Questions about Tricky Scriptures in…
The Old Testament
- 2 Samuel 12:18 – Does God kill babies?
- Job 1:8-12 – Is Satan God’s sheepdog?
- Job 2:6 – Did God hand Job over to Satan?
- Isaiah 45:7 – Does the Lord create evil?
The Gospels and Acts
- Matthew 6:20 – What are heavenly treasures?
- Matthew 7:21-23 – What about those who say “Lord, Lord” and are sent away?
- Matthew 11:12 – How does the kingdom of heaven suffer violence?*
- Matthew 16:26 – What does it mean to gain the whole world but forfeit your soul?*
- Matthew 23:14 – What is the “greater condemnation”?
- Matthew 24:22 – What are the shortened days?
- Matthew 26:2 – Why did Jesus celebrate Passover at the Last Supper, while the chief priests waited until the next day?*
- Mark 9:41 – What does a cup of water have to do with geting a reward?*
- Luke 9:23 – What does it mean to take up your cross daily?
- Luke 12:35-48 – How do we read the parable of the beaten servants?
- Luke 22:2 – Why didn’t the religious leaders stone Jesus like the stoned Stephen?*
- Luke 22:31 – What does it mean to say Satan desires to sift you?
- Luke 22:36 – Why did Jesus tell the disciples to pack swords for their trip to Gethsemane?
- John 15:2 – What really happens to unfruitful branches?
- Acts 5:1-11 – Did God kill Ananias and Sapphira?
- Acts 12:21-33 – Who killed Herod?
- Romans 9:13 – Why did God hate Esau and love Jacob?
- Romans 15:13 – What does it mean to refer to God as “the God of hope”?*
- 1 Corinthians 5:5 – What does it mean to deliver someone to Satan?*
- 1 Corinthians 7:27 – Why does the Bible say, “Do not seek a wife?”*
- 1 Corinthians 11:9 – Was woman really created for the sake of the man?*
- 1 Corinthians 15:2 – How do we believe in vain?
- 2 Corinthians 5:11 – What is the terror of the Lord?
- 2 Corinthians 12:7 – What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?*
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17 – What does it mean to be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air?*
- 1 Timothy 1:18 – How do we “fight the good fight”?*
- 1 Timothy 1:19 – How do you shipwreck your faith?
- 1 Timothy 2:6 – Was Jesus’ life offered as a ransom for all or a ransom for many?*
- 2 Timothy 2:15 – How do we accurately handle the word of truth?*
- Does Hebrews 6:4-6 apply to Christians?*
- Hebrews 7:1 – Who was Melchizedek?*
- Hebrews 10:26 – What does it mean to say there is no more sacrifice for sins if we keep sinning?*
- Hebrews 12:6 – Does God really scourge his children?*
- James 2:17 – Faithout with works is dead?*
- James 2:21 – Justified by works?*
- James 3:1 – Why did James warn against becoming a teacher?*
- 1 Peter 4:17 – Why is it “time for judgment to begin with the house of God”?
- 1 John 5:16 – What is the sin leading to death?*
- Revelation 2:1 – Why did Jesus send letters to angels?
- Revelation 2:4 – What does it mean to “forsake your first love”?
- Revelation 2:23 – Did Jesus threaten to kill a woman called Jezebel?*
- Revelation 3:1 – What did Jesus mean when he said, you are alive but dead?*
- Revelation 3:7 – What is the significance of David’s Key?*
- Revelation 3:10 – What is the hour of testing coming on the whole world?*
- Revelation 3:11 – What did Jesus mean when he said, “Hold fast, so that no one will take your crown?”*
- Revelation 3:16 – How do we become lukewarm?
- Revelation 18:21 – What is Babylon the Great?*
* Questions marked with an asterix take you to the Grace Commentary.
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Back to FAQs
Hi, is there a link to this topic of ‘once saved forever saved?’ I am caught with this by some friends who challenge on this. Please explain
Here you go.
