Ask Your Preacher
I know this sounds odd, but I watched a show, and I felt bad, so I jokingly thought, “If I watch it again, I will go to hell.” I was twelve or thirteen when I thought that. Well, I’m fourteen now, and I flipped through the channels and saw it again. Am I going to hell? Please help me; it really is stressing me out. I’m nervous.
Scared For My Soul
Dear Scared For My Soul,
Saying that you will go to hell for watching a show won’t guarantee your eternal destiny any more than saying, “I’ll go to heaven if do watch this show.” We aren’t the final judge of our eternal home – Christ is (2 Tim 4:1). If you have done what Christ teaches you must do to be saved, you will go to heaven (read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for specifics on the steps of salvation), and if you turn away from Christ, you will be lost (Acts 4:12). Everyone deserves to go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), but Christ offers to save us if we love and obey Him (Jhn 14:15). What you did in the past doesn’t matter; what you do now is what counts (2 Cor 6:1-2).
Once saved, always saved. True or false?
The idea that you can’t ever lose your salvation is a warping of Christ’s message in Jhn 10:27-29. “Once saved, always saved” is a basic doctrine of Calvinism (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on the errors of Calvinism). The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6).
Since all sickness is a consequence of sin, why are some innocent children dealt a greater portion of this consequence than others? Why might one child be born healthy and another not? Is this random chance, or are some favored divinely?
Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for children. Though, as you mentioned, sickness isn’t doled out equally. Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few health problems. There are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of sickness.
- We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7-8). The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next. What you do affects you and those around you that you come in contact with. When you behave godly, certain things happen; when you behave sinfully, other things happen. That is a universal principle of life. If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make. Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives.
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter He is going to build His church on him. Why would Jesus build His church on a man? I know, in a sense, it also had to do with Peter's confession in the previous verses, but Jesus specifically says He will build His church on the apostle Peter. Why was Peter given a higher level of authority?
Dear Building Inspector,
Jesus didn’t build His church on Peter; He built it upon a much sturdier foundation – Peter’s confession. This is one of those times where what Jesus said can be a little confusing to us English-speaking folks because there is a little bit of color that the Greek text gives that makes the text a little clearer. In Matt 16:18, when Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter”, He uses the word ‘petros’, which means ‘a small stone, boulder, a detached stone’. Then Jesus says, “Upon this rock I will build my church”. The word used for ‘rock’ is ‘petra’ in this case. ‘Petra’ means ‘a rock ledge, cliff’; ‘petra’ is the word used for a massive and immovable rock that is attached to the earth. Jesus is making a play on words in Matt 16:18. In essence, He is saying that even though Peter is a rock, Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God is an even sturdier foundation than Peter is. Peter is a small rock, but faith in Jesus as God’s Son is a massive, living rock that you can build the church upon.
Is it wrong to go to tanning beds or use spray-on tans?
UV is Ultra-Vain?
Dear UV is Ultra-Vain,
There are two issues to consider with tanning – the health issue and the vanity issue. First of all let’s look at the health concerns. Overall, the Scriptures lay out a general principle of healthy living and not overindulging. Moderation is the key, and there is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1). We are told that we need to take care of our bodies because they are a gift from God (1 Cor 6:19). Every activity involves certain health risks, and tanning is no exception. Each christian needs to assess the arguments for and against tanning for themselves and be a good steward of the body God has given them.
The second issue is vanity. God tells us that we need to be careful to not be the type of people that are vain and focused on our outward appearance all the time (1 Tim 2:9-10). Tanning is typically done as an act to beautify the body – this isn’t inherently wrong, but it can be if not kept in proper perspective. Remember that beauty fades, but character is forever (Pr 31:30).