Mailbag Page 9

Did Jesus really die?

Is it FAIR for God to forgive the rapist of a 3-year-old child?

Evolution -- are Christians ducking the issue?

Does a child of God really have two natures?

Anonymous writes: Was Jesus really dead when they buried Him? Why did Jesus remain dead for three days after He was crucified? Why wasn't He resurrected immediately?
But when they (the Roman soldiers) came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19.33-34, NKJ)

When the Roman soldier rammed a spear into the Lord's side (most likely into His heart), the Bible records the outflow as being "blood and water."

If Jesus had been alive when His side was pierced, there would have been NO water. Instead, if the Lord had been alive, the flow would have been spouts of pure blood, pumping out with every beat of His heart.

The outflow of blood AND water showed that the blood's red cells and its watery serum had already separated, indicating extensive clotting of blood in the Lord's main arteries. This constitutes medical proof-positive that Jesus was unquestionably dead before they took Him down from the cross.

As to why Jesus was not resurrected until after three days...

  • In Bible times it was often difficult to determine whether a person was truly dead, as opposed to being unconscious or in a coma.
  • In those days, people believed that if a person had been "dead" for three days or longer, then that person was TRULY dead.
  • Therefore, God waited for three days so that there would be no factual basis for doubting that Jesus was truly dead, and not just in a swoon.
  • This was done so that people are without excuse if they deny the miraculous reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Belief in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is essential for our salvation (Romans 10.9-10). God does not expect us to believe based on "blind faith." Accordingly, God's Bible offers many infallible proofs of the Lord's death and resurrection. I have named just a few. If you want more, I commend you to read the Bible's New Testament. I also recommend the book, "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell.

Rebecca writes: I have a few questions regarding heaven. They may be a little broader than just heaven, but I think that it will link together.

Today I received a prayer request for a little girl in Indiana. She is three years old and was raped by her step-father. I felt such a burden for this small child as I have two young daughters myself.

Now my question is, if the man who did this repents and becomes a Christian, does that still make him eligible for the kingdom of heaven? I trust in the Lord to know his heart and I trust in the forgiveness of sins but for someone to do this to a child -- well it literally makes my heart hurt.

I was also wondering that if this man and others who have committed similar crimes, such as murder, are in heaven, will we know them as we know them now? I have discussed this with my mother and she describes heaven to me as a place where we don't know each other as we know them now. She said that the relationships that we know with our husbands or wives or our children won't be the same in heaven. That we will recognize and know each other as a family but not the same as our earthly family.

I guess that I am just confused on what the promise of heaven is and what it will be like. Will we just start over with everything new, with no mistakes and no questions?

(Don't miss the special link at the end of this topic - added 11/7/99)

A) As I understand your question, you are asking if a man who raped his 3-year-old step daughter could possibly be forgiven by God and, upon his death, be received into heaven. It is a difficult and heart rending question. I will answer it as best I can.

B) In Bible times there was a Jewish man who participated in the brutal murder of a Christian man named Stephen. Stephen was slaughtered by being stoned to death -- a most vicious and horrible way to die.

B1) This Jewish man not only participated in the murder of Stephen, but he also persecuted Christians throughout all of Israel.

  • This Jewish man caused Christians to be stripped of their possessions, thrown into prison, and even executed for no other reason than their belief in Jesus Christ.
  • Children were left without fathers because of this Jewish man.
  • In those days, there was no welfare system. Children in a fatherless family were most often doomed to a life of poverty, begging, and even starvation. Yet this Jewish man gladly brought this sad fate upon many Christian families.

B2) The stepfather you described in your message did great harm to a few people. The Jewish man I have just described brought agony and suffering to hundreds of people. Yet God saw fit to save this terrible Jewish man.

  • In fact, God later used this Jewish man to write most of the books of the Bible's New Testament.
  • The Jewish man was the Apostle Paul, previously known as Saul of Tarsus.
  • The facts I have given about Paul are based in part on Acts 7.55-60, 1 Corinthians 15.9, Philippians 3.6.