Hello Paul, I know you are super busy.. been reading and sharing your articles for quite awhile.. question.. hard to even ask but.. do you get plenty of push back on the Hyper- grace you post? .. I do not mind it. I try to discuss with people quite a bit.. I’m no scholar , I just know my identity in Jesus.. it’s amazing how many Christians have so many different beliefs.. anyway May God truly keep blessing you and your ministry.. Robert ( Bob) S..
Hi Robert, I get pushback on everything – grace, complete forgiveness, unconditional love, righteousness by faith, equality, etc. There are a lot of people out there who are offended by the grace message, and many of them are in the church. There is definitely a cost to preaching grace.
Andy, I think you meant to post your comment under this post. Please see my comment #10 under that post for a detailed response. Thanks.
If you teach the Mosaic law are you going Hell? Very important question. A preacher who is dying now thinks he may be going to Hell because of this.
Nobody goes to hell for preaching the law. We are saved by grace through faith alone. Your works (e.g., preaching) don’t come into it.
Hi! One of my friends told me about GOD being Just. DO you have a post regarding this? It’s one of the things we’re interested in knowing what to say to a person if you let him know about God’s new covenant and he will tell you that GOD is just and will punish sins?
Cara, God is indeed just which is very good news for us because it means He will not and cannot punish us for our sins – Jesus has already paid the price! Before I understood the significance of the cross, I used to ask for mercy instead of justice. But now that I better understand what Christ has done and that I am eternally forgiven and righteous, I thank God for justice!
God’s justice was poured out on Jesus 2,000yrs ago. He took the punishment due to us. We are also not under the LAWNod punishment as Christians who are redeemed and born again by the Spirit of God. There is no double punishment …Christ and us..however…Those.who never accept Jesus as Gods way of salvation will one day experience eternal condemnation…just punishment etc
Paul (the apostle) cautions believers to walk ‘circumspect fully’ because our adversary, the Devil, goes around like a roaring loin seeking who he may devour. Should believers ‘self-evaluate’, looking for sin to bring to Jesus? (not for the reason of getting forgiven or even a feeling of getting closer). In regard to keeping a vigilant eye on sin in your personal life, do you ‘just fogetaboutit’ and trust Jesus to bring to mind what is needful or do you take a more proactive approach? I believe the ‘power of sin’ is still active and looking victims.
Peter exhorts us to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, who is a defeated enemy, fancies himself as a lion on the hunt. There is nothing in the context of 1 Pet 5:8 that suggests “sober and vigilant” should be interpreted as self-examination for Peter is a preacher of the new covenant, not the old. We resist the devil by standing firm in the faith, which means, not agreeing with the devil’s baseless accusations and lies. The devil will point to your sin and say “How dare you call yourself a Christian” but faith will point to the cross and say “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”
Peter and James say almost the same thing – we resist the devil by submitting to God (1 Pet 5:6; Jas 4:7). They both preach true humility, which comes from seeing oneself through the lens of the finished work, and not false humility which comes through self-righteous, self-examination.
I agree that sin is active and destructive and has desires and lusts. But my old life that lived susceptible to sin was crucified with Christ and no longer lives (Gal 2:20). I am a new creation, as are all in Christ. Sin is not part of our vocab which may be why Peter never mentions our sin once, in either of his letters, except in a passing reference to our “past sins” in 2 Pet 1:9.
You may have answered this elsewhere on your site so apologies if I am repeating something here. I am really, really blessed by your site, you know I was praying for God to help me understand stuff especially around 1 John 1:9 which I have been bogged down for years, many people treat that verse as relational/parental forgiveness but that always troubled me, you are either forgiven or you aren’t hey?..anyway back to my point..How do you see the the section of scripture that says Gods discipline is a sign of his love??..The whole concept of god disciplining us as father???
Like most “problem” verses, the problem stems from a difference in meaning between the English and Greek words. Look up the word for discipline (paideuo) in a lexicon and you will see that it means training and educating. Like any good father, “the Lord trains up and educates those he loves.”
How do you understand the words ‘Jesus is Lord’, in the context of Romans 10:9?
