Ask Your Preacher
I am worried about going to heaven; I pray often, but I have never felt the Holy Ghost. I am wondering, and sometimes I have sinful thoughts. What can I do to make it to heaven, be with my passed family members, and be with my Lord?
Dear Getting Home,
The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).
Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside christians miraculously, therefore, you don’t “feel” the Holy Spirit in you. They dwell within christians in a figurative way because a christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.
If you do the five things the Bible says to become a Christian, the Holy Spirit will be in you as you walk the path that He has set for you. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” for more information on what those five things are.
Hello; I'm wondering if a person is born with mental deformities and can't understand the concept of the Lord, will they still reach heaven?
Heart For Others
Dear Heart For Others,
Those with mental handicaps would fall under the same rules as children. In order to obey the gospel, we must have the maturity to:
- Take responsibility for our sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for our own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
Children and those with certain mental handicaps do not have that ability, and God only holds us accountable for what we are able to do (2 Cor 8:11-12). Just like children, they will go to heaven.
Sixteen years ago, when I was nine years old, I made a profession of faith and was baptized, but I don't think I fully understood what it means to truly follow Christ until years later when I was in college. As a child, I thought you just had to mentally believe and not follow Christ. Is there any biblical reason why I could not be baptized a second time now that I fully understand what it means to be a Christian?
Older And Wiser
Dear Older And Wiser,
The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized. If you did, there is no need for re-baptism. If you believe you didn’t know what you were doing, then you should be rebaptized.
I just started going to church about three months ago, and I feel so blessed to be a part of what God is and His message. I have a friend who inspired me to go to the church in the first place, and I told him recently that I want to get baptized. My church does group baptisms and won’t be having one probably for months. My friend really wants me to get baptized ASAP even though I’m okay with waiting. He thinks it’s bad for me to wait. Is it a bad thing to wait?
A church that only does group baptisms every three or four months doesn’t understand what baptism is all about. In the Bible, when people were ready to be baptized, they were baptized immediately (Acts 16:33). The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act. When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us. Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet. 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 when someone goes from being lost to being saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a Christian. There is not a single example of someone becoming a Christian without baptism.
It is definitely a bad thing to wait, and as attached as you may be to your church, you should seriously consider that they aren’t teaching the total truth of God’s Word. We would be happy to point you toward congregations in your area that teach everything the Bible says and don’t leave important details out. Your friend is right. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can be of help.
Would you say that baptism is necessary for going to heaven? If so, do you think that if you're unable to get baptized for whatever reason but you've had a change of heart that you will still go to hell?
Dear Double-Checking Destinations,
The most well-documented and clearest doctrine in the New Testament is baptism… yet, it is also the most commonly ignored topic in the religious world. Peter said it best when he said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21). Every person that became a christian in the New Testament was baptized – immediately. You won’t find a single person in the book of Acts that wasn’t baptized. When the first sermon was preached after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles told the people that they needed to “repent and be baptized… for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul tells us that baptism is a burial with Christ, and only after that burial do we receive a new life (Rom 6:3-4). Baptism was so important to Paul that he was baptized even before eating or drinking (Acts 9:18-19), which shows how important it is because Paul hadn’t had food or water in three days (Acts 9:9)! Belief is not enough; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). It is only when our belief is combined with obedience that we have living faith (Jas 2:17-18), and the very first command to obey that God gives us is to be baptized in the name of His Son (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:16). We die to sin when we are baptized.
Now, let’s quickly deal with the second part to your question. The only way you can know with confidence that you are saved is to do what the Bible says (Rom 1:16). If God chooses to make exceptions to that rule on the Judgment Day, that is His right… He is the final Judge (Heb 12:23). However, 99.99% of us have the ability to get baptized, so that is what we should do.