- I am not a sinner.
- Are you saying you are perfect? If you are, then you’re the first perfect person I’ve ever met.
- Are you saying you’ve never broken the Law of God? Have you ever lied, cheated, or stolen? If you have, then you are a sinner whether you think so or not. The laws of God have punishments (a law without a punishment is only a slogan). As a sinner, you are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2). However, God loves you enough not to want you to be separated from Him. He sent Jesus (1 John 4:10) to pay for sins on the cross. So, the only way to have your sins forgiven is to put your trust in Jesus and the sacrifice He made.
- The Bible says that everyone has sinned (Romans 5:12). That means you, too.
- What is sin?
- Sin is doing what is wrong as well as not doing what is right. It is breaking the Law of God (1 John 3:4). In other words, it is doing what is against God’s will. If He says do not lie and you lie, then you have sinned. If He says do not steal and you steal then you have sinned. And, according to God, sin separates you from Him (Isaiah 59:2).
- Sin is an offense to God’s character. Because God cannot lie, it is wrong for you to lie. Because God cannot steal, it is wrong for you to steal. Right and wrong, then, is a manifestation of the character of God. God is holy; He cannot sin. Sin offends Him personally because it is His laws of right and wrong you are breaking. If you have offended Him then you must find a way to “unoffend” Him. The problem is that you can’t, but He can and has, by offering His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross as a sacrifice for sin.
- I am too big a sinner.
- Nobody is too big a sinner. The love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus is capable of cleansing the worst of all sin. Even Hitler could have been saved if he would have turned to Christ. You have sinned the same as anyone else. It is just that your sins are yours. They aren’t too big for God to wipe away. Sin has no power over God, only over you.
- Let me ask you something. Do you think murder and adultery are serious sins? Yes? Well, David, a man in the Bible who was called by God a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22), was a murderer and an adulterer. He even tried to hide his sin from everyone. But God knew his sins and exposed them. David repented and threw himself on the mercy of the Lord. God forgave him and loved him. God loves you and He will forgive you if you put your trust in Jesus and ask Him to forgive you of your sins (Romans 10:9-10).
- What is salvation?
- Salvation is the forgiveness of sins. It is only accomplished through faith in Jesus as Savior. He died on the cross for sins. If you want salvation, you need to trust in what Jesus did on the cross. Only then can you have eternal life and be with God.
- Salvation is saving a person from damnation. Damnation is judgment upon the sinner. This judgment consists of God condemning the sinner to eternal punishment in hell. This is the destination of all who reject God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins. If you want salvation, then you need to recognize that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive you. He will.
- What do I do to get saved?
- Salvation is a free gift of God (Romans 6:23). Jesus bore sin in His body (1 Peter 2:24) and paid the penalty for breaking the Law of God, which is spiritual death (eternal separation from God). If you want salvation, you need to admit that you are a sinner and that you want Jesus to forgive you of your sins. You must acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to earn forgiveness. Pray and ask Him to forgive you. You need to trust in Jesus. Seek Him; He will save you.
- Repentance is part of salvation. Once saved, you should stop doing those things that are displeasing to God. He will live in you and give you the ability and desire to resist sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). When you are saved, expect to change–for the better.
- Is baptism necessary for salvation?
- See also an article that deals with this issue: Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
- No. Faith in Jesus is sufficient for salvation. You don’t have to do anything. Christ has done it all. However, baptism is very important and all believers should be baptized. If you refuse baptism after salvation, I would doubt your conversion.
- There are Christian denominations that believe baptism is necessary for salvation. The arguments used, on the surface, seem to be powerful, but upon examination, baptism is found to occur after conversion and is not in anyway a cause or part of it. Take, for example, Acts 10:44-47. While Peter was witnessing, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message … and they were hearing them speaking in tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”
- This passage shows that baptism happens after salvation. How do we know they were saved? They were speaking in tongues — which is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 14) to believers and they were exalting God. Non-believers do not exalt God. Also, Peter said they had received the Holy Spirit. That is only for Christians and it happened before baptism.
- Another set of verses applicable to this issue is 1 Corinthians 1:17. Paul says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel …” The gospel is what saves and it is explained in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Baptism is not part of the gospel; it is something that the believer does after salvation.
- Baptism is only a symbol of that which saves and symbols don’t save.
