So what’s wrong with gambling?

Dice, Cards and Chips
Is gambling wrong? What does the Bible Say?

So, what is wrong with gambling and playing the lottery? Many ask this question when they hear that the Bible condemns it. They argue it’s just innocent fun and doesn’t hurt anyone!

The reason gambling and even buying lottery tickets runs against what is taught in the Bible pretty much boils down to the reasoning behind it.

Why do people buy lottery tickets, play slot machines or bet money at casino tables? What is their hope? Isn’t it to win and obtain money or prizes they didn’t earn? How many buy a lottery ticket or place a bet with the express purpose of losing and contributing to education or to the wealth of the casino owners?

Also to be considered is the question: Why do casinos have slot machines and game tables? Aren’t they in the business to make money they didn’t earn? Do they provide equitable merchandise or services for the cash they take in? And why do states sell lottery tickets? Aren’t state officials taking advantage of the uneducated and legally taking their hard-earned money to fund government programs? (It is somewhat ironic that states would legalize lotteries and take advantage of the uneducated and foolish to advance education.)

So, what is wrong with all this? It comes down to the Bible’s teaching about covetousness and stealing. Two commandments in the Decalogue clearly condemn it: “You shall not steal … You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:15, 17; cf. Deuteronomy 5).

First of all, it is wrong for a person to desire and attempt to obtain money and prizes which are not his and which he did not earn. Secondly, it is wrong for a gambling institution or a state to seek to take away the wages of others which are not rightfully theirs to take — and that is true no matter how noble the cause.

And when one wins — whether it be the lottery or in a casino — whose money do they win? Isn’t it a part of the money all the other players put down in hopes of winning the money of others? It wasn’t rightfully earned, nor was it freely given.

And, even if it were to happen that someone gambled with no desire to win and with no intention to take the money of others. The Bible also says, “Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life” (Proverbs 29:24). Why would any Christian wish to join in a game or practice based upon covetousness and thievery? Rather, a Christian will trust in the Lord, be satisfied with what the Lord provides and give to those in need.

Hebrews 13:5 says: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

And what if you have gambled or played the lottery? What should you do? Here, there is no better advice than that in John’s first epistle (1 John 1:8-9, 2:1-2): If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness … My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

What is the evidence that one knows Jesus?

bible-2Can one be a Christian and continue to disregard the teaching and commandments given to us by Jesus? Can one really know the risen Messiah and Savior, Jesus, if he does not seek to live according to the teaching of Bible?

After pointing out that a believer is saved through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross for the sins of all people, the apostle John answered that question when he wrote: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked”

Many claim to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, but not all who make such claims truly know and trust in Jesus. Some are hypocrites and some even deceive themselves into thinking they are Christian when, in fact, they are impenitent (not sorry for their sins) and do not trust in Jesus and His blood shed upon the cross for cleansing and everlasting life.

God’s Word teaches us that we can know whether we truly know and trust in Christ Jesus as our Savior by our attitude toward Jesus’ word and commandments: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.”

The one who knows and trusts in Jesus for forgiveness of sins and life everlasting will gladly and willingly obey His commandments. This desire to obey God’s Word is evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and of the new nature created in believers which loves God and desires to serve Him.

Of course, as John wrote in the first chapter (1:5-10), believers are not without sin in this world and cannot claim to be sinless and holy of themselves, for they still have their old sinful nature inherited from Adam which balks at and resists living in accord with the Word of God. True believers continue to confess their sins and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus (cf. 1:9; 2:1-2)

Nevertheless, believers can see evidence of their regeneration in their new-found love for God and in their desire to keep the words and commandments of Jesus. Those who come to know the great love of God in sending His Son to suffer and die for our sins and the sins of the whole world are moved to love Him in return for providing salvation for lost sinners.

If we continue to trust in Jesus as our Savior – if we acknowledge our sinfulness and look to Jesus’ shed blood for pardon and life everlasting – we will, as a fruit of that faith, seek to conform our lives to His. We will seek to live and conduct ourselves as Jesus did in this world – in obedience to God the Father, with utmost respect for God’s Word and with love toward lost sinners.

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

Thus, we are not saved by our works and attempts to follow Jesus but, because we are saved by God’s grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, we seek to live for Jesus in accord with His Word.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Is Jesus resurrection fact or hoax?

tombChristians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And, indeed, the resurrection of Jesus is the key doctrine of the Christian Faith upon which all else stands or falls.

