• Since we’re justified by faith alone, how should we understand Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23–24? Question and Answer

    Luke 9:23-24

    Luke 9:23–24 is an important part of our understanding of what true saving faith is. There is self-denial in true saving faith. You are submitting to the lordship of Christ at the point of conversion. That is, you are no longer relying upon yourself through self-righteousness, or your own good works, to commend you to God. This idea from Luke 9 also appears in Matthew 16 and is repeated in Luke 14:26, which says, “Except a man hate his own father and mother and brother and sister, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” I think it … View Resource

  • How should Christians respond to times of suffering? Question and Answer

    Luke 13:1-5

    Thankfully, we are able to develop means of alleviating human suffering. Our nations are putting vast resources into trying to find an antidote to the virus. That is altogether appropriate and Christ-like because He sought to alleviate suffering. We also know that He didn’t alleviate everybody’s suffering. There is a complexity to the way in which God works that is beyond us, but it is appropriate that we make use of means to alleviate suffering instead of just saying, “God sent and God will get rid of it.” We don’t respond to anything in our lives with that kind of … View Resource

  • What is the best way to describe repentance to an unbeliever? Question and Answer

    Luke 15:11-32

    The best way may be to use an illustration that you think of either from their life or from your own life. The Hebrew word for repentance means returning. The prodigal son is a story like that: he goes away from home, and he returns home (Luke 15:11-32). I’ve sometimes used this illustration: one night when we were in Glasgow I was driving down the freeway on my way to church, and going up the other direction I noticed the car of one of my elders. I knew it was his car because it was the only elder who had … View Resource

  • Is there anything wrong with using the “sinner’s prayer”? Question and Answer

    Luke 18:13

    NICHOLS: It’s in one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs, so I would have to say no—but really let me say this: I love the Book of Common Prayer—the old one, not the new stuff. They had a prayer for storms at sea, and it was all flowery and over a paragraph long. Then they had a short prayer for storms at sea, and it was: “Father have mercy, Son have mercy, Holy Spirit have mercy. Amen.” That’s it: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” If that is prayed with a contrite heart, God will hear that prayer. BINGHAM: So, … View Resource

  • Will Christians receive rewards in heaven? Question and Answer

    Luke 19:11-27

    Yes. I think if you had asked any Christian who lived prior to the twentieth century, or certainly any Christian in the Reformed world, the answer would have been, “Absolutely, definitely yes.” Something happened in the twentieth century regarding this doctrine of rewards. If I asked twenty-five or thirty modern seminary students: “How many of you expect rewards in heaven and that some will be rewarded more than others?” I doubt that two hands would go up. Somebody needs to make a study of what happened to the doctrine of rewards. It was certainly a Puritan and a magisterial Reformer … View Resource

  • Can you repent at the moment of death and still have the same salvation as someone who’s been a Christian for many years? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:42-43

    That’s a tricky question, but I think it’s a fascinating one and certainly one that many people are concerned about. We talk about foxhole faith, when people cry out in desperate moments of crisis or postpone to their deathbed the moment of committing their lives to Christ. Some people say that it doesn’t make sense for somebody who has been a Christian all their life to be in the same state as somebody who did as they pleased all their life and waited until the last second to get their accounts square with God. There’s a parable in the New … View Resource

  • How can I be saved? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    If this is a sincere question coming from somebody who wants to be saved, the answer is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. That was Paul’s answer to the Philippian jailer. Now, people are coming from all kinds of different backgrounds, and there are things that need to be addressed. However, Jesus’ words to the dying thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), are encouraging. To those people who want to be saved, I would cite Paul’s response to the Philippian jailer who was about to kill himself: believe on … View Resource

  • What does the Apostles’ Creed mean when it says that Jesus descended into hell? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    The Apostles’ Creed is used as an integral form of worship in many Christian bodies. One of the more puzzling statements in that creed is: [Jesus] descended into hell. First of all, we have to look at the creed from a historical perspective. We know that the Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it’s called the Apostles’ Creed because it was the early Christian community’s attempt to give a summary of apostolic teaching. This, like other creeds in the church’s history, was partly a response to distorted teachings that were present in some communities; it was statement … View Resource

  • When a person dies, where does his or her spirit and body go until the Second Coming? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    Throughout its history, the church has struggled with the concept of what is called the “intermediate state”—our position between the time we die and the time Christ consummates his kingdom and fulfills the promises that we confess in the Apostles’ Creed. We believe in the resurrection of the body. We believe there will be a time when God reunites our soul and our body, and that we will have a glorified body even as Christ came out of the tomb as the “firstborn from the dead.” In the meantime, what happens? The most common view has been that, at death, … View Resource