• Is it true that the blood of Jesus takes away sickness? Question and Answer

    Galatians 6:11

    In the ultimate sense, it is true that in the new heavens and new earth there will be no coronavirus. It is a product of the fall. I think that the fourth servant song of Isaiah 53 refers to the ultimate healing ministry of Jesus. To suggest that no Christian will be sick, however, is crazy. We’re all going to die in some form or another, and all of it is a sickness of one form or another. The Apostle Paul had a malady. It might have been his eyesight since the reference in Galatians says, “See in what large … View Resource

  • Is there hope for a child who turns away from Christ as a college student? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: Yes, of course Scripture provides hope for anyone who turns away from Christ. There is always the possibility of repentance—even deathbed repentance. The dying thief, pastorally, is an important example that even on one’s deathbed one can turn and embrace Christ. Of course, one doesn’t want to use that as a ploy not to believe in Jesus at an early age. As a Presbyterian, I would also draw comfort from the view of the covenant that our children are in covenant. Therefore, even though they may drift and wander and rebel and become prodigals in a season of life, … View Resource

  • How is total depravity true when many people appear to act morally and do good deeds? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: Total depravity doesn’t mean that everyone is as sinful as they possibly could be. Total depravity allows for a range of sinful rebellion, but also common grace. Calvin had a doctrine of common civility. When he talked about the civil magistrate, which is a fairly broad concept in Calvin, he allowed for the civil magistrate to do a great deal of good, to respect law and order. We’re talking about the sixteenth century, but Calvin allowed that the civil magistrate could uphold that which is good and punish that which is evil and have at least a sense of … View Resource

  • How should Christians relate to the law of Moses? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: That’s a tricky question because Mosaic law is usually divided into at least three different segments. There is the moral law, which involves the Ten Commandments and expositions of the Ten Commandments. Then there is this civil law, which is the law that was peculiar to the state of Israel as a theocracy. And then there’s the ceremonial law, which was done away with or fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The first is the only one that’s binding upon the consciences of Christians, and that is the moral law. The Westminster Confession, which is my own confession, speaks of the … View Resource

  • What does it mean to be “in Christ”? Question and Answer

    Acts 9:4

    LAWSON: To be in Christ, first of all, means that we have a saving relationship with Christ and are brought into union and communion with Him in such a way that, as we are in Christ, what is true of Christ becomes true of us. His grace and His resources become our experience and possession. When you read Ephesians 1–2, that phrase “in Him” or “in Christ” is repeated over and over. It says, “We were chosen in Christ,” and, “We were predestined in Christ.” It goes all the way down to the Holy Spirit—we are sealed by the Spirit … View Resource

  • Was the Lord’s Day Sabbath revoked by Jesus? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: “No” would be my answer. In Sinclair Ferguson’s fairly recent book on sanctification, I believe there is an appendix on this very issue, which I would certainly recommend. I think that Jesus put His imprimatur on the principle of one day in seven. We still believe in the operating force of ten commandments and not nine commandments. If there is no Sabbath at all, and there is just a utilitarian need to meet—but it doesn’t really matter when, or where, or how—then the conclusion is that we really only have nine commandments, not ten. There is nothing in the … View Resource

  • What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Question and Answer

    Matthew 12:31-32

    THOMAS: Interestingly enough, we talked a little bit about this today in a course that I was teaching here for Ligonier. We talked about the change of view that has taken place since the Puritan period in the seventeenth century. At that time, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was a definite sin. It was a definite, existential moment in a person’s life when they said “No” to the gospel or “No” to the work of the Holy Spirit. I was pointing out that Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I think in Preaching and Preachers, said that this was what troubled his congregation … View Resource

  • Does the incarnation mean that God has changed in space and time from that point on? If not, why and how do we respond to the question? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: The first part is very easy—He certainly does not change. In His being, He is immutable. In the incarnation, He took upon Himself a human nature. He didn’t stop being God and become a human being. To affirm He did is to fall into the old kenotic heresy that was popular in the nineteenth century, which taught that God gave up certain attributes in order to become incarnate. You hear this kind of thing among evangelicals all the time: “God, in order to understand what sin and suffering are, had to become a man and change His nature to … View Resource

  • Can a saved person be lost? Question and Answer

    No, but someone who thinks they are saved can be lost, which is different, and someone that you think might be saved can be lost. The perseverance of the saints, or the perseverance of God’s elect, actually became the definitive doctrine of the seventeenth century. It certainly became the pivotal doctrine of the post-Reformation period. I remember just how startling that was the first time I read The Pilgrim’s Progress. When you’re on the final page of Bunyan’s book, you’ve crossed the river, and then all of a sudden the camera lens goes to this hole in the side of … View Resource

  • What does it mean that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)? Question and Answer

    Acts 2:38

    SPROUL: Baptism is a sign, and it signifies the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think that it automatically carries forgiveness of sins with it, but it’s a central sign of what our salvation is. We’re being washed with water, and the significance of that sign is cleansing, specifically cleansing from sin. There is a dispute about the efficacy of the sacrament; namely whether it happens ex opere operato, which is simply by the exercise of the sacrament, or whether it needs to be accompanied by faith for its efficacy. I would take the latter position. THOMAS: It’s important to emphasize … View Resource

  • When we pray, should we only pray to the Father? Question and Answer

    No, although there is a general rule of thumb that we pray to the Father through the intercession of the Lord Jesus and by the help and strength of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, generally speaking, should be Trinitarian. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). It is, however, appropriate on occasion and in certain circumstances to pray directly to Jesus or to pray directly to the Holy Spirit, realizing some of the aspects that are peculiar to each person of the Trinity. But on Sunday morning in a pastoral prayer, I want … View Resource

  • How can I discern the will of God? Question and Answer

    You can read Sinclair Ferguson’s book on that topic, Discovering God’s Will. It’s an interesting fact that problems relating to finding out God’s will is a very twentieth and twenty-first-century problem. If you went back into the seventeenth or the sixteenth century and looked at their sermons and books, they were not preoccupied with knowing God’s will. The answer to those in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was that once you knew and understood Scripture, you would be able to discover 99% of the answers to the question, “What does God want me to do here?” This is because the … View Resource

  • Is there a role for entertainment in the church? Question and Answer

    I’m a Presbyterian, and I think that Presbyterians find it difficult to have fun. I do believe that God intends for us to have fun, though I’m not sure that’s in church, and most definitely not in an act of worship. Worship should be worship, and worship should be reverent and solemn. It should not be about entertaining ourselves, but giving praise to God. As Christians, however, we gather together, and there is a theology of fun. There’s a wonderful chapter in a book that Jim Packer once wrote on “eudaimonism,” from the Greek for “pleasure.” There is a proper … View Resource

  • What does it mean in Romans 1 that God gave people up to a reprobate mind? Question and Answer

    Romans 1:28

    THOMAS: This is the first chapter of Romans, and it extends after the introductory prologue that is, in some ways, a summary of the whole book of Romans. Paul begins his exposition of sin, which will lead all the way through to the middle of the third chapter. He talks about sin both in Jews and Gentiles so that none is without excuse. As a result of Adam’s fall and rebellion, he lost his native ability to will that which is good. “Giving over to a reprobate mind” means that God consigns mankind to live in a condition that can … View Resource

  • What is a biblical church? Question and Answer

    If you were in the patristic era, you would say that “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” would be some of the marks of a true biblical church. If you were in the Reformation, you would add to that the faithful preaching of the Scriptures, the right administration of sacraments, and the exercise of biblical church discipline. This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Derek Thomas and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org … View Resource