Jesus Himself foretold His own death and resurrection numerous times, saying, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him and the third day He shall rise again” (Matthew 20:18-19). He also said, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).

Thus, if Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead on the third day, He can be considered nothing but a liar, and Christianity is a hoax! What hope could any have of everlasting life if Jesus Himself did not rise from the dead on the third day? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, as some — even within the outward pale of churches — have said, Christianity is an empty and worthless religion – a lie!

It is as St. Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:17-19).

But, in spite of the skepticism of some, there is solid evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Not only was the resurrection of the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures, it is attested to by the New Testament apostles and evangelists with claims of seeing, touching and talking to the risen Christ Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews all attest to the resurrection of Jesus.

Not only did Jesus appear alive to Mary Magdalene and the other women, He appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the eleven on numerous occasions, to James, to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, and to more than 500 believers at one time. At the time when Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, most of these eyewitnesses were still alive and could be questioned by any who had doubts — Paul invited them to do so.

Now, nearly two thousand years removed, some have said that Jesus did not actually die but swooned on the cross and later revived in the tomb — a foolish hypothesis since the Roman soldiers were well experienced with death and especially with death by crucifixion since they regularly crucified both criminals and rebels. Crucifixion victims had to lift themselves up to breathe. Hanging motionlessly meant breathing also stopped and life ended. The spear thrust into Jesus’ side left no doubt. Jesus indeed died upon the cross (John 19:32-34)!

And, even if it were somehow possible for one to be crucified and not yet be dead after hanging motionless, ceasing breathing and having a spear thrust into his side, would lying in a tomb, wrapped in burial cloths and receiving no medical attention enable one to survive scourging, crucifixion, and a spear wound to the chest? Certainly not!

Some have said — indeed, right from the beginning (Matthew 28:11ff.) — that Jesus’ disciples came and stole the body and moved it to another tomb where it probably still lies to this day. This too makes no sense at all and doesn’t explain His resurrection appearances.

It’s entirely unlikely that followers of Jesus who fled when Jesus was arrested and then hid behind locked doors would risk death at the hands of the Roman soldiers who guarded the tomb in order to steal a dead body just to bury it somewhere else and claim Jesus was alive.

And, while people may risk all and suffer death for something they mistakenly believe to be true, would all of Jesus’ apostles willingly face death and persecution for something they knew was a lie? Again, it’s not likely! Not only did Jesus’ disciples suffer persecution and agonizing deaths, they gave up the comforts and pleasures of this life as well. They had nothing to gain by preaching the resurrection of Jesus if indeed He did not rise.

And what of those who spread the stories of Jesus’ body being stolen away? They could easily have put a stop to the spread of Christianity if they simply produced the body of Jesus. But did they? No! There is no record of any attempt or claim to produce the body of Jesus. Why? Because the tomb was empty and even the enemies of Christianity could not refute the resurrection of Jesus!

So, what does the resurrection of Jesus mean for us today? Well, it proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be, God the Son and the Messiah and Savior of the world! It proves that His teaching is true. His resurrection proves that He did indeed take the punishment for the sins of the world that we might have pardon and peace though faith in Him. His resurrection proves that those who fall asleep in Him — those who die trusting in Him for forgiveness of sins and life everlasting — will be raised up on the Last Day to the eternal joys of heaven just as He promised!

And, of course, it also proves that he will return to judge the living and the dead as He has said, and that those who have not relied upon Him for forgiveness and life will be condemned to everlasting punishment in the eternal fires of hell.

The only real hoax in regard to Jesus’ resurrection is the argument that he did not rise. It’s a hoax advanced to destroy the faith of those who trust in Jesus for forgiveness and life everlasting. It’s a hoax advanced by those who do not wish to accept the testimony of eye witnesses who both saw Jesus crucified and then alive again on the third day and the subsequent 40 days. It’s a hoax advanced by those who do not wish to one day be accountable to the risen and glorified Jesus.

The resurrection of Jesus is a historical event which affects every human being in this world. Those who consider it and place their hope in Jesus and His resurrection shall receive, as Jesus says, the forgiveness of sins He won for all by His sufferings and death upon the cross, and life everlasting because He rose from the dead and is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). But those who neglect or spurn it face a most miserable eternity with no hope, no blessing and no joy!

How could God forsake Himself?

