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Other Means of Specific Revelation

Question:  Do you think God uses means other than men for specific revelation (i.e. angels or stars)?

Answer:  Yes!  Paul’s conversion (see Acts 9) while traveling to Damascus to persecute Christians is a prime example of God using means other than preaching.  In Paul’s case, Jesus did the preaching!  I have had two conversations this week with people who shared stories about people who say that they had dreams or visions of Jesus who made them aware of their sin and their need for Him as their Savior.

I don’t think God uses stars because that would be general revelation.

Is it too late for my sister?

Question:  My sister has heard the Gospel but she claims not to believe due to hurtful comments made by well-meaning Christians.  How long will God pursue her?  I pray God will save her.  Is it too late?

Answer:  No!  As long as she is able to understand, it is never too late.  Keep looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with her.  And keep praying.  One of God’s key roles for you is to intercede for your sister.  We do not know how long God will pursue her, and it isn’t our job to know that.  Our task is to pray!

Can someone come to saving faith through creation?

Question:  Is it possible for someone to come to saving faith in God based only on His creation, without knowledge of Jesus?

Answer:  No.  Scripture is clear that faith comes through Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:14-17 emphasizes this point:  “14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

Romans 1:16 also sheds light on the saving effect of the Gospel:  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

However, I do believe that everyone who is open to God revealing Himself through creation will eventually hear the Gospel.  God will respond to that person’s trust and get the Gospel to him or her some way.  This is the mandate for missions.  Our job is to go to those who see God through creation but don’t know about God sending Jesus.

About Jews Saved Before Christ

Question:  Also, were those not Jewish before Christ saved through the same way, a realization of their spiritual depravity and of their need to be saved from that?

Yes!  In Romans 4:9, Paul, speaking about Abraham says, “We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.”  Abraham came to God by faith just like any believer today comes to God.  Paul reasserts in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”  Hebrews 11:6 echoes this same message, And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Will Jesus Not Return Until Everyone Has Heard the Gospel?

Question:  As a young child I was taught that Jesus would not return until everyone on earth had heard the Gospel.  Is there any truth to this?

Answer:  Yes, there is truth to that.  See Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Jesus has just talked about all kinds of terrible things that will happen, cataclysmic events that will point to the end of time.  (see 24:3-13)  The preaching of the Gospel is the most positive event Jesus talks about.  The Gospel, which is the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection, must be preached in all the world–this doesn’t mean that every person will hear the Gospel–rather that every people group will.

I believe this will ultimately be accomplished through the period known as the Great Tribulation.  Revelation 7 describes those who have come to Christ from every tongue, tribe and nation.  I believe these are those who have come to Christ through the tribulation.

In the meantime, this should greatly motivate us to go and send missionaries to all parts of the world.

Those Who Have Never Heard

Question:  For those who have never heard the Gospel, is it necessary to have the realization of their spiritual depravity and of their need to be saved from that?

Yes.  Before someone can receive Christ, she must recognize her need for him.  Since salvation is by faith through grace, faith means that you trust God to take care of your spiritual depravity and that Jesus did that when He died in your place on the cross for your sins. I am convinced that the only way to realize your spiritual depravity is to hear the Gospel which begins by talking about God’s wrath against sin and God’s answer, namely, Jesus.

Do children have attending angels?

I think Matthew 18:10 gives insight into this question.  Jesus has just compared entrance into the kingdom of heaven to having the attitude of a child.  The child is standing in the middle of the crowd Jesus is teaching (see 18:2).  Then in verse 10, Jesus says: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus’ statement clearly suggests that these children have angels.  We cannot conclude from Jesus’ statement that each child has an angel.  However, we can conclude that angels are watching out for children!  This should come as a great sense of relief for parents and remind them that God is indeed on their side as they raise their little ones.

Do babies grow into adults in heaven?

The Bible does not clearly answer this question.  However 1 John 3:2 sheds some light on what we will be like in heaven:  1 John 3: 2, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”  We will be like Jesus.  Does that mean we will be 33 years old, the age that Jesus was when he died?  Again, who can say?  The greatest news is that we will be like Jesus–and whatever that is, I want!

How do you deal with God’s command to destroy Canaanite children?

I don’t deal easily with it.  It’s hard.  Any parent doesn’t deal easily with a command to kill children.  In light of the sermon on the age of accountability, I believe those children are not yet accountable for their sins, and though God commanded Israel to completely destroy Canaan, the children are with him in heaven.

God’s concern about Canaan and other nations surrounding Israel was connected to his commands to Israel in Exodus 34:15-16, “lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.”  Israel was always, as we are, tempted to leave God and pursue other gods.  If they did not completely eradicate pagan nations, they would eventually pursue those gods.  As a matter of fact, Israel eventually followed the ways of Canaan, even sacrificing their own children to the God Molech.

Completely eradicating Canaan served to protect Israel from them and to protect Canaan from themselves.  While this will always be difficult to understand, it must serve as a staunch reminder of the danger of sin and of how seriously God takes sin, especially the sin of idolatry.

Since we are all God’s children are we all considered innocent in his eyes.

We are all God’s children in the sense that we are created by Him.  However, John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  If we were all innocent, then we must wrestle with a cruel God who would send His Son to die on a cross.  What kind of dad could watch His Son, tied to a whipping post, be beaten 39 times until his insides were visible; watch his boy carry a cross up a hill, fall under the weight of it, and then be nailed to that cross—if everybody will eventually be ok in the end?  What kind of dad would listen as his boy screams from the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” if in the end everybody’s going to be ok anyway?

The condition by which we become children of God in the specific sense is receiving Jesus by faith.  Our faith in Christ gives us the right to be called children of God.