You don’t receive prizes if you don’t answer your phone. The prize of salvation is no different.
“Is it fair that God forgives the worst criminals as long as they repent at the very end of life but condemns a good and moral person who lives charitably toward others yet dies an unbeliever?”
Look at it like this:
There was a drawing for a giveaway and there are two winners. You just won one of the prizes. All you have to do is confirm your shipping address to receive your prize. By the way, you’re super fantastic, kind and charitable.
Now there’s also a criminal who also entered the giveaway. He also won. He also has to confirm his shipping address to receive his prize. It’s really an easy address – death row at the worst prison in the world.
As soon as the criminal receives the call, he stays on the line to confirm his shipping address, and it ships to him the same day (they’re using Amazon Prime apparently in this scenario.) Eventually he dies, but he still received his prize because he responded to and answered the call. He accepted his prize.
Once you’re informed that you won your prize, you hung up on the caller. They’ve called you back daily and you keep letting it go to voicemail because you’re not sure if the prize suits you and other days you just don’t care. One day, those calls will stop and it will be too late to claim your prize.
When the daily calls stop after years of ignoring the calls, texts and voicemails, you have the audacity to say the one who is trying to contact you is so unfair. Why? Because a criminal got a prize and you didn’t – nevermind he accepted his prize immediately and you ignored the daily calls to accept your gift, so it was left unclaimed when you suddenly died.
The prize of salvation has nothing to do with how good you are and 100% has to do with if you’re willing to answer the call and trust the one who calls you to receive your prize.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
“But… but… that’s not fair! God is giving dead babies an unfair advantage over me!”
I can only imagine the eye-rolling going on in Heaven when God hears some of the absurd things that come from mens’ hearts in their ignorance.
I’ve noticed a strange trend – skeptics arguing not that God doesn’t exist, but that God is mean and unfair, one who doles out punishments and blessings on a whim. Interesting how a God who supposedly doesn’t exist is just a monster, supposedly, for letting too many dead babies into Heaven while we’re having to rep Jesus in enemy territory here on Earth. God is apparently the God of raw deals now.
This attitude is nothing new, and in fact, Jesus was dealing with people’s jealous foolery when He walked the earth. So let’s get in to today’s post:
“Question for Christians: why do babies that die at birth get to enjoy heaven for eternity without having to do anything while the rest of us have to prove our worthiness for almost 100 years? It doesn’t sound to me like God treats everyone equally.”
Nobody is worthy of being in God’s presence. Ever.
“10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12
2. You don’t earn your salvation.
“8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
But now onto the heart of your question, which is summed up as such:
“Why do dead babies get to kick back with God while I’m busting my back in the daily grind of life?”
You reason that these dead babies have a God-given unfair advantage over you. Morbid, but the Bible actually addressed this line of human reasoning.
You see, some believed that it was unfair that while they may have had to live that Christian life and deal with all the drama of not being apart of the pagan or secular or Jewish crowd, it was straight NONSENSE that other people could convert and be saved up unto the point of their last breath. Basically, these Christians thought, “How dare those lazy tricks get to go to Heaven too! Can’t God see how much more I’ve toiled for Him? They’re not worthy of God like I am.”
Per usual, rather than being after God’s own heart, man points to his works to justify himself before God, rather than pointing to the work of the cross.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
“21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23
So anyway, back to Jesus. Jesus addressed these people, these so-called Christians, who were beside themselves with jealous rage that… other people were getting to spend eternity with God. Yeah. Let that sink in – Christians are mad that other people aren’t going to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Jesus responded to this attitude with a parable. We’ll jump into the middle of this parable for time’s sake:
“6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” –Matthew 20:6-16
We serve a generous God. God absolutely treats you equal in that if you had died a baby, you too would have immediately gone to Heaven. Your accusation against God is akin to this:
Let’s say you were gifted a pair of shoes and another person also receives the exact same style, brand and size shoes that you were given. You wear your shoes and they become worn from years of daily use.
Now the other person returns the shoes to exchange them for a different, better pair within the store’s window of time for returns and exchanges, with the gift receipt.
Years later, when it comes time for new shoes, you can’t return or exchange your worn out shoes. The return and exchange period ended years ago for your shoes. You accuse the store of giving the other customer unfair, preferential treatment because they were able to exchange their shoes and you can’t.
Now that your return and exchange period has passed and you’re at the point where it would cost you to receive new, better shoes, you are angry. Nevermind that if you had exchanged your shoes during that window of time, you would have also received the better pair.
