During my messages on Sunday morning in this “God, I Have A Question” series, questions are submitted to me via text message. While I attempt to answer the questions at the end of the sermon, I only have time to address a few. I am attempting to answer the remaining questions in my blog. These questions I’m addressing are NOT the questions submitted to me ahead of time through our godihaveaquestion.com website or through written questions that were turned into me through other means. Those questions were used to form the whole eight-week teaching series I am sharing on Sunday mornings. The questions I am addressing in this blog are just the ones submitted on Sunday mornings. Hope all of this is helpful. Feel free to comment below.
Can you ever lose your salvation? No. I do not believe you can. First of all keep in mind that salvation is not dependent upon works: “For by grace are you saved through faith; not of works lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It makes since that if God says works are not part of the equation, that means you can’t work to earn it nor can you work to keep it. Also consider John 3:16. God said that whoever believes in Him has eternal life. I trusted Christ as my Savior when I was 7 (believed in Him). If I could lose my salvation at 17, that would mean I only had life for ten years, not “eternal life.” John 10:28-30 also says no one can take us out of the Father’s hand and Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30 says we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a down payment guaranteeing our complete redemption.
Since men were responsible for which books are contained in The Holy Bible, how can we be sure that it is complete, or that it doesn’t include books which shouldn’t be there? First of all, I trust God to be able to deliver to us exactly what He wants us to have. It makes sense to me that God wants to reveal Himself. If He wants to reveal Himself, one would have to ask what His options are for making this revelation. The most likely answer is something written. It also seems to me that since “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” then God would be able to make sure we have his word so it can be heard. I also really don’t believe men were necessarily responsible. The way the early church first determined books to be inspired was through observation. The early church fathers noted the books that seemed to not only be accurate and consistent, but also effective and cherished by the early Christians. I believe God was involved in this process of convincing and convicting the early church about His word. Obviously a formula for authorship was important. It seems, for example, that the Gospel formula was either someone who was with Jesus or connected to someone with Jesus. The other New Testament writings were from either Apostles or from Paul, who had a personal encounter with Jesus (Acts 9) and called himself an Apostle (1 Cor 15.9). There is also amazing agreement between the books of the Bible and consistency in the message. It is true that other letters were written during the first century and other Gospels were written in the 3rd Century. These letters either did not survive or contained error. The Gnostic Gospels (dating 250 A.D.) are not considered part of the “Apocrypha” or “hidden books” because they are not just hidden but heretical. I do trust the consensus of the early church and the early church fathers as they concluded the canon of scripture to be complete. In addition to all of this, Revelation 22:18-19 does speak seriously toward anyone who adds to or takes away from this scroll. One might say these comments refer only to Revelation. Being that Revelation is the last book of the Bible written by the only living Apostle at the turn of the century, John, if something is added to the Bible, it would be added to Revelation. One might could work their way mentally around this argument, but it must be considered.
Will we know those in heaven who have gone before us? I believe the answer is yes. Peter, James and John recognized Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mary and the other disciples recognized Jesus. It seems that when Jesus said to Mary, “Do not hold onto me…”, he had a resurrection body but not an earthly body. This may also explain, at least in part, why God has planned for a bodily resurrection. He plans to use our existing DNA in our resurrected form.
Why was the gospel of Judas not included in the Bible? First, it was written around 300 A.D. and could not really be included in the Bible because it contradicts all the other Gospels. God would not inspire something that stood totally against the rest of His word. I also think that anything that claims authorship by an Apostle but indeed was written by someone else is suspect. It contains late 2nd century theology and does not reflect the typical content/style of the 1st century Gospel writers.
Can you address the age of the Earth according to the Bible, versus the scientific age (carbon dating, fossil records, etc)? I’m sure this will come up on the Sunday I address evolution. I will speak to it briefly. There are some who believe Christianity, salvation, and biblical inerrancy rests upon accepting the young earth theory (not more than 10,000 years old). Though I prefer to think of the earth as young, I do not believe inerrancy or Christianity hangs in the balance. If God chose to use the word “day” in the creation story as referring to an “epoch or time” and not just a 24 hour period, I do not really have a problem with that. There is scientific evidence that many of the changes in the earth that scientists claim would have needed millions of years to happen could have happened suddenly in response to a cataclysmic event. For example, when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, significant changes took place in the affected area that many had previously thought would have required a long period of time. At the same time, there is a lot of evidence of an older earth. I’m not an expert on this, and personally, it is not a hill for me to die on.
Would LOVE I hear your thoughts on Joel Osteen resigning and leaving the Christian faith. I’m personally not a big fan of Osteen’s teaching because I feel that he leaves off important teaching about holiness, repentance, suffering, salvation, etc. I also realize there are some people who might say they are not a fan of my teaching for one reason or another. With that said, this internet story seems to have been a hoax.