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.
In Rom 3:21-23 and Gal 2:16, Gal 2:22 (and several other Scriptures), it mentions "the faith of Jesus Christ". The KJV (and a few others) have been changed in modern transliterations to "faith in Jesus."
This change appears to put justification in our hands (therefore making the sacrifice of Jesus of little value). Can this be right?
Your insight would be greatly appreciated.
Faith Is A Gift
Dear Faith Is A Gift,
The Bible talks about “the faith of Jesus Christ”, AND the Bible talks about “faith in Jesus Christ”. Both are necessary. The faith of Jesus Christ is the gospel message that we can be saved through Jesus’ sacrifice. It is a system of belief that we are to live our lives by and that explains our need for forgiveness. Jude 1:3 describes “the faith” as a gift from God delivered to us. Acts 6:7, Acts 16:5, and 1 Cor 16:13 describe “the faith” as something that is unmoving, unchanging, and that God has designed for us to be obedient to. The faith of Jesus Christ is a gift of good news to all mankind that we might be saved (Rom 1:16-17). The faith is the message of the Bible, and it never changes.
However, the Bible also talks about our faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is individual to each of us and should be growing (2 Thess 1:3). Our individual faith is our personal level of trust and dedication to the Lord, and it requires obedience to the faith (Rom 10:17). The Bible teaches that our salvation is a gift from God (after all, we are incapable of paying for our own sins) that requires us to draw near to God to receive that gift through obedient faith (Jas 2:17-20).
Is it possible to be a Catholic… but not too much? Are there certain "degrees" of being religious? What do you think of the phrases "I'm a Catholic in my own way" or "I'm a Catholic, but I don't exaggerate"?
You can be a deeply devoted, strict Catholic or a mild Catholic… but we recommend neither. Catholicism places the pope as the head of the church; Christianity places Christ as the head of the church (Eph 5:23). All Catholic practices exist because the papal hierarchy believes them to be right; sometimes those beliefs agree with the Bible, but many times they don’t. Catholicism tells priests to not marry, and it forbids certain foods – practices specifically condemned by Paul as false teaching (1 Tim 4:1-3). Catholics are taught to call their religious leaders ‘Father’, but the Bible says that is wrong (Matt 23:9). Catholic practices like infant baptism (and the teaching that children are born sinful), Vatican councils, cardinal vs. venial sins, etc. have no foundation in the Bible. We derive our authority from the Bible, and that is where faith starts (Rom 10:17).
You want to be a Christian – someone who gets all of their practices and beliefs from the Bible and nowhere else. Sticking to the Bible is the only way you can have confidence in your salvation. After all, salvation is from God – we don’t get to decide which way we want to be saved. If you would like help finding a congregation in your area that uses only the Bible as their guide, we would be happy to help you find one. Simply e-mail us at email@example.com.
I have a parenting question. My eight-year-old daughter has a friend about a year older than her who lives down the road. She and my daughter have been friends for several years, but recently, the neighbor girl berated my daughter to the point that she came home in tears. Unfortunately, this has happened before in their friendship. Also, as the neighbor girl has gotten older, she has developed a fairly bad attitude that is becoming a challenge for my daughter. The neighbor girl has a habit of doing this when she is upset about something, but she also usually comes back with an apology. This time, however, I'm leaning towards discouraging my daughter from continuing a friendship with this girl. My dilemma is: I want to teach my daughter to be forgiving, but I also don't want to put her in a situation where she will get hurt again or steer her towards a friendship with a girl who is becoming an increasingly bad influence. I also am not sure that I want to teach my daughter to continue a potentially abusive relationship simply because of an apology (I'm thinking ahead). Should I encourage my daughter to accept her friend's apology and continue the relationship on the grounds of forgiveness, which is vitally important, or should I encourage my daughter to end the friendship despite the apology because of the unhealthy nature of the relationship?
Parenting is about nurturing your children along to adulthood (Eph 6:4). Nurturing means more than just teaching one concept; it means providing them with all of the skills and strengths they will need in life. You are doing things exactly right.
It is important to teach children about forgiveness, mercy, and kindness – numerous verses teach that concept. However, that isn’t the totality of God’s teaching on relationships! If it were, Christians would be required to put up with untold abuse and accept every unhealthy influence that comes our way. Instead, God also teaches that bad relationships can corrupt us (1 Cor 15:33).
You can simultaneously teach your daughter to forgive this other girl while also teaching the benefits of setting healthy boundaries. That is a skill set she will need for the rest of her life. Forgiveness isn’t the same as trust. After all, Jesus forgave people but didn’t necessarily trust them in all circumstances (Jhn 2:24-25). You are right to seek a balance, and your daughter is blessed to have a parent that nurtures these healthy social skills in her.
My husband is a Mason and Shriner and has been for at least twelve years. During that time, I, too, became an Eastern Star but quit only after a year because it did not feel right. However, over the years, I have attended Mason functions and Potentate balls with my husband. However, the more I read the Bible, the more I know that this is idol worship. Since my husband does not write well, he asks me from time to time to type things for the Masons or Shriners. I feel uncomfortable doing this and feel that I am participating in this idol worship. I don't want my husband to feel that I don't want to help him, but I am conflicted. Please help.
Dear Uneasy Wife,
You answered your own question when you said, “I feel that I am participating in this idol worship.” God tells us that anything we can’t do in faith is sin (Rom 14:23). You are correct; the Masons add to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18-19) and mix the occult with the biblical – it is wrong.
God tells us that we ought not to intermix our lives with idolatry (2 Cor 6:16). We should flee idolatry and not help it along (1 Cor 10:14). It is good to support your husband when you can… but this isn’t one of those times.