Those shoes are our bodies and the better pair are our glorified bodies. Both are a gift to you. If you haven’t reached the age of accountability at the time of your death, you are within the return and exchange period, so to speak. God applies this equally – it’s not as if babies born of only Christian parents go to heaven – all babies go to Heaven.
God has given you the gift of life and you have received what was promised to you. Don’t falsely accuse God of favortism for His goodness and generosity towards… dead babies.
This past weekend I received a “Be Nice, Be Respectful” violation for “hate speech” on Quora.com. My appeal was rejected and my account may be terminated. I am in the process of backing up all of my work, and I will be reposting many of my writings here on my website in the coming months.
Here is what I wrote, to this prompt, which Quora has marked as “hate speech:”
From a Christian, non-LGBTQ perspective, what’s the best way for Christians to help LGBTQ people come to repentance?
“First let’s see what the Bible says, specifically the New Testament:
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
Okay cool. We’re supposed to judge correctly!
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Thatbasically describes everyone in this present age. Now that we know what we’re dealing with (unrepentant people) and what we’re supposed to do (judge rightly) let’s move forward.
“9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”– 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
Wow, so we see that the Bible is very clear! Christians aren’t to go around being the morality police to non-Christians. (This does not mean that Christians can’t have a say on what legally affects Christian taxpayers or what they’re forced to subject their own children to.) BUT Christians have an obligation to police so-called Christians who are engaging in behavior that God calls “evil.” If they are unrepentant, the Bible says to remove them from the congregation!
But what if they were born this way?! Well of course! We were all born with a sin nature!
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Now we see that homosexuality is considered a sin that shows that you are not God’s child, one who will inherit God’s kingdom. We see that some Christians formerly practiced such acts, but after becoming Christians, they no longer engaged in such acts.
“29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” – Matthew 5:29-30
Being born any type of way does not excuse sin. Jesus Himself directs people to maim themselves if that’s what it takes to prevent yourself from engaging in sexual sin.
What is the best thing you can do to share the gospel with someone? Simply share the gospel with them! People may have traumatic backgrounds, so lead with God’s love, without condoning their sin. Share the gospel how you would with a heterosexual person.
“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” – Romans 1:18-32
We see that people already know God and they choose to worship anything but Him. Homosexuality is something that God sees as a sign of people who are wicked and willfully disobedient to His laws. You must make sure that you do not give approval to such acts while sharing the message of God’s love.
Even when Jesus spoke to sexually immoral people, he ended His conversation with a command.
“14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’”–John 5:14
“11 She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’”–John 8:11
I didn’t grow up like many of my non-religious peers. When I was small, my dad would drive me to visit his grandmother, my great-grandmother. Her small apartment was filled with the sounds of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) As she asked us for the 10th time if we’d like something to drink, due to her dementia, she’d ask my dad when we would be going to Israel. I was too young to remember her before her dementia, but she always made a point to bring it up. Apparently, in spite of her ailments, her trip to Jerusalem had made a lasting impact on her.
I loved to spend time with my grandparents, and my grandma was a fun grandma, the kind who loved to stay up until 2 AM watching TV and playing logic puzzles (she still does.) As the clock ticked later into the night, infomercials would begin to play. Jan Crouch, the founder of TBN, is burned into my mind. Jan, with her giant pink wig, extreme false lashes, would cry on camera, pleading for viewers to donate money to bring some poor Jewish Russian babushka to Israel so that she could be reunited with her husband and die in peace in the Holy Land.
Strangely enough, despite financial plea after financial plea to “Stand with Israel,” whether from Perry Stone, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, Joseph Prince, or any other prominent TV pastor, nobody ever mentioned sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the Jewish people of Israel. Growing up, this apparent disconnect never registered in my mind.
When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, my Zionism grew. In high school I’d write about Israeli politics, and how US foreign policy should favor Israel. I was a vocal supporter of Israel over everyone. As I got older, I continued to write, with some of my writings being translated into Hebrew, and calls and emails from Jewish professors and lobbyist groups came my way. Supporting Israel was integral to who I was. Being a Zionist was just a logical part of being a Christian, or so I thought.
In August 2010, my world came crashing down. My dad, who had also been a Zionist, showed me videos of Orthodox Jews assaulting Israeli Christians. Spitting, hitting, pipe bombs – why were these Jewish men trying to kill Christian women and children? Didn’t they know that we love them?! I had been completely ignorant of the Israeli government’s discrimination against Israeli Christians. Yes, the Israeli government loves foreign Christian tourists’ money, but it’s the Christian residents of Israel that were bearing discrimination, harassment and dwindling protection under the law. I had had no idea this sort of treatment would be overlooked by the Israeli government.
