Q & A



QUESTIONS & ANSWERS




Question
How can I help my mate understand God's word the way I do?


Answer
Disbelief, hatred and alienation from relatives are trials Jesus prophesied all true Christians would experience (Luke 12:51-53). Since human nature resists change, the very mention of truth can upset a non-believing mate (Romans 8:7). Out of misguided zeal, some people have attempted to force their mates into believing as they do, by "beating them over the head" with newly found understanding. Jesus Christ never forced anyone to believe and neither did He "browbeat" people into submission. He simple lived God's way and willingly sacrificed Himself as the perfect example for all of us to follow. Likewise, you can be a positive tool in God's hands to encourage and perhaps win your mate over.
First, reassure your mate that a commitment to God's word will also mean a commitment to loving him or her. A believing husband's love will be demonstrated by a willingness to sacrifice himself for his wife "just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25-29). Would a nonbelieving wife disagree with such profound attention and care for her? Absolutely not!
A believing wife will be striving to deeply respect and love her husband (Ephesians 5:21-24). God says that the real beauty of a woman is on the inside-"the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:3-4). Who would be upset with an attentive, loving, and faithful wife-possessing a priceless attitude? Therefore, believing husbands and wives should encourage their mates that God's way of life will be good for their marriage.
Secondly, become a bright shining example of what you are learning. Your acts of kindness, and consideration toward your mate will confirm your words of sincerity. For example, some mates may object to their spouses studying their Bibles or reading Bible literature in front of them. Try to be sensitive to their perception. Why are they sensitive? Do they feel you are neglecting them? Truly, Jesus stated we should seek the Kingdom of God first and His righteousness. However, some things should be done in private, such as prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18).
What, therefore, should your mate see? Jesus said, "You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16). So powerful is this "spiritual light" that a non-believing husband can be "won" by the wife's conduct (1 Peter 3:1-2). In other words, it is possible that God may use your example to open your mate's eyes to the truth!
Thirdly, pray fervently for your wife or husband that God would move your mate to seek Him. The exciting good news is that God desires that all humanity have the opportunity to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4). Every human being will be given the chance to repent of resentment and rebellion toward God. Only upon true repentance, baptism and the receiving of God's Holy Spirit, can deep-seated resentments be overcome.
While you wait for God to answer this prayer, continue to ask the Father for wisdom. It takes godly wisdom to love your mate, to salve over misunderstandings, and make peace. Indeed, the qualities of Christianity will endear you to your mate, and at the same time you will be an encouraging reflection of the Kingdom of God.




Question
Romans 11:32 states: "For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all." How can God hold us responsible for disobedience since He has "bound all men over to disobedience?"


Answer
The answer to this question depends largely on the meaning of the Greek understanding of "bound over to disobedience." It is also important to know what Paul taught in regard to how God looks upon sin and disobedience.
The literal meaning of the Greek is to "close up together," "hem in," "enclose." This "hemming in" happened as a natural result of Adam's sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Romans 5:12 tells us, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." Since all of Adam's offspring came into existence after he disobeyed and the penalty was pronounced on him, all are born into a condition of sin. It is a matter of natural inheritance. You say, "Why did God arrange it this way? Why couldn't all of Adam's offspring be born pure like Adam was before he disobeyed?" First of all, this would be contrary to nature which has its strict rules that can be depended upon. Any exception would cause nature to be unreliable.
In God's plan for mankind, He had a very definite purpose in planning things as He did, even though He has the power to do anything He wishes. Another reason for allowing man to be "bound over to disobedience" is that there is much for man to learn from the consequences of disobedience and sin. Man has been given the freedom of choice. He also, has been given a conscience to help him make proper choices. To choose the way of sin will ultimately yield its resulting consequences of misery and suffering. To choose to do right will result in peace and blessing. It is the experience that comes from these choices that God sees as the all-important lesson that will one day prove invaluable to man when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom of righteousness on this earth. This has been the prayer of Christians since Jesus' first advent: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
The meaning then, is that God allowed man, by His personal choice, to sink into the quicksand of sin and disobedience as an everlasting lesson that will ultimately prove to be a blessing as he walks up the highway of righteousness in the coming Kingdom.




Question
What does "work out your own salvation," mean in Philippians 2:12-13? This seems to conflict with the Scriptures that seem to teach that salvation comes by faith alone.


Answer
Salvation has the broad meaning of redemption and deliverance. It is used in Scripture in three different tenses: The Christian has been saved and redeemed from the penalty and the controlling power of sin by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. The Christian is being saved daily from the habit and dominion of sin while in the body of flesh. The Christian will be saved or delivered from the infirmities of his fleshly body and given a new body when Christ returns.
It is the second meaning of salvation that applies to the question above. God has begun a good work in us and He will complete that work if we allow Him to. For Him to do His part, however, we must do ours, which is called "work" in verse 12. What is the "work" that we must do? As is the case so many times, answers lie in the context in which the word is found. If we look carefully at verse 12, we will find that our "work" is to be obedient to the will of God. Paul says, "as you have always obeyed." This is the essential key to realizing what our part or work is. If we are faithful in obeying His will for us, then we can be assured that He will finish His work begun in us as Paul assures us in Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," which will be when Jesus returns for his Bride.
As the clay is pliable in the potter's hands, so we must be flexible if God is to make us into fit vessels for His use. God has given us His Holy Spirit by which we can discern His will, but the choice to obey and do it is ours to make. Our Heavenly Father wants to change us into the likeness of His Son. 2 Cor. 3:18 tells us, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." So let us be very careful to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and heed the words of Galatians 5:25: "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit," thus we will be able to work out (obey) what God has worked in us.
Q & A