- I am already good enough.
- How good do you have to be to get to heaven? God is holy and requires holiness. Holiness is purity. Even though you may think you are good enough, even one sin disqualifies you from being in the presence of God. You could never be good enough. That is why you need Jesus.
- The Bible says that there is none good enough. “There is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:12). Goodness is measured by God’s standard not yours.
- To say that you are good enough means that Christ did not have to die. But He did die to save sinners. The Bible says if righteousness can come by good deeds then Christ didn’t need to die (Galatians 3:21), but He did, so being good isn’t enough.
Answers to Tough Questions, Part 2
Answers to Tough Questions Part 1 Part 3 Part 4
- I am doing the best I can and I’m sincere.
- Even if you could do far better than you are doing now you still can’t do well enough because you don’t please God by being good (Galatians 2:21), but by accepting Jesus (1 John 1:12).
- Sincerity is not the way to heaven. What if you are sincerely wrong? (Remember John 14:6?)
- If you are relying on your sincerity, then are you saying that because you are sincere, therefore you are good enough on your own to be with God.” Don’t you see, to appeal to your sincerity is to appeal to pride, because you are appealing to something that is in you and not God for your reason to go to heaven. I am sorry, sincerity is not enough. You must have faith, in Jesus.
- How long have you been doing your best? Has it worked so far? Has it given you eternal life?
- I am skeptical.
- Are you honestly looking for answers? If you are, I would be very willing to talk with you more about Jesus, the Bible, or whatever else you want to talk about.
- What are you skeptical about? Perhaps we can talk about some of the things that you feel keeps you from a saving knowledge of Jesus.
- I tried Christianity once.
- The Bible says that once you are saved, you are never the same again, you are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have gone back to your old ways, then most probably you were never saved. If, however, you were saved, then God won’t let you stay in rebellion for long. He will deal with you in whatever way is necessary to bring you back into fellowship with Him.
- Did you become a Christian by going to church or by asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins? The latter makes you a Christian, the former doesn’t.
- I knew some Christians once and they wronged me.
- Christians aren’t perfect. They make mistakes like anyone else. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive them. I think that is what they would do for you.
- Maybe they didn’t know they wronged you. Was it something really bad or was it just a mistake? Have you gone to them and spoken to them about it? Maybe if you were to forgive them you would begin to understand the forgiveness God has for you. We all need to be forgiven, don’t you agree?
- I’ll take my chances.
- With what, eternity? Eternity is a long time to be wrong. Why would you want to take a gamble on something as important as your eternal destiny. It takes only a moment to trust Christ for your salvation. There will be an eternity of pain and regret if you don’t.
- You don’t take chances with guns do you? You don’t take chances and run red lights do you? Why would you take a chance on something that is far more important than these? Don’t take a chance on something eternal. It isn’t worth it.
- Jesus said He was the only way to God. He forgave sins, walked on water, calmed an ocean with a command, raised people from the dead, and rose from the dead Himself. No one else in all of history has done that. If He can do all that, don’t you think you should listen to Him?
- I am not that bad a person.
- Whether or not you feel you are bad or good is not the real issue. The Bible says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). If all have sinned, good or bad, then all will suffer the judgment of God. God does not require someone to be pretty good; He requires that he not sin at all. But He knows that you cannot be sinless. That is why He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
- The Bible says that our good works are filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). It isn’t saying that we might not try to be good, it is saying that whatever good we do, it is not good enough. It also says that there is none who does good (Romans 3:12). The standard God seeks is perfection. We cannot please God on our own. That is why Jesus died on behalf of sinners. If you want to be good enough, then you must let God see you through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That is the only goodness that counts to God.
- I am too old or too young.
- You are never to old to trust in Jesus as your Savior. As long as you are alive you can call on Him to forgive you of your sins. He is as close as the call of your heart.
- (Granted there may be some who are too young to understand the gospel message, but here we will address those who simply use that as an excuse.) Youth is a blessing from God. Don’t use it as an excuse to stay away from Him. If you can understand what sin is and your need for deliverance from it, then you are not too young to receive Jesus as your Savior. He saves everyone, young and old.
- I can’t believe in a God who would send people to hell.
- Hell was originally created for Satan and his angels. In the future it will contain those who join Satan in rejecting God. If you reject God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins then you will join the Devil who rejected God from the beginning. Is that what you want?
