Ask Your Preacher
My wife says she won't be submissive; she says she never has and never will, and if that’s the way I think, maybe we should end our marriage. She also says that submission was only a thing of that time period. I want to live the best christian life that I can; what should I say or do?
Dear Too Aggressive,
The Bible never commands a husband to make his wife submit. God commands husbands to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands (Eph 5:24-25). You cannot force your wife to submit to you, nor is it your job to do that. She will answer to God for the choices she makes in your marriage, and you will answer to God for the choices you make.
Love your wife and care for her as you do your own body (Eph 5:28). Don't be embittered against her (Col 3:19). These are the commands to a husband. When you live a godly life and follow your responsibilities, you show her that there is another way to live. When a husband lives up to his biblical responsibilities, he becomes a leader in his home. When he does that, his wife has a leader worth following.
After Christ's sacrifice, the Old Testament law things were done away with (like circumcision and animal sacrifices), so then, why does James say to abstain from blood in Acts 15:20 and also in a letter saying the same thing in Acts 15:29 if this, too, was part of the Old Testament law? And is this after Jesus' death?
Dear Legal Trouble,
Not every Old Testament law was done away with in the New Testament. For example, murder is wrong in both the New and Old Testament (Rom 1:29, Ex 20:13). Christians are not bound to follow the Old Testament law because we are no longer under that law (Gal 3:24-25), but if an Old Testament law is repeated in the New Testament, that means the rule is applicable to christians.
The Old Testament laws concerning what could and could not be eaten can be found in Lev. 11, but there is only one type of food that christians still cannot eat – blood (Acts 15:29). When an animal is killed, some cultures will strangle the animal so as to keep the blood in the meat (as opposed to draining the blood out). Things like blood sausage, blood soup, blood stew, etc. are popular dishes in some countries, but eating them is wrong. All other food is clean for New Testament christians… Jesus said so Himself in Mk 7:19.
Hello, preacher. I am a sixteen-year-old young lady who is living in fear, and I want it to stop. I’m scared that God will come at this very moment, and I had an anxiety attack over that. I’m scared of death, and I’m trying to accept it because it is a part of life, but it just scares me so much. I’m also scared that if I die, God won’t accept me in His kingdom, and I don’t want to go to hell. I feel like I’m living in fear, waiting for the worse to happen, when I want to live in faith and wait for good to happen. Please help me get over this fear.
We fear that which we don’t feel prepared for. Someday, Jesus will return, and we need to all be ready for that day. Anyone that tells you they know when Jesus will return is lying because the Bible says He will return like a thief in the night when we least expect it (1 Thess 5:2-3). However, Jesus will return, and whether it happens two days from now or two hundred years from now, we must all be prepared to meet our Maker. There are two things that you can do to make sure you are ready for the Judgment Day. The first is to make sure you have properly obeyed the Bible and become a christian. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” for exactly what the Bible says God expects us to do to get forgiveness from our sins. After you have made sure to obey the Bible’s call for salvation, God expects us to live a life of faith where we learn and grow closer to Him (1 Pet 2:1-2). One of the most important parts of that growth process is to become involved with a faithful church that can help you learn and encourage you as you grow (Heb 10:24-25). Not all churches are faithful, and there is a lot of false teaching in the religious world (1 Jn 4:1, Matt 24:11). We would be happy to help you find a faithful congregation near you; just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if you have done something that’s a sin, but you didn’t know it was?
An unintentional sin is still a sin, and we need the grace of God to forgive us of it. In the Old Testament, Jews were commanded to offer sin offerings for unintentional sins (Lev 4:2-3). A sincere person making mistakes is certainly better than someone purposefully seeking out sin, but an honest mistake is still a mistake.
Jesus Christ came and gave His life, so those who wish to live godly lives could get a second chance and forgiveness for the sins they regretted.
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.