Ask Your Preacher
God bless! My question is this: how do I know I've been saved since I accepted Jesus?
Dear Open Heart,
The Bible outlines five things you must do to become a christian. The question, “What must I do to be saved?” is the most important question any human can ever ask. Plenty of groups will pick and choose what they want to focus on. Many groups say that all you must do is “believe in your heart” and you will be saved – unfortunately, this is cherry-picking out one requirement and leaving the rest behind. We must always remember that the sum of God’s Word provides the truth (Ps 119:160). Belief is obviously an important element to salvation, but it is not the only condition. The Bible outlines five separate requirements for salvation, and all of them are necessary.
- Hear the Word. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Until someone hears God’s Word, they are incapable of obeying it.
- Believe the Word. It is impossible for someone to become a christian unless they believe that Jesus is the Savior and Son of God (Jhn 20:31, Acts 16:31, Jhn 3:16).
- Repent of your sins. ‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. That change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is a necessity of salvation (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7).
- Confess Jesus to others. If we have sworn our allegiance to Jesus, we must be prepared to publicly confess Him as our Lord. If we won’t confess Jesus before men, He won’t confess us before God (Matt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus for salvation. Many groups baptize people, but very few baptize people for the right reasons. 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 where someone goes from being lost to saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. Baptism is just as necessary as the other four requirements.
After that, there remains nothing else but to find a faithful congregation to assemble with (Heb 10:24) that teaches God’s Word and God’s Word only (see “Finding a Church” for more details) and to continue to grow in knowledge and practice of God’s Word (1 Pet 2:2). If you would like help finding a faithful church in your area – simply e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you locate one.
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.
God is all good and created only good in the beginning, including man. Then evil entered into the picture, and there was sin. God did not stop this from happening. I don't understand.
In the end, when we are all judged and those who are allowed to become a part of the promised Paradise on Earth are left, can the same scenario as before occur? Can evil once again enter the picture and put Paradise in jeopardy as it did before?
Learning From History
Dear Learning From History,
Paradise isn’t going to be here on Earth, and we are told that it is a place where sorrow and death will never occur (Rev 21:4). Therefore, we have a guarantee that God will protect heaven from what happened here on Earth. 1 Pet 3:10-12 tells us that eventually God will destroy the earth by fire. After that, He will establish a spiritual universe (heaven) where those who love Him will exist forever. Here is a list of verses that teach on that subject:
1) 1 Cor. 15:42-50
vs. 47 says our bodies will not consist of earthly components
vs 50 says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
2) Lk 20:34-38
a) vs 36 says we will have bodies like angels
3) Jhn 14:2-4
a) vs 2 says we will dwell where God dwells (heaven)
b) vs 3 says Jesus is preparing a place for us now
4) 2 Pet 3:10-13
a) vs 10 says that when God uses fire to destroy the earth, He will both destroy the works of the earth and the earth itself.
5) Heb 1:10-12
a) vs 11 says the earth and heavens will perish like an old garment
b) vs 12 says that the earth and heavens will be changed like one would change and put on new clothes
c) the new heaven and earth will not be a redo of this earth, but an entirely new garment.
6) Matt 24:35
a) Heaven and earth are temporary, unlike God’s Word
7) Heb 11:13
a) faithful people are considered strangers and wanderers on this earth
8) Php 3:20
a) our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth
9) Jhn 18:36
a) Jesus refers to His kingdom as not being “of this world”
I would like to know where hell is. Somebody said heaven is above earth... so where is hell?
Dear Spatial Recognition,
People often think of heaven as being “up” and hell as being “down”, but that is most likely because we also use the word ‘heaven’ to refer to the sky, and it is natural to think that since the sky is up, heaven must be up, too.
Both the place where the saved go, known as Paradise (Lk 23:43), and the place where the lost go, known as ‘torments’, exist in Hades (Lk 16:23). ‘Hades’ simply means ‘the unseen place’. Neither Paradise nor torments are “up” or “down”; they are in the spiritual realm, and you can’t reach them while still alive – no matter what direction you travel.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35: I do not understand what this means.
Paul says that women are to keep silent in the church assembly … it is the public teaching done in the church assembly that is being dealt with in 1 Cor 14:34-35. Women are not supposed to serve as public teachers in the worship service because men have the responsibility to lead the church in public teaching. Elders (Tit 1:5-6), deacons (1 Tim 3:12), and preachers (2 Tim 2:2) are all required to be men. 1 Tim 2:12 specifically prohibits Christian women from teaching Christian men in a congregational forum.
However, just because women don’t lead in the public assembly, that doesn’t mean they just take up pew space! The Bible is chock-full of examples of active and vibrant godly women. Lydia was a Christian who took Paul and gave him lodging, food, and financial support (Acts 16:14-15). Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple that taught the gospel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). That same Apollos went on to become a mighty preacher… something that would have never happened without Priscilla. John Mark’s mother opened her home for a prayer meeting that saved Peter’s life (Acts 12:11-12). Older women are supposed to be teachers and train the younger women to be faithful wives and mothers (Tit 2:3-5). Younger women have the immensely important task of raising godly children… the next generation of Christians (Tit 2:4). Women have children’s classes to teach, women’s classes to teach, hospitality to provide, others to encourage, and evangelism to do. On top of all those very important and pivotal duties within the church, during the worship services, women have the task of singing and praising God (just like the men – Col 3:16) and joining in the public prayer… just because one man leads the prayer doesn’t mean we aren’t all praying together. When the church assembles, we all are worshipping God, edifying each other, and studying His Word (Heb 10:24-25).