Ask Your Preacher
My question is about Matthew 5:48. I know that it’s unlikely for us to do overnight, but would it be fair to say that if we truly wanted it, we could achieve perfection?
Dear Setting Goals,
It is possible to be perfect like Matt 5:48 says because Matt 5:48 isn’t talking about being sinless; it is talking about being equal in our love for all mankind, just like God designed us to be. The word ‘perfect’ simply means ‘complete’; it doesn’t always mean ‘without sin’. In the case of Matt 5:48, we are talking about being complete in our relationships with others. God loves both the good and the bad (Matt 5:45). We must do more than just love our friends (Matt 5:46-47); God wants us to love our enemies, too (Matt 5:44). The person that can show love toward both his friends and enemies (and some people can) is ‘perfect’… they still sin, but they are able to show complete love toward their fellow man.
Why in Deuteronomy chapter 13 does it call the people of God to kill non-believers? It seems pretty specific, and I just wonder why it asks us to even kill our family if they should try and lead us astray.
Bound To Family
Dear Bound To Family,
Deuteronomy 13 is an Old Testament command. The laws and commandments of the Old Testament are no longer binding. When Jesus died on the cross, He blotted out the ordinances of the Old Testament that condemned us (Col 2:14). The New Testament has surpassed and replaced the Old Contract written on tablets of stone (2 Cor 3:3-8). The Old Testament was designed to lead mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the Old Covenant (Gal 3:24-25). The Old Testament was God’s law for the Jewish nation (which included laws for how the Jewish government was supposed to punish criminals), and the New Testament is God’s law for Christians. There is so much confusion over the Old Testament and New Testament that we have a short video tutorial on the subject on our YouTube channel. The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/8kPP0G9WSyo.
I know this might seem like a really basic question but... why do you go to church on Sundays? Isn't Saturday the seventh day?
Dear Weekend Warrior,
Christians go to church on the first day of the week because that is when the early church assembled. Saturday is the Sabbath day… but christians don’t have to worry about keeping the Sabbath. The word ‘sabbath’ means ‘rest’. The Sabbath day was a day that the nation of Israel was told to rest, stop working, and make holy to the Lord (Ex 31:15). This rule was so strict that a man was once stoned for collecting firewood on Saturday (Num 15:32-36). However, this was a Jewish command, not a Christian one. The Sabbath was part of the Old Testament law – a law that christians are no longer under (Gal 3:23-25). We are specifically told not to let anyone bind the Sabbath on us (Col 2:16). Christians worship Christ on the first day of the week – Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2). If you’d like more information on the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we have a video tutorial on the subject here.
What does the Bible mean when it says that it is better for a man to marry than to burn with passion? I got married, and I am still burning with passion. I lust all the time, seems that I can’t help it. I ask God to forgive me every day. Please pray for me.
Dear On Fire,
1 Cor 7:9 is the verse you are referring to, and it is warning that it is better for a man and woman to marry than to burn for one another. We will never be able to remove all lusts or sexual temptations from life, but marriage was designed as a safeguard against those temptations. 1 Cor 7:1-5 states that marriage is a God-designed defense against fornication. Don’t think that by getting married, you miraculously remove all struggles and lusts of the flesh – that isn’t what that verse is dealing with. 1 Cor 7:9 is simply stating that it is better for a man and woman to marry if they find themselves struggling to stay chaste and pure in their courting.
Why is the Old Testament put together with the New Testament? Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. Jews did not or do not put the New Testament with their Torah, Tanakh, Halakha, etc. Jews see Jesus as a great prophet, not the Messiah. Christians only see Jesus as Messiah. Different religions, different books.
Apples And Oranges
Dear Apples And Oranges,
There is a great dispute in the religious world about what parts of the Bible to follow. Some people follow just the New Testament, some the Old Testament, and the majority fit somewhere in-between those two positions. The answer is in the word “testament”. Testament means ‘covenant’ or ‘contract’. There is the old contract that people followed before Christ came (Gal 3:24-25), and Christians are under the new law that Jesus set up (Rom 8:2). If you are going to be a Christian, the New Testament (i.e. new contract) is your rulebook.
So what use is the Old Testament to Christians? It is still a great teaching tool for several reasons:
- Examples of good and bad lifestyles (1 Cor 10:1-6, Heb 12:1)
- Prophecies about Jesus and His church (1 Pet 1:10-12)
- Explanations of where we came from (Gen 1:1)
- Knowledge of the world Jesus lived in
- God wrote it!
The Old Testament is not the place to go to find the specific standards you should live by, but it is a wonderful place to see God at work, interacting in the lives of men. God’s character never changes, and how He valued His old contract should impress upon us how important the new one is (Heb 2:1-3).