QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 68
This question I've asked myself since I began having a life in Christ, is Jesus God? I know, that most Christians answer yes and give John 1:1 as the foundation of their argument.
There is more on this matter than John 1:1, although that is quite sufficient to substantiate the point. The Word that "became flesh and dwelt among us, "was God." Nothing more needs to be said than that. Yet, in order that there be no doubt about the matter, God Himself bears witness to the truth. "But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. . . " (Heb 1:5-8). In this text, the same One described as "My Son," who was "Begotten," is also confessed by God Himself to be "God." If God the Father can say that, it is certainly not out of order for us to do so. In fact, it is serious beyond imagination to hesitate to do this.
Secondly, in order for the Word to be "made flesh" and dwell among us, He had to humble Himself, divesting Himself of the prerogatives of Deity. Philippians 2:5-8 informs us that he was 'in very nature God," yet refused to hold on to that equality in order that He might save humanity. Such an equality is never affirmed of any angel, or other exalted heavenly beings.
Thirdly, Isaiah referred to the Messiah as "the Mighty God" and "the Everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6). Micah affirms His origin was from everlasting (Micah 5:2). In His great intercessory prayer, Jesus referred to the glory He had with the Father before He came into the world -- a glory that is shared by no angel (John 17:5,24). Matthew tells us that Christ was actually "God with us" (Matt 1:23).
Fourthly, the second appearing of Jesus is referred to as "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Tit 2:13).
Fifthly, Jesus is also described as "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Tim 6:15) -- something that is never said of any angel, however lofty.
Sixthly, Jesus received worship (Matt 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:,17; John 9:38, etc.). In fact, God commanded that all of the angels worship Him (Heb 1:6). No angel ever received worship. In fact, when John twice attempted to worship an angel by bowing before him, the angel of God forbade it, saying "Worship God!" (Rev 19:10; 22:8-9). If Jesus is not Divine, you have a created personality receiving worship, something God Himself strictly forbids.
My question is, why did the Trinity take centuries after the death of Jesus to become accepted by Christians?
It is true that the word "trinity" is not in the Bible. It was developed years after the Word of God was written, because several were denying the Deity of Jesus. The use of this word was a human attempt to place in a single word what Scripture affirms to be the case -- that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all "God." I have already shown you where Jesus was referred to as "God." The Holy Spirit is also called "God" in Acts 5:3-4.
God is only "one God," as the Scriptures affirm. But "one" does not mean a single personality, any more than "one flesh," a word describing marriage, means husband and wife are one single person (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31). Nor, indeed, does "one" mean that those "joined to the Lord" become one person with Him, even though "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor 6:17).
There is a perfect harmony and unanimity in the Father, Son, and Spirit. all are "eternal," and are so declared to be. Yet, they are distinct from one another. We should not expect this to be something simplistic, for it is not. If you expect to understand this with your intellect, you are expecting the wrong thing. This is something to be believed and acknowledged, for God has declared it. Scripture puts it this way: "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ" (Col 2:2).
. . . and in the Bible the Hebrew used for God was singular . . .
First, the word used throughout the Old Testament for God is "elohiym." It is not a singular word, but a plural one, as anyone familiar with Hebrew knows. If one is not familiar with Hebrew, any standard Hebrews/English dictionary will confirm this is the case. Even if the Hebrew is unknown. there are expressions in Scripture that clarify this is the case: "And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness" (Gen 1:26). "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us" (Gen 3:22). "Go to, let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech" (Gen 11:7). Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for US? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isa 6:8). "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in US: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (John 17:21).
When the word "God" is used in the New Testament Scriptures, it is not in the plural form, but always in the singular. However, in every case, it applies to either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. In the greater light of the Gospel, the knowledge of God is more specific, as we should expect it to be. But in no case, do the New Testament Scriptures suggest there is only one Personality called "God." Rather the term is applied, as I have already shown, to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The verse that stands out to me the most is probably Colossians 1:15, that says Jesus was the first-born of all creation. I know God was not created.
