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Why death?

Question Text:  Why did God plant death upon the human race and why wouldn’t he grant life for those worthy?

Answer Text:  The Bible is very clear that death was NOT a part of God’s original creation.  We read about creation of man in Gen.1:26-31.   V.31 ends with the comment. “very good’.   If death and decay was a part of the creation, such a comment would be out of place.

But  in the second chapter God tells man that if he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would die (Gen.2:15-17).  And from the third chapter of Genesis we know that man disobeyed God and thus man brought death into the world.

Please read what St. Paul says about the coming of death in to the world from Rom 5:12.  “Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned”. So it is very clear that death is the result of sin and if there was no sin,  there would not be death in the world.

Now,  the second part of your question is self explanatory.  Surely God would grant life to any one who is worthy!  In the Old Testament we know that Enoch did not die (Gen.5:24).   So is the case with Elijah (2 Kings 2:11).  The Bible clearly says that God has no partiality (Rom.2:11).   If some one today were to live like Enoch or Elijah,  surely they would not need to face death.  Have you found any one with out envy, jealousy, malice, pride, anger, selfishness etc.  which are sins which separate us from God?

In fact,  death means separation.  But God in grace  offers free salvation  through Christ our Lord by His death on the cross (Rom.3:23-26).  And to a believer in Christ physical death is just a sleep as Jesus promised that those who believe in Him shall never die (John 11:26 cf. 1Thes.4:15)!   Praise be to His Holy Name.  Amen.

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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Bible Questions

 

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Meaning of Mt.22:14.

Question Text:   What does the Bible mean when it says, “Many are called but few are chosen”?

Answer Text:  This verse is found in Mat.22:14, at the end of the parable of the marriage feast told by our Lord. The good news of salvation is for the whole humanity. But tragically all do not have a chance to hear about this. Many are given a chance to hear this invitation. From among the many who hear the invitation, only few would ever respond to the call of God. Those who respond come under the category of the chosen ones.

The question of divine election is a mysterious doctrine. In the Old Testament God wanted ‘one’ nation through whom He would give His revelation to humanity. He wanted to bless the world through them (Gen.12:3). He chose them at random. Moses talking about the election of Israel in Dt. 7 tells them that God loved them because He loved them (v.8). No other reason is given for the election of Israel to their special privilege.

Coming to the New Testament, the Bible does NOT say that God chooses any one at random today. All are given the opportunity to respond to the gospel but only few will in fact respond to the call of God. So in the New Testament era, God chooses all who choose Him. In His foreknowledge God knows who all would choose Him (1Pet.1:2) and makes it possible for them to hear His invitation. All who hear the invitation may never accept His call. But few among them wiill respond and such are the ones who become chosen of the Lord for His glory.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Bible Questions

 

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Striving In Prayer?

Question text:  Why did God wrestle with Jacob in Genesis 32? What was the point?

Answer text:  You have a very good question.  Many well meaning Christians do not understand the logic of prayer.  They say, rightly so, that God is loving and almighty and He knows all our needs even before we ask Him.  No loving parent who knows the need of children would ever wait for children to ask. But Jesus, after telling that our father knows  before we ask goes on to say, “Therefore pray in this way “(Mt.6:9).   Please note the last phrase of the verse in Mt. 7:11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).  And James says, “you have not… because you ask not” (Js.4:2).

The Bible contains what is known as progressive revelation.  For example, if the Book of Revelation was not there, we would not have known who that serpent was who came to the garden of Eden to deceive Eve.  But Rev.12:9 makes it clear that it was the Devil who was that old servant.   Now, the OT can be understood  only in the light of the NT.  While OT is the shadow of things to come, NT makes things explicit.   In OT we read about men praying.  The NT makes it clear that with out prayer God would not do any thing spiritual in the world today (Mt.7:7; Js.4:2). The NT also goes on to say  that the will of God is achieved only through striving in prayer (Rom.15:30-32).  Striving in prayer is essential  not because God is unwilling to fulfill His promises but because Satan is against us enjoying God’s best for us.

One of the greatest truths of the Bible is that God does NOT fight the devil!   How can the infinite God fight against his own finite creature who rebelled against Him?  After all, when God became man in Christ our Lord,  He asked us to love our enemies.  How could He Himself fight against His own enemy?  Satan knows it and He prevents man from enjoying God’s best for them.  But we can resist the devil and remove Satanic hindrance for us to enter into the perfect will  of God.

This is the truth that is exemplified in the life of Jacob.  At Bethel God promised  Jacob that He would bless him (Gen.28).  Jacob, after 20 years of his sojourn,  became more miserable and helpless.  But then at Peniel (ch.32) Jaocb wrestles with the Lord and enters into the blessing that was promised at Bethel.  His name was changed now.  So wrestling in prayer is not trying to move an unwilling God but rather it is resisting against the devil to remove his hindrance  to obtain the promises of God.

Again this truth is exemplified in the life of Daniel.  In ch.9 Daniel learns that the captivity was to come to an end at the end of 70 years.  Living at the end of 70 years Daniel turns his face to God in fasting and in prayer asking God to fulfill His promises for His people.  In the tenth chapter of Daniel we see that Daniel had to fast and pray for 21 days (or wrestle in prayer) to remove Satanic hindrance before he could get answer from the Lord  (Dan.10:2,3  cf.vv.12,13).