I hear so much at the minute about accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour that I don’t know if I need to see Jesus as more than my God, saviour and friend…hope you can point me in the right direction!
Thanks again for everything you’ve put up on here, and your book; its been life changing.
(P.S. is that a tiny smile in the very bottom left hand side of the screen? Brilliant :-D)
It’s a question of kingship. Just as Adam had to choose a king (himself or God), so do you and I. Will we trust ourselves or him? The word for Lord means supreme ruler. It means Jesus is on the throne. The Bible says that every knee will bow in acknowledgement of his kingship. Some bow now out of love; others will bow later out of regret and terror.
I was struck by a thought. “what made or (why did) God introduce the 10 commandments” after reading exodus 19, I began to have some clarity but I would like to know what is your perspective on this.
Notice that God didn’t IMMEDIATELY gave the 10 after they left Egypt. In Exodus 15-16, the Israelites complained rather than trusted. From the lack of trust, the Israelites do not know how to “love God” or “love their neighbor as themselves.” As a result, Moses gave the Israelites the 10 in Exodus 20. The Israelites claimed that they would follow the 10, but it was all flesh and little trust, and they failed (calf), resulting in more laws.
I have read that God’s wrath at sin has been fully appeased or satisfied in the blood of Christ, but can anyone on this planet tell me how this can possibly fit in with eschatology (The End Of The Age). HEEEEEELP!!!! I am really having a hard time with this…. (:-(
Romans tells us that God condemned sin in the flesh (ie: on the cross). Sin is no longer the problem. But his wrath is being revealed, and will be revealed, against ungodliness (Rom 1:18), ie: those things that are opposed to him. Light and dark cannot coexist.
Hi Paul, would you mind sharing which translation/version of the Bible you find to be the most useful in the walk of the spirit? I just read your post on guilt, and about how certain translations add words like “guilt”. I completely understand no Bible is a bad Bible, but I was just curious as to your view on this! (I would have asked this question on the guilt post, but I was not sure if this might be off topic for that one!) Thank you, or anyone else who has an opinion!
The best translation is the one you actually read. For some it’s the KJV, for others it’s the GNB. Both choices are fine. I talk about my preferences here. 2022 update: For the Grace Commentary I use the NASB1995
Paul, I am reading through your book “The Gospel in Tewnty Questions.” It is fantastic. I really needed this at this point in my walk. I have read so much over the past couple of years it feels as if I have so many different commentaries swirling around. What you write about the character of God is awesome. I love how when met with a seemingly contradictory nature of God in the OT and Jesus, you remind us to lean on the scriptues about Jesus being the full revelation, and complete imprssion of God. However, there was a comment/note on one of the chapters that said you need to recognize that God will fight for His family if their mistreated. Does this square with your reasoning that ….in general…if we dont see something being a part of Jesus’ character than it really is not God’s character? For example, Jesus never destroyed whole cities, etc. I know God doesn’t change, but the way he relates to and deals with us might change. However, it is conceivable that there is a set of circumstances that would present themselves where God felt His family was being mostreated and would act appropriately. Thoughts? Thanks for all your work and writings, they are a real treasure to me and I am sharing them with my kids.
This is one of the toughest questions in Bible history. In the comment thread from gracethroughfaith783 from article “What about God’s Wrath?”, there’s some more useful information.
The short answer is that the cities back then are way worse than the cities at Jesus’s time. Paul said it in another article — God never changes; we do. How bad are those cities? Even if we low-bound offenses to standards from the modern world (rather than God), the cities still do some nasty stuff — heavy prostitution (spreads STDs), child sacrifice. It’s even possible that said cities can be problem to other groups. That’s why various cities were destroyed back in the OT, but around that era, there are no cities that meet the threshold.