- Could you believe in a God who would become a human, suffer at the hands of humans, and be killed by them, all so that His death could be the payment for their sins? That is extremely loving. God is saving people who deserve to go to hell — and we all deserve that. Remember that the same God that sends people to hell also died for them. If they reject what God has provided then what is God left to do? He would have to judge them.
- Whether you believe in something or not does not change the fact of its existence. Jesus spoke often of hell (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 16:19-31) and warned us so we would not go there. Would you say Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about?
- Are you implying that it is unjust for God to send people to hell? If so, then you accuse God of injustice. Sin is wrong and it must be punished. What would you have God do to those who oppose Him and do evil? Do you want Him to ignore that which is wrong? Do you want Him to turn His head and not be holy and righteous?
- I will worry about it in the next life.
- That you may very well do, forever. Eternity is a long time to be wrong, especially about Jesus.
- God has warned us in the Bible that it is appointed for men to die once, then judgment (Hebrews 9:27). After death you will be judged. Do you want to face eternity without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ accounted to you? God hates sin and you have sinned. God will punish sinners if they reject Jesus. However, He loves you. That is why He sent His Son to die for sins. If you want eternal life, then you need to worry about it now. Eternity is a long time to be wrong, especially about Jesus.
- There is no next life. Reincarnation isn’t true. The Bible says after death you face God (Hebrews 9:27).
- I don’t want to give up what I like doing.
- If you become a Christian, are you saying you must stop doing what you’re doing now. That means you know it is wrong. Let me ask you something. If you were to become a Christian and God were to live in your heart and you looked back upon your life now, would you say to yourself, “I did a lot of things I wish I hadn’t done.”? Probably so.
The Bible speaks about just such a thing. In Romans 6:21 it says, “What benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed, for the outcome of those things is death” (NASB). What you are saying is that God will require you to give up certain things that you like to do. Since God only wants what is good and right, and you say you don’t want to give up what your are doing, then you are saying you want what is wrong.
- Will you let your pleasures get in the way of salvation? Is your life of sin worth an eternity of pain? Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Answers to Tough Questions, Part 3
Answers to Tough Questions Part 1 Part 2 Part 4
- Christianity is boring.
- Then you haven’t experienced it. No one who is a Christian will ever say that it is boring.
- How do you know? Have you tried it? There are millions of Christians who have a lot of fun being Christian. We just do it with a lot less sin, and therefore, a lot less problems. Maybe its only your problems that keep you from getting bored.
- What do you think we do all day, sit around fireplaces and read Bibles? We ski, swim, play sports, read, have friends and problems like anybody else. Christianity is not boring. It is an adventure.
- I am an atheist. I don’t believe in God.
- An atheist is someone who says he knows there is no God. But you can’t know that for sure, because you would have to know all things in order to know if there is or isn’t a God. If you knew all things then you would be God. So, the only thing you could be is an agnostic, not an atheist. An agnostic says he doesn’t know if there is or isn’t a God. (Usually after saying this I challenge them to explain the prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the New. I state how the Bible is unique that way and that only God can make prophecies that are 100% accurate. Then I ask him to explain how that could be done if there is no God.)
- What do you believe in, evolution? If so, have you ever studied it or do you believe what they tell you on television. Evolution has a lot of problems with it. It seems to me that it takes a lot of faith to believe that you developed out of ocean slime, simply by chance. At least as a Christian I have the evidence of the resurrection of Christ from eye witnesses as recorded by them in the gospels. Evolution or not, Jesus rose from the dead, claimed to be God, and forgave sins. I’ll put my faith in Him instead of evolution.
- If there is no God as you say, then in the end I lose nothing. But if there is a God like I say, in the end you lose everything.
- Why don’t you believe in God? Is there any reason for you to intelligently reject His existence? Or, do you simply desire not to believe in Him?
- The Bible doesn’t attempt to prove that God exists. It simply speaks as though He does. Maybe I can’t prove to you there is a God, but I can introduce Him to you through His Son Jesus Christ and you can judge for yourself if the Words of Christ in the Bible convince you of His existence.
(Note: We exist. How did we get here? An atheist would say by evolution. If you study evolution, by reading Christian books that reveal and document its many serious problems, then you will be able to weaken the atheist’s belief in it. The logic is simple: If evolution and creation are the only options, to remove one is to support the other. Therefore, learn as much as you can about evolution. Your witness will be greatly strengthened.)
