Ep.: How many wives did Adam have?
VIDEO: Are the Dead Really Dead?
Parents and Bible class teachers, take a deeper look at what the Bible actually says about what happens after we die. The definition of what a “soul” is is also discussed. This short, animated video will clear up popular misconceptions about death. Subscribe to our channel at ChristianQuestions.com/YouTube and never miss a video!
VIDEO: Can Christians Be Cursed and Curse Others? (Part III)
Did Jesus “curse” people and things? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.
Ep.1197: Can Christians Be Cursed and Curse Others? Curses Series (Part III)
Determining what curses are real through a New Testament lens
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Theme Scripture: Mark 11:21
The word “curse” is overused and under comprehended. Cursing can mean using words that are not acceptable to repeat in public. To curse can mean to call upon a perceived other-worldly power for the purpose of harming someone or something. Cursing can also mean the expression of great disdain and loathing for people or things. In Part II of our 3-part Curses Series, we observed in great detail how to properly understand cursing, especially the curses of God in the Old Testament. Today we dive into curses in the New Testament to find the differences and similarities with the Old Testament. Several people “cursed” in the New Testament, including Jesus. What does it all mean to us here and now? Are curses real today and if so, what should we do?
The idea that Jesus “cursed” people or things can be a disturbing one. To understand what is meant by this, it is important to focus on the usual areas of concern, definitions and context. The Jesus uses when he talks about curses is a convincing one. It means to “execrate” (to have great loathing for) by analogy, to doom. It comes from two Greek words that include a sense of calling down harm upon someone or something. In the pagan Greek and Roman culture of Jesus’ day, this word would carry a sense of gods and magic being involved. In Jesus’ case, it had everything to do with God’s will and God’s judgments.
What about that fig tree?
The day after Palm Sunday when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, he saw a fig tree and proclaimed it to become fruitless from that day forward. The following morning the tree was withered. Jesus, by the power of God’s spirit, “cursed” this tree to dramatically show that Israel (symbolically represented by the fig tree) would lose their favor with God, as they would reject and crucify Jesus. There are several other times Jesus uses this specific Greek word for curse.
The Apostle Paul also wrote several times about curses. He referenced Israel and the “curse of the Law,” as well as referencing curses regarding Christians who misrepresent or walk away from the gospel. What did he mean? Check out our September 27, 2021 podcast, “Can Christians be Cursed and Curse Others?” Curses Series (Part III) for more. We carefully categorize which words for curse mean what so that we can understand the messages behind them.
Also, we get practical for today’s world. Directly confronting the idea of curses existing today, we lay out what that means for Christians. This is tougher than you might think, because there are many scary and erroneous views that have influence in Christian culture. Can Christians be cursed? Do Christians have the authority to curse others? These important questions can only be answered by comprehensively understanding what the Scriptures really teach. Join us as we uncover the Bible’s truth on curses in the New Testament and what we as Christians need to know and do today!
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Ep.: Is it a sin to play violent video games?
Ep.: How can I break bad, sinful habits?
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes us as being a “new creation.”
- Romans 6:6 says we want to no longer be enslaved to sin.
- Romans 6:4 says we are to “walk in newness of life.”
- Ephesians 4:22-24 admonishes us to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ep.: What is the resurrection on earth?
Ep.: Why did God allow Satan to harm Job?
The story of Job’s life is one that has puzzled people for a long time. Initially, Job’s initial reaction to his trying experiences was excellent. Job 1:22 says, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” But, as his burdens wore on him he finally came to accuse God. He said, “ “I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; … You have become cruel to me; With the strength of your hand you oppose me…. when I looked for good, evil came to me; … My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest.” (Job 30:20-27)
God finally answered Job in chapters 38-41. He essentially said, “Job, you do not understand who I am or why I do what I do. If you did, you would know that there is a purpose in everything I do. I have gone to great lengths in creating life. I have provided a place for life to exist. Do not question my motives, just know that I am all powerful. I am God. Trust that my reasons are pure and good.”