Even then, there are also other checks, too. Abraham had a similar question on city wipeouts in Genesis 18, and God officially stated that if a city has at least 10 good people (it does count sinners like Lot and Rahab because “good” is from perspective of Abraham), the city is spared. Even then, God ensures that the righteous are safe (as seen in Lot and Rahab). Additionally, various verses in Jeremiah and Ezekiel say that God is sad for those people who do really crappy stuff and wants them to repent. In fact, God has spared cities for repenting (as seen in Jonah).
Again, answering questions like this is very tough, and check out Paul’s article “What about God’s Wrath” for more info.
Hi Paul, what do you do when passing through a wilderness experience where it seems as if nothing is working and God is not saying anything about a particular situation you have been praying for a while?
As a famous preacher once said – was it Spurgeon? – if you’re going through hell, keep going! Haha.
I’m reluctant to comment on your specific situation because I don’t know it, but sometimes God’s apparent silences can be significant.
“…but sometimes God’s apparent silences can be significant.” Yes Paul Ellis can you please elaborate on what you mean by this? TY!
That’s interesting, since there are no podcasts here. You will need a RSS feed reader from the app store to read this. I’m not an iPad user. Perhaps someone else would like to recommend a feed reader for the iPad.
Hello Paul, I recently had a thought that kind of puzzles me. Here is my basic understanding of God’s laws (The Ten Commandments). Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. These laws were meant for the Hebrew people only and simply because that is what they chose instead of having a relationship with God himself. The laws were not meant for today’s believers of Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the law and setting the human race free from our inability to live up to this absolute perfect and holy standard. I do believe That God’s desire for us is to be in a perfect personal relationship with him.
After saying all of that, why did he forbid Adam from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? I understand that it would and has brought death and corruption, but would that be a form of having to live under a law? Was it simply to show that man was free to decide?
Hi Steven, (1) Yes, we are under grace, not law (Rom. 6:14). Those in Christ have been released from the law (Rom. 7:2), are free from the law (Rom. 7:3), and have died to the law (Rom. 7:4). As you say, God prefers relationship to rules.
(2) The forbidden tree was not an obedience test, as in, fail the test and God will punish you. The forbidden tree was an invitation to trust God.
Think about this: there was so much about the forbidden tree that Adam did not know. “Why not Lord? What is this thing called death?” And that was the point. God wasn’t watching to see if we would keep the rule, but to see if we would trust him. Tragically, we didn’t and we paid a price. But God, good Father that he is, didn’t wash his hands of us. He didn’t say, “What a bunch of screw-ups. They’re no kids of mine.” Instead, he made things right, indeed, even better than before, because he still believes in us, he still thinks the best of us, and he longs for us to trust him back.
I have been reading your blog and really enjoy your teaching. Could you ease explain 1 Corinthians 5? It doesn’t make sense when I read it with my grace glasses on. I know there must be church discipline, but….
Sure. Please check out the Archives > Scripture Index.
I don’t see anywhere (so far) on E2R your understanding (or definition) of grace.
My understanding (from Jim Richards) is: God’s power, ability, and strength, which enables us to live in righteousness, that works through the heart, and comes by unmerited favor. I think I should add that, God’s grace is accessed or flows through faith.
Obviously grace is very misunderstood and abused by many and it would be awesome to find out your understanding of grace. Faith is also a very misused and misunderstood word by most of the Bride.
Warren (South Carolina)
Try this article entitled “What is grace?“.
I’m racking my brain. Can you remember which post that was?
Can you give me some insights about preterism? thanks.
You should probably visit a preterist website for that.
Hope you and your family are well. One of your first books I read was HYPER GRACE GOSPEL. When I ordered the GOSPEL IN TWENTY QUESTIONS (hyper grace gospel 2), I realized that the content is almost identical to the HYPER GRACE GOSPEL. When I checked out HYPER GRACE GOSPEL on Amazon again, I noticed that it says, “HYPERGRACE BOOK 3). So, where is HYPER GRACE BOOK 1?