Let us learn this truth clearly that all promises of God remain promises unless they are claimed in prayer.  There are areas where Satanic hindrance is heavy and we need to strive in prayer before we can enter into the promises of God.  May the Lord help us to learn this truth and may He give us grace to strive in prayer against Satan and his viles. If interested please read my small book on prayer from www.mathewpaul.org/category/book-on-prayer . God bless

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Prayer

 

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Christian cults!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Bible Questions, Christian life

 

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Bindi (Hindu mark of respect) and Christian believer.

Queston text:  Is wearing Bindi(Mostly Indian women wear on middle of forehead) wrong in christianity? Give us bibilical answer please.

 
               
Answer text:  

Indian culture is very much influenced by the Indian religion. In fact, it is very difficult to separate Indian culture from its religion. Most of the cultural practices are based on some religious concepts. Bindi is no exception. It was originally given by the poojaries as a mark of approval after idols were worshipped. Though Bindi today has become just a beauty spot, originally it has had its religious implications. Now to answer your question whether it is right for a Christian believer to use it, you need to see it in this light. We are commanded in the Bible that no relics of idolatry is to be brought home lest we be cursed(Dt.7:25,26). Read what the Psalmist would say about other gods in Psa.16:4. God hates idolatry and worship of other gods because it destroys the worshipper and takes the worshipper away from God for time and for eternity. So no trace of idolatry is to be found any where near the child of God. God bless!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Christian life, Uncategorized

 

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Changing Name to Follow Christ

Question Text: There is a recent convert to Christ out of Islam and he feels that he needs to change his name and I am urging him not to. He lives in Yemen and I feel it would put his life in danger and I feel that he can be a testimony for the Lord with a Muslim name. Can you give me some advice to share with him, please. Thanks, Ralph

 
   

Answer Text:  It is true that God has changed the names of a few people in the Bible.  Notable ones are Abraham and Jacob in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament.  But if we were to look at the names of the New Testament, majority of them, yes indeed,  very few ever changed their own names,  I can give you dozens of examples of pure Greek and Roman names which have no religious significance at all.  For example the name Philip  means ‘lover of horse’.  Luke means light etc.  Please look through all the NT names and you will hardly find any one who changed their names.  God changed the names of a few only and the number of those whose names were changed could be easily counted on fingers while numerous names are found in the NT.  So God does not require a name change if some one was to follow Christ.  Look at it this way.  Some one with a Muslim name can go as a Muslim and be accepted as such in the society.  And it gives an opportunity for him to witness personally to all who will come into contact with him.  But if he changes his name and accepts a  so-called Christian name (remember that there are no christian names.  They were either Jewish, Greek or Roman names of people who followed Christ), he is likely to be isolated from society and some times he is in the danger of getting killed for openly challenging their age old tradition.    Our Lord taught us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump and we all know that leaven does not remain isolated in the lump to perform its function.  Again, we are the salt of the earth.  As long as salt remains isolated it can not savor food.  May your friend see this truth and may he continue to be known by his original name as name is not what makes a person a Christian but his faith and His inner character.  God bless.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Christian life

 

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Mercy of God and Hell!

Question Text:  Here is a question that has been asked to me and I haven`t had an answer, so maybe you can help me. The Bible says repeatedly that `his mercy endures forever`. Does this just apply to those who put their trust in him or everyone? If it is for everyone, then what about the people in hell?`

Answer Text:  Webster defines mercy as “that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being. The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty. Num 14”.

Following is a part of a Bible Dictionary definition of the word mercy. “Mercy is an essential character of God and it is associated with forgiveness (Exo_34:7; Num_14:18; 1Ti_1:13, 1Ti_1:16); with His forbearance (Psa_145:8, “Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great lovingkindness”; compare Roman Psa_2:4; Psa_11:1-7 :32); and with His covenant (1Ki_8:23; Neh_1:5), with His justice (Psa_101:1), with His faithfulness (Psa_89:24), with His truth (Psa_108:4); mercy and truth are united in Pro_3:3; Pro_14:22, etc. (in Psa_85:10 we have “Mercy and truth are met together”)”.

Many Bible scholars think it is best to translate the Hebrew word “chesed” as “covenant love” rather than “mercy” as it is usually done. The Bible is very clear that hell is not prepared for man (Mt.25:41). But those who reject God’s love and His forgiveness reach there as there is no other place for them to go. Till man’s last breath on this earth, the Lord is waiting for him to come to Him. God will accept the final “no” of man with tears as He is rejected by him. That is why through Ezekiel God would say, “”Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? “(Eze 33:11).

 God is helpless when some one rejects His love and forgiveness. That is why He would say, “why should my people die?” Read the last few verses of Eze.18.

People go to hell because God does NOT want to force any one to accept Him and His ways. Thus hell is the negative result of the mercy and love of God. Let us never be guilty of rejecting the love of an all loving God. It hurts Him more than it hurts the one who rejects Him. I hope this understanding of the mercy of God helps. God bless!

 

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