This verse does not say the Person of Christ was "created." The very fact that He is "the image of the invisible God" should be sufficient to show that. Hebrews declares He is "express," or "exact representation" of God's person (Heb 1:3). The word "of" (firstborn OF) does not mean He is part of the creation, but that He is OVER the creation. "Of" is used this way in other places: "Head OF the church" (Eph 5:23), "Head OF all principality and power (Col 2:10), "Head of the corner" (1 Pet 2:7), "Head over every man" (1 Cor 11:3), etc. The word "Firstborn" refers to His resurrection from the dead, not His birth into the world. Elsewhere He is called "the Firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18). In that reference the same point is made as in Colossians 1:15, namely that He is over all. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:15 also refers to Jesus being the Origin of the creation, not a part of it. That is confirmed verses sixteen and seventeen, which immediately follows. "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist," or are held together. If Jesus is not Divine, then we have a created personality making all things, everything being made FOR a created person, and everything being sustained and held together by someone created. Thus, the creator is not Divine -- which seems to me to have far reaching implications we must zealously avoid.
Also, I have trouble when people refer to Jesus as the "God-Man" or they say he is "half man and half god." I find it insulting to God to call him part man in any way.
The Scriptures do not present Jesus as half man and half God. That sort of perception conforms too much to worldly wisdom. He is fully God and fully man -- that requires faith to believe. The manhood of Jesus is to be embraced without qualification, as well as His Godhood. This is the precise point John makes in His Epistle. "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God" (1 John 4:2-3). In opening that Epistle, John refers to our Savior in a most arresting manner. "That which was FROM THE BEGINNING, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of THE WORD OF LIFE; (For THE LIFE was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you THAT ETERNAL LIFE, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us)" (1 John 1:1-2).
The point is that Jesus was both God and man, Divinity and flesh. He did not represent life, He was "the life." He did not have a beginning, but was "from the beginning," existing prior to it. He not only brought eternal life, He was "that eternal life." In Jesus, God revealed HIMSELF to humanity. He actually came within the range of our senses.
Please help me understand. I've tried to for 3 years and never decided on what to believe concerning this and I know I can't have a real relationship with the Lord until I know who He is.
Your assessment is precisely correct -- that is why your questions are so important. Your relationship to God hinges upon the Lord Jesus Christ, for no one can come to God except through Him (John 14:6). You have already seen that understanding the Father and the Son is not a simplistic matter. Nor, indeed, should we expect it to be. This is what Jesus was referring to when He explained how the Father and the Son could not be identified and known in the energy of the flesh, or through natural and intellectual processes. "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Lest anyone suppose this means the matter of knowing Father and His Son are hopeless matters, Jesus continues: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and LEARN FROM ME, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt 11:27-30).
The Lord Jesus is eager to show you the Father -- and the Father is also eager to show you the Son. When Peter saw who Jesus truly was, the Savior said God had revealed that to him (Matt 16:18). The Father is quite willing to do this for you also -- and Jesus is more than willing to help you know and understand the Father. I encourage you to earnestly seek such knowledge from the Lord. He will help you to understand what I have said. More importantly, He will help you understand what the Word says about the Father and the Son.
I would add one word of caution. Because eternal life is, in fact, knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3), subdue any inclinations you have to speak reproachfully or doubtingly of the Lord Jesus. Jesus has affirmed "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him" (John 5:23). I urge you to employ all of your powers to do this.
Is Jesus a human body but with God as the mind, soul, and spirit? or, Is a better way of describing it saying that God broke in 3 pieces, Father (who is only spirit), Son (who is only flesh) and Holy Spirit (who is power?).
Jesus is not a body, He is IN a body -- now, a glorified body, and the Holy Spirit is not mere "power." The Father, Son, and Spirit are Persons -- each One Divine and consequently eternal. Jesus and His body are no more synonymous than you and your body are the same thing. Scripture declares that God prepared a body for the Savior (Hebrews 10:5). The body enabled Him to enter into the world in order to die for the sins of the humanity, and, as a man, triumph over death and the devil (Phil 2:6-8; Heb 2:14).
Jesus is not "only flesh," but through that means is able to so identify with the people of God, so that He can effectively intercede for and keep them (Hebrews 2:10-15; 4:15). Scripture declares that it pleased God for the "fulness of Deity" to dwell in Jesus in a "bodily form" (Col 1:19; 2:9). The "bodily form" itself is not the fulness of Deity, but contains that fulness. In other words, in Jesus God becomes accessible to us.
It is not possible to comprehend God by conforming Him to human patterns of thought. The Creator cannot fit into the concept of the created. Faith, however, CAN receive what is said about God, not being offended or confused by it. What is giving you difficulty is trying to understand Deity. However, God has not called upon us to understand God, Christ, the Spirit, or Deity -- but to believe what is declared of them. To understand Deity with our human faculties simply is not possible.
