July 19 Q & A Sunday

We have a different type of Sunday today. We are doing a question and answer Sunday. So, I have had several questions come in and I will answer them with a few songs in between. I am trying to keep the answers brief so contact me with any follow-up questions.

July 19:

  • Do you believe the bible teaches on generational Curses/ Sins?
    • Ex 34:7-7 and Deut 5:8-10 talks about the consequence of sin going to the 3rd and 4th generation (also, Lev 26:39).
    • Then again, Deut 24:16 says that fathers should not be put to death for their children nor children for their fathers.
    • It seems to me that children end up committing similar sins from their parents. It just happens. A child observes certain sins in his parents and ends up copying them. I like what John Piper shares: The generations to come who experience the penalty of the fathers’ sins are those who hate God. We are not told how the fathers’ sins become the children’s sins. But what we are told is that when the father’s sins are visited on the children it is because the children are really sinful. That is the form in which the fathers’ sins are visited. Therefore, all judgment is really deserved by the person who is punished.  Because of God’s grace, which is finally secured by Christ, the children can confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers and be forgiven and accepted by God.[1]
    • Notice Leviticus 26:40-42: “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
    • Notice how that passage also talks about confessing sins of their fathers. In Daniel 9:5ff he prays to the Lord saying “we” have sinned.
    • So, yes, I think there are generational sins, but I think they can be forgiven and prevented in Christ. I think generational curses would be the consequence of the sins.
  • Where does evil come from?
    • Evil is a parasite. It lives off of good. Because of good we know evil. We know right from wrong and therefore we know what is good and so we know evil.
    • Evil has no existence on its own; it is really the absence of good.
    • Evil is not things like rocks and trees. It is a parasite that lives off of good.
    • An example is cold. We would think cold exists. However, this is incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist; it is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of good, or better, evil is the absence of God. God did not have to create evil, but rather only allow for the absence of good.[2]
    • As finite human beings we can never understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-34).
    • God did not create evil, but He did allow it. Evil exists because of free will. If we were not free we would be worshipping God out of obligation.
    • With temptation let quote Tozer: When Satan comes around to taunt me about my past sins, I remind him that everything that had been charged against me came from him, and now everything I have—forgiveness and peace and freedom—I have freely received from my Lord Jesus Christ![3]
  • Why didn’t God just get rid of Satan? Why does He allow us to be tempted?
    • This question is similar to the question about evil.
    • We cannot for sure know why God allows the things He allows. God is sovereign and we know that. He is in control.
    • God will get rid of satan and we know this from Rev. 20. So, it seems that God is allowing satan to do things for a time in order to build us up. We oftentimes do not grow without hardship.
    • We face hard times and 2 Tim 2:12 says: If we endure, we will also reign with Him…[4]
    • About that Bobby Murphy wrote this from Chapter 11 of the Knowledge of the Holy
    • Is it [our goal] that we will have a comfortable and trouble free life? Sociologist Tony Campolo claims that the chief goal of most people is to get through life with as little discomfort and pain as possible and that is probably true. It’s also true, I think, that they project their desires on to God. They assume that His chief goal for them is the same as theirs. They then become bitter and disillusioned when pain and discomfort come upon them. The tragedies and trials of life make them worse persons instead of better ones.
    • Obviously, God’s chief aim for us is not that we have a comfortable and trouble free life. So what is it then? Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:11-12. This passage was part of a Christian hymn written in the first century. Notice what we who follow Jesus will do in verse 12. We will reign with Him. John also tells us what God’s chief aim for us is in Revelation 22:1-5. This passage is about eternal life in heaven after the Second Coming of Jesus and our bodily resurrections. Verse 5 tells what it is that we will do there. We will reign with God forever and forever.
    • We go through troubles, sickness, pain because God is preparing us to reign with Him.
    • So, why did God not take care of satan earlier? It is because He is preparing us to reign with Him and God allows satan to tempt us to build us up in preparing us to reign with Him.
  • Romans 8:39-30 talks about predestination. Is it possible… if you dare… that you could talk about those verses one of the next two Sundays??? I have always had a hard time understanding the subject of election.
    • Predestination (mentioned 6 times in the Bible) means God foreordains or predetermines people or events to accomplish what He wills.  It’s a broad concept in that what is foreordained can be any number of occurrences such as the Romans and Jews killing Jesus (Acts 4:28), or the elect experiencing fullness of life (1 Corinthians 2:7ff.).  Election is a subcategory of predestination in that what He foreordains specifically is to “save” or “damn” specific individuals.
    • Let’s look at the scripture referenced in the question:

