Mailbag Page 29

How important is Mary to the Christian faith?
Prayer - the Mediator
Doubting God

How important is Mary to the Christian faith?

Mary is extremely important to our faith, because God chose her to be the virgin mother of His only begotten Son, Jesus.

This is the greatest honor that has ever been bestowed on any member of the human race in all the history of the world.
  And the angel came in unto her (Mary), and said, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." Lk 1.28

And Mary brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Lk 2.7

Having said this, there are four Bible facts that warrant further study in subsequent paragraphs. They are as follows...

  • Fact #1 - Mary and Joseph obeyed God's will concerning marital relations
  • Fact #2 - Mary and Joseph obeyed God's will concerning children
  • Fact #3 - Mary recognized her need for salvation
  • Fact #4 - Jesus is the only Mediator

Fact #1 - Mary and Joseph obeyed God's will concerning marital relations
Far from being sinful or "dirty," physical marital relations are ORDAINED by God.

  • Accordingly, sex between husband and wife is pure and holy and altogether righteous.
  • The marriage bed is undefiled!
  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Gen 2.24-25

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband...
Do not deprive one another (
of marital relations) except with consent for a time 1 Cor 7.3, 7.5

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled Heb 13.4a
  • Matthew 1.25 makes it evident that, after Jesus was born, Joseph DID have marital relations with ("know") his wife Mary.
  • This means that the marriage of Joseph and Mary was physically consummated, in full accordance with God's perfect will for husbands and wives.
  (Joseph...) did not know her (have sex with Mary) until she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. Mt 1.25

Fact #2 - Mary and Joseph obeyed God's will concerning children
God ORDAINED that husbands and wives should be fruitful and multiply.

  • In other words, one of God's principle purposes for marriage is to produce CHILDREN, within the nurturing haven of a loving and godly FAMILY.
  And God blessed them (Adam and Eve), saying, "Be fruitful and multiply..." Gen 1.22a

children are a heritage from the LORD. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127.3
  • The fact that Jesus was Mary's "firstborn Son" indicates that Mary did give birth to additional sons later on.
  And she (Mary) brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2.7 (see also Mt 1.25)
  • The verses alongside give ample evidence that Mary bore Joseph several children -- at least four sons, and an unspecified number of daughters.
  • This means that the marriage of Joseph and Mary WAS indeed fruitful, in full accordance with God's perfect will for marriage and family.
  Then one said to Jesus, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You." Mt 12.47

Some people in the synagogue said...) "Is this (Jesus) not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" And they were offended at Him. Mark 6.3 (see also Mt 13.55-56)

For even His (
Christ's) brothers did not believe in Him. John 7.5

These (
apostles) all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1.14

Paul wrote...) But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. Gal 1.19
Fact #3 - Mary recognized her need for salvation
The Bible clearly states that ALL members of the human race are sinners.
  ...there is no one who does not sin 1 Ki 8.46b

all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Rom 3.23

Therefore, just as through one man (
Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned Rom 5.12
  • Scripture gives only one exception to its statement that "ALL have sinned."
  • That one exception is Lord Jesus.
  • Jesus is the ONLY human being who is "without sin."
  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4.14-15 (see also 2 Cor 5.21, 1 Pet 3.18, 1 John 3.3)
Accordingly, Mary confessed her need for "God my Savior."   Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior." Luke 1.46-47
  • Jesus was and is "God my Savior" -- not only for Mary, but for WHOSOEVER believes on His name.
  • There is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved!
  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ Titus 2.13

Nor is there salvation in any other (
than Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4.12

Fact #4 - Jesus is the only Mediator (prayer)
The Bible states that Jesus is the ONLY Mediator between God and the human race.

  • As Mediator, Jesus speaks directly to God on behalf of all who believe on His name.
  • Accordingly, Jesus is the only Mediator, not only for Mary, but for ALL of us.
  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time 2 Tim 2.5-6

Accordingly, our prayers should be addressed ONLY to God the Father, and ONLY in the name of Jesus, because...

  • Jesus commanded us to do so
  (Jesus commanded...) In this manner, therefore, pray: "Our Father in heaven..." Mt 6.9a

Jesus said...) And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14.13
  • Jesus is our High Priest
  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Heb 4.14
  • Jesus is our Advocate
  My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2.1
  • Jesus is our Intercessor
  Therefore Jesus is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Heb 7.25
  • Jesus is our only Mediator. Why? Because there is NO other human who lived a sinless life. There is NONE other who gave Himself a ransom by dying for our sins. NO OTHER NAME!
  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time 2 Tim 2.5-6

Doubting God

Glenn writes - I read your section about doubting God on the website, and I must admit that your scenarios are a lot like what I am going through right now. I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

I am a relatively new Christian. Soon after I was saved, I began doubting my salvation. But the Holy Spirit was there to give me comfort and assurance of my salvation (or so I thought).