- I am trying to be a Christian.
- You become a Christian by simply putting your trust in Jesus and His sacrifice for you on the cross. There is no trying involved. If you trust Jesus, if you ask Him to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior, then you are a Christian. It is living like a Christian after you’ve become one that is difficult.
- If you believe that in order to become a Christian you must be good, then you misunderstand or don’t have a good understanding of salvation. A Christian is a Christian by the gift of God (Romans 6:23), not the work of man (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is nothing you can do to earn salvation or keep salvation. It is simply something God freely gives you. If you want it, confess your sins, repent, turn to God, and trust Jesus as your only Savior. Then, and only then, will you become a Christian.
- I am already religious.
- Who said God wants you to be religious? He wants a relationship with you. Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Christianity is God reaching man. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says that God wants you to have fellowship with Jesus. He is talking about a relationship, someone you can talk to. He doesn’t want to weigh you down with a bunch of do’s and don’ts. He wants to extend a loving hand to you and help you live a good clean life. But that cannot be done until the real problem in you is done away with, and that is sin. Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2). If you want salvation instead of “religion,” then go to Jesus. Seek Him. He will never let you down.
- I see. Where do you attend church?
- I don’t need God.
- If you say you don’t need Him, then you believe He exists. If you do, why would you say you don’t need Him. Isn’t He the One who determines your destiny? Doesn’t He have the authority and power to do as He pleases and to send you to heaven or hell? It is foolish to say you don’t need the One who is your Creator, who loves you and has provided the way for forgiveness of sin. You need God because only He can cleanse you from your sins.
- What do you need? Are you really doing that well without God? Are you happy with the way things are in your life? If you aren’t, then you need Jesus. And even if you are happy, you still need Him, because you can’t take what makes you happy with you when you die.
- I have things I need to do before I become a Christian.
- Like what? Why do you need to do these things before you come to God? Are they bad things or good? If they are bad, then you shouldn’t do them. If they are good, why can’t you become a Christian and then do them?
- Nothing you can do could be more important than your relationship with God. To put Him off is unwise. What if you die before you become a Christian? Then you would be eternally without hope.
- Your statement implies you believe following God will mean you won’t be able to do the things you want to do. If that is true, then that means the things you intend to do would displease God? Are you saying you prefer to do something God wouldn’t want you to do? If that is so, you are willfully sinning against God and putting yourself in a dangerous situation. That is all the more reason you need His forgiveness.
- I prefer to remain open minded.
- Open mindedness means looking at everything honestly. Are you willing to do that with Christianity? Do you want to see what Jesus has said and learn about what He can offer you?
- If you say you are going to remain open minded and not accept Christianity, then in reality you are being very closed minded. Maybe Christianity is true. Your open-mindedness could keep you from discovering it.
- I already believe in God.
- Are you living your life as if that were true? Does your belief in God affect the way you live or do you still do entirely as you please?
- If you say you believe in God, then how do you know what He wants for you? Are you in contact with Him? Do you just trust whatever you feel is right?
- The Bible says the Devil believes in God (James 2:19) and He is lost. If all you do is simply believe that God exists, then you are no better off than he is. It is not intellectual acknowledgment of God’s existence that God wants, but your accepting the sacrifice Jesus made on behalf of sinners that pleases God. Simply believing is not enough. You must choose to follow Him.
- It is not that you believe; it is who you put your faith in. Who is this God you believe in? Is He the Christian one? Is he Allah? Is he from another planet? Is he whatever you feel is right? Is he loving? Believing in God is fine unless your god is false. The important things is that you must believe in the true God, not a false one, and the true one is found in the Bible.
- I’ll choose God later.
- If you won’t choose Him now, what makes you think you’ll choose Him later? The longer you go without God, the harder it will be for you to come to Him. The longer you sin, the harder your heart will become and the further from God you will be (Hebrews 3:13). To wait is to invite damnation. God calls you to repent from sin now, not later. Which will you choose?
- If you say you will choose Him later, do you admit then that you need Him now? If so, then why do you wait? You might die soon and then it would be too late.
- There are too many hypocrites in the church.