If Jesus and God are one and the same, and Christ is God in the flesh…, then explain why Jesus, while upon the cross, even bleeding to death, would cry out: “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” How could God forsake himself?

cross-silhouetteYou ask an excellent question when you ask how God could forsake Himself upon the cross. In answering this question, you must also remember that God is one God and yet three Persons (the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit). The Bible says: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD….” (Deuteronomy 6:4); and also, “I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the LORD God, and his Spirit, hath sent me. This saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go” (Isaiah 48:15-17. Here all three Persons of the Trinity are named). Jesus Himself commanded baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

Psalm 110:1 says, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Jesus (in Matthew 22:41-46) cites this passage to show that the Messiah is both David’s son and David’s Lord (God the Son). One might also ask the question: “How could God tell God to sit at His right hand?” The answer is, of course, that it is God the Father telling His own dear Son (in the Person of Jesus Christ) to sit at His right hand until He makes His enemies His footstool. You might also read Psalm 2, where a discourse between the Father and the Son (who is also the LORD’s Anointed, or the Messiah in Hebrew) is recorded.

Now to answer your question more directly, I would refer you to the Old Testament prophecy recorded in Isaiah 53:1-12, where the sufferings, death, and resurrection of God’s righteous Servant (Jesus Christ) is described. Verse 6 says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Prior to His sufferings and death, Jesus Christ (Son of Mary and Son of God, cf. Luke 1:26-38) lived and walked in perfect fellowship with God the Father, for Jesus was without sin and always did the will of His Father (cf. John 8:28-29; 46-47; Hebrews 4:15). Indeed, Jesus was one with the Father (John 14:5-14; John 17:1-26). But, in order to redeem us from our sin and disobedience, God the Father laid upon His own dear Son, Jesus Christ, our sins and the sins of the whole world. As Isaiah says, “The LORD hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”

Therefore, as Jesus hung there upon the cross dying for our sins, He could truly say the words of Psalm 22:1: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Indeed, God the Father condemned and forsook His own dear Son upon the cross and counted Him guilty for your sins and mine! Jesus truly suffered the tortures of the damned in hell there upon the cross that we might not have to suffer these torments forever!

Isaiah 53 describes this further when it says: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (vv. 10-12).

2 Corinthians 5:21 describes it this way: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” To explain, God the Father made Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we, who have sinned, might be counted perfectly righteous and holy in God’s sight for Jesus’ sake.

So God the Father condemned and forsook His only begotten Son upon the cross because the Son was bearing the wrath and punishment of God upon our sins that we might be forgiven of God and have life everlasting.

Incidentally, Jesus had to be true man to take the place of man under God’s law and fulfill it for us and then to take our punishment and suffer and die upon the cross; and Jesus had to be true God in order for His righteousness and His innocent sufferings and death to be sufficient ransom for the sins of all mankind (cf. Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 2:14-17; Psalm 49:7-9; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:18-19; Mark 10:45).

I hope this answers your question. If not, or if you have further questions, please contact us again.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to die on the cross?

The Bible tells us that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

God is a just God who must punish sin. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death”; and that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23; 3:23).

jesuscrossIn order to save us sinners and make us acceptable in God’s sight, it was necessary for God the Son to become a man and live a sinless and holy life in our place, and then to suffer upon the cross the just punishment for our sins and the sins of the whole world (cf. Romans 3:24-26; 5:6-10; Ephesians 1:6-7).

This Jesus Christ has done for us! Because of His innocent sufferings and death in our stead, God is gracious and merciful to us sinners. Through faith in Jesus and His cross, we have forgiveness for our sins and everlasting life in heaven instead of spiritual death and the everlasting fires of hell which we deserve.

When Jesus was about to die on the cross, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus had accomplished our redemption; He had paid in full the punishment for your sins and my sins!

It was necessary for Jesus to die upon the cross to save you. He died for our sins and rose again! Hallelujah!

Why must I die?

coffinMany would put off and try to ignore the inevitable fact that they will one day die. And, yes, even believers die. Unless the Lord Jesus returns soon, I too will die.

But, why must I die? The answer is found in the Scriptures, and most specifically in Genesis, chapter three. As a result of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, each and every one of us must die.