Also, I was searching for a commentary on the authority of the believer. I went to E2R to check out Rom 8:37. In the scripture index, I saw TQ17. However, in the two books I have (Hyper Grace 2 and 3), there is no chapter 17. Since there is a reference to Hyper Grace book 2 & 3, could the TQ17 be referring to a chapter in book 1? (I still can’t locate book 1). I have THE GOSPEL IN TWENTY QUESTIONS. There is Part A, B and C, just like in HYPER GRACE GOSPEL, but I see no chapters. How do I look up TQ17? I have the electronic versions of these books.
Thanks for your help.
There are three distinct books in the series: (1) The Gospel in Ten Words, (2) The Gospel in Twenty Questions, and (3) The Hyper-Grace Gospel.
We uploaded revised content at the end of last year and I must’ve been tired because I uploaded the same file for two books. Kindle picked up the problem pretty and it was quickly fixed, but it seems you may have downloaded a book during that time. Sorry about that.
If you download the Twenty Questions book again, you will get the right file this time and you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Alternatively, you can get it here for free.
Hello, do you have any articles on predestination
No, but you can find my thoughts on the subject on the Grace Commentary.
You and your sight are awesome! I do not see anything on your sight about Reformed theology I have several ministers trying to convince me that all my problems are because God rejected me even before I was born and I am going to hell and can not do anything about it Help This s torment!!
Hi Don, what you heard is a lie from the pit of hell. Your heavenly Father loves you more than you know. Stop listening to those who gainsay the gospel. Look to the cross and the empty tomb and renew your mind with the living Word of truth. Peace.
Paul, Thanks you are awesome!!!! I will never doubt Him again
Please I would like to know if polygamy is bad cause some Christians are saying it was never condemn in the bible. Please what’s your take on this ? Thank you.
Although there were polygamists in the Bible (e.g., Solomon), God’s original plan for marriage was laid out in Genesis 2:24 and that plan has never changed. Jesus reminded people of God’s plan when he said “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (see Matthew 19:5–6).
In the first-century, there were some who practiced polygamy. “Don’t let those men lead in the church,” said Paul (see 1 Tim. 3:2). A marriage can only have two because it is a picture of the union Christ has with his bride, the church (see Eph. 5:32).
Thank you for referring me to this page Paul. I am struggling with some fear in the area of whether a believer can be demon-possessed. While I understand that the Holy Spirit lives inside Christians, why is it that I see deliverances happening in church? And even so from people who have been committed in church for a while or a part of ministries? I am very confused and I don’t understand this. Why are spirits being casted out from Christians? This has driven me to so much fear and anxiety and I felt so disconnected from God. I know Christians can be oppressed but what is oppression? How can a Christian be assured that believers can never be ‘controlled’ by spirits? Are the thoughts in my head really a battle in my mind? Please shine some truth in this area for me if possible, I have forgotten how to function and feel condemned and so far away from God and I feel like I am losing my mind. How do we even live as believers?
This practice still persist because of ignorance. The day you got born again you were delivered. Salvation itself is deliverance. The born again man cannot be possessed with demons, Col 1:13. But they can be oppressed, I will say oppression is experiencing the things God has delivered you off, as if He has not, just because you don’t know He has. believers go for deliverance because they don’t know they have already been delivered. What he needs to do after he gets born again is to renew his mind.
Oppression comes from the outside(the devil is attacking from outside). he is attacking from outside because he no longer has a hold on you you belong to another, but because you don’t know who you are in Christ, you have fallen for his lies. In rightousness you shall be establish and you shall be far from oppression., It’s coming from outside because your life is hide with Christ in God. In Christ you carry the resurrected life.
This new life in us has no relationship whatever to Satan. It is absolutely beyond the reach of Satan; Eph 1:17-22. Resurrection life is beyond his touch. It is absolutely transcendent over the power of Satan.
Christ is your identity, what cannot touch Christ cannot touch you, what cannot affect Christ cannot affect you. do not let the devil play tricks on your mind, using his wiles and deciet. His tactic is to make you think you don’t have the victory. see yourself as God sees you.
you have been delievered from the kingdom, authority, of darkness, satan has no authority over you, you have been liberated from the hand of the oppressor, satan has no right to oppress you. you have been delievered from every form of bondage and captivity, there is no bondage for the believer, every chain is broken. Its only ignorance that keeps you defeated, know the truth and you will experience liberty and victory.
