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Hey, I have a question: my girlfriend thinks she can just pray, and God will do everything for her, but I know there is a verse in the Bible that says you have to work and pray God will lead you. But where is that at?
Dear Not Lazy,
God once told Israel that He had great plans for them, plans for a future and a hope (Jer 29:11), but He also said that they wouldn’t see those plans until they sought Him with all their hearts (Jer 29:13). God molds our lives when we prepare ourselves to be used by Him. Paul once told the young preacher, Timothy, that he needed to be a vessel prepared to be used by God (2 Tim 2:21). When we live faithfully by God’s Word (Rom 10:17) and prepare our lives to be useful to Him, God guarantees that He has great things in store for us.
What would constitute as an unbeliever? This term is brought up a lot in the Bible and in biblical conversations, but what would constitute an unbeliever?
Dear Define It,
An unbeliever is someone who doesn’t place their faith in Jesus. In 2 Cor 6:14-16, believers and unbelievers are compared. Believers live according to the light of the Word; unbelievers walk in darkness. Believers live for God; unbelievers’ lives are led by idols. That is the contrast between the two.
I have a question that is somewhat troubling to me. Two friends of mine were having a debate about politics and religion, and one of them said that God hates the unrighteous. Put so point blank, it really made me think, and I did some reading online, searching Christian sites to see what people have to say about it and received further conflicting messages.
I know God hates sin, but God sent out His word to everyone in the world. The unsaved reject it, but it was sent to them. So how can He have tried to save people He hated? Does He hate them? If He does hate sinners, how does that go together with Jesus’ admonitions to love thy enemy and what He says about a doctor not coming for those already healthy but rather for those who are sick? Jesus and God are one, so clearly, if God hating the sinner is true, it goes to together somehow, but I don’t understand how.
I read someone’s comment that said, “A man who steals is a thief. God hates the thief who steals”, and yet, Jesus sought out thieves to save them.
This question is very troubling to me. I know everything God does is right, but somehow it is very hard to accept the plain statement ‘God hates the unsaved’. I know the unsaved will go to hell, and I know justice is very important to God, but again, Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost are one, and there so many instances of compassion in the Bible that it’s hard to believe He just hates them, and that’s it. Or am I just having troubling believing this because I don’t want to believe it?
Not A Hater
Dear Not A Hater,
The Lord loves people but hates sin. God tells us it is appropriate to be happy when evil is destroyed because it means righteousness is prevailing (Pr 28:28), but God also says that it pains Him when the wicked perish (Ezek 18:23). Here is the problem – when a person's life becomes so intertwined with sin that the sin has become the essence of who they are, God hates that. Ps 5:5, Ps 11:5, Lev 20:23, and Pr 6:16-19 makes that clear.
Think of it this way, if you saw someone push a small child, would you be upset at the action or upset at the person? The answer is both. The action came from the person and originated from their character. All sin is that way. God doesn't inherently hate people, but when someone consistently rebels against God, hurts others, spreads lies, and harms God's work here on Earth... God's anger extends to both the sins and the people who flagrantly commit them. They have chosen to put their lives in opposition to Him, and as much as it pains Him, He must consider them enemies.
I am doing a paper on the sixth commandment for school. I have heard there is a verse that says, “God hates sin, but not the sinner.” Is that verse in the Bible, and if so, where, and if not, is there a similar verse that says something similarly? This paper is due soon, and I need the verse to complete my essay. Please help. Thanks!
Making The Grade
Dear Making The Grade,
There is no one verse that says, "God hates sin, but not the sinner." However, there are multiple verses that teach that principle. Hab 1:13 says that God is too pure to look upon evil, and Heb 1:9 talks about Jesus loving justice and hating iniquity. As far as God loving sinners, Jhn 3:16 probably will do the trick.
Thousands of years ago, in many countries, continents, islands, etc., far away from Israel, how could inhabitants hear messages like Jhn 3:16? Were they just out of luck because they didn't live in the area to hear it and died and went to hell?
Dear Logistically Implausible,
The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the Gentiles (a ‘Gentile’ is anybody that isn’t Jewish) that lived before Jesus or before Jesus' message covered the globe as it has now, but what little we do know tells us that God didn’t forsake them. When God called Abraham out from amongst his people (Gen 12:1-2), everyone that wasn’t descended from Abraham became a ‘Gentile’. The Old Testament follows the descendants of Abraham and God’s covenant with them; that is why there isn’t much said about the other nations that lived on this planet. Here is what we know:
- God praised and blessed honest Gentiles. Melchizedek is called a ‘priest of God’ (Gen 14:18), and Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was the priest of Midian (Ex 3:1) and worshipped God. We don’t know exactly what arrangement God had with these men, but we know that they were pleasing to God and not a part of the Jewish nation. Another great example of a godly Gentile was Cornelius. God blessed and heard Cornelius’ prayers (Acts 10:1-4).
- Some Gentiles were blessed by God through conversion to Judaism. Rahab and Ruth were both Gentile women that turned to God by becoming Jews. Both of these women are mentioned in the lineage of Christ (Matt 1:5).
- We have a single statement in the book of Romans that hints at what kind of law the Gentiles were under. Rom 1:14-15 says that the Gentiles had a law of conscience written by God on their hearts. This doesn’t tell us much, but it does point out that God had a system for judging the Gentiles… it was just different than the system He used for judging the Jews.
All of this just gives a glimpse at the pre-Christian Gentile world, but it is enough to paint a picture that God had a plan to save those who lived far from Israel; we just don’t know exactly how it worked.