Ask Your Preacher
My question is one that has been bothering me a lot lately. I am married and totally in love with my husband. He is so wonderful to me, and he is a strong spiritual leader for me. He is everything (and more) that I prayed and asked God for. But, on occasion, the thought of divorce crosses my mind. I don't know why it comes into my mind. I don't want that for my life; when I made my vows to my husband, I didn't make them lightly… not to mention I am so happy and couldn't imagine my life without him. Now what has been concerning me is in Matt 5:21-30, we are taught that even thinking about sinning (which from my understanding, divorce is a sin unless there has been unfaithfulness in the marriage) can be dangerous for our souls. I am concerned that because the thought of divorce pops in to my head once and a while that my soul is in danger. Even though I have no intention of ever acting on that thought, I want to live a happy and long life with my husband. Do you think that my soul is in danger? Thank you for your feedback and the work you do.
Totally in Love
Dear Totally In Love,
Dwelling upon evil desires is sinful (such as lusting after a woman – Matt 5:28), but a thought popping into your head is not the same as dwelling upon evil.
You don’t have complete control over what thoughts come into your mind (this is also true of emotions), but you do have control over what you do with those thoughts. As a simple example, if someone says the word ‘dog’, you will immediately think of a dog. Whether you want to or not! (In fact, you are thinking about dogs right now.) Jas 1:13-15 points out that sin occurs when we allow our thoughts to dwell upon sinful behavior until we actually act upon them. Merely having the thought pop into your mind is not the same as dwelling upon it. You are obviously happily married, have no desire to divorce, and as long as you continue to shove the thought out of your mind as you are doing right now, you aren’t sinning at all.
I'm interested in understanding where you find in the Bible that you can lose your salvation. And how do you re-obtain it, or in what way do you know God isn't "upset" with you anymore, so you can regain your salvation?
Dear Verse Please,
The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. 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).
We are warned to not “drift” away from the Lord (Heb 2:1) or “backslide” (Pr 1:32) into old sinful ways. Once we are baptized, we are told to grow in the Lord and mature in our faith (1 Pet 2:2). Baptism is the beginning of a new life, but God calls us to be faithful until death (Rev 2:10). A Christian can know that they are not lukewarm by properly examining their motives and lifestyle (1 Cor 11:28-30). God constantly forgives faithful and honest people for their sins (1 Jn 1:9), but if we neglect our salvation (Heb 2:3) or stop growing, we have no hope left (Heb 10:26-27). God is "upset" when we stop trying to grow and stop trying to be faithful... that is when our salvation is in jeopardy.
Why do I feel like I am being led down a good path, but yet, I still feel like I am being tested as I go forward?
Dear Treading Carefully,
Trials are a part of life, and when you do the right thing, you are bound to have them. The Bible says that God never tempts us to do evil (Jas 1:13). God never purposefully puts us in a situation with a desire for us to sin. The devil wants to devour you with sin, but God never does (1 Pet 5:8). However, God does put us in situations in order to find out what we are made of. God tested Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1). God put Abraham in a position where he could succeed or fail – but the key is that God wanted him to succeed (Gen 22:14-18). Abraham was tried by God (Heb 11:17), so God could bless him. God may put us in circumstances that are difficult, but His desire is always to benefit us.
Can a preacher who has divorced his wife still preach?
It would depend on a lot of factors. A preacher isn’t expected to be perfect, but at the same time, he should attempt to live a life that models Christian virtue (1 Tim 4:12). It would depend on why he was divorced, what type of life he is living currently, and how he is viewed by the brethren. In short, it is a case-by-case issue, but a divorce in a preacher’s past certainly would be something that should give us pause.
I have a question: is it wrong for churches to sing Christian songs like ‘Hosanna’ (i.e. Christian rock)? Some churches are singing these types of songs, but some people say it’s wrong.
Dear Rock On,
The Scriptures give a few qualifications for the songs that we sing. First of all, they must always be reverent (Heb 12:28). Songs that treat God flippantly or treat worship more as entertainment than reverence to God are wrong. Many churches are more interested in fascinating the people with trendy music than they are with bringing gravity to the minds of young souls that need to be reminded that their Maker is to be treated with fear and awe (Pr 1:7).
Secondly, the songs must be psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs (Col 3:16). The songs must have Bible-based language and doctrinally sound lyrics. They must agree with the teachings of the Bible, and they must be focused on spiritual things. Once again, worship is about God, not us.
Thirdly, they should be songs that are sung from our hearts and by all the members (Eph 5:19). The Bible never authorizes rock bands, choirs, pianos, etc. Instrumental music in worship is an invention that has no biblical foundation to it. The New Testament example is everyone singing from the heart – no more, no less (Rev 22:18-19). If you would like to read more on the subject of instrumental music in worship, we suggest you read “A Cappella”.