C) King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and caused the murder of Bathsheba's husband. Yet God forgave him. David wrote most of the book of Psalms.

D) Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Romans in collecting taxes from Jewish people. Tax collectors stole money from their own people. They were informers. They caused great suffering and hardship. Yet God saved Matthew and used him to write the book of Matthew.

E) Moses, too, was a murderer. Yet God forgave Moses, used him to lead the Jews to freedom from slavery, and used him to write the first five books of the Bible.

F) Is it "fair" for God to forgive sinners? Yes, it is fair because God requires that full punishment be exacted for ALL sins. This punishment is as follows...

F1) God ordains human laws and government to deal with the temporal punishment of crimes such as murder, rape, and thievery.

  • As set forth in God's book of Deuteronomy, God requires human governments to imprison criminals and, in extreme cases, to exact the death penalty.
  • If human law enforcement agencies fail to adequately deal with criminals, that is our fault, not God's.

F2) God has designed the human body in such a way that when we commit sins, there is a penalty imposed upon our health and life span. Sins cause ulcers, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, and insanity.

F3) However, it was upon God's own Son that God imposed the most severe penalty for our sins.

  • God placed all our sins upon Jesus. Then God exacted the full punishment for those sins upon Jesus.
  • In punishment for the sins of the human race, Jesus was literally beaten to a pulp, until His face was no longer recognizable. The Lord's beard was ripped from His face, taking great globs of flesh with it. He was nailed -- NAILED! -- to a cross and hung there, filled with pain, barely able to breath.
  • Thus did Jesus suffer, and more, to atone for the crimes and sins of the human race.

G) If a person receives Jesus as Savior, then God forgives that person, and that person WILL go to heaven.

  • However, if that person was put in prison for his or her crimes, that person will remain in prison, even though forgiven by God.
  • If that person is on death row because of his or her crimes, that person will still be put to death, even though forgiven by God.
  • If that person's body and spirit bears the wounds and scars of his or her sins, those wounds and scars will remain and continue to cause pain, even though that person is forgiven by God.

H) Under God's laws, the penalty for sin (ANY sin) is death. This death penalty was FULLY paid by the blood, suffering, and death of Jesus, who stood trial before God in our place. Accordingly, God is just to forgive ANYONE, because the penalty of sin has been fully paid.

* * * * * * *

Click Here for further counsel and comfort from a Christian brother with first-hand experience in this matter.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children. (Psalm 103.8-17, NKJ)

* * * * *

  • Then He (God) who sat on the throne (in Heaven) said, "Behold, I make all things new.'' And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.'' (Rev 21.5, NKJ)
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor 5.17, NKJ)

J) A person who receives Jesus as Savior is changed on the inside. That person's heart and spirit become instantly new. This fact is clearly stated in Second Corinthians 5.17 and many other verses.

  • It is a fact that God can take even the foulest cast-off of the human race and turn that person into the kindest, gentlest, most loving person you ever met. God performs this miracle every day. God performed this miracle on me.
  • Why did God save me? I don't know. How was God able to change me from a total scum bag into a loving husband and father? Again, I don't know. I just know He did it! And I will NEVER cease to remember and praise His amazing grace toward such a sinner as I.

K) You also asked if people will recognize each other in heaven. The answer appears to be "Yes." After their deaths, Moses and Elijah came down to earth and met with Jesus. Peter and other disciples were present at the meeting. They immediately recognized both Moses and Elijah (Mt 17.1-3).

L) I have tried hard to answer your questions but I am quite sure that I have not done a perfect job. Far from it. God's mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and grace are simply BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING! But one day, in heaven, you WILL understand it all.

May God richly bless you and grant you the power to forgive others as He has forgiven you.

Professor writes: Why don't Christians offer scientific proof that evolution is not true? The answer is obvious -- they can't!

Oh yes they can -- and they have! Not only Christians, but many NON-Christians have fully disproved the viability of the theory of evolution. There are numerous books that totally destroy the foundational premises of evolution.