Romans 8:29-30:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

  • In summary my view is that predestination is either corporate or based on God’s foreknowledge. In other words, the predestined are either the corporate church. Or, the predestined are those God foreknew would be saved.
  • Why do we need predestined?
  • Jesus says:
  • John 6:44: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.[5]
  • John 6:65: And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”[6]
  • Romans 3:10-23: talks about humanity being dead in our sins. We are totally depraved.
  • The Bible affirms God’s sovereignty, but also our freewill.
  • Salvation does start with God, but we do have freewill.
  • Salvation is God’s idea.
  • We were dead in our sins, but God wants a relationship with us and if we are totally depraved how do we receive Christ? We need the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. So, that is predestination.
    • There are at least 3 views on this:
      • God elects unconditionally and the elect are predestined. The non-elect are essentially predestined to hell.
      • God elects and predestines based on foreknowledge. God knew who would receive Him given the opportunity and they are predestined.
      • Election and predestination are corporate. This means that the elect are not individuals, but the corporate church is elect.
    • Again, I believe number 2 or number 3 depending on the day. Remember that technically God does not look to the future to see who will be saved. Everything is eternally present. So, the term “foreknowledge” is anthropomorphic, meaning it is ascribing to God human attributes. Bottom line. God knows who would receive Him, in their own freewill, given the opportunity, and He makes sure they have the opportunity. The opportunity means that they receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Remember, no one can receive Jesus without the Holy Spirit’s conviction. We are dead in our sins.
    • This is called “prevenient grace.” This means the grace of the Lord coming before-hand giving us the convicting power of the Holy Spirit so we can be saved.
    • I would not be opposed to the idea that the Lord gives everyone, at some time or many times, the Holy Spirit’s conviction so they can be saved. However, the predestined, and elect, are only those whom God knows will be saved.
    • Now, you may ask, “What about the person who will never hear the Gospel?” Well, God can still give them the convicting power of the Holy Spirit so they can be saved. God is not limited by us. There are many testimonies of the Muslim in a Muslim extremist country having a dream about a Savior on a cross. Cornelius in Acts 10 is one who God communicated with and then God sent Peter.
    • Remember, God is sovereign. He knows all things. He knows the future. God is omnipresent. However, God loves us and He has given us freewill. We are dead in our sins without Jesus. So, prevenient grace means that the Holy Spirit convicts people they are sinners in need of a Savior. Those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior are predestined and elect. Or, it could be corporate meaning the church as a whole is the corporate predestined/elect.
  • A similar question: I know God gives us freewill to accept or reject Jesus. How does God bring the people that have rejected Him to salvation that we pray for. If we pray for several years for an unsaved friend and they accept Jesus on their deathbed, they have nothing to loose at that point and they miss the joy of being a Christian during their life.
    • I believe the Holy Spirit is wooing people to come to know Him as Lord and Savior.
    • So, as we pray, God factors in our prayers and they do make a difference. We know that God desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:8-9), so when we pray we can know that we are praying something that God desires. When we pray for someone to be saved we are praying God’s will. God desires a relationship with everyone.
    • However, God does not seem to overrule our freewill. The Holy Spirit is wooing people to Him.
    • You are right, the person who receives Christ on their deathbed does miss out on life with Christ (John 10:11; 15).
  • Miracles: we all believe in miracles, when we pray to God we ask for the simple stuff and even if it does not go okay it is okay.
    • Why do we not ask for the real miracles in which there is no answer? I think we should pray for the real miracle. Why do we not pray for the real miracle, probably because we are too dependent on modern medicine. I think we should pray for the real miracle.
    • What about a child who has a brain tumor? Further, what if we have no reason to believe that God will answer us? I still think we should pray and be honest with the Lord asking Him to increase our faith.
    • Does God change His mind? Does prayer change His mind?
    • No, this is a mystery. Numbers 23:19 says that God does not change His mind. Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. James 1:17 says that God does not change. Malachi 3:6 also says that He does not change. There are passages that say that He relented. Those are passages using anthropomorphic language. That means the writers are ascribing to God human attributes. He is coming down to our level. So, does prayer change His mind? No. But does prayer change things? Yes. Luke 18:1; 1 John 5:14-15 and many other passages talk about prayer. How does that work? God is omnipresent so maybe He factored in our prayers in eternity past. Prayer does change things, but God is perfect and so prayer does not change His mind. To change God’s mind He would have to be imperfect to begin with.
  • Faith: What really is faith?
    • We say we have faith in God and trust Him, but when we pray we often spell out everything we ask Him to do.
    • Why don’t we really trust Him?
    • Do we trust that He will take care of us, even if…?
    • Can we trust Him with His will for our life?
    • These questions are going to be lumped together.
    • Faith means to trust in something or someone. In general Biblical faith is trusting in the unseen (Heb 11:1).
    • The person who asked the question is right that we should just pray and say that we surrender to His will. Think of the background to the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
  • What are your thoughts on the Passion Translation?
    • I don’t know anything about the Passion Translation so I am going off of what a good source shares. The website gotquestions.com is a really good source for many questions. It shares: The TPT goes well beyond the idea of “translation” and reimagines the Bible as one human author thinks it ought to be written.
    • Any good translation should be worked through by multiple translators who are committed to the Word of God and also know the original languages very well.