It is also important to remember that believing is done "with the heart," not with the mind (Rom 10:10). What you said about feeling it is right to let yourself believe that Jesus is God, is really your faith talking to you. That is how faith reacts, and you must have no hesitation in accepting its prompting.
I think my problem is I want a clear answer..to how is Jesus God, and there isn't one until we get to meet Him.
This is a path you do not want to follow, for it is too large for and extensive to be comprehended by humanity. There is no end to such questions. One might as well ask, "How is God eternal" (Deuteronomy 33:27)? "How does Jesus send us the Holy Spirit" (John 15:26)? "How does Jesus dwell in our hearts" (Ephesians 3:17)? "How can the Father and the Son make Their abode with us? (John 14;23)?, etc., etc.
If "the LOVE of Christ" surpasses, or goes beyond, knowledge, what must be said of Christ Himself? -- or the Father? -- or the Spirit? The answer to the question you seek is found in your faith, not your understanding. What is more, when faith takes hold of this, it is more satisfying and gratifying than an intellectual grasp, which is not possible in the first place.
In studying the Shunammite Woman....Was it culture that keeps her at arms length from Elisha? She is found to speak thru Gehazi the slave in most of scripture and Elisha as well does not speak directly to her. I can only guess that being a Holy man...she did not approach him face to face but I cant find anything on the culture of that time to lead me either way.
First, our introduction to this woman confirms she was a "great," or prominent woman. Seeing the prophet Elisha pass by her home, she personally constrained him to come in and eat bread in her home (2 Kings 4:8). Although she was married, she personally urged to eat in her home. She did not make the request of Gehazi. Later, when she perceived Elisha was a "holy man of God," she told her husband she felt they should make a special room for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp stand (2 Kings 4:10).
Second, when Elisha had spent some time in this special room, he told Gehazi to call for the Shunammite woman. He did call for her, and she came and stood before the prophet Elisha. At that time, Elisha did hold a dialog with the woman through Gehazi his servant (2 Kings 4:10-14). Later, however, when Elisha promised she would have a son, he spoke directly to her as she stood before him. The woman also replied personally to him (2 Kings 4:15-16).
Third, following the death of her son, and when meeting the prophet again, she took hold of Elisha's feet. When the servant Gehazi sought to push her away, Elisha told him to let her alone, for the Lord had hidden what was troubling her from him. The woman then reasoned with the prophet concerning the death of her son (2 Kings 4:25-28). After Elisha had raised her son from the dead, he told Gehazi to call the woman into the room where he remained with the raised boy. When she came into the room, Elisha told her to pick up the boy. The woman fell down at his feet, bowing to the ground, then arose and picked up her restored son.
Therefore, I do not see this woman as standing back from the prophet Elisha. On the occasion when Elisha spoke to her through Gehazi, it is my opinion that the woman had given strong evidence of her great respect for the man of God. It appears to me that Elisha's words were calculated to encourage her to speak directly to him. I do not believe culture enters into the matter at all.
When Scripture deals with cultural issues, it will use phrases like "the manner of" or "the custom of" (Ezra 3:4; Judges 18:7; Isa 10:24; Acts 25:16). Unless that sort of language is used in a text, there is no need of, or value in, pursuing cultural issues.
There is one thing out there about what happened last Tuesday/Friday that came in under the radar and escaped most Christians. That Friday, for the first time in history, one man (Billy Graham) spoke the Gospel to the entire world at the same time. . . . The World and all its leaders tuned in and heard the gospel. Never before has one individual preached to the leaders of the world and their country at one time!! Mark 13:10 -- And the Gospel must first be preached to all the nations. Matthew 24:14 -- And this Gospel of the King shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations and the end shall come. Romans 10 -- whole chapter -- particularly verse 18. Through Billy Graham, Biblical prophecy was fulfilled.
First, Jesus did not say the whole world would hear the Gospel at one time. Second, Billy Graham's message was beamed into every continent. That by no means indicates every person heard it, much less understood it. That would be like saying English Bibles sent to every nation means everyone has read the Bible. Third, a little past the middle of the first century, Paul; wrote, "This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant" (Col 1:23, NIV ). And that happened without modern technology.
Not only are the statements made by the writer in question wholly inaccurate, they was utterly foolish.