  • One reason you may be unaware of such books is that librarians file books that ADVOCATE evolutionary theory under such categories as "Science" and "Biology."
  • On the other hand, books that DISPROVE evolution are filed under "Religion," regardless of the fact that many of these books are based on sound scientific methodology.
  • More than that, schools and libraries simply do not buy and make available those books that offer evidence contrary to evolutionary beliefs. This is no more than BLATANT CENSORSHIP.

I recommend you read some of the books written by such authors as Doctors Hugh Ross, Henry Morris, and Duane Gish.

Because of the censorship mentioned above, you will probably have to visit a Christian book store in order to locate these books. But never mind the location -- these books are either "scientifically sound," or not. I challenge you to thumb through them and decide for yourself.

"Concerned explorer" writes: ) Does a child of God really have two natures? If YES, since we are saints, new creatures, how can evil and holiness occupy the same body? If NO, why do we still sin?

Dear concerned explorer,

A) My answers to your questions are given below. All Bible quotations are from the New King James.

B) Jesus atoned for ALL your sins (past, present, AND FUTURE) when He suffered and died on the cross. (Rom 3.23-26, 1 Pet 1.18-21, 2 Cor 5.21).

C) Therefore, you are "legally entitled" to go to heaven. That is, you are justified (Rom 5.1), and free of all condemnation for your past, present, and future sins (Rom 8.1)

D) Accordingly,
you are now in the position of legally "owning" two new homes...

  • One of the two homes you now own is heaven. (Eph 2.6, Philippians 3.20)
  • The second of the two homes you now own is a glorified body. Your glorified body will be a body like that of Jesus Himself (Rom 8.29, 2 Cor 3.18, Col 3.10, Philippians 3.21, 1 John 3.2). Accordingly, your glorified body will be FREE from all sin and FREE from any desire or tendency to commit sin.

E) Although you have the title deed (Eph 1.13-14) to both of your new homes, you can't live in either of them until after your sojourn on earth is finished.

  • Since you can't yet go to the perfect home of your glorified body, your spirit must continue to reside in the "house" of your present body.
  • Your present "house" is far from perfect. The roof leaks so badly that the "rain of sin" still gets in. That is, your fleshly body still lusts toward sin. Because of this, it is written...
...we (Christians) ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Rom 8.23b)
F) Thus, you are legal owner of a home in heaven, and of a glorified, SINLESS body. You own these two homes but you won't go to live in them until you die. Theologians call this "positional sanctification."

G) When you were saved, your spirit was "born again" -- placed in union with Christ's Spirit.
Your born again spirit is perfect -- freed from sin. However, your spirit still resides in a body of flesh, and that fleshly body still desires to sin. As it is written...
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Gal 5.17)

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me... O wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom 7.18-20, 7.24)
H) God recognizes that, while you live in your present body with all its lusts to do sin, you will be engaged in a constant struggle to live a holy life. Accordingly, God gives you much guidance as to how you can win this daily struggle. For example...
Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4.22-24)

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin... Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Rom 6.6, 6.11-12)

I) In summary, the answers to your questions are...

Q: Does a child of God really have two natures?
A: Yes - the Bible calls these two natures "the new man" and "the old man." It also calls them "the spirit" and "the flesh."

Q: If YES, since we are saints, new creatures, how can evil and holiness occupy the same body?
A: Your born-again spirit is sinless, but it temporarily resides in a body that lusts toward sin...

But we have this treasure (your born-again spirit) in earthen vessels (your body), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Cor 4.7)
J) To the extent that you allow yourself to heed the lusts of the flesh, you will sin from time to time. However, God has provided a remedy...
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1.8-9)
K) I hope this information meets your need.

May you walk with God in peace and joy!

A visitor disagrees
A visitor named Kay wrote a follow-up message concerning the above topic.
Kay pointed out certain Bible verses that she felt supported a conclusion that a Christian's old nature is crucified and DEAD.

To read Kay's message and our reply, CLICK HERE.






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