Category Archives: GotQuestions.org Contributions

How to overcome fear of doing the things of God?

Below is my latest article for GotQuestions.org, a website devoted to helping people find answers to questions about Christianity and the Bible. Hope you enjoy. Give me your feedback, won’t you?

People can have fear of many things, including doing the things of God. Fear is something that all people experience in their life at one point or another, some more than others. The word “fear” appears approximately 450 times in the Bible (although many instances discuss a “healthy fear”, which is respect and reverence for God). The word “afraid” appears in the Bible approximately 215 times. This means that fear, or being afraid, is a common occurrence in the Bible, and thus the Bible has much to say about being afraid. Fear is one of the biggest problems facing people today, and it undergirds many other problems that people have in life. Fear causes people to lose focus on the things of God, can steal people’s joy, and can consume their lives. This is why it is so important to know what the Bible has to say about being afraid.

The Bible is filled with exhortations to not be afraid, as well as practical instruction on how to overcome fear. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (NJKV). Although the context of this verse refers to fearing those whom the Israelites would encounter as they crossed over into the Promised Land, this verse applies to our lives today as we encounter those things that bring fear upon us. We should not be afraid of anything, including doing the things of God, because God goes before us. According to this verse, anytime we are doing the things of God, those things which God has ordained for our lives, God will always go before us and with us to prepare the way. Not only does He go with us, we can also find comfort in the other promise of God in this verse. God promises to “never leave you or forsake you”. This is a powerful promise from the omnipotent God of the universe who has never broken a single promise. How comforting it is to know that whether we are beginning a new ministry, planting a new church, heading off to the mission field, or doing the things of God, God has given us a clear promise that He will go with us and that He will never forsake us. This is a powerful promise from God, and should be memorized by Christians so that they might bury this verse in their heart (Jeremiah 31:33) and call it up each time they feel fearful in doing God’s work.

God has given many practical instructions in His word for overcoming fear. In addition to memorizing Scripture, such as Deuteronomy 31:6, to help combat fear, God has given other ways to combat fear throughout His Word. First, God has instructed us to pray to overcome anxiety and fear. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV). God has promised that when we take our worries and concerns to Him, He will grant us a peace that surpasses all understanding. Not only will He grant us peace, He will guard our hearts from further onsets of fear and anxiety regarding the issue at hand. We can be confident that He will take away our fears, concerns, and anxiety because His Word makes it abundantly clear that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14-15, NKJV). Notice in Philippians 4:6-7 there is yet another tool that can be used to overcome fear and anxiety, that of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a way of not only thanking God for all that He has given us, but is also a way of celebrating God’s faithfulness and remembering that He does all He has promised to do and more. We can thank God for delivering us from a spirit of fear because His Word is abundantly clear that, as seen in Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (KJV). Second Timothy 2:13 tells us that God is faithful to His children, even when they are unfaithful, and this is great reason to celebrate and offer thanksgiving to Him. He will never leave us alone in our fear and anxiety, and is faithful to see us through the tough times. A third way to overcome the fear of doing the things of God is to simply rely on our faith. First John 5:4-5 says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (NKJV). Our faith is a mighty weapon against fear and anxiety, and God’s Word tells us clearly that our faith in God can overcome even the world. What a wonderful promise from God’s Word! Finally, a fourth tool that is given to us from the Word of God is that of our own words. Sometimes when we are worried and concerned about something, we add fuel to the fire with our own discouraging, pessimistic words. The Bible says that we should speak words of life and encouragement, even to ourselves. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV).

When we possess a spirit of fear and anxiety, we must remember that this is not from above. The Bible says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. Sometimes the Devil will try and take this spirit of power, love, and a sound mind away from us. In addition to the tools mentioned above, which are Scripture memory and recitation, prayer, thanksgiving, faith, and our own words, God has given many other tools to overcome fear. Reading the Bible, discussing our concerns with other Christians, including our Pastor or church leaders, asking for prayer from others, and God-exalting worship are other ways to overcome fear in one’s life.

