On the topics of tongues, salvation, and grace

Many know that I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and last week I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided.  This question really spoke to me as a challenge to ensure that God’s truth is given to others who desperately need it.  There seems to be so much division in the church about “how to worship” that we actually forget to actually spend time in worship and fix our eyes on Jesus!  God bless you as you continue to study His Word!  

Question:

? is…. why do the assembly of Gods and other pentecostals believe that baptism in the holy spirit is a seperate event from salvation and it is evident by speaking in tongues?? My mother is a member of the assembly of God and says she has spoken in tounges… She is a fine christian, saved by grace, just like me.. why has she and not me?? which makes me ask, they also believe in lost salvation, I am confused… Paul says he spoke in tounges, why do the Baptist insit that those gifts are no longer available to the modern church??? I have read no scripture that implys that.. can you guys help me with those questions?

Answer:

Thank you for writing to us.  The doctrine’s that different churches practice are all due to the fact that mankind has interpreted God’s Word to mean different things and thus you end up with 500 churches in one city who all practice different things.

The Apostle Paul wrote letters on this very topic to the churches at Ephesus (Ephesians), Galatia (Galatians), and Corinth (Corinthians) to discuss the focus of belief is to be on Christ; and not on our own desires, thoughts, and/or doctrines.  To be saved by grace means just that … Ephesians 2:8-9 is the foundation you stand on and that it is by Christ you are saved, not because of anything you have done.  This is the commonality that must not only bind us together, but be the driving motivation for our churches in worship.

Next, your salvation cannot be lost, period.  John 10:11-18 tells us that we belong to Jesus if we are saved (see Romans 10:9-10) and thus we cannot be “lost”.  When you combine these verses with Hebrews 6:13-20 and Hebrews 10:1-18 it is clear that Jesus died ONCE for your sin for you to be redeemed.  Ask yourself this:  “If a person can lose their salvation, how do they get it back?”  If Jesus’ death on the cross got you saved in the first place – then if you could lose your salvation – how would you get “re-saved”?  Wouldn’t YOU (personally) have to re-crucify Him to pay for your sins again?  It is impossible!!  Jesus died and entered the Heavenly sanctuary ONCE, and ONCE for all sin (see Hebrews 9:24).

Lastly, some (not all) Baptists believe that speaking in tongues is no longer relevant which again, is the differing of interpretations of the Word of God.  If God’s Word is truly alive, and speaking in tongues is clearly outlined in scripture, why would one church believe in it and another not?  This will most likely be a question that we will have answered when we meet face to face with the Lord but one thing must be common:  We (believers) are to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit because it is a gift from God, promised at Pentecost when Jesus ascended into Heaven.

If the Spirit leads you to speak in tongues, then be all means, do so!  Personally, I am Baptist pastor and I believe that tongues are very relevant to the church today (although some in my denomination would disagree with me), provided they are used in the manner declared clearly in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28-30.  (You can read more about this specific view from the Southern Baptist Convention here:  http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/faqs.asp#8)

As I interpret the Scripture on this the facts seem clear:  The gift of speaking in tongues is just that, a gift of AND from God alone.  It is important to remember that we do not all possess all gifts (plural), but we all have the same Spirit (singular).  Therefore, if the gift is bestowed on a certain person do NOT be envious, but rejoice for this is a gift from the Lord.

God bless you.  ~ Rev TJ Conwell

 

 

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Can we understand God’s thoughts?

Many know that I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and this morning I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided.  In our attempt to understand the mind of God, we must always remember that we are NOT His equal; and in everything God is the One who reveals things to us, not the other way around.  God bless you as you continue to study His Word!

Question: Hello, Basically my question is actually comprised of a series which essentially look to find purpose in Gods reasoning. Firstly, why would God create Adam and Eve if (Him being omniscient) he knew that they would sin. Secondly, why create Lucifer if he knew that he would rebel against him becoming Satan, and tempt Adam and Eve into sin. Thirdly, why place a forbidden tree in the garden that would be the mechanism by which Mans sin would occur. Fourthly, having looked for answers, on your website, the answer that I got basically claimed that everything which happened is happening and will happen, is such in order that Gods plan be made manifest, and that everything that happens occurs in order to proclaim Glory to God. Ultimately, tieing all these questions into one, why does Mans initial sinning and eventual salvation have to be the root by which Gods Glory is expressed. I know that there are some things that are meant to be known by man and that some things are meant to be only kn own by God, but I really would like a reasonable answer or something that comes close to it. I have read that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men, but everything regarding that happened during the Fall, does not seem very logical.

Answer:  Thank you for writing to us.  Your question is one that has been asked by all believers, but you have almost given away the thought process to answering it in your final sentence.  You said, “but everything regarding that happened during the Fall, does not seem very logical.”; which in essence is the key to everything.

We (humans including you and I) cannot try to understand the mind of the Lord by using human logic or human reasoning.  This is where we try to put ourselves on the same level as God, which is not only sin (thinking we are God’s equals), but also means that we must understand the reasoning of our Creator just because we have a brain.  Two specific passages come to mind in this thought where God directly corrects mankind for thinking we are His equal:  The first is Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”; and the second is found in the book of Job, chapters 38-39, where Job questions God with the same approach and receives a complete rebuke (practically a smackdown) for doing so.

However, allow me to address the main question you have asked which ties all of this together.  You said, “Ultimately, tieing all these questions into one, why does Mans initial sinning and eventual salvation have to be the root by which Gods Glory is expressed.”

The expression of the Glory of God through all this is found in multiple instances throughout Scripture; with one focus: to reveal the Messiah, or the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ.  God was never caught off guard by man’s actions, nor was He caught surprised by our sin, nor was He shocked by Satan’s reaction/action in the Garden of Eden.  Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”, which is a direct tie-into Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over …”.  When God spoke these words in Genesis 1, He was talking to Jesus!!  He was not talking to the angels, nor was He talking to Himself, but to the very Son whom He would send to redeem His creation back to Himself.  This is why Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

It was always God’s intention, by completely understanding the frailty and sin of man, to provide a way to redeem His creation back to Himself in the only way possible; through the shedding of a perfect sacrifice’s blood.  Throughout the Old Testament we see the importance of the blood sacrifice for the forgiving of sins; but the sacrifice that redeemed all of creation was the sinless, spotless offering, of Jesus Christ who said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”; demonstrating that He will freely give His life so that we (if you read all of John 15) who are called His friends (that is, those who believe and accept Him as Savior), would be redeemed.

I pray that this helps you as you continue to study His Word and look to understand (as best as we can through the revelation of the Holy Spirit), that before we were ever thought of being born, Christ went to the cross for our sins.  God bless you!  ~ Rev TJ Conwell