This is translated by one author and that is a problem. Gotquestions shares the following: The Passion Translation is primarily the work of a single author, Brian Simmons. Simmons has a long track record as a passionate and successful missionary and evangelist. Part of his success has been in developing translations of Scripture for people with no Bibles in their own language. However, any translation completed by a single person raises questions of accountability. Such efforts are far more prone to personal preferences. As it turns out, The Passion Translation of the Bible not only reflects Simmons’ New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) theology [The New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, is an unbiblical religious movement that emphasizes experience over Scripture, mysticism over doctrine, and modern-day “apostles” over the plain text of the Bible.][7], but it appears to be deliberately written in order to promote it.

The FAQ section of The Passion Translation website makes several concerning remarks about the translation process:

“… the meaning of a passage took priority over the form of the original words. Sometimes in order to communicate the correct intended meaning, words needed to be changed.”

“The Passion Translation is more in favor of prioritizing God’s original message over the words’ literal meaning.”

In other words, The Passion Translation of the Bible is not about finding corresponding words in different languages or presenting original words in a new language. The above comments imply that the Bible does not mean what it says, and so it needs to be changed to say what it should say. This is not an unfair assessment on our part, as passages in The Passion Translation of the Bible show extreme tampering with the text.[8]

  • So, I would have concerns about the Passion Translation.
  • There are many good translations: NASB; NKJV; NIV; NLT

 

  • And what the heck is Paul talking about in 2 Cor. 12 with out of body experiences and third heaven??
    • The Hebrew people talked of 3 heavens. Some other cultures even talked of more than 3 heavens. For the Hebrew people the 3rd of Heaven was where God resided. The second heaven was outer space. The first heaven was the atmosphere.

2 Cor. 12:2-4

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—

was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.[9]

