Ask Your Preacher
Is it true that no matter what we do, as long as we have said the Sinner’s Prayer, we will go to heaven because of what Jesus did for us?
Praying It’s True
Dear Praying It’s True,
The sinner’s prayer is not how people become saved. If we want to know what it takes to be saved, we should see what people in the Bible did to become saved. The Bible outlines five separate requirements for salvation, and all of them are necessary.
- Hear the Word. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Until someone hears God’s Word, they are incapable of obeying it.
- Believe the Word. It is impossible for someone to become a christian unless they believe that Jesus is the Savior and Son of God (Jhn 20:31, Acts 16:31, Jhn 3:16).
- Repent of your sins. ‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. That change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is a necessity of salvation (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7).
- Confess Jesus to others. If we have sworn our allegiance to Jesus, we must be prepared to publicly confess Him as our Lord. If we won’t confess Jesus before men, He won’t confess us before God (Matt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus for salvation. Many groups baptize people, but very few baptize people for the right reasons. Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”. Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the point where someone goes from being lost to saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. Baptism is just as necessary as the other four requirements.
If we want to have total confidence that we are saved, we must do everything the Bible says to receive salvation (Ps 119:160). Prayer is a wonderful thing to do, but it isn’t a part of the conversion process.
I have a friend who believes he has been given a responsibility from God and a desire from God, but they conflict, and he doesn't know what to do. I told him that one of them probably is not from God because God will not send us conflicting information. Can you help me find some verses to help him?
Dear Wires Crossed,
If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves (Pr 3:5). Tell your friend to trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to his feet (Ps 119:105).
What is dangerous about the charismatic church?
Dear Treading Carefully,
The charismatic church teaches that they can perform miracles and that they receive new prophecies and direction from God apart from the Bible. This is wrong. We should never add or subtract from God's Word (Rev 22:18-19), and that is exactly what the charismatic movement does. The Bible teaches that the days of miracles, speaking in tongues, etc. have ceased (read "Three Cheers For Miracles" for more details). The charismatic movement deceives people for money, power, and prestige... that is dangerous and sinful.
Is it wrong to buy lottery tickets or buy chances at a drawing or raffle?
Taking My Chances
Dear Taking My Chances,
The Bible never specifically mentions the lottery as a sin, but it doesn’t have to be specifically mentioned to be wrong. There are a great many things surrounding gambling that are sinful. Consider that:
- Gambling focuses around money and greed. God warns us clearly about being fixated with money (1 Tim 6:10, Heb 13:5). God wants us to be satisfied with our income (Eccl 5:10). Contentment is a major component of spiritual maturity (1 Tim 6:6).
- Gambling is used as a means to gain money without working for it. God finds pleasure in people working for their livelihood (2 Thess 3:10-12, Pr 10:4).
- Gambling wastes money because, ultimately, the house does always win. God expects us to be good stewards (1 Cor 4:2) and save for the future (Pr 6:6-8).
- Gambling and the places where gambling occurs are often associated with other sinful things. There is a reason Las Vegas is called “Sin City”. That industry is not one that a christian should be supporting (2 Cor 6:16-17).
Gambling is addictive. We can only have one master (Lk 16:13).
In 2 Corinthians 4:4, when Paul said, “god of this world”, is he referring to Satan? Also, who is the morning star? Jesus or the devil?
Dear Name Tamer,
The ‘god of this world’ referred to in 2 Cor 4:4 is the devil. The devil seeks to make us subservient to him by enslaving us to the cares and the lusts of this world (1 Jn 2:16). He deceives people into blindly following their earthly desires and becoming ensnared to sin (Pr 29:6). When we are completely enthralled with worldly living, there is no room in our hearts for the gospel to shine.
As for the title ‘morning star’ – Jesus is given that title in Rev 22:16. He is the Bright and Morning Star sent by God to shine His light in a dying world (Jhn 1:9-10).