If you’ve ever heard anything about Christianity, you probably have some questions about it. Here are some common questions, and hopefully helpful answers for you to think through. We’d love you to join us at Lights at 7pm on Fridays to keep wrestling with these questions and personally deciding for yourself whether you will follow Jesus as Lord.
How come if there’s evidence for Christianity, the whole world doesn’t believe it?
Jesus told a parable (below) that described the different ways people would respond to the message of Christianity, the message that Jesus is Lord and we need forgiveness for spending our lives rejecting that. The question of truth and belief are slightly different. There is plenty of evidence that Jesus is truly who he claims to be, but at the end of the day people choose to follow Jesus (be Christian) not solely because he is who he says he his, but because they choose to surrender to his Lordship (or rule) over their life. I’ve had conversations with people who have said that they know Jesus is God but don’t want to follow him. And that’s a choice they make. Some people hear the truth and get distracted from it, others are enticed by other things and others struggle to preserve through hardship so give up. At the end of the day being a Christian isn’t so much about “do you believe the truth?” It’s more about “will you follow Jesus as Lord?”
13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satancomes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
Why is there suffering and starving people, how does god let that happen to people he loves?
First off, why is there suffering in the world? This is why: God created the world good and then humans decided they would rule it. From that point, the world broke, or to use Christian language, sin entered the world. No longer were humans trusting their creator, God, so no longer did the world function as it was made to work. As our relationship with God was broken so too creation was broken. The world we live in is a broken version of the good one God created.
Does God see starvation and like it? No he doesn’t. Is he powerful enough to deal with it. Yes he is. So what’s he waiting for? Jesus came into the world to provide a way for humans to get back into a good relationship with God. When Jesus returns again He will bring in a world without suffering and pain (read Rev 21!). So why hasn’t he come back yet? He is giving people time to get back into relationship with him so that when he comes they can be part of his world rather than banished from it (2 Peter 3:9). Another thing is that Jesus empathises with the pain humans feel because he came down to earth as a person and felt it all. Who was out in the desert for 40 days being tempted with no food? Jesus. Who was whipped and stabbed with a sword and nailed up on a cross. Jesus. Who was ridiculed and mocked? Jesus. (check out Hebrews 4:14). He knows what’s it’s like to feel the full weight of a broken world, he loves us so much that he took the full weight of the punishment for sin on the cross and he is bringing in a new creation where that suffering will be not more. Third, even though our physical state matters to Jesus and he shows that in the way he heals, he wants to solve our biggest issue – our spiritual bankruptcy. Oftentimes it has been in the pain of suffering that Christians through the years have been brought toward Jesus.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
How could a murderer be forgiven if he put his trust in Jesus, and someone good still go to hell?
This question raises some huge points about the different impacts of sin today and our definition of good. What is your definition of good? What are the things that make you good? What are the things that make someone bad? Mull over that.
Chances are, the things that came to mind for a ‘good person’ are kindness, giving, loving, caring. And these are good qualities, but can anyone be those things 100% of the time? I know some pretty amazing people, and yet I know that there is no way they are kind, giving, loving and caring in their heart and mind every minute of every day. God’s standards, are far better than ours, while we tend to compare horizontally, “Am I better or worse at being kind than that person next to me?” God compares us to his standard, which is perfect every minute of every day right down to the core (not just appearances). Jesus even said,
“No one is good—except God alone.” Luke 18:19.
Later one of the apostles put it this way,
“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
The second part of that verse is the most freeing, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
We are all short of God’s standards, and yet, no matter how short we can be justified and redeemed by Christ’s death in our place – a gift we don’t deserve yet freely given to us.
But what does that mean for the axe murderer or even hitler, as this person asked? Why do they get off “scott free”? Firstly, no one gets off easily, it is no small deal for the King of the Universe, Jesus Christ, to give up his life for you – he certainly didn’t get off “scott free” though he is the only perfect one.
But it is true that murder and ‘not being loving 100% of the time’ (e.g. thinking someone is stupid) are different.
It’s helpful to note two things:
- All sin is equal in the attitude it comes from and eternal consequence
- But not all sin is equal in consequence today
So the being unloving and murder example:
Both being unloving and murder come from a heart that does not recognise Jesus as Lord
- Being unloving – rejects that God created people to love one another.
- Murder – rejects that God created people and is the only one with the right to take away life.
- They have different consequences today
Being unloving – may mean you have angry thoughts towards someone, but no one really notices.
Murder – means someone’s life who matters to others is taken away, and that person is rightly put in jail
Another way to explain it, is like skyscrapers
The unloving person’s skyscraper is only 1 storey high
The murderers sky scraper is 20 stories high
But god sees them from above, and they’re just squares of cement. He sees that they have equally rejected him and equally offers forgiveness.
There are heaps more questions you could ask and we would love to help you answer, come along on Friday and chat to us about them in person!