  • I strongly believe and most seem to believe that Paul is talking about dying and being taken up to Heaven. Or, in some state God took him to Heaven without him dying.
  • Notice, in contrast to the near death experiences which we hear about, Paul was told not to share about his experience.
  • I wonder if this happened in Acts 14:19: But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.[10]
  • Interracial marriage?
    • I received another question about interracial marriage.
    • According to the Bible interracial marriage are totally fine and Biblical.
    • We learn in Numbers that “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman” (Num. 12:1).
    • So, Moses was in an interracial marriage.
    • We also know based off of Galatians 3:28 that there is no longer Greek, nor Jew, slave, nor free, male nor female, we are all one in Christ (paraphrased).
    • We see in Revelation 7:9-11 that in Heaven there are many tribes, tongues and nationalities worshipping the Lord.
    • We see in Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul makes the case that we are all one in Christ.
    • What is wrong is marriage between a non-believer and a believer (2 Cor. 6:14).
    • As Christians we are redeemed but we are still battling a sin nature and part of that sin nature is racism. Own it up and repent of it.
    • Your family may not have owned slaved or been part of racism in the past, but if you are talking with someone who has been part of racism you can still say “we, as a country, have sins in our past.”
    • One thing that we do is we make excuses to make us feel better. We say things like: “All cultures owned slaved.” Or, “There was slavery in the Bible.” Or, “Most slaves had it good.” All of those are things we tell ourselves to make us feel good. The Bible NEVER endorses racism, or slavery. In fact, it seems that in the first few hundred years of Christianity the slavery institution fell apart, likely because of Christians. In the Old Testament slavery was more like indentured servants and they were supposed to be freed after the sixth year (Exodus 21:2).
    • We have these biases which make us feel better. One article writes about these: There are many ways in which implicit biases function in our lives. Confirmation bias, for example, is the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on, and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.(2) People tend to react more favorably to information that supports their own point of view. Another example of a more insidious bias is the fundamental attribution error in which an observer ascribes to a subject fundamental or inherent deficiencies rather than to situational contexts that might also be at work. In addition, the observer is more likely to attribute his or her own deficiencies to circumstances or situational contexts, rather than to his or her own personal short-comings.
    • Many authors attribute the fundamental attribution error to a lack of empathy or the inability to take another person’s perspective. How does this cognitive error play out in real life? In a CBS News article from 2016, Stephanie Pappas reported on the widespread tendency to blame, rather than to empathize with individuals, when accidents happen.[11] She cites the horrific news story of the two-year old who died by alligator attack while playing next to a pond at Disney World. While she notes that there was some initial sympathy for the parents, the overall tone quickly moved to blame them for negligence. Clearly, it was their fault that their son had died. People ignored the numerous reports of the parents being right next to the child and of the father’s desperate attempts to pry his son from the alligator’s jaws. Rather than looking at broader circumstances or explanations—namely, that accidents do happen—most blamed the event on the inherent flaws of the parents.[12]
    • So, we have to watch for these tendencies which we do to make us feel better inside. Slavery was a sin in the past. Racism was a sin in the past. Any racism within us is a sin in us today. Repent of it.
    • If you read the Old Testament prophets that we repent to God saying, “’We’ have sinned…” They said “we” even if they personally did not commit the sins (see Daniel 9:5).
    • The slavery and racism in the United States history was a sin in our past. We need to quit making excuses to make us feel better. It is a sin in our past no matter how you look at it.

Psalm 139:23-24: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Close:

Tozer writes:

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in this world? If so, you can count yourself among normal Christians.

Is the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus Christ constantly drawing you to praise and worship? If so you are indeed among those whom God’s Word identifies as normal, believing, practicing Christians.

But I can almost anticipate an objection. If someone is that delighted and that occupied with the person of Jesus Christ, is he or she not an extremist rather than a normal Christian?

Have professing Christians really come to that time in their humanistic and secularistic leanings that they can sincerely deny that loving Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul and strength is normal Christianity? We must not be reading and studying the same Bible!

How can anyone profess to be a follower and a disciple of Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes? These divine attributes attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise. WHT105–106

Lord, I pray that You would restore in Your Church a belief that those who love You with all their heart, soul and mind are normal, and worthy of imitation. May we be overwhelmed by Your attributes. Amen.[13]

 

[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-god-visits-sins-on-the-third-and-fourth-generation

[2] https://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-create-evil.html

[3] Tozer, A. W.. Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 365-Day Devotional . Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Ti 2:12.

[5] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 6:44.

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 6:65.

[7] https://www.gotquestions.org/New-Apostolic-Reformation.html

[8] https://www.gotquestions.org/Passion-Translation.html

[9] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 12:2–4.

[10] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ac 14:19.

[11] Stephanie Pappas, “Blame the parents? Child tragedies reveal empathy decline” CBS News Online, June 21, 2016. Accessed 10/13/2018.

[12] https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/confirmation-bias

 

WHT Whatever Happened to Worship?

[13] Tozer on the Almighty God : A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2004).

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