Here are some other passages concerning fear, anxiety, and worry: 1 John 4:18, Luke 17:6, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:13, 1 Chronicles 22:13, 1 Corinthians 16:13, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23, Proverbs 18:10, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 27:1, and Isaiah 41:13.

We pray the Lord’s blessing upon you as you overcome fear and begin to do that which God has called you to do. Thank you for visiting GotQuestions.org. Please be sure to read the following articles from our site for more information concerning the Bible and fear.

http://www.gotquestions.org/faith-vs-fear.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-fear.html

Does God Still Kill People Today?

First, let’s start off by saying that God is a God of love, and that intrinsically tied to His nature is His attribute of love. God loves His creation – after all, He created all of it, including man. The Bible plainly tells us that God loves the world (John 3:16).

However, Genesis 6:6 tells us that God is grieved when man sins and He is often forced to judge them for their rebellious nature. “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6, NIV). This tells us that God did not and does not enjoy judging people for their sin, although it was and is necessary at times. He was forced to judge them for their wickedness, although He clearly did not desire to do so. The prophet Ezekiel gave the people a similar message from God concerning their spiritually adulterous hearts. The prophet said that God’s heart was crushed because the people had turned away from Him and had turned to idols. “I was crushed by their promiscuous hearts that turned away from Me and by their eyes that lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves because of the evil things they did, their abominations of every kind. And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten to bring this disaster on them without a reason” (Ezekiel 6:9-10, HCSB). Here we learn not only that God was grieved by their sin, but that it was Israel’s fault, not God’s, that they were judged.

Since God is the giver of life, He has the right to take life as he sees fit. God is our Creator and He alone has the right to judge us for our wrongdoing, whether we are Christians or not. God may use many different means to judge humanity for their sin, such as famine (2 Samuel 21:1), sickness, war (2 Chronicles 13), plagues (2 Samuel 24:15), and other methods, some very strange (See Acts 12:20-25). Whether in the Old Testament age or the New Testament age, a Sovereign God has the right to do as He pleases, according to His good pleasure, without being questioned by His creation. After all, He is God, and we are not.

In the Old Testament, God was working through Israel as a nation, both politically and spiritually. He seemed to have handled things differently, or at least His judgments were more clearly attributed to Him. When He judged, the prophets had either already proclaimed it (such as in Hosea Chapters 5 and 6), or made a proclamation concerning it after the judgment (see Zechariah Chapter 13). Today, God operates through His Church, the Bride of Christ, and there are no messengers pronouncing specific impending judgments from God. Thus when God does move to judge people for their actions, it might very well go unnoticed. This does not mean that God is not still concerned with sin or that sin does not go unpunished. It merely is not advertised, per se, as it was in Old Testament times.

We can be thankful that God is still moved to forgiveness. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is longsuffering towards His people, and endures much sin and unrighteousness. Lamentations 3 paints a picture of a God of grace and mercies whose mercies are new every single morning. “Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him (Lamentations 3:22-24, HCSB). The author paints a beautiful portrait of a God whose mercies are new every morning and who is faithful to His people. He is so faithful that we can put our trust and hope in Him. I Timothy 2:13 tells us that even when we are faithless, God remains faithful.

Yes, God has and does judge people. Yes, the shedding of blood is one method that God has or does use to judge the unrighteous. However, we should not think that God is unjust in exercising His judgments, or that God does not still judge people for their sins today. God is still righteousness, and still demands that His people turn from sin (2 Timothy 2:19, HCSB). As the Creator over the universe, He sovereignly has all things under His providential hand, and we do good to place our hope and our trust in Him.

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GotQuestion.org, article 2

Is it possible for a Christian to lose salvation?

Eternal Security for True Christians

The answer to this question has been debated for centuries, and there are reputable, well-meaning advocates on either side of this argument. This argument has probably received the most attention from those who advocate the views of Arminian Theology. Organizations such as the Nazarene Church, the Wesleyan Church, and the Christian Holiness Association all teach that one can lose his or her salvation. This question is also called the OSAS argument, or the “Once Saved, Always Saved” argument, as well the doctrine of “The Perseverance of the Saints”. While there are advocates on each side of the fence, the Bible makes it quite clear that those who are truly followers of Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation. Let’s look at a few arguments to support our claim.

