Ask Your Preacher
I need clarity... if you have a calling in your life and haven’t answered it, is it the same as making a vow and not keeping it? I’m confused; is God asking you to make a vow when you are called, and is there a penalty for not doing so?
Not Picking Up
Dear Not Picking Up,
The confusion you are having is probably because it sounds like you think that God directly speaks to people and “calls” them to do different things… that isn’t the case.
The way that God gives us instruction about life is through the Bible (Rom 10:17, Rom 1:16, 2 Pet 3:21). The days of prophecy and God speaking directly to people have passed away, and now, He speaks to us through the words of His Son (Heb 1:1-2). If God commands us to do something in the Bible, we must do it (Jhn 15:14). If we make a promise to do something, we must do it (Matt 5:37). But if you have a feeling that you should do something or you are trusting in what you perceive is God’s voice calling you to act a certain way – there is no obligation to act because it isn’t God.
My wife and I are having a debate. I think it's a debate on the definition of sin. My wife asserts that because Jesus was a sinless human, He was therefore an appropriate sacrifice for mankind, and the only thing that allowed Him to not sin was that He was God. I, on the other hand, state that anything God does is, by default, not sin (or anti-sin). Therefore, anything He does is not sin. It sounds the same, but my wife says He had the option to sin but chose not to while I say whatever He did would be anti-sin no matter what He chose to do. Any thoughts?
Right By Default?
Dear Right By Default,
Your wife is right; Jesus had the option to sin, but He chose not to. Heb 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in all ways like we are, yet without sin. If Jesus was incapable of sinning, He couldn’t be tempted to do it. You can’t be tempted to turn into a fish because that would be impossible, but you can be tempted to eat too much, be lazy, lose your temper, etc.
Jesus was actually tempted to sin, but He simply chose not to. A great example of this is when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Mat 4:1-11. The devil tried to get Jesus to sin (which tells you that the devil believed it was possible), but Jesus answered each temptation with Scripture and firm conviction.
Does God get sad if you don't pray some nights and just go to sleep because you’re tired?
That is a tricky question because the Bible never tells us exactly when we must pray. For example, the Bible never says, “You must pray at bedtime.” We have examples of people praying at all sorts of different times. The principle is that we should have a habit of praying (1 Thess 5:17). Dan 6:10 talks about Daniel having the custom of praying to God three times a day. It isn’t about one prayer missed or made; it is about building a lifestyle of prayer.
Did God create evil? If so, is there evil in Him?
Dear Dark Detector,
God didn’t create evil; the devil did. The Bible says that Satan is the father of lies (Jhn 8:44). Sin only exists when we turn our backs on God. Sin is a lot like darkness. Darkness isn’t really a thing – it is the absence of light. God is the Father of lights and every good thing (Jas 1:17)... there is no evil in God. When we stop following the Lord, we no longer walk in the light. Evil is the absence of godliness. Evil is what you get when you remove God’s design.
Sometimes I feel God’s presence very strongly, and other times I feel very weak. I even question my salvation at times. Do you believe the teaching of “once saved, always saved”?
Not Feeling It
Dear Not Feeling It,
“Once saved, always saved” isn’t true. 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).
However, it is also normal to sometimes feel spiritually strong and sometimes feel spiritually weak… what is God’s remedy for that? Rom 10:17 says that we can measure our faith by our willingness to follow God’s Word. Sometimes emotions can be deceiving. It is our adherence to God’s Word that saves us (Rom 1:16). If you are doing what God says you must do to be saved, then you can have confidence regardless of how you feel (see “Five Steps To Salvation” for further details). Serving God is often an issue of doing what is right without regard to our emotions… showing bravery when we are afraid, working when we are tired, praying when we feel we aren’t heard, and persevering when we are discouraged.