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Evidence / Answers

 

When looking for facts, support and answers to tough questions, you need not look any further than the Christian Bible. The Bible is the inspired word of God, infallible, and historically accurate in every way. Therefore, we took some of the most commonly asked questions about the historic Christian faith and used scriptures and solid Christian doctrine as support to provide you with the evidence and answers you'll need when faced with these topics.

 

 

1.  Why is Christianity considered by many to be a relationship with God, rather than being strictly a religion?

2.  What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?  Do they have a chance of going to Heaven?

3.  What day of the week should we set aside to worship?

4.  Why is Jesus called the "first born?"  Does that mean He is a created being?

5.  What does James chapter 2 mean when it says that, "faith without works is dead?"

6.  How can a loving God exist with so much evil and suffering in the world today?

7.  Did Jesus fulfill the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament?

8.  Don't all religions lead to Heaven?

9.  How can I be certain that I haven't committed the unforgivable sin mentioned in Matthew 12:32?

10. Why do the four Gospels contradict each other?"

 

 

 

QUESTION:

1.  Why is Christianity considered by many to be a relationship with God, rather than being strictly a religion?

ANSWER:

God Himself established and ordained a love relationship between Himself and all those who would love Him.  "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3-4).  "The Lord is righeous in all ways and loving towards all He has made.  The Lord is near to all who call on Him" (Psalm 145:17-18).

 

But, because of man's sinful nature, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23and because of God's great love for mankind,  He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins, "This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9).  He did this so that, "Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

 

It must be remembered that Jesus Christ committed the greatest act of self-sacrificial love in human history, by allowing Himself to be executed, so that we might spend an eternity with Him. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16). We know that God loves us, and desires a relationship with each one of us.  The real question is, "Do we love Him in return?"

 

QUESTION:

2.  What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?  Do they have a chance of going to Heaven?

ANSWER:

Yes.  Each individual has been given a unique and optimal opportunity to find God.  "He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though he is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26-27).

In addition, we have been given the light of creation, the light of conscience, and the light of Christ; so that anyone sincerely seeking God will find him.  "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

The Light of Creation

 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth; their words go to the ends of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).   "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

The Light of Conscience

 

Beyond the light of creation, human beings have been given the light of conscience -- and inate sense of both right and wrong, and a knowledge of God's existence.  "They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them" (Romans 2:15).  "By setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2).   "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

 

The Light of Christ

Together with the light of creation, the light of conscience will lead the diligent seeker to the additional and ultimate light of Christ"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).

 

 

QUESTION:

3.  What day of the week should we set aside to worship?

ANSWER:

Although it can not be considered mandatory, there are good reasons to worship on Sunday.

 

Ron Rhodes is his book; The Complete Book of Bible Answers, lists the following few.

1.  New Testament believers are not under the Old Testament law.  "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).  "So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

2.  Jesus both resurrected and appeared to some of His followers on the first day of the week.  "Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.  And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him" (Matthew 28:1; 9)

3.  Jesus continued His appearances on succeeding Sundays, "So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the Disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you'" (John 20:19).

 

4.  The descent of the Holy Spirit took place on a Sunday, "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1).

 

5.  The early church was thus given the pattern of Sunday worship, and this they continued to do regularly,"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as He may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come"(1 Corinthians 16:2). "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight" (Acts 20:7).

 

6. Sunday worship was further affirmed by our Lord who appeared to John in the last great

vision on "the Lord's Day."  "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet" (Revelation 1:10).

 

Thus, while the distinctive holy days of the Old Testament are no longer binding on New Testament believers, we must keep in mind Paul's admonition in Colossians 2:16"Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day."

 

 

QUESTION:

4.  Why is Jesus called the "first born?"  Does that mean He is a created being?

ANSWER:

The pfrase first born does not necessarily mean "first created."   Rather, the word refers to the practice of selecting one son to be placed first in rank, or favored to become the heir.   The selected son has a position of both preeminence and supremacy; a perfect image of the Lord Jesus Christ.  "He is the image of the the invisible God, the first born over all creation" (Colossians 1:15).

The life of David gives us a good illustration of this.   David was the youngest son of Jesse; however, he was called the "first-born" because God had placed him in the preeminent position of supremacy. As God said of David: "I also shall make him my first born, the highest of the kings of the earth" (Psalm 89:27).

 

 

 

QUESTION:

5.  What does James chapter 2 mean when it says that "faith without works is dead?"

ANSWER:

James is writing to Jewish Christians; "to the twelve tribes" (James 1:1) many of whom were making false claims of faith regarding their commitment to Jesus Christ.   The intent of James is to distinguish true faith from false faith.  James shows that good works are the visible evidence of faith's invisible presence.  "What good is it, my brother, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?" (James 2:14).

The importance of evidence cannot be diminished; it is a "vital sign" indicating that your faith is real.   To those who claim to have faith without deeds, James points out, "You have faith; I have deeds, show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" (James 2:18).  Perhaps Martin Luther said it best, "James chapter 2 is not teaching that a person is saved by works.   Rather a person is saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.

