I answer questions for GotQuestions.org. Sometimes, I get a bunch of questions rolled into one request. With this post, I introduce a new type of post I’ll be doing called an agglomeration. Webster defines the verb form of the word as to gather into a mass. Think of these articles as a mass gathering of unrelated questions that are answered into one post. I’ll try to give an idea of the topics in the subject line. Finally, I space out the person’s various questions. I’ll show them bolded in italics.
You’ve written a decent-sized paragraph. Therefore, I break it up into sections, for I think that may be the easiest way to address the various questions.
Hi, I’m currently unemployed and I’ve been struggling to find employment. It’s been giving me a lot of anxiety, but the thing that is making it worse is the giving away all of your possessions topic in the bible. I’ve read you all’s article and I’ve read other articles online on the topic. I just want to stop being anxious about if I’m going to hell just because I want to work and at least provide for myself.
Please understand that be default, everybody is hell-bound. After all, we are all born dead in trespasses and sins.
Ephesians 2:1-10 explains:
2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
The Bible is clear that people are born dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s being rich in mercy makes one alive in Christ (2:4). Furthermore, it is by grace through faith that one is saved (2:5-9). It is not based on works (2:9).
If you do not believe what Ephesians 2:1-10 states, I would ask you please look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, even if it was small? Have you ever used God’s name in vain? Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus also said that if you ever get angry at someone, you’ve committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:21-26). Just the mere thoughts of adultery and murder make you guilty of the very acts themselves.
Please understand that it only takes one murder to be a murderer, one lie to be a liar and so forth. David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was conceived in sin. Genesis 6:5 states that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually. Clearly, man has a sin problem. Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Man is in big trouble with God because of his sin. This is more amplified by the fact that perfection is the standard (Matthew 5:48).
Now, some people try to justify their sin by trying to balance it out with the good deeds that they have done. However, if you were to try that in a court of law, the judge would throw the book at you. A good judge would not accept a bribe. He would cast you off into jail. God likewise will not accept a bribe, for there is no partiality with Him (Deuteronomy 10:17; Ephesians 6:9). Revelation 21:1-8 states the following (NASB):
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. 7 The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. 8 But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The Bible is clear that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. No adulterer, no murderer, no idolater, no unbeliever (among others) will inherit the kingdom of God (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sin has a very serious consequence.
Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to solve the sin problem 2000 years ago (Isaiah 53:1-12). You and I broke the law. Jesus paid the fine (Matthew 26:14-28:20). This means that the judge can do what’s legally right in dismissing your case. He can say, “This person has broken the law, but someone has paid his fine. He’s out of here.” This is good news.
There are two things a person must do. He must repent. This means to turn from his sin (Mark 1:16; Luke 24:36-49; 2 Timothy 2:19-26; Acts 17:30-31). He must also put his trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, 17:30-31; Romans 4:1-25, 10:1-17; Galatians 3:1-14; John 6:26-29). These gifts of repentance and faith are granted by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:22-26). If you repent and put your trust in the Savior Jesus Christ, He will forgive you of your sins and grant you everlasting life (John 6:47). Oh may you know His mercy and grace today if you have never repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
So, in light of the above