Spiritual Questions

Bible Questions and Answers – Does God Have a Body?

“Brother Thurman: God is a Spirit, but doesn’t he have a shape or body parts, such as hands, face, eyes, ears, etc.? Are we not fashioned after Him?  D.W., TX”

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). We can tell from these verses that God is fundamentally different from those He created. He is a spirit and is invisible. The Lord God “alone possess immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1
Timothy 6:16). Obviously, God is not like the creation. After all, God existed before He created anything. That is, before there was matter, God existed. That means He is not made of matter and is not bound by physical limitations as we are.

We are told that God has a face (2 Chronicles 6:42), that He has hands (Isaiah 59:1), that he had a back, because Moses could not look God in the face and live, and instead could only glimpse the Lord’s back (Exodus 33:18-23). However, most of these references are probably using poetic license to try to make an unapproachable deity more approachable. We do the same when we speak of the face of the mountain, or the eyes of big brother, or the hands of industry. None of us really think a mountain has a face or that industry has literal hands or that the government has actual eyes. These are all phrases we use to make the unfathomable more fathomable.

Yes, we are indeed created in God’s image. (more…)

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What does the phrase “Cross the Jordan River” mean to a Christian?

To understand what “crossing the Jordan River” metaphorically means to a Christian you have to first understand what it literally meant to the Jewish people.

God made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would inherit a land given to them by God himself. But before Jacob died, the children of Israel found themselves living far away from that land in Egypt.

Generation after generation passed until the time was right; the time had come for the children of Israel to inherit the distant, but promised, land of Canaan. Add slavery, a handful of plagues, a law given by Moses, and forty years in the wilderness to the equation and you’ll arrive at the book of Joshua and the promised land.

But before Joshua could lead the people into the land flowing with milk and honey, an intimidating river had to be crossed – the flood stage Jordan River to be exact. But by the grace of God the people safely crossed the river; and by faith they received a land that they had only heard of through a promise that had been made so long ago.

As Christians we look back at the moment the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into Canaan’s land as a rite of passage. Once they crossed that river the promise became reality – and reality surpassed expectations.

In the same manner as God’s people of the past, we as Christians, who make up the people of God today, are looking for a distant land of promise we have only heard of. As we travel through the wilderness of life we cling to this land by faith because this “promised land” is an expectation that comes from believing in God. Heaven is its name, and it’s waiting for God’s people (Hebrews 11:16).

But before we enter this “promised land” a rite of passage must be experienced – a “river” has to be crossed; this river is a cold river; this river is a wide river; and this river is an intimidating river to say the least. This “river” is called death.

But by the grace of God, this raging river can be crossed (Hebrews 2:14-15). Because in Jesus, the waters have no choice but to subside since he himself faced the waters, and crossed them, bearing God’s covenant for us upon his own shoulders so we may follow him across on dry ground to inherit the land we have only heard of through a promise made so long ago.

So if you have wondered what “crossing the Jordan River” means to a Christian, now you know. EA

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

Bible Questions and Answers – Holy Spirit or the Word?

“Dear Editors: A preacher claimed that you people at GOSPEL MINUTES do not believe the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian separate and apart from the word of God. Please reply.

– S.G., PA”

If this preacher read our paper carefully, he would not have been so quick to point out what we believe, nor be as wrong in his conclusion. I don’t like that phrase, “Separate and apart from the word,” for it means different things to different people. How about this instead, “Do you believe that the Holy Spirit actually dwells in Christians?” I have no hesitancy in answering with a resounding, “Yes!”

Let me show you the problem with the phrase, “Separate and apart from the word.” If someone asked you, “Do you believe Christ saves people today, separate and apart from the word of God”, how would you answer? If you answer “Yes” that would be a denial of what God said in Romans 1:16, “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” But if you answer “No” that implies that Jesus Christ is not really involved in saving people today. That same basic problem is found with that phrase when used with regard to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. The question comes, “How does the Holy Spirit dwell in Christians?” And the truth is I have yet to find the man who understands how his own spirit dwells in him! So, let’s forget the catchphrase and just look at the Bible.

I firmly believe the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian, for the Bible says so: “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him” (Acts 3:38-39). Compare that with Acts 5:32, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Or, again: “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). These texts show that when people become Christians, God gives them the Holy Spirit. Now add Acts 2:41, “They then that received his word were baptized; and there added (unto them) in that day about three thousand souls.” Notice the order: Only those who believed and repented were baptized, and only those who were baptized received the Holy Spirit. They received the word, they were baptized, they then received the Holy Spirit. Thus, the reception of the word and reception of the Holy Spirit were two different things. (more…)

How Did it Get to That?

The worst of situations have all started with a single decision. At first the decision may seem harmless enough; many even beginning with the best of intentions, but nonetheless the outcome comes out being a miserable one for all the parties involved. Sadly the religious world is no exception.

Many of the manmade traditions in Christianity that are so heavily adhered to today were all started by minor changes that eventually became mainstream without the followers even considering or wondering or realizing or caring how it had gotten to that point. Here are some examples:

Where is the Pope in the scriptures?

What about infant baptism?

How about the practice of praying to or through Mary or other “saints” as mediators?

What about women who serve as elders and preachers?

Where is the authority for instrumental music (including all the rock band wannabes) in the church’s worship of God?

How did the mourner’s bench get the status it has been given?

How did all of these situations get to where they are now? How can something that so many saw as harmless at the beginning turn into something so harmful in the end???

It all happens by not listening to the following words: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Those are not the words of some council or association or any other manmade hierarchy. They are the Holy Spirit inspired words of an apostle of Jesus the Christ of God. When we get this, then we can more easily avoid having to ask, “How did it get to that?” EA

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Is It Just A Coincidence?

Before ascending into Heaven, Jesus told His apostles that the person who believes in the gospel and is baptized will find salvation (Mark 16:16) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

After preaching Jesus as the crucified, buried and risen Savior, Peter told a crowd waiting anxiously to repent of their sins and submit to baptism under the authority of Jesus to find the mercy from God they desperately wanted (Acts 2:37-41) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

During a trip to Damascus, Saul (better known as Paul) witnessed with his own scale covered eyes the validity of the gospel, and was told after three days of praying and fasting to get up and get under the water to wash away his sins (Acts 22:6-16) – is it just a coincidence that baptism is placed before salvation?

How many times does a person have to read about something before they start believing that it is more than a coincidence and actually the will of God?  EA

Click here to watch a video about the truth about baptism.