Following Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience, God told Adam in Genesis 3:17-19: “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” The apostle Paul also wrote to the Romans (5:12): “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Why must I die? Because, like Adam, I am a sinful man. As David says in Psalm 51:5, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” My entire nature – something God originally created good – is now corrupted by sin. Instead of loving God and seeking His perfect will, I am turned in upon myself and think of my will and desires first. Instead of loving others as I love myself – recognizing them as God’s creatures and putting their needs above my own – my nature is to put myself first and give to others the leftovers. Instead of loving and serving God with all my heart, my heart so often is just not into it. And, as a result of my corrupt and sinful human nature, I have come far, far short of keeping God’s commandments in my thoughts, desires, words and deeds. Even when I try to obey, I fail. My motives are wrong and I just can’t measure up.

When I became a Christian, God’s Spirit took up residence in me and created in me a new nature which does love the LORD God and does desire to serve Him by living in accord with God’s commandments. But, as long as I am in this body and in this world, I have still have my old sinful nature, too, which is far less enthused with learning God’s Word and walking in the ways of the Lord. In fact, my old nature still balks at the thought of going to church, reading God’s Word, worshiping the Lord God and living in accord with His commandments.

St. Paul describes this in Romans 7:18-25a: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Even Moses, who was certainly a man of God, had to die! He wrote the following words in Psalm 90 (v. 1-12): “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, and say, ‘Return, O children of men.’ For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. You carry them away like a flood; they are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: in the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers. For we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

“So, what is the difference?” you might ask. “If believers die just like unbelievers, what’s the point in being a Christian?”

Yes, it’s true I will die unless Jesus returns and judges this world very soon! But the death of a believer and an unbeliever is so different.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27 that “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” When an unbeliever dies, he dies in his sins to face the judgment of the almighty and holy God. And God does not grade on a curve! The Bible teaches that “there is not a just man on earth who does good
and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). It also teaches that “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4,20).

Death for an unbeliever (one who does not repent of his sinful ways and trust in Christ and His shed blood for mercy and forgiveness) is the gateway to God’s judgment and to his eternal condemnation for sin and the rejection of God’s offers of mercy in His Son (Mark 16:16; John 3:18,36).

For the believer (one who acknowledges his sin and looks to God for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ Jesus and His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for the sins of the world), death, too, leads to God’s judgment; but the believer’s sins are pardoned and forgiven and will not be held against him. As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

We are told of believers (Revelation 7:14-17): “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Though unbelievers are raised up to be judged and condemned to the eternal punishments of hell, believers are raised up without sin and given the eternal joys of heaven.

The believer’s “citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

The Bible tells us as believers: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

So, yes, I must die! But that is not bad at all for me as a believer in Christ Jesus. Why? Because, my sins are washed away in Jesus’ blood and will not be held against me! And, when my body is raised up, it will be changed into a glorious and heavenly body like that of my glorified Savior (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:35ff.) I will no longer be a sinner or corrupted by sin but will be able to serve my God in righteousness and true holiness – forever! There will be no more sin, death or sorrow.

Yes, I must die; but, by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, I will rise again without sin to live forever with my God and Savior in a perfect heaven and earth which He will create! Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1ff.; Revelation 21:1-8.

You see, I must die, but Jesus took away the sting of death and made it for me the gateway to true life! Cf. Romans 8:28-39.

“As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Hebrews 9:27-28

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Is it wrong to drink alcohol?

The Bible does not condemn the moderate use of alcohol, but it clearly condemns drunkenness.

Jesus Himself drank wine and even turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana (Matthew 11:19; John 2). But the Bible clearly warns against becoming drunk or under the influence of wine or strong drink, saying that this is a work of the sinful nature, and that those who “do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Also to be considered here is the fact that God commands us to obey the laws and commands of our government and rulers (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-15). It is against the laws of our land for young people under a certain age (usually 21) to drink, and it is also against our laws to drink and drive. God would have us obey these laws.

Finally, the Bible says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesisans 5:18). We are not to become drunk or intoxicated by wine or any other drink or illegal drug; for then we may easily succumb to the temptations placed before us by the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh (cf. Proverbs 23:29ff.). Rather, those who trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and life eternal are to be filled (to be influenced and guided by) the Holy Spirit of God, that they might be kept in the saving faith and live for their God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Is there life after death?

If only Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died! So thought both Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters (John 11:21 and 32; Read John 11). We too may have had similar thoughts when we have lost a loved one to death — if only Jesus would have been here!

tombYet Lazarus’ death was for the glory of Jesus Christ, God the Son in human flesh (John 11:4). Jesus was going to raise him up from the dead. When those who have trusted in Christ are raised up again on the Last Day and given everlasting life in heaven, this too will bring glory to God the Son; for without His innocent sufferings and death in our stead and His glorious resurrection on the third day, we would only rise to the eternal torments of hell!