I would be interested to hear your "take" on a passage of scripture you never hear mentioned from pulpits. At least I haven't. The passage is Luke 9:46-50.
First, the reasoning of the Apostles, from a human point of view, was not wholly without reason, even though it was not justified. They knew Moses and Aaron were greater than the other Israelites, as well as the various Judges, Kings, and holy Prophets. They had, however, misassessed the nature of Christ's Kingdom. However, following His glorification, we never again read of such inquiries among them.
Second, Christ's response was not prompted by what they said, by "the thought" of their hearts. In bringing a child to stand beside Him, Jesus was going to show the manner of the Kingdom. It was not who was ruled, but who was received, that was the point. The greatest would not be determined by an appointment to a position honored by men, but by the ability to receive those God had sent. At the low end would be a young child. At the high end was the Son of God Himself. Thus Jesus said, "Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great."
Greatness would be largely determined by being able to detect the working of the Lord, independently of humanly conceived priorities and affiliations. Thus, those who received the child called to Jesus' side, are said to have received Christ, and those who received Christ received the God who sent Him.
"For he who is least among you all will be great." The idea here is that the person willing to take the lowest position, who accounts himself unworthy, is actually the greatest. Matthew 18:1-6 and Mark 9:35-37, which cover this same incident, confirm this to be the case. They use the phrases, "become as little children," "humble himself as this little child," "receive one such little child in my name," and "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all."
Those who empty themselves (as Jesus did -- whose "mind" we are to have -- Phil 2:5-8), are the ones whom Jesus will fill, or use more fully for His glory. Personal, or carnal, ambition disqualifies people for Divine service. Those who view themselves as "the least of all" saints, will be exalted, as confirmed in Paul the Apostle (Eph 3:8).
Immediately following His words, an occasion arose where the disciples found a man casting out demons in the name of Jesus. To them, the complicating factor was that this man was not following Jesus like they were. He was not among Christ's obvious disciples. Consequently, the disciples did not receive him. Rather, they admonished the man to refrain from what he was doing. I gather that they spoke, in their own assessment, as official representatives of Christ. Jesus quickly rebuked them. "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."
Here was a classic example of receiving one of "the least" -- not that the man casting out demons was actually the least. He was, however, perceived as such.
By way of comparison with this incident, following the enthronement of the Savior, the disciples consistently recognized all believers as belonging to Christ. Every single letter written to believers addressed them as "saints," the "called of God," and those who were in Christ Jesus (Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1-2; Gal 1:2-3; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1, etc). Whether they were novices, had fallen into uncomely conduct, or were ignorant of the implications of the Gospel, they were recognized as having been joined to the Lord. This was all done without approving their wayward conduct. Transgressing souls were admonished to correct their behavior, resisting the devil and recovering lost ground. If the sin committed was of a most terrible nature, such were thrust from the church in order that, being brought to repentance, their "spirit might be saved" (1 Cor 5:5). They were, furthermore, admonished as those who could, in fact, make a recovery. The Apostles' recognition of the people of God confirmed their greatness. Truly, God placed them "first" in the church (1 Cor 12:28).
In a nutshell, Kingdom greatness is determined by the ability of an individual to comprehend what the Lord is doing. That comprehension will constrain such a person to serve the Lord with all of his heart and soul.
In the Bible Noah lived 950 years, Methuselah 969 and many other Godly men lived to real old ages. Was this very unusual or did the average person live older than us today?
In the beginning, men did live for long periods. Adam lived 932 years (Gen 5;5), Seth 912 (Gen 5:8), Enos 905 (Gen 5:11), Cainan 910 (Gen 5:14), Mahalaleel 895 (Gen 5:17), Jared 962 (Gen 5:20), Enoch 365 (Gen 5:23, who was translated, not experiencing death), Methuselah 969 (Gen 5:27), and Lamech (Noah's father) 777 (Gen 5:31). Noah himself lived 950 years, or 350 years more after the flood (Gen 9:29). Then the span of life began to reduce significantly. Shem lived approximately 600 years (Gen 11:10-11), Arphaxad 440 (Gen 11:12-13), Salah 460 (Gen 11:14-15), Eber 474 (Gen 11:16-17), Peleg 239 (Gen 11:18-19), Reu 242 (Gen 11:20-21), Serug 230 (Gen 11:22-23), Nahor 148 (Gen 11:24-25), Terah (Abraham's father) 205 (Gen 11:32), Abraham 175 (Gen 25:7), Isaac 180 (Gen 35:28), Jacob 147 (Gen 47:28, Joseph 110 (Gen 50:26), Moses 120 (Deut 34:7).