Thank you for answering this for me. It is really liberating to know that what you have said to me is what I have been learning over the years. But what I saw in church made me question a lot of what I had learned. This then leads me to understand that I allowed condemnation just before this attack on my mind happened and it scattered my thoughts everywhere.
I just want to understand, how do we live in Christ with the new life he has given to us? I know we are forgiven and have right standing with God. But we still sin. I know the more we believe right the more we live right. And I also know that we cannot be as perfect as Christ himself here on earth. How do I go on daily knowing that I can fall into sin? Am I being too sin-conscious? Am I taking advantage of his grace? Why am I unable to rest in the finished work of Jesus? How do I live my life out as a born again? What is the Christian life? I have so many confusing thoughts and questions on how I am supposed to continue living on knowing that God does not see my sin anymore but I still sin – and by that I mean losing my temper, getting annoyed at people, etc. It’s almost as if one slip up will separate me from everything that I know in Christ and I will become a hypocrite. I am unable to rest fully and leave it all to Jesus. I hope you can see my confusion.
Hi Sonia, you are in a battle, but it is a battle you can win. You don’t need to be afraid of the battle. You don’t need to be afraid of losing your Father’s love and approval. You needn’t worry about how to live the Christian life. (You can’t. He can and he will live his life through you.)
You can’t choose what you think, but you can choose what you believe. When evil or anxious thoughts come to your mind, don’t claim them. If they flew in, they can fly out. Combat them with what God says is true about you. And most of all, get your thoughts off yourself and onto Jesus. Make it your habit to thank and praise him, especially in the dark times. I’ll leave you with a verse that I find helpful:
If I am saved by grace and grace is what keeps me, then why am I being told to shout a loud Amen or if I do not pray enough, I will never see the glory of God? Righteousness is preached from the pulpit but then we have to go ahead and make sure we do right. I know righteousness produces good fruit, but does that mean we will come to a place of perfect thinking and behaving before Jesus comes? I feel bad for being in a church which seems like it’s preaching a mixture and I don’t want to be there and listen to it because I hate it. What does it mean to be under law and what does it mean to be under grace?
Hi Sonia, there are 700+ articles here tackling these sorts of questions. Start with this one.
Thanks Paul. I am discovering grace again after 7 years. I thought I had it, but I am rediscovering everything again.
I 100% believe Jesus is full of Grace and mercy! Just do not understand Jesus making a whip and beating the moneychangers or your comment that Jesus never beat any one in the comments section in the servants parable
Jesus did not whip anybody. The whip was for the livestock.
I am having some trouble understanding the flesh. I don’t want to think it is a second voice in my head, or a “spirit” that lives in my body. I read some articles and I am confused. I checked out some of your articles too but I think because I am already confused, I did not understand it. Can you please help me understand the flesh? Surely it cannot be another voice in my head right?
Hi Sonia, you may be interested in my article “What does the Bible say about the flesh?“
Hi Paul, new commenter here. Love your site!! I was wondering if you are familiar with Ray Comfort’s “Way of the Master” evangelism approach? He uses the law to convict sinners, scares them with hell and emphasizes repentance (defined by him as remorse over sin and not playing the hypocrite by going home and committing sin). I’d love to get your thoughts! Thanks!!
Hi there. I used to use the “ten cannons” of the law in evangelism. Not anymore. That is not the proper purpose of the law. We’re supposed to preach the good news and there’s no bad news in the good news.
Oops I also meant to ask if requiring repentance for salvation -defined as remorse over sin and determination to not continue in it-would be considered “another gospel“.
Defining repentance in terms of sin is a very old covenant thing to do. The Pharisees turned from sin daily and it never made them holy or righteous. And this idea that we must weep to prove our repentance is fleshly. In the New Testament we see the apostles encouraging people to turn to God. True repentance is something we do in response to God’s love and grace.