This is an important principle when dealing with God. We should trust that whatever He does is for our ultimate good. Like Job, we tend to be short-sighted in our view of life and why God acts as He does. But God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting,” has a different perspective. Job was a man of faith. But his faith was untested. This is an important principle and was demonstrated even in Jesus’ life.
Jesus himself had to experience temptation and struggle. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus “learned obedience by the things he suffered”(Hebrews 5:8). Jesus certainly knew how to obey before coming to earth. But his suffering made him stronger and more resilient. It created a deeper faith that was totally unmovable.
A common illustration to describe the strengthening of faith is how steel is hardened. It is fired under tremendous heat. This carefully supervised process actually fuses the steel at the molecular level. It becomes harder and able to endure great pressures that it could not endure before the process was applied. That is similar to the testing of faith. When rightly supervised and endured, great lessons are learned regarding how to trust God under adversity. With each victory, the ability to endure becomes greater and the outlook of the individual changes as he goes through experiences where he needs to trust. This cannot occur without adversity.
Though he was a man of faith, Job was a man of greater faith after his experience. He came to understand that God had not abandoned him and was able to restore his wealth and grant him 10 more children.His life has often been used to illustrate the fall of man. When God permitted Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, God was not being irresponsible. He saw that man needed to be tested. Adam failed the test and plunged the world into sin. Along with Adam, we are learning the consequences of sin. We die because we have inherited sin. Job shared in man’s fall. Like all of us, he was already condemned to death. But that is not the end of God’s plan. It is merely the world’s instructional phase.
God has the power of life. He can raise the dead and has promised to do so in His kingdom. That means that Job’s 20 children will all be brought back to life. God’s dealing with Job was not done on a whim or a wager with Satan. God’s plan is thought-out and loving.
A very meaningful passage is found in Ephesians 1.
“… So abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it – the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ; yea things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one head in him.” Ephesians 1:7-10
There is wisdom in everything God does. And when we may not understand His actions, we should trust that He will always have our best interests at heart.
To learn more about why God allows suffering in our lives listen to, “Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”
Ep.: Is it ok to sin if we are saved by grace?
Sin is a transgression of the Divine law or God’s law.
Thousands of years ago God gave Moses and the Jewish nation the Ten Commandments as well as 613 other laws stated in Leviticus. Since the Jews were God’s special people from whom the Messiah was to come, they needed to be kept pure and separate from the nations around them. Therefore, the Law acted as a schoolmaster in order to bring them to Christ.
‘‘So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (Galatians 3:24-25)
Once Jesus came and fulfilled the Law by his sacrifice unto death, the Law was no longer binding to the Jew providing he accepted Jesus. The Apostle Paul further explains this thought by commenting, ‘‘that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.’’ (Galatians 2:15)
Even though Christians, be they Jew or Gentile, are not required to follow the 613 laws or to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath or holy days, they are, however, required to follow the Ten Commandments. In fact, as Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount, these commandments should be taken to a higher level than had ever been taught and should now be “written on our hearts.”
In the Sermon, Jesus gave his followers the high principles that they and we, as Christians today, are to live by.
Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, ‘but I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 5:43-45)
In these verses, Jesus is showing his followers the importance of the law of love, a law that is far greater than the Old Law Covenant that he completed upon his death on the cross. Christians are required to “write” the Ten Commandments upon their hearts, thereby, taking these commandments to a much higher level.
If we are “saved by grace” and the Law of Moses is no longer applicable, then is it okay to sin?
