that things are getting worse. Every generation has felt that things were getting so bad with the world that the end of the world must be soon. God warns us about the habit of constant pessimism (Eccl 7:10). There will come a time when the world is so wicked that God will destroy this earth, but that will only happen after He has given as much time as is needed for mankind to repent of their sins (2 Pet 3:9-10). Since we do not know when that day is, let us live every day with holy living and godliness (2 Pet 3:11-12).
If baptism is required, then the criminals on the cross next to Jesus are not in heaven?
What About Those Guys?
Dear What About Those Guys,
There are four explanations for Christ’s pardon of the crucified thief in Lk 23:39-43 (He only pardoned one of them; the other one continued to hurl abuse at Jesus – Lk. 23:39). All of them fit in perfect harmony with the necessity of baptism and the New Testament teachings that salvation begins at baptism (1 Pet 3:21, Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Rom 6:3-4).
- 1. This thief may very well have been baptized by John the Baptist (Mk 1:4) or one of Jesus’ disciples (Jhn 4:1-2). We simply don’t know enough about this thief to say whether he was or wasn’t baptized. It is always faulty to build a doctrine off an assumption. To say that we don’t need to be baptized because that thief wasn’t baptized is an assumption.
- The thief was physically unable to be baptized. 2 Cor 8:12 tells us that God only holds us accountable for what we are physically able to do. That thief didn’t have the capability to get off that cross and be baptized. The argument could be made that he was excused from the law of baptism the same way that a mute man would be excused from the command to “confess Christ with your tongue” (Rom 14:11). This isn’t the best argument of the four, but it is a valid point worth considering.
- While Jesus was here on earth, He had the authority to forgive sins as He saw fit (Matt 9:6). This thief was no different than any of the other people whose sins were verbally forgiven by Christ as He walked this earth (Lk 7:48-49, Lk 5:20). Since Jesus is no longer on this earth… baptism is the only other way to have your sins removed.
- The command to be baptized for salvation is a New Testament command. Those who are baptized become a part of the church (Acts 2:41). If we are being technical (and there is a time for technicalities), the church and the New Testament law didn’t come into effect until after Jesus died and rose from the grave. Until Jesus’ death and resurrection, the laws of the Old Testament would have still been in effect. That thief wasn’t bound to the law of baptism (a New Testament law) because Jesus hadn’t yet died.
No matter which argument seems the sturdiest to you (they all have merit), the thief on the cross example doesn’t negate the necessity of baptism today.
I am concerned that I may have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Two times, when I was younger and unhappy with life, I looked up at heaven and put up my middle finger and cursed at the Holy Spirit. I have since repented and asked forgiveness. Is this the type of speaking against the Holy Spirit that Jesus said is unpardonable?
Sincerely, Wish I’d Watched My Mouth
Dear Wish I’d Watched My Mouth,
There is definitely no doubt that you sinned, but it wasn’t an unpardonable sin. You can still be forgiven. The sin against the Holy Spirit mentioned in Matt 12:31-32 is the sin of rejecting His Word. The Holy Spirit is the one who gave us the Word of God (Jhn 14:26, 1 Cor 2:11-13). See this post for more details on the work of the Holy Spirit.
When someone “sins against the Holy Spirit”, they reject what the Holy Spirit offers mankind – the Bible. Every other sin can be forgiven, but when someone rejects God’s Word, there is no hope left. A murderer, thief, adulterer, etc. can all be reformed if they will accept the authority of the Bible… but no matter how good someone seems to be, if they reject God’s Word they cannot be saved (Rom 1:16). By the very act of asking this question, you prove that you haven’t rejected the Bible. Therefore, you have not committed the unpardonable sin.
So do you go to hell if you cuss but you don’t use the words to harm anyone?
Dear Loving Language,
A common misconception is that something isn’t really a sin until it hurts someone, but that isn’t true. The word ‘sin’ means ‘to miss the mark’. When we do something that is against God’s will, whether we believe it hurts others or not, it is still wrong, and all sin will send you to hell unless you are forgiven of it (Rom 6:23).
When it comes to swear words, we are told to put away all profane and crude language from our lips (Eph 5:4). Regardless of what our intentions are, filthy language is always sinful.