- Church is a good place for hypocrites, as well as liars and thieves. It is there where they will be exposed to the Word of God and learn that hypocrisy is wrong. For you to judge those in the church is to condemn yourself, because we are all hypocrites in one form or another. Your recognition and condemnation of it tells me you know it is wrong. Is it hypocrisy to point a finger at the church full of sinners when you yourself are one as well?
- It has been said that you must be smaller than the thing you hide behind. Are you hiding being the hypocrisy of others to keep you out of church? You must realize that you are responsible for yourself and God won’t ask others about you on judgment day. He will come to you and ask you to give an account for your life. The hypocrites in the church will also stand before God, with or without you there.
- People don’t counterfeit pennies. Why do you think there are hypocrites? Because Christianity is valuable.
- Why are we here? Or, Why did God make us?
- God made us so we could glorify Him and have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:1-3). He made Adam and Eve and put them in the garden and then He walked in fellowship with them. He gave them the greatest thing they could have, His love and presence. After they sinned, God said, “Adam, where are you?” God sought Adam. In Exodus 25:8 God said to Moses while Israel was in the wilderness, “And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” In the New Testament in John 1:14 it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us…”(1) God seeks our presence. He wants to have fellowship with us. He made us to give us His love and enjoy His presence. But, man sinned and separated Himself from God. That is why Christ died for sins, that our fellowship with God would be restored.
- What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
- That is a good question. The Bible says that God is a just God. We know that whatever He does is right. When it comes to those who have never heard the Gospel, He will do what is right, whatever that is. But as for you, you have heard the gospel and He will judge you according to how you respond. He is calling you to repentance, to turn from sin and come to Him.
- In Romans 2:12-16 it speaks about those who have never heard the Law of God and how they will be judged according to the law that is written in their hearts. The Law written in their hearts is the knowledge of right and wrong. Perhaps God’s judgment of those without a proper knowledge of Him is included there where it says that they will be judged according to their own consciences that “bear witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” All I know is that God will do what is right and the only way to have your sins forgiven is through Jesus.
- Jesus is only one of many great men of history.
- Granted, Jesus was a great man of history. That is a fact. But, He is different from all the other great men of history. How many great men of history rose from the dead, calmed a sea, walked on water, raised others from the dead, healed sickness, and forgave sins? There aren’t any others that I know of. Do you know of any? These things make Him more than great. They make Him special and unique.
- You are right, Jesus was a great man. But let me ask you. If He were great, would He lie? Of course not. If He were great, would He be insane? No. You see, Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14; John 5:18, 10:30-33). If He were lying, we shouldn’t listen to Him and we couldn’t call Him great. If He were insane then we shouldn’t listen to Him and again we couldn’t call Him great. If He is great, then He must be telling the truth. And He was great, right?
- John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 says, “and the Word became flesh …” The Word is Jesus.
Answers to Tough Questions, Part 4
Answers to Tough Questions Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- Why is there evil and suffering in the world?
- The question implies that if a good God exists, then evil shouldn’t, because God being all powerful, should stop it.
- We need to ask and answer two questions. First, what is evil? It is that which is against God. It is anything morally bad or wrong. It is injurious, depraved, wicked. Some acceptable examples might be murder, rape, stealing, lying, and cheating. Second, if we want God to stop evil do we want Him to stop all evil or just some of it? In other words, if just some of it then why? If He were to stop only part of the evil, then we would still be asking the question, “Why is there evil in the world?”
Let’s suppose that someone was about to commit murder. God would have to stop him, maybe whisper in his ear, or if that didn’t work do something a little more drastic like have something fall on him, or stop his heart, or make his hands suddenly fall off. Anyway, God would have to do something.
What if somebody wanted to steal? God would have to stop him too, right? Undoubtedly, God’s imagination would permit a more practical method than I have suggested, but the end results would be the same.
What about lying? If someone were to tell a lie, then to be consistent wouldn’t you want God right there to stop that person from lying? After all, He couldn’t let any evil occur could He?
Let’s take it a step further. Suppose someone thought something evil. Then, of course, God would have to step in and prevent him from thinking anything bad at all, right? The end result would be that God could not allow anyone to think freely. Since everyone thinks and no one thinks only pure thoughts, God would be pretty busy and we wouldn’t be able to think. Anyway, at what point do we stop, at the murder level, stealing level, lying level, or thinking level? As your questions implies, if you want God to stop evil, you would have to be consistent and want Him to do it everywhere all the time, not just pick and choose. It wouldn’t work.