Absolutely not. The Apostle Paul gives us an obvious list of the acts that make up the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21 [sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, and orgies] and warns us “that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Verse 21) He then tells us to live a life guided by the holy spirit and lists the fruits of such a life.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)
The Apostle Peter gives us a similar list in 2 Peter 1:5-7. He then adds, “For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Sin is repugnant to God. It is never okay to sin. Continuous deliberate sinning without asking forgiveness and repenting has a demeaning, ungodly influence on your life and will not allow you to be part of God’s heavenly kingdom. Rather than think sin is okay, you must accept the fact that you are a sinner and evaluate your heart attitude, conscience and conduct as you try to emulate the sinless life of our Master, Jesus Christ. Then, seeing where you have fallen short, ask forgiveness before the throne of heavenly grace.
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:12-13)
It is important that we continually check our thoughts and actions and ask ourselves if Jesus’ thoughts and actions would be in accord with ours. Each time we discover we have fallen short of the perfect example set before us, we need to ask forgiveness through prayer. Prayer is the Christian’s lifeline. You will find refuge and joy in prayer knowing that God hears the prayers of the righteous and is able and willing to forgive your sins if you acknowledge them and are truly repentant.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
To learn more about sin listen to, “Are We Sure Sin is Really Sinful?”
Ep.: Who was responsible for the first sin – Adam or Eve?
We learn in Genesis 2:16-17 that the LORD God gave Adam a direct command to eat of every tree in the Garden except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if he ate of it, he would surely die. It was not long after this directive that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) The helper was Eve, who was formed from Adam’s rib.
Since Eve had not yet been created when God gave the command to Adam, she learned God’s command second hand from Adam. It is interesting to note that when Satan tempted Eve, she misquoted God’s commandment.
She said, “We may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” (Genesis 3:3)
God never told Adam that he could not touch the tree, only that he could not eat of its fruit. Also, God told Adam that the tree was called the knowledge of good and evil. Eve never mentioned the tree by name. Instead, Satan told her that if she ate of the tree, she would be like God knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). Eve believed Satan’s lie that she would not surely die and then surrendered to temptation (the lust of the flesh – saw that it was good for food; the lust of the eyes – pleasant to the eyes; and the pride of life – desirable to make one wise).
The Apostle Paul tells us that Eve was deceived when she sinned (1 Timothy 2:14). Not only did she sin, but she also became the agent of temptation for Adam. However, when Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he was not deceived as Eve was. Adam sinned with his eyes wide open in rebellion against God.
Eve was tricked into sinning. Adam knew exactly what he was doing. He hearkened unto his wife and disobeyed God (Genesis 3:17). Therefore, it is Adam, not Eve, who bears the responsibility for the fall of the human race and for the introduction of death into the created order (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22).
To learn more about God’s plan for mankind listen to, “Does Christianity Preach the Gospel?”
Ep.: Who should we confess our sins to?
The concept of confession of sin to a priest is nowhere taught in either the Old or New Testaments. In fact, the New Testament teaches that all true believers are priests.
1 Peter 2:9-10 describes believers as a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood,” “a people belonging to God.” In the Old Covenant, the Jewish nation could only approach God through its priests who offered sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of sins of the entire nation of Israel. This practice is no longer necessary because of Jesus’ one time all-encompassing sacrifice, which fulfilled the Law, thus granting Christians direct access to God for forgiveness of individual sins through Jesus Christ.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
The New Testament teaches that the organization of Christ’s church would have elders, deacons (1 Timothy 3), overseers (Titus 1:6-9), and pastors (Ephesians 4:11). There is never any mention of priests. Believers are told to confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9) and God is faithful and just to forgive sins as they are confessed to him. Although James 5:16 speaks of confessing trespasses to one another, this confession is in no way linked with God’s forgiveness of the trespass.
The Roman Catholic Church bases its practice of confession to a priest primarily on John 20:23, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Because Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins, Catholics claim that that authority was passed on to their successors, i.e., the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. There are several problems with this interpretation.
First, John 20:23 nowhere mentions confession of sin. Second, the scripture nowhere promises, or even hints, that the authority to forgive sins would be passed on to the successors of the apostles. Jesus’ promise was specifically directed to the apostles. Lastly, the New Testament nowhere states that the apostles would even have successors to their apostolic authority.