Churches never speak about the harassment Israeli Christians face. Not only that, many churches partner with pro-Israel groups that are vocally opposed to Jewish outreach and evangelism by Christians. While our Israeli Christian brothers and sisters bear persecution, not too dissimilar of the same persecutions faced by the apostles and Paul, the US churches stay silent. Unfortunately, big name pastors have traded the truth of the gospel for the chance to make money as a covert lobbyist for a secular government. What better way for a foreign, secular government to raise funds than to prey on religious and charitable people by telling them, in their own churches, that they must send money, or else they’ll face the wrath of their God? It’s a brilliant marketing scheme, but it’s completely unscriptural.
If you’d like to find out how Genesis 12:3 has been used to dupe Christians into supporting the secular government of Israel, please watch this episode of Crack Your Bible:
Christians, first and foremost, need to wake up. God’s promises to Abraham, then Abram, concerning blessing those who blessed him, and cursing those who dishonored him, were for those who belong to Christ only. There has never been two separate covenants, one between the Jewish people and one for Christians. God’s covenant with Abraham has always been between Him and those who put their faith in Him. Do those who reject Jesus have faith in the God of Abraham? No! Prior to Jesus’ ministry on earth, there were those born of Abraham who rejected God, and there were those born of Abraham who put their faith in God’s promises. It’s the second group who God counted as His children. This hasn’t changed.
It’s time Christians read their Bibles and closed their wallets to lobbyist groups and their church partners who are opposed to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of Israel. The best way to support Israel is to stand with our Israeli Christian brothers and sisters and support their ministries, and to share the gospel with your Jewish friends and neighbors. The Jewish people and Israel don’t need your money. They need Jesus.
When going to fight against your enemy, is it better to fight on your own, or is it better to have one person who fights alongside you against your mutual enemy? Obviously, there is strength in numbers!
When it comes to fighting against Satan, Christians have gone into battle with a self-imposed handicap – women are being told that the Bible says that women are not allowed to teach the Gospel. Armed with the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit and the breastplate of righteousness, godly women are told to stay silent when it comes to the realm of teaching or preaching the gospel.
Like Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Christians are needlessly going into spiritual battle at a disadvantage due to their own lack of knowledge. . Unfortunately, due to a lack of historical knowledge, Christians are wasting precious time trying to follow rules that either never existed or are misapplied to their lives.
Satan, the author of confusion, has people within the church arguing about whether a woman should be allowed to teach even Sunday School, as that would be akin to “having authority over a man.” Many ungodly men are eager to shut down godly women who are on fire for Christ by misquoting 1 Timothy 2:11-15, and 1 Corinthians 14:34–35.
What did the Apostle Paul mean in his letters to both the Church at Corinth and the Church at Ephesus? Is there any way to figure out what Paul truly meant? There is!
Paul didn’t exist in a vacuum; both he and the people that made up both churches lived amongst Greek and Roman pagans, who had their own cultural and religious practices. To understand Paul’s letters, we cannot overlook the historical and cultural context of both the cities of Corinth and Ephesus.
In this three part series, Crack Your Bible is tackling the question, “Can Women Teach (or must they stay silent?)”
Part 1 is an overview of Paul’s teachings and the many women who taught with Paul to spread the gospel all over the Roman Empire.
Part 2 is an in-depth look at the Church at Corinth.
Due to the fact that men and women of all social standings were freely associating, Paul gave special instructions on covering their heads. While men today have zero qualms about wearing hats, Christian women are beginning to wonder if they’ve missed the mark by not covering their heads. Not only that, but unbelievers and new believers were fighting to have the floor when it came to these newly formed church meetings – and Paul had to restore order out of the chaos
Part 3 is an in-depth look at the Church at Ephesus.
Due to the fact that Gnostic and pagan practices from the cult of Artemis were familiar to the new members of the Church at Ephesus, many false doctrines were being preached as if they were the gospel of Jesus Christ. Groups of women were afraid that they were risking their salvation by getting married and having children, while other false teachers were sure of speech, but completely wrong in their doctrine. Paul had to restore order and stop the promotion of doctrines of demons coming out of the Church at Ephesus.
It’s not good for man to be alone! Don’t handicap yourself in this spiritual battle. Armed with this knowledge, Christians can strengthen their witness, stop wasting time and they can become successful against the schemes of the devil.
