Q&A

16711635_m

Who is Jesus?

The answer of the Bible is that Jesus is fully God and fully man and that this is clearly seen in his life, death and resurrection. Most people reading this will not have a problem with the full humanity of Jesus as can be seen in his fatigue, hunger and thirst etc. But his fully divinity, that he is fully God, may be disputed. However, the Bible clearly presents him in this way. When he calmed the storm on the lake with a command, his disciples were stunned and said, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!’ (Mark 4:41). When Thomas saw him risen from the dead and gloriously alive again he had to worship, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28). Paul later writes that Jesus was powerfully declared to be the Son of God (divine) by his resurrection power (Romans 1:4). Jesus did things only God could do; he also accepted worship appropriate only to God. ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’ (Hebrews 1:6)

 

Is the Bible true?

I’ll keep these answers short and simple… Yes!…

The Bible is written by men (about 40 of them) who were convinced that what they were writing was true, that they were not deceiving nor were they deceived. Luke for example opens his book about Jesus (or gospel) with these words:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

Luke, a doctor and so a scientific kind of mind, had done his homework, his research and was himself convinced of the truth of this astonishing Jesus story.

Jesus himself believed the Bible, he endorsed the Bible, he used it to settle arguments as the last word, as God’s word on a matter. If you find Jesus to be a man of integrity and insight (at the very least) you have to be open to what he says about the Bible.

On top of that you can look into the findings of archaeology which have largely substantiated biblical history but, in the last analysis, you need to read and make up your own mind on the matter.

 

Is Christianity relevant today?

Is forgiveness relevant? Is love relevant? Is truth relevant? Is a relationship with God relevant? Death, destiny and everlasting future? I would have to say yes to all the above. Christianity addresses questions that are absolutely fundamental to the human heart and mind. Everyone thinks about questions like these at one time or another; they are what you might call ultimate questions. Yes, Christianity is, and always will be, relevant because it speaks to the deepest concerns of our lives.

 

Why is baptism important?

Baptism is for believers in Jesus and it is important for at least these reasons:

If you miss it, you miss out!

 

Why do Christians need to go to church?

We need the encouragement, support and fellowship of other Christians. We cannot do it on our own. Like coals in a fire, if one fall out it soon turns cold; we can keep one another ‘on fire’ for God. Particularly important in this fellowship is the inspiration of God’s word, in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

‘Let us not give meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more…’ (Hebrews 10:25). This encouragement is not merely a matter of patting one another on the back but it is particularly the encouragement of sharing God’s word together as we meet in the name of Jesus and call on his name for the mercy and grace we need. When this happens ‘in the Spirit’ we go on our way refreshed with joy and strength in our hearts. Don’t give up the good habit!

 

How can we tell if someone is a Christian?

Jesus said: ‘By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes…?’ (Matthew 7:16)

In other words, by their actions and the quality of people’s lives you can tell, over a period of time, what kind of person they are spiritually and in reality. On another occasion he said, ‘From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks..’ (Matt. 12:34). It makes sense that what’s inside us will express itself eventually, though we may be able to pretend or wear a mask for a while – like we often do in public.

Also, Christians will love Jesus and his word in the Bible and they will, generally, love getting together with other Christians in church.

 

Are there lots of rules for Christians?

Christianity is not a rule-based religion but a relationship-based religion. It is not mainly about keeping rules but about loving God and people. When we live out of this love – the love we experience from God and then express in our lives, we do live in a certain way but not as mere rule-keepers. A man in love with a woman may keep certain rules but not even be conscious of it; he will seek the good of the woman but not because he feels the need to keep rules but just because he loves her. When he gives he flowers, he does not do it as a duty but as a delight. He finds delight in pleasing her. We are so loved by God, it is a pleasure to live for him and we make it our goal to please him (2 Cor. 5:9).

 

Why is there so much suffering in the world?

This is a big question, probably the biggest question asked of Christianity and all religions. How can there be a God who is all-good and all-powerful and yet there be such suffering in the world. Here’s what we can say: God so loved the world that he entered into our suffering in the deepest possible way in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, he did something that ‘destroyed death’ and guaranteed the ultimate abolition of evil in every form. There are many other things we could say, but this is the heart of the Christian response – in what God has done in Jesus.

 

Why is there evil in the world?

This is similar to the last question but let me add this thought: It seems to me that on one level we are often better and stronger and happier when we have come through some experience of evil or suffering. This may be something God is doing, or has allowed, on a grand scale in human history so that the ultimate and everlasting future, through Jesus Christ, will be twice as happy as it could ever have been had nothing gone wrong. The final book of the Bible gives this impression with multitudes praising God for creation and Christ for redemption, ecstatic and exhilarated by the astonishing grace!

It is important so say that God never created evil – it came into the world when the first humans chose it, bringing all kinds of wickedness into the world. But God has acted to save the world through Jesus Christ.

 

Can I become a Christian later, when I am older?

Why? Being a Christian is a wonderful life. Not easy but there is grace and strength and hope and forgiveness etc that we cannot have until we have Jesus in our lives. Paul says in Eph 1:3 that Christians have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. We are blessed beyond belief in Christ with every possible spiritual good thing! We now have a taste of a beautiful future in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Why wait?

 

Isn’t the important thing to be a good person?

There are several answers to this. First, are we really so good? The Bible says we fall short (Romans 3:23), we fail to be the humans we were made and meant to be. We disappoint even ourselves. Second, as we have said, earlier, life is about relationships and not merely about rule-keeping and living a ‘respectable’ life. We were made for God but have gone off-track. We need to be rescued, brought back and reconciled to God to experience his soul-satisfying love.