Therefore, should we confess our sins directly to God or do we need to confess them to a priest? We are to confess our sins to God. He has the power to forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
A priest does not have the power or authority to forgive sins. No man living on earth in this day and age has that authority. This fact does not negate the need we have as individuals to confess our sins openly to other believers. That practice is encouraged in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Although God hears the prayers of the righteous, a righteous individual has no power to eradicate the sin of another. However, and most importantly, we Christians are admonished to always forgive others for transgressions against us.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
To learn about repentance listen to, “How Do I Live a Life of Repentance?”
Ep.: Does God punish for repeated lying?
Often a person who lies repeatedly either is not aware that his or her behavior is a violation of God’s commandment (Exodus 20:16) not to lie and is, therefore, committing a sinful act, or is so used to lying that he or she has rationalized the behavior to the point of guiltlessness. In either case, the degree of accountability that God holds against the individual is directly related to the individual’s knowledge of right and wrong and also his deliberate intent to deceive.
Ultimately, whether now or in the age to come, lies will be revealed “for we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Romans 14:10) so that “each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Sins must be made right by asking for forgiveness from God and from the people who were sinned against.
There are many scriptures that show how much God disapproves of lying. We will cite but a few. Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us six things that God hates. Two of them are “a lying tongue” (verse 17) and “a false witness who pours out lies” (verse 19).
“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” (Proverbs 12:22)
“No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.” (Psalm 101:7)
Is it then God’s intent to punish a person for lying? We believe that God would rather have a person see the sinfulness of his lies, ask forgiveness, make restitution to those he sinned against, and change his ways. However, if a person continues to lie after he learns how sinful it is, he will have a much more difficult time in God’s Kingdom on earth, yet to come when all sins will be revealed.
In God’s Kingdom all humankind will be given every opportunity to learn righteousness, practice it and write it on his heart. If, after a reasonable time of mercy and instruction during the Day of Judgment, a person still continues to lie and not comply with God’s laws, he will be taken away in the second death (Revelation 21:8). God will not “punish” the person. That person will simply not exist anymore. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
To learn more about lying listen to, “Is There a Difference Between Exaggerating and Lying?”
“Should We Ever Lie?”
Ep.: Is dancing wrong?
Many Christians, do not feel that dancing is proper. Although the Bible does not give specific instructions on dancing, we find examples of when dancing was appropriate and when it was not.
An example of inappropriate dancing occurred when Moses went up to the mountain to talk to God (Exodus 32:6, 19-25). While Moses was away the Israelites built an idol to worship. In the process of the idol worship, they began to dance. Their actions ended up in “revelry” (vs. 6) or “out of control” behavior (vs. 25). In this case, dancing led to very sinful activity.
However, in Exodus 15:20, Miriam, Moses’ sister, danced in order to celebrate the victory that God’s power had brought at the Red Sea. In 2 Samuel 6:12-16, David “danced before the Lord” in order to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Every instance of dancing in the Bible that is not considered sinful was done in worship or praise to God.
Christian groups that prohibit dancing believe that any dancing that draws attention to oneself or one’s body is sinful since our bodies belong to God and are the temple of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19 20). These groups also believe that dancing, especially dancing where men touch women (1 Corinthians 7:1-3), can ignite passions and can lead to lust, which is a sin.
Is it, then, all right for a Christian to go to a party and dance? We believe it is providing the Christian is careful not to turn off his Christianity by denying its core values in order to have “a good time.” We believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to ourselves and to those around us to follow as closely as we can in the footsteps of our Master Jesus. We need to ask ourselves if we would do this action if Jesus were in our midst? Any dancing that stirs up sinful desires in us or in others is to be avoided. As Christians we are walking letters, read by everyone (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). Those around us should be able to tell that we are Christians by our actions and conduct.
To learn more about living as a Christian listen to, “Am I Failing as a Christian?”