One of the larger misconceptions about Christianity is, “why would I stop sinning if Jesus has already died for my sins?” Christians unfortunately have a poor track-record explaining the concept of “salvation apart from works” vs. “heavenly rewards based on our works.”
While of course Christians don’t want to grieve God by sinning, (Ephesians 4:30) many are unaware that Christians will face judgement before God. This judgement doesn’t concern the ultimate salvation that they have in Jesus’ Christ finished work on the Cross, but it is one where they will give an accounting for the works that they did here on earth before God, and will be rewarded, or have their rewards taken away.
(The following was originally posted on July 14, 2017 on Quora.)
People make this a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
To even be considered a “Christian,” a Christian must “bear good fruit” or produce the works that show that one has truly put their faith in Jesus Christ, rather than give Him lip service only. (Matthew 7:15-20)
While Christians are “saved” by putting their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and as such, accept God’s grace, Christians will also face judgement. Now this judgement is not one concerning salvation, but one where our deeds will be judged. (2 Corinthians 5:9–10) We will be rewarded or our rewards removed, based on our works. We aren’t saved by our works, but we are held accountable and rewarded based on our works at this judgement:
“1 Brothers, I couldn’t talk to you as spiritual people but as worldly people, as mere infants in the Messiah. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you weren’t ready for it. And you’re still not ready! 3 That’s because you are still worldly. As long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, you are worldly and living by human standards, aren’t you? 4 For when one person says, “I follow Paul,” and another person says, “I follow Apollos,” you’re following your own human nature, aren’t you?
5 Who is Apollos, anyhow? Or who is Paul? They’re merely servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord gave to each of us his task. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept everything growing. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant, but God, who keeps everything growing, is the one who matters. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have the same goal, and each will receive a reward for his own action. 9 For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God’s building.
10 As an expert builder using the grace that God gave me, I laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. 11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus the Messiah. 12 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s action. 14 If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:1–15
Christians the world over have been threatening their children and grandchildren with punishment if they so much as think about saying “Oh my God!” These Christians couldn’t be more misguided.
“You are not to use my name to deceive, thereby defiling the name of your God. I am the Lord.” -Leviticus 19:12 ISV
Taking the Lord’s name in vain isn’t about using God’s name as a swear word or saying “OMG.” You take the Lord’s name, using His name, in vain, (Leviticus 19:12) when you claim to be His child, grafted into the vine, (Romans 11:11-22) a believer of Christ, but your fruit, (Matthew 7:15-20) your works show that you don’t belong to him.
I take my husband’s name because we are one family. I take God’s name because I am His adopted child. (Ephesians 1:5) If I am not married to my husband, I don’t get to take his name. Likewise, if I’m not God’s child, I don’t get to take His name by calling myself a Christian.
Legally, I could change my last name to pretend that I had a relationship with anyone (for example, if I changed my last name to “Kardashian,”) but I’d be taking that name in vain. I have no relationship with the Kardashians, so I’d be taking the name in vain – clearly using it on false pretenses to increase my standing among other people.
The Pharisees constantly bragged about being Abraham’s seed and the “chosen people” and children of God. (Galatians 3:29) Jesus Himself accused them of taking God’s name in vain as He said they were of their father, the Devil. (John 8)
“You are doing your father’s actions.” They told him, “We’re not illegitimate children. We have one Father, God himself.”
“Jesus told them, ‘If God were your Father, you would’ve loved me, because I came from God and am here. I haven’t come on my own accord, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I’ve said? It’s because you can’t listen to my words. You belong to your father the Devil, and you want to carry out the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and has never stood for truth, since there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies…'” -John 8:41-44 ISV
It is important to note that taking God’s name in vain is a sin, like all sins, that begins in the heart. When a person takes God’s name in vain, he first rejects God in his heart, but verbalizes his approval of and connection with God to bring himself glory.
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is those things that make a person unclean. It is out of the heart that evil thoughts come, as well as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, stealing, false testimony, and slander.” -Matthew 15:18-19 ISV
If you want to honor God and make sure that you’re not taking His name in vain, make sure that your actions, your fruit, your works, testify to the fact that you are God’s child. Don’t honor God with your lips only – make sure your actions show who you really are.
“Then the Lord said: “Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, worship of me has become merely like rules taught by human beings.” – Isaiah 29:13 ISV (referenced in Matthew 15:8)
TL;DR – “Faking my name for personal gain, is taking a name in vain. ”