Then I began witnessing and serving God, and was enjoying the benefits of walking with the Lord.

Then, a short time ago, I saw an article in a secular magazine that was basically trying to say that Christ had not risen from the dead and was simply a normal human
being. Of course, I was outraged at this, but because of some of the things I read in this magazine, I began to have doubts about God. But it really wasn't much, and I soon got over it.

Things worsened when I turned on the TV to the Discovery Channel and saw a program that denied the existence of God, saying it was all in the human imagination.
==>next col
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I soon began having worse doubts about God. For a time, I thought to myself, What if this is really all in my head?

Then I recalled how near I felt to God before this series of events. So I know that God is real, and it's a
strange situation because I know God is there, but at the same time, something is telling me I don't really believe in God, when I know in my heart I do.

When I pray, thoughts pop up in the back of my head, like,
Why are you praying to someone who doesn't really exist?

But I know God does exist.

I heard a preacher once say that if you doubt God's existence, you're not truly saved. So I was wondering if it's possible for me to really be saved and have these doubts?

Bible Bell's reply - Dear Glenn,

I praise God for your salvation.

One way to KNOW you are truly a Christian is when the enemy deems you worthy of attack.

  • Satan seldom attacks unbelievers, for they already are his own.
  • He DOES, however, attack born-again Christians, and that is why he is attacking YOU.
  • News media and pseudo-scientific TV programs are among Satan's favorite weapons.
  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph 6.11-12
You WILL make it through these attacks, and they WILL make you stronger in the long run. That is one reason why God allows them.

The testing of your faith is "weightlifting" for Christians.
  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Jam 1.2-3
God has blessed you with many resources whereby you may withstand attacks on your faith. Listed below are just five examples...    
  • #1 - The Holy Spirit who dwells in you
  God has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Cor 1.22
  • #2 - God's Word, that was written for you
  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5.13
  • #3 - Your fervent prayers and personal fellowship with God
  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philipp 4.6-7
  • #4 - Fellowship with your brothers & sisters in Christ
  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another Heb 10.25a

...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Eph 5.19-21
  • #5 - Your Pastor, who is called by God to teach you, encourage you , counsel you, and GUARD you
  (God's instructions to pastors...)

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, and patient
2 Tim 2.24

Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called science 1 Tim 6.20
As to ANYONE who says that doubting is evidence that you are not saved, I can only say that they are being extremely arrogant and do NOT know their Bible.

As you journey through this experience, know that you will come out of it a better, stronger Christian. What is more, God will be able to use you, because of what you learn and experience, in ministering to others who struggle.

So Praise God that He has chosen you to undergo preparation for a future and wonderful ministry to those you will someday meet who are, like yourself at the moment, wrestling against doubt and the fiery arrows of Satan.

In closing, Bible Bell recommends you read the following books by God's people -- people who have been through what you are now enduring...

These books can be obtained at...

1) Disappointment with God By: Philip Yancey
Vendor: Zondervan Corp.
Publication Date: 1992
ISBN: 0310517818
CBD Stock Number: WW51781
Retail Price: $12.99
CBD Price: $9.99
You Save $3.00 (23%)
Description: Is God listening to me? Can he be trusted? Does he even exist? How many times have you asked yourself these same questions? How many times has God disappointed you or someone you know? Yancey tackles the crisis of faith caused by a God who doesn't always do what we think he's supposed to do. Working from real-life situations, Yancey returns to Scripture again and again for answers to unanswerable questions. 272 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

2) Dealing with Doubt: When the Light Goes Out By: Winkie Pratney
Vendor: Baker / Revell
ISBN: 0800786505
CBD Stock Number: WW0786505
Retail Price: $5.99
CBD Price: $4.99
Description: So often doubts will lead only to spiritual stagnation and agonizing frustration. However, Winkie Pratney reveals that doubt should be regarded as "the essential factor in a deep and thorough Christian experience." Using Ezekiel 47, Pratney examines the "passages" of spiritual growth to show how God works through doubt or, in his words, periods of "divine darkness." Dealing with Doubt was formerly published in 1989 under the title, The Thomas Factor.

3) Many Infallible Proofs By Henry Morris
Vendor: New Leaf Press (master Books)
ISBN: 0890510059
CBD Stock Number: WW10059
Retail Price: $11.95
CBD Price: $8.95
Description: Christianity is the only religion in the world founded on historical evidence. In this compelling book, they show you "many infallible proofs" that will give you renewed confidence in your faith. Concrete facts like God's creation don't lie---they only point to the Truth. 381 pages, softcover from Master Books.

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