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A n s w e r e d Qs

Is it okay to sing praise and worship songs in which the lyrics contain words that are not from the Bible?

Let us go one step deeper. Remember the Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic and not in English in the first place. Words in English that you read in the English Bible is available today to know God, because someone in the past made efforts to translate it into colloquial language (words/sentences which hold almost same meaning as the manuscript) where humans can relate and understand. Even God used day to day examples, like father-son, farmer, soldiers, potter, shepherd etc., to explain spiritual truth to humans. So, based on this, it would be okay to use colloquial words to sing praises to Him.

Boundaries for usage:

1. It is okay if words in the song are not found in their literal sense in the Bible, yet their meaning is aligned to the Bible. (example in Jeremiah 18:1)

2. Words in the song are not abusive and not abusing someone. (Ephesians 4:29)

3. Be careful on how God’s name is used in the song! It should not be in vain – like just as fillers. (Exodus 20:7)

4. Is the song glorifying God? If yes, then it is okay. But if it is glorifying man, images, idols or things or any creation, then it is not aligned with the word of God. (Luke 4:8, 1 Corinthians 10:31)

5. Check if you can use the song to edify one another in Christ. (Colossians 3:16)

How do I love people who are negative?

This question must be answered case to case. Yet, let us look at a basic principle that Jesus himself laid out that will always help us love anyone we find being negative around us.

Jesus said in Matthew 22 : 39 – “And the second (greatest commandment) is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When Jesus asked us to love our neighbors – he said this was a ‘commandment’ and we see this teaching repeat throughout the bible. In fact, in Luke 6 : 27, Jesus says, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”. But you know, Jesus doesn’t tell us to do something without teaching us how to do it! The commandment love your neighbor, didn’t end with that. Jesus also said, ‘as yourself’.

Too many times, we try to love others while hating our own selves. And you’ll notice how you will always fail to see the good in others, when you can’t see it in yourself. The Bible tells us in Psalms 139:14 that God’s works are wonderful. You and I are not perfect (because sin entered mankind) here on earth, but we can change with God’s love and power. So unless we can look at ourselves through God’s eyes, we can’t look at others through God’s eyes. Unless you can forgive yourself of certain mistakes, you can’t forgive another of those mistakes. That is why, one of the things Jesus said when teaching the disciples how to pray is – ‘Forgive our sins, as we also forgive those who have sinned against us’.

So the answer is – first, to look at your neighbor (who’s being negative) through God’s eyes [[which will help you love them, forgive them and even pray for them]]. Secondly, to look at everything that is said about you or you think or do through God’s eyes, so that you may be able to discern the truth about yourself and love yourself like God does.

Also, it is important to wrestle with negativity in prayer. As the Bible says in Ephesians 6 : 12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

How does the Bible explain God’s wrath and God’s love?

According to the bible, God’s wrath came on mankind when sin increased and multiplied on earth (some of the instances are mentioned in Genesis 6 & Romans 1:18-32). Just as a man who commits a mistake by going against the law of the land is condemned or punished, the same way all wrongdoing against God’s law (Bible) leads to God’s wrath (starting from Adam). But, because God’s love for his creation, humankind, is so great, He gave His one and only son to redeem us from sin and eternal death (John 3:16) . In fact, God’s wrath that was suppose to come upon us was laid on Jesus Christ (Romans 5 : 9, 1 Thessalonians 5 : 9). However, those who do not believe in Jesus, will in the end come under God’s wrath (judgement) as written in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Has Jesus forgiven our future sins as well? If yes, when we sin, does his opinion about us change?

Yes, Jesus has forgiven all our sins – past, present and the future as well, for those who believe in Him and repent. The answer to this lies in 1 John 1:9 – 1 John 2:2 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

If we repent from our sins, God’s forgiveness is an expression of His love for us and so when He looks at us, He views us as righteous because Jesus took our sins on himself. In 2 Corinthians 5 : 21, Paul says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” In Isaiah 43 : 25, we see that God blots out our transgression and remembers our sin no more. Further, in Isaiah 1 : 18, God says He washes us as white as snow. This is God’s opinion of us.

Apostle Paul exhorts the believers in Romans 12:1,2 that we are not to conform to the patterns of the world. But there are patterns in the world that are essential. How far can we take this exhortation and how much do we allow ourselves to follow the above mentioned patterns?