Evil is in this world partly because we give it its place but ultimately because God, in His sovereignty, permits it and keeps it under His control.
Then you might say, “Couldn’t He just make us perfect and that way we wouldn’t sin?” He already did that. He made a perfect angel, Satan, but he sinned. He made a perfect man, Adam, and he sinned. He made a perfect woman, Eve, and she sinned. God knows what He is doing. He made us the way we are for a purpose. We don’t fully understand that purpose, but He does.
- God is sovereign; He has the right to do as He wishes. He has the right to permit evil for accomplishing His ultimate will. How can He do that? Simple, look at the cross. It was by evil means that men lied and crucified Jesus. Yet God in His infinite wisdom, used this evil for good. It was on the cross that Jesus bore our sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24) and it is because of the cross that we can have forgiveness of sins.
- Consider the biblical example of Joseph in the Old Testament. He was sold into slavery by his brothers. Though they meant it for evil, God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). God is so great that nothing happens without His permission, and in that permission His ultimate plan unfolds. In His plan He is able to use for good what man intends for evil. God is in control.
- What makes Jesus so special?
- Who He said He was. He said He was God. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” When He said, “I AM,” He was quoting from the Old Testament in Exodus 3:14. That is where Moses was talking to God and asked Him His name. God answered and said, “I AM.” When Jesus said “I AM” He was claiming the name of God for Himself and thereby claiming to be God. Other great men of history point to a philosophy and teach good ideas. Only Jesus pointed to Himself, claimed to be God, and spoke with authority that matched His claim.
- What He did. Jesus forgave sins (Luke 5:20). He rose from the dead (Luke 24), raised others from the dead (John 11:43-44), and He walked on water (John 6:19). No one on earth has ever done the things Jesus did. There is no way around it. Jesus is special, about that there can be no doubt.
- Why did Jesus have to die in order for me to go to heaven?
- Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Though Jesus never sinned (1 Peter 2:22), He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and died. He died in our place. Instead of God making us pay for our sins, He did it Himself by becoming one of us.
- Two things happen when we sin: one to God and one to ourselves. When we sin, God is offended. Why? Because it is His Law that we are breaking. Also, when we sin we are killed. We don’t die right there on the spot, we will face a death that is far more severe. Sin kills us (Romans 9:12) by causing eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). God hates sin (Habakkuk 1:13) and sin must be punished. Since we are unable to please God because we are all sinners, He made an offering that is pleasing to Him. That offering was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There was no other way. If there were, God would have done it.
- What makes you think the Bible is the word of God?
- Prophecy. The Old Testament was written before Jesus was ever born. The New Testament was written by the men who knew Jesus, who walked with Him, ate with Him, and learned from Him. In the Old Testament there are prophecies concerning His birthplace (Micah 5:1-2), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that He would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3), that He would be betrayed by a close friend (Isaiah 41:9), that He would die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16-18), and that He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10, 49:15). In the New Testament all these prophecies, and many more, are fulfilled by Jesus. Now, this is the question you must answer: “If the Bible is not inspired from God, then why does it have so many fulfilled prophecies?” How is that possible if the Bible were not from God? Only God knows the future, has power over it, and can look into it to tell us exactly what will happen. In the Bible we have the finger prints of God: fulfilled prophecy!
- Wisdom. The Bible is full of the greatest truths about man and God, sin, and salvation. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is beautiful in its wisdom, humility, and love. The Psalm are incredible poetry of great depth and beauty. The New Testament epistles are great descriptions of love, forgiveness, longsuffering, kindness, etc. Even if you don’t want to become a Christian, studying the truth God has revealed in the Bible will greatly help you in your life. (The aim is not to merely to get the person to use the Bible as a guide to good living, but to encourage him to read it. This way, he will at least be reading the Word of God and be that much closer to conversion because God’s Word will accomplish what He wants it to (Isaiah 55:11).
- The New Testament was written so that it would only look like Jesus fulfilled prophecy.
- Then what you are saying is that the New Testament writers lied about Jesus. He really didn’t rise from the dead and all those miracles about Him are really false, right?