 

 

 

QUESTION:

6. How can a loving God exist with so much evil and suffering in the world today?

ANSWER:

We know that God is perfect, and created perfect human beings.   But, one of the perfections that God gave human beings was the power of free choice.   Evil entered the world when man chose sin rather than obedience to God.

It's also important to remember that the more evil God would take away, the more freedom He would take away.  To take away all evil, He would have to take away all freedom -- including the freedom to love.   Accordingly, God can not destroy evil without destroying both free choice and our ability to love.  Being a loving God, He can do neither.

 

 

QUESTION: 

7.  Did Jesus fulfill the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament?

ANSWER:

Yes.  We can be sure of this because in God's wisdom, He created a system of checks and balances.   For example, when the Gospels were being circulated there were plenty of hostile eyewitnesses who would've disproved the stories if they could have.   Unable to do so, the critics attributed Jesus' miracles to the devil, rather than claim that they didn't happen.

 

Also, it's impossible to imagine why writers like Matthew would have fabricated the fulfilled prophecies, and then allowed himself to be put to death for something he knew to be a lie. According to tradition, all of the twelve Apostles, save John, died a martyr's death.   Are we to believe that they all willingly died for what they knew to be a lie?

 

Some skeptics have asserted that Jesus merely maneuvered his life in such a way as to intentionally fulfill the prophecies. But upon examination, this idea breaks down:

 

1. How could Jesus have arranged for the Sanhedrin to give Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray Him? "I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay, but if not keep it.'  So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.  And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter' -- the handsome price at which they valued me!  So I took the thirty pieces of silver and three them to the potter at the house of the LORD" (Zechariah 11:12-13).

 

2.  How could He have arranged for His ancestry?  "This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1)

3.  How could He have arranged for His place of birth?  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2).

4.  How could He have arranged for His method of execution?  "Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him" (Isaiah 53:4-5).  "Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16).

 

5.  How could He have arranged for the guards to gamble for His clothing? They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots" (Psalm 22:18).

6.  How could He have arranged for His legs to remain unbroken?  "He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken" (Psalm 34:20).

 

The obvious answer is that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies because He was, in fact, the Messiah.   And, that God put these prophesies into place so that there could be no doubt about Jesus' identity.   It's been estimated that the probability of one person fulfilling only forty-eight of the multitude of Old Testament messianic prophecies is one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion.   Yet, throughout all of history, Jesus, and only Jesus, managed to do it.

 

 

QUESTION: 

8.  Don't all religions lead to Heaven?

ANSWER:

Anyone who dares to answer this question with a negative response must be prepared to be labeled "intolerant" and "narrow minded."  Nevertheless, the "no" answer is the only correct and logical response since the world religions have both different and contradictory ideas about God.   Ron Rhodes, in his book, The Complete Book of Bible Answers, documents some examples of these conflicting beliefs.

 

 

1.  Jesus taught that there is only one God, and that He is triune in nature. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

 

2.  Muhammad taught that there is only one God, and that God cannot have a son.

 

3.  Krishna indicated he believed in a combination of polytheism (there are many gods) and pantheism (all is God).

 

4.  Confucius believed in many gods.

 

5.   Zoroaster taught that there is both a good god and a bad god.

 

6.   Buddha taught that the concept of God was essentially irrelevant.

They can't all be right.   However, if one is right, then all of the others are wrong.   Fortunately, it is not just a matter of opinion.   Jesus validated His message through His resurrection from the dead, something no other "religious leader" was able to do.   What is Jesus' message?   "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).   "You will die in your sins if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be; you will indeed die in your sins (John 8:24).

 

 

 

QUESTION: 

9. How can I be certain that I have not committed the unforgivable sin mentioned in Mattew 12:32?

ANSWER:

"Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age of in the age to come" (Matthew 12:32).

The Jewish leaders had just witnessed Jesus perform a miracle.  They should have recognized that Jesus performed this miracle through the power of the Holy Spirit.   The Old Testament, of which the Jews were very familiar, prophesied that when the Messiah came He would perform miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 35:5-6).   But, rather than accept Jesus as the Messiah, they attributed His miracles to the power of Satan, and rejected Him as the Son of God.   This is the "unforgivable sin."

 

 

QUESTION:

10. Why do the four Gospels contradict each other?

ANSWER:

There are three specific points that can be made:

 

1. It is important to keep in mind that inspiration and inerrancy are, strictly speaking, ascribed only to the original autographs of Scripture.   While the copies we have of the original autographs are extremely accurate, theologians are careful to say that the Scriptures, in their original autographs and properly interpreted, will be shown to be wholly true in everything they teach.

 

2. If all four Gospels were the same, with no differences, critics would charge the writers with collusion. The fact that the Gospels have differences show that there was no collusion but rather that they represent four different (but inspired) accounts of the same events.

3.  One should not assume that a partial account, in a given Gospel, is a faulty account.  In Matthew 28:5, for example, we are told that Judas died by hanging himself.  In Acts 1:18 we are told that Judas burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.   These are both partial accounts.  Neither account gives us the full picture.  But taken together we can easily reconstruct how Judas dies.   He hanged himself, and sometime later the rope loosened and Judas fell to the rocks below, thereby causing his intestines to gush out.

As one probes into alleged contradictions, one consistently sees that they are complementary rather than contradictory.

 

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