Certain areas of medical science completely contradict our faith, like clinical psychology/psychiatry suggests that receiving relief through faith is ‘magical thinking’. In a world which believes in this norm, what is a convincing view we, as believers, can offer?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27). Scripture is quite clear about this – there is a peace which God is offering and there is a peace which the world (in this case doctors) can offer. Both are peace. Yet what God offers us is permanent peace, compared to the temporary peace that doctors can offer. Both the peace have their roles in our lives. Doctors do provide healing, but there are many areas that even doctors are not sure about or can do anything about, and so that only Jesus can provide. That is why, the peace of God surpasses the peace this world has to offer.

Scripture also says in John 1: 3, “through him all things were made.” So even the medicinal compounds in plants, animals etc., have been made and placed by God; which we are taking advantage of. Medicines are for our body! But what about our soul and spirit? That healing or relief no man can provide. That is why in John 1: 4-5, God says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word”. The Word of God existed long before science existed. So, Scriptures become our measuring rod! Many are trying to view Scriptures in the light of science. But, we need to view science in the light of Scriptures. Then we will be able to guard our faith and help many others have this perfect peace in their body and souls.

Why do humans incline to darkness?

In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, the tempter, Satan, came to them and deceived them to sin (Genesis 3: 1 – 13) . They CHOSE to sin. It was a freewill choice that the first man and woman made, but that was sin’s entry into mankind (Psalms 51 : 5). Ever since, God has tried to redeem man from sin and darkness, but man’s efforts always failed. That is why God himself sent Jesus (Son of God) as man, who lived a sinless life, to die on the cross as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. Jesus paid the price and rose again from death overcoming sin and darkness. The bible says, everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved and granted eternal life. Now eternal life is beyond this earthly life that we live in our physical body. According to God’s word, our mortal bodies will be transformed into an immortal body (1 Corinthians 15 : 53) and our souls will live on forever. So, in a sense, until we die in this mortal body, our human tendency will be inclined to sin (because sin entered mankind through Adam and Eve). Yet, if we believe in Jesus – since he overcame sin – we too can fight this mortal bodies, and strive to overcome sin and darkness in this world until we die and are transformed into our immortal bodies.

Can we have sex before marriage?

In the Bible, God from the beginning has displayed how sex is meant to be within the boundaries of marriage. In Deuteronomy 22, God lays down certain laws related to sexual immorality, and he points out that two people, unmarried, having sex would mean that they would have to face consequences and also immediately get married. In Hebrew 13 : 4, God asks us to keep the marriage bed pure – which points out at how sex is meant to be within marriage. Sex outside of marriage is sexual immorality. And, we see how sexual immorality is detested by God. Anyone committing sexual immorality (and continuing unrepented) cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5 : 19-21). That is why, in 1 Corinthians 7 : 2, Paul says, “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

Why did God create man, if He knew we were going to suffer?

When we look through the Bible, a constant image that we get is of how God wants man to CHOOSE him, to LOVE him and to WORSHIP him WHOLEHEARTEDLY AND BY THEIR OWN CHOICE. God has given man the freewill choice. That is why, He placed Adam and Eve in the garden and told them that they can choose and eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Choice was always part of God’s creation.

You see, suffering is a consequence of sin and is not intended by God. Yes, of course, God has seen the end from the beginning and he knew if he allowed sin to enter man, we would suffer. Yet, he allowed this because of a simple reason that he wants man to choose him freely and wholeheartedly. If God just wanted to have man to worship Him, he could’ve stopped sin from entering man. But in that case, man would have forcefully had to worship God, not freely. That is why, God shows us His unconditional love through Jesus and has given us the freewill choice to choose him and worship him. Now in the end, after all who believe in Him go to heaven, we will worship God freely and wholeheartedly. In heaven, there will be no sin, no suffering.

In the beginning, when the world had become wicked and corrupt, why did God choose to save only Noah & his family? What does it mean, ‘sin increased’?

The Bible clearly says in Genesis 6, about how man began sinning against God by becoming sexually immoral, wicked in every way, inclining to do evil in every thought (this is how sin increased). But at that time, Noah was the only man whom the bible says was ‘blameless’ and ‘walked faithfully with God’. And so, God did not want to destroy his creation – human beings – but saved Noah to continue the human race on earth.