The normal span of life continued to decrease. Finally, before passing from this world, Moses prophesied, "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years" (Psa 90:10). This continues to be the norm until this very day.
In the beginning, the average age of people was considerably longer than our own. Although no specific reason is given for this in Scripture, I will venture a twofold opinion of why. First, the powerful effects of the "tree of life" may have taken many centuries to finally be removed from the human constitution. Secondly, of greater significance, because of the fewness of men, it appears to me that God chose this means to allow for the rapid spread of mankind upon the face of the earth.
In our day, we have good reason to be glad the life span has been decidedly shortened. Adam lived with the knowledge of his sin for 932 years, and Noah lived with the memory of the flood for over 300 years. Of course, in Christ Jesus, the impact of the brevity of early life is decidedly reduced by the by the consideration of being "forever with the Lord."
Lately... I can't feel God's glory. Why is this so?
First, I am not sure that it is proper to speak of "feeling" God's glory -- although I believe I know what you mean. You are no doubt speaking of the inner sense of God's presence and blessing. For those who have faith in God, this is a miserable experience. If it is not understood, it can give rise to doubt and fear, both of which tend to drive us from the Lord.
It is possible for personal sin to hide God's face from us, so that we are no longer conscious of His presence. Thus it is written, "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isa 59:2). I am assuming this is not the case with you, otherwise you would not be concerned about the situation. A heart that longs for the blessing of the Lord, and for His face to shine upon it, cannot be comfortable in sin.
In your case, you are experiencing the Lord hiding Himself from you. He is, after all, a God that "hides" Himself. Isaiah 45:15 says, "Truly you are a God who hides himself" (Isa 45:15). When He does this, He is showing us our need of Him -- it is actually a form of instruction. He does not do this because He is angry with us, or because we have been caught in the snare of sin.
A classic example of God hiding Himself is the case of Job. We are told of God allowing Satan to test Job -- but Job himself did not know what was happening (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7). He thought God had abandoned him, and did not know why. He fervently sought for God, but was unsuccessful in sensing His presence (Job 23:3-4; 16:21-22). Yet, Job kept his faith, refusing to run away from the Lord. "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him," he said (Job 13:15). In the end, of course, he received a double blessing from the Lord, and was given to understand something of what happened to him. When going through the experience, he also said the same thing you said. He put in this way: "When He passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him" (Job 9:11).
Job is a notable example for us all. When those dry seasons come upon us, and we are being "sifted" as Peter was (Luke 22:31-32), and tested as Paul was with his thorn (2 Cor 7:7-9), we must continue to trust in the Lord. He is maturing us, growing us up into Christ, and teaching us how to live by faith.
Hold in there, Inang, you will sense the glory again.
What is the difference between the 144,000 in Revelation 7 and the 144,000 in Revelation 14?
They are the same group. The seventh chapter speaks of them being identified and protected by God, and identifies them as being "from all the tribes of Israel." That chapter informs us they have been set apart for a future work. The fourteenth chapter reveals their identify with Jesus through conversion, and their participation with Him in the Gospel being spread throughout the whole world. These texts are to be correlated with Romans 11:18-27.
Is God merciful?
God is, indeed, "merciful." In fact His mercy is "abundant," or unspeakably great (1 Peter 1:3). He is also said to be "plentiful in mercy," willing to give a lot of it to those who need it, and know they do (Psalm 86:5,15; 103:8). The reason why people are forgiven of their sins when they come to Jesus Christ is that God is "rich in mercy" (Ephesians 2:4).
There is a sense in which God extends His mercy to everyone. He causes His sun to shine on both good and evil people, and sends His rain to the just and unjust (Matt 5:45). That is because He is merciful. Also, He is longsuffering toward humanity in general, not suddenly destroying them all because of their sin and insensitivity toward Him. The Bible says it this way. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
The mercy that saves a soul, however, must be desired, for otherwise it could never be appreciated. In this sense, those who are merciful toward others will receive mercy from God (Matthew 5:7). Also, those who come to God through Christ Jesus will "obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
. . . why do we have faithful and unfaithful people?