I could see your point, but there is just one problem. How do you account for the writers of the New Testament teaching about truth, love, honesty, giving, etc. all based on lies? Why would they suffer hardships like beatings, starvation, shipwreck, imprisonments, and finally execution for nothing but lies? What you are saying doesn’t make any sense and raises more questions than it answers.
The only logical explanation is that the fulfilled prophecies really did happen. Jesus actually rose from the dead. He performed miracles and He forgave sins. He forgave sins then and He can still do it now. My sins are forgiven, are yours?
- The Bible is full of contradictions.
- Really. Do you know of any? Could you quote me one or two?
- (Just in case someone actually does quote what he thinks is a contradiction, it is up to you to give a competent answer (1 Peter 3:15). If you can’t, don’t worry. Simply tell him that you will research it and get back with him, and make sure you do.
- There are areas of Scripture that are difficult to understand. This does not mean the Bible is untrustworthy. A very good book to have is the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer, Zondervan Publishing House, (Grand Rapids Michigan).
- How do I know which religion is right?
- (This is a difficult question to answer because it involves discussing some principles that the person you are witnessing to may or may not agree with. For example, does he or she agree with you that truth is knowable, that God would attempt to communicate with His people, or that only one religion may be right? Usually, I start by acknowledging the difficulty of coming to an easy answer. However, I tell them that I do have an answer; I am sure it is the right one, because it is an answer based on evidence. What kind of evidence? Prophecy and its fulfillment (see question # 34), Jesus and His miracles, the resurrection of Christ, etc. Then I ask that person if he or she knows of these things happening in other religions.(1) The answer is invariably, “No.” Then I point out that they have only happened in Christianity. If any religion were true, Christianity fits the bill.
- Religion is whatever you feel is right.
- How do you know what you feel is right? Haven’t your feelings ever turned out to be wrong? Are you are saying that what you feel determines truth? If so, then you are putting yourself in the place of God and looking to yourself for what you “feel” is right.
- If religion is whatever you feel is right then that could lead to chaos. What if some people had a religion where they felt stealing was acceptable? And what about lying and cheating? Would you trust someone who believed in a religion that felt it was alright to steal, lie, and cheat?
- Hitler felt killing Jews was right. He was wrong. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful and untrustworthy (Jeremiah 17:9). If you could come to know truth by what you felt, then the Bible, which is the revelation of God, didn’t need to be written. But, it has been written and it has revealed that only God is the Source of truth, not your feelings.
- I’ve never known truth to contradict itself. What if someone felt that something was right and another person felt it was wrong. Would they both be right? If your statement is true, then how could there be a contradiction like that if feelings determined truth?
- All religions are different paths to the same place.
- If all religions are different paths to the same place then why do the paths contradict each other? Does truth contradict itself? Let’s review the teachings of just three religions:
- Buddhism is pantheistic and says there is no personal God and everyone can reach Godlikeness on his own.
- Islam says that Jesus was just a prophet and not the only way to God.
- Christianity says that there is a personal God and that the only way to Him is through Jesus (John 14:6).
If these three religions are, as you say, different paths to the same place, then why do they contradict each other? Does truth contradict itself?
- What about dinosaurs and evolution?
- See the section on Evolution.
- Also, you could read a couple of books: Evolution The Fossils Say No! by Duane T. Gish (Creation Life Publishers, San Diego), and Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny by A. E. Wilder-Smith. Bethany House Publishers, (Minneapolis, Minn.). Both books will help you greatly.
- Even if evolution were true (it isn’t — but just for the sake of argument), does that mean there is no God? How do you know God didn’t use it to get us here? (I am not teaching that evolution is true, nor that God used it, which is called theistic evolution, I am simply reasoning with them.) If you believe in evolution does that mean you aren’t a sinner? God won’t accept the excuse that you believed in evolution and not Him.
- Have you examined evolution to see if it is true? Evolution is not all that you are led to believe. There are all kinds of problems in the fossil record. New theories are being raised all the time to account for why there aren’t any undisputed transitional forms found between any species of any kind, anywhere, anytime in all the fossil record. But, you wouldn’t know these things because you haven’t studied. You need to know the facts about evolution and you need to know the facts about Jesus.
1. Note: Be careful. Just because someone does not know if there has been any similar occurrences in other religions doesn’t mean that there aren’t. You should point that out. However, no other religion in the world has ever made the claims that Christianity has, and lived up to them.