Life in Christ: Questions about Christian Faith

  • Is heaven real?  How can I be sure that I will get there?
    Jesus himself said in John 14:2,3 that He isgoing to prepare a place for us and come back and get us.  In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul states that no one has seen or heard or even conceived in their minds what God has prepared for them.  In the book of Revelation it gives a brilliant description of heaven in chapter 21.  It is also stated that the dwelling of God is with men and He will live with them.  It will be much like it was in the Garden of Eden as Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day.

    John 1:12 states that to all those who receive Jesus and believe in Him, He gave the right to become children of God.  Also in Romans 6:23 Paul states that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.  We must confess our sin and our need for Jesus to save us from sin and we must trust him to be our savior.  Lastly scripture states in I John 5:11-13 that He who has the Son has life and that these things were written to those who believe in the name of the Son of God so that they may KNOW that they have eternal life.  It is not a chance that I might get to heaven, but I can have confidence in this relationship that I know that I have eternal life.  God has never broken any other promise so you can trust he will keep this one!

    Are Satan and Hell real?
    The devil is referred to in numerous places in the Bible.  He is referred to as the tempter in Matthew 4:1-11, as a thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy in John 10:10 and as an enemy of those who believe in God in Ephesians 6:10-18.  The devil is real, is an enemy, and opposes everything that God is and does.  God is greater and the devil’s doom is sure.  It is written in Revelation 20:10 that the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire and will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 

    Hell was very real to a rich man in Luke 16:19-31.  At one point the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue because he was in agony in the fire.  In Matthew 25:30, the Bible describes weeping, gnashing of teeth, and darkness.  In Revelation 20:21 scripture states that anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. 

    Is Jesus the only way to God?  Isn’t “being good” enough?
    In John 14:6 Jesus Himself says no one gets to the Father (that is God) except through Him, There is no other name by which we are saved (Acts 4:12 & John 10:9). Salvation is through faith in Christ alone and not by our works (Gal 2:16).  Our goodness or righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6 & Matthew 7:21-23). It is important to note that though we are not saved by our good works they are a sign of the Holy Spirit within us (Gal 5:21-23).

    Can you recommend a good daily devotion book?
    Daily time in the Bible can be as simple as reading a Psalm each day.  List the characteristics of God and apply the responses that the Psalmist records (ex: “I bowed down”; “give thanks”; “find rest in God alone”).  Booklets like Our Daily Bread can be helpful.  Check out resources from Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, Louis Giglio, Francis Chan, Josh McDowell, Max Lucado, John Piper, Elizabeth George, Beth Moore, Sheri Rose.

    What makes a Biblical church?
    A Biblical church is one that acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God who was crucified for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.  Look also for a church that teaches the whole Word of God not just the parts they like or that might speak to their hot issues.  A good church should have opportunities for worshiping God through song, devotion to praying together, a strong focus on God’s Word and warm fellowship.  Acts 2:42-47 states some of the characteristics of the early church: devotion to the apostles teaching, fellowship, prayer, giving, communion, sincere hearts and the Lord adding to their numbers.

    How did everything come to be?  Where did we come from? 
    Creation. God created the world in six days, including the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. Every man and woman alive today are their descendants.

    What does God think about me?  Does God value me?
    Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
    We have value simply because we are God’s creation and made in His image.  Read Psalm 139.   He valued us before we were even born.  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” (Psalm139:13-14).  The Lord takes great delight in you and rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).  It is not what you do that makes you valuable.  You are valuable because of who created you!

    Do Christians continue to sin?
    Unfortunately yes, as a Christian we do still sin and are told that if we say we are without sin we lie (1 John 1:8). It needs to be understood that there is a difference between willingly sinning and struggling with sin (Romans 7:14-25). As a Christian our desire is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29) who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). And we are not to get lazy about sin, it is a battle with our flesh (our sin nature), and even though we are forgiven we do not have an excuse to continue in sin (Rom 6:1-2).

    Why doesn’t God destroy evil?
    We deal with a lot of evil in this world, and sometimes we wish for a superhero to be real so that they can save us out of our troubles. It takes a selfless heart to see the selflessness of God’s allowance for evil. We sometimes think that all the people sinning against us should be punished, but that we should not be punished. But Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. “ That means that God knows better than anyone what it feels like to be hurt, and sinned against. But 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” But there will be an end to His patience. Repent now, for He will deal with evil when He returns.

    Why Christianity over World religions?
    In this world, we seem to have unlimited choices for our religious preference. The difference between Christianity and every other religion is the man, Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, humbled as a man, who took the position of the one and only mediator between God and man. He can identify with both mankind and His Father in heaven, so He now proclaims “I am the only way!” (~John 14:6). Every other religion tells you how you can do religious acts to become right with God, but it is as if Christ says "I have done it for you."  You must simply trust me.  Or as Jesus really did say, “It is finished!” So we repent from our slavery to sin, and strive to follow Him.

    Can’t I just deal with God when I get older?
    You are not guaranteed to get older, so you take a big risk if you do this.  “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2b)  Also, Solomon in all his wisdom ended the book of Ecclesiastes like this, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them" (12:1).  Perhaps it will help you to think of all the opportunities you have to serve Christ now and earn rewards in heaven later.

    How can I know if I am going to heaven? 
    1 John 5:12-13 says “Whoever has the Son (Jesus) has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” The only way that we can be saved from the wrath of God is if we are in Christ. If you turn from your sinfulness and accept Jesus as your Lord, our God will embrace you as a son or daughter when you enter His rest.  Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

    Can God really forgive my sins?
    Only God can truly forgive all your sin, because every sin is against God—even if it is against someone else too. In Psalm 51:4, we read David’s words: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” Because of His holiness, God sent His Son to take the punishment for sin (death), so that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. Not only does He mercifully forgive those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but the God who generously gave us His Son also graciously gives us all that we need for life and godliness. He gives us His Holy Spirit so that we can live a new life, walking with Him in the light. He is our forgiver, our provider, and our friend.