When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23,24). It is then that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26).

Jesus was telling Martha that, not only would her brother rise again on the Last Day, but He (Jesus) is “the resurrection, and the life”! Jesus is the One who will raise up all the dead on the Last Day, and Jesus is the one who gives life. He breathed life into Adam’s breathless body at creation (Gen. 2:7); He breathes spiritual life into us today (John 1:4; 5:21,24-26; 10:10); and He will raise up all the dead on the Last Day and give eternal life to all who have believed on Him (John 5:27-29)!

And so it is that the one who trusts in Jesus as his Savior, even if he dies, shall live again; for Jesus, the resurrection and the life, will raise him up at the Last Day. And whoever lives and trusts in Jesus shall in no way [Greek double negative] ever die forever and ever into eternity; for even when the body dies, the soul goes to be with the Lord Jesus in heaven (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:1-9; Rev. 7:9-17). Then on the Last Day, when Jesus returns and raises up the dead, their bodies will be raised up and reunited with their souls, and they will live forever with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15)!

Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that it is He who will raise the dead and give everlasting life to all who believe on Him?

Consider the evidence. Not only did He heal the sick and open the eyes of the blind, He raised the dead. When Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus, who had been dead already four days, He said “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and Lazarus walked from the tomb alive! Not only this, but after His own death upon the cross for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day in victory that we might be assured of forgiveness and life in His name!

O dearest Jesus, grant us faith to trust in You as our Savior and hold fast to You, even in death, that we might be raised up on the Last Day, at the sound of Your voice, unto life everlasting and to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

Is spanking children wrong?

God’s Word clearly commands parents to discipline their children when they do wrong.

The Bible says: “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction”; “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell”; and “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 19:18; 23:13-14; 13:24).

Parents are, first of all, to bring up their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). They are to bring their children to Christ in Baptism and teach them to know the Lord and His will.

When a child goes against that instruction, does what is wrong and sins against God, the LORD God would have parents (and especially fathers) discipline and correct their children. This is done that a child might not continue in sin and rebellion against God and suffer the consequences in this life and in eternity. God desires that all, including children, turn from their evil ways and trust in Christ, their Savior.

Spanking, whether done with an open hand or another device which will inflict pain but no lasting physical harm, is at times needed to teach a child that he cannot do as he pleases but must respect and obey his parents and do what is right. Once a child is older, other punishments may prove more effective.

Spanking, or other forms of discipline, should not be done to inflict physical harm to a child, or to vent a parent’s anger or frustration; they should only be done to chasten or correct a child who is unwilling to heed instruction.

For this reason, parents are wise to take enough time to consider carefully what discipline is needed to correct their children. Striking a child in a moment of anger and frustration is NOT the kind of chastening and correcting commanded in the Bible and may teach a child to vent his anger and frustration in a similar way!

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]


What does the Bible say about dating and appropriate behavior for dating?

The Bible does not specifically address the issue of dating, but the Bible does provide us with many guidelines and principles which should most certainly be considered and applied to dating and dating activities.

The Bible does command us not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and forbids believers to marry those outside of the Christian Faith (2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 7:39; cf. Deuteronomy 7:3-4; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 13:25-27). Therefore, Christians should never enter into a serious dating relationship with anyone who does not trust in Christ as Savior and who does not desire to study God’s Word and attend church services at a church which is faithful to the Bible. Many have led very troubled lives and even lost the faith because they failed to heed this counsel from God’s Word.

Secondly, the Bible makes very clear that sexual activity is reserved for the marriage union. The Bible commands us to “flee” and “abstain from sexual immorality” [any sexual union outside of marriage] and warns that God will judge those who disobey (1 Corinthians 6:18; 6:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4).

The Bible also says: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). Since all are inclined to have sinful thoughts and desires, those who date ought not attempt to incite such desires by their dress or activities; and great care needs to be taken to avoid places and activities which provide opportunity for our flesh to fulfill its lusts and desires.

A good question to consider before any dating activity is whether or not you can in this glorify Christ and do His will.

For those who have failed to follow the counsel of God’s Word, God offers to you in His Son, Christ Jesus, forgiveness and the help and strength to live for Him in accord with His holy will.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]