Because there are two different kinds of people. Some are children of God, and others are children of the devil (Matthew 13:32). Some listen to God, and some do not. Some have tender and sensitive hearts, and others have insensitive hearts like stone. Some want to please God, and some do not. The bottom line is some have faith, and some do not. The Bible tells us, "for all men have not faith" (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Those with faith are faithful. Those without it are not. That is really the way it is, and it makes no difference what men may think about the matter. Those who are not faithful simply do not have faith.
Why do people live?
That question is not easy to answer. Ultimately, the reason for living people is that they might bring glory to God by receiving what He offers to them. In general, they live because God has assigned a period called "time" when He can show holy angels how wise He is by working among and with people who are also subject to the influence of the devil.
On a personal level, each individual is to make it their aim to live for Christ, and to honor God in both life and death. The Bible puts it this way. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
I am confused. My family was baptized as infants and so was I. Then we said the prayer of being re-born again as adults. Do we still need to be baptized as adults? We were also baptized with sprinkles of water, not immersed in water. Does this matter?
It does matter how you are baptized, because in baptism you are actually identified with Jesus Christ. The manner, or form, of baptism is said to be the "form of the doctrine" (Romans 6:17) -- the "doctrine" is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sixth chapter of Romans speaks at length about this matter. It uses phrases like, "baptized into Jesus Christ," "baptized into His death," "buried with Him by baptism" (Rom 6:1-4). The second chapter of Colossians also speaks of this, saying that, in baptism, we are also "risen with Him" (Colossians 2:12).
It is certain that a few "sprinkles of water" does not present such a picture. In fact, it is exceedingly difficult to think of Jesus being buried and rising again while drops of water fall upon one's head. Additionally, baptism is something to which we submit -- it is not something for infants. People were told to be baptized (Acts 2:38; 10:48; 22:16). No parents, or any one else, was ever told to baptize their children. Faith necessarily precedes our baptism (Mark 16:16).
Second, there is not a single syllable in the Word of God about praying to be born again, or a prayer that is to be offered in order to be born again. All such teaching has originated with men. However, I know your heart was right when you prayed such a prayer, and that you earnestly wanted to please the Lord. The fact that you may have been misdirected, or did not understand, yet really wanted to do what was right, is commendable before both God and holy men. God has spoken clearly on this subject, and you are free do to His bidding and receive His blessing.
You should be buried with Jesus by baptism -- going down into the water, and coming up out of it, like Jesus did when He was baptized (Matthew 3:16). The same thing is said of a government official from Ethiopia, when he was baptized (Acts 8:38-39). When you do this, you will no longer be confused. This experience is included in what the Bible calls "the answer of a good conscience toward God," which is connected with baptism (1 Peter 3:21).
I urge you to follow through with this matter, for it is an act of obedience, and God will bless you in the doing of it.
Which scriptures? (logically) The OT could be 100% correct and the NT mostly fiction.
How could the writings of Moses and the Prophets be correct and the New Testament Scriptures fiction? What form of reasoning allows for a separation of the two in this manner, both of which claim to come from God? And whose logic is to be used in this determnination? Are we being asked to allow the ones who had fallen and required salvation to establish what is legitimately God's word?
Is there any pattern of reasoning reflected in Scripture? Are not the teachings there identified with "the mind of the Lord" (1 Cor 2:16), "words taughjt by the Holy spirit" (1 Cor 2:13), and "the mind of Christ" (1 Coir 2:16)? Does passing the Scriptures through the filter of human reasoning serve to validate or invalidate them? If so, what word from God in any age suggested such a thing?
The New Tesament Scriptures presume the integrity of Moses and the prophets, and are the elaboration of, and fulfillment of, their promises, types and shadows. Paul said all he declared was "what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place" (Acts 26:22). To question the validity of the New Testament writings, you must first substantiate that they declare something totally new -- something that was never foretold by Moses and the prophets. That, of course, would go against what God revealed through Ezekiel: "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). Secondly, you must show some conflict between the two. Needless to say, those are most challenging assignments. Until those are proved beyond a doubt (which I affirm is an impossibility), any attempt to question the integrity and validity of the New Testsment writings is nothing more than intellectual bantering.
If it is true that men will give an account for every idle and careless word they speak, someone should take the time to consider how God views such approaches to Scripture. Or, does any one care to affirm He cares nothing for how His creatures speak of His Word?
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