Ask Your Preacher
If you know that you had done something sinful, or you said something wrong, but you didn’t know what it was, could you still confess to it and ask for forgiveness? If so, how could you know that you were truly forgiven? I know God can forgive any sin, but how many times do you have to ask to rest yourself assured that you are forgiven? I know the answer is once. I KNOW, BUT IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE ENOUGH. Please help.
As you said, the answer is that you only need to ask once (1 Jn 1:9)... and that includes sins that you don't fully understand. David asked that God would keep him from "secret sins" (Ps 19:12-13). However, that really isn't your problem. Your problem is that it doesn't feel like you are forgiven because that seems too easy. God tells us that we must have faith in Him (Gal 3:26). Faith comes through hearing God's Word and trusting in that Word (Rom 10:17). Sometimes the Bible says things that we don't agree with or that we don't feel could be true... but that doesn't change the fact that they are right. When our feelings and God's Word disagree with each other, we are the ones that need to accept that we are wrong. God's grace is much more glorious than we can possibly imagine – we all will spend our entire lives trying to wrap our brains around the depths of God's love (Php 4:7).
What is soul mortalism or soul sleep?
Dear Soul Searching,
Soul mortalism is the belief that human souls are not naturally immortal and that during the time between one’s physical death and the Judgment Day resurrection, the human soul is left in an uncomprehending state or “sleep”. This does not at all match the Bible’s teachings.
The Bible teaches that human souls, both good and bad, wait in Hades for the Judgment. Hades (also known as Sheol) is the place of the dead, both the good dead and the bad dead. The word ‘Hades’ literally means ‘the unseen place’. Within Hades, there are two areas where people wait for the final judgment. All of the faithful who die wait in the good part of Hades called ‘Paradise’ (2 Cor 12:4, Lk 23:43). All of the wicked who die wait in a part of Hades known only as ‘torments’ (Lk 16:23). The story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Lk 16:19-31 shows us that both groups are fully comprehending and aware in Hades.
What does the Bible say about abortion? Is it a forgivable sin? What if the doctor said, "It was not growing anyway." I was told that but don't know if it was true or if I was told that because I was extremely upset.
All sins are equal, but some sins have worse consequences than others. In this life, a “little white lie” may not cause you much trouble, but committing adultery will devastate your life. However, in the eyes of God, all sin is deserving of death (Rom 6:23). That “little white lie” will send you to hell just as much as the adultery would. Abortion is such a heinous sin because of how deeply it affects the life and emotional state of the mother and the family and because it destroys a child’s life… but abortion can be forgiven through the blood of Christ. The apostle Paul murdered christians (Acts 26:10), but Christ saved him (1 Tim 1:15). In Christ, you are a new person, and the old deeds have passed away (2 Cor 5:17).
Read “Five Steps To Salvation” to see what it takes to become a christian. You can be forgiven, and you can move forward in life with the peace of mind from knowing you will be reunited with your child in heaven. If you would like help finding a faithful congregation (not all churches are faithful) that can help you move forward, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love church, and I love being part of God’s family, but I really dislike being a certain type of christian. I don't understand why there are so many different beliefs for one religion (like Catholic, Methodist, and so on); is it possible to just be a christian and not any thing specific? Is there a special church that's just christian?
No Party Affiliation
Dear No Party Affiliation,
All we should ever be is just christians… you are absolutely right for being frustrated. The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33). The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body. Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong. Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14). Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24). The only way to avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas. If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).
Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15). A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible. As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is email@example.com). It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism. Thanks be to God that there is a better option!
Could you elaborate on 1 Timothy 2:8. What is meant by holy hands?
Hand-ling The Verse
Dear Hand-ling The Verse,
It was not uncommon for those praying to raise their hands toward heaven as they prayed. In 1 Tim 2:8, Paul is exhorting that we should have clean hands when we pray to God. Our hands represent our lives and our actions. If our lives are full of wrathful and doubting behavior, our prayers will be hindered. The greatest example of this is in 1 Pet 3:7 where God warns husbands that their prayers will be hindered if they mistreat their wives. Our hands need to be holy when we approach God; our lives need to be holy if we approach the Lord in prayer.