First, one must understand the Bible teaches that God loves His children unconditionally. In Luke 15:11-27 we read the Parable of the Lost Son. This parable, told by Jesus, provides vivid imagery of a father’s unconditional love for his son in the face of complete apostasy. The father is seen waiting with open arms for the son to return. This parable demonstrates clearly the unconditional love, grace, and mercy that God has for His children.

Second, Romans 8:35-39 makes it very clear that nothing and no one can separate a person from the love of God. This means that not even a believer can separate himself or herself from the love of God. Paul said, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39). This is powerful evidence that heavenly beings, worldly beings, our present sins, sins we might commit in the future, or anything else created by God has the authority to separate us from the love of God that we have through Christ Jesus.

Thirdly, In Ephesians 1:3-5, we read and know that, “according to the kindness of His will, He (God) predestined us to adoption as the sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ to Himself.” God has made us full-fledged children by formally adopting us into His spiritual family. In adoption a child is brought into a family and given the same rights as a child born into that family. God did this through Jesus, and it pleased Him. One should note that there is no such word as “un-adopted”. Neither the term nor the idea exists today. One cannot be “un-adopted” from a family. Therefore, we can say confidently that a Christian cannot be un-adopted from the family of God!

Fourthly, one of the clearest passages that teach us one cannot lose their salvation is found in John Chapter 10. Here Jesus says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). This verse is self-explanatory. Jesus simply says that His children are given to Him by His Father, and no one, not even the Christian himself, can take a believer out of the hands of Jesus.

Finally, looking at the issue logically, there are many wrong aspects to the idea that one can lose one’s salvation. First, God is sovereign. No one can dispute that. To say that one can lose their salvation is to say that that person can thwart the will of the Almighty Creator of the universe, which is simply impossible. Secondly, the Bible never teaches that one can lose their salvation. While there are several passages, when read out of context, that might seem to give this impression, there is a preponderance of evidence in favor of the view that one can never lose his or her salvation. Thirdly, reading the Bible systematically gives us a good understanding of God’s commitment to our salvation. Over and over, God gave Israel forbearance from judgment when He should have judged them for their sin. This shows that God is committed to His faithful covenant partners (Jeremiah 31:31-40). It simply doesn’t make sense that God would give His very best, His own Son, to accomplish salvation for His people, and then allow His accomplishments to be thwarted or set aside.

As we conclude, we must answer the question as to who God’s children really are. Resolving this matter may help answer the question regarding whether a person can lose their salvation. A Christian isn’t merely a church member, a member of a Bible study group, or a person who has said the right prayer at an evangelism rally. A Christian is a person who has, through faith (Ephesian 2:8-9), accepted Christ as their Savior and made Him Lord over their life. A Christian is someone who realizes that they are a sinner (Romans 3:23), who realizes that they are hopelessly dead in sin without Christ (Romans 6:23), and who believes that the atoning work of Christ on the cross is the only hope they have of salvation (John 14:6). Those who are truly His children will exhibit a new character (2 Corinthians 5:17) and will abhor sin and unrighteousness, just as the Bible says, “The Lord knows those who are His, and everyone who names the name of the Lord must turn away from unrighteousness. (2 Timothy 2:19, HCSB).

Therefore, we must conclude that salvation by faith alone cannot be reconciled with the belief that one can lose his or her salvation. The idea that one can lose his or her salvation simply doesn’t measure up to the clear teachings of the Bible, nor does it make sense logically. Christians have no part in their salvation, thus cannot commit acts that forfeit their salvation. They did not accomplish their salvation, nor can they cause the loss of it. Christians serve a faithful God who is committed to their salvation, even when they might not be (2 Timothy 2:13, HCSB).

Key Search Words: Can I lose my salvation? Once Saved, Always Saved, OSAS, Arminian Theology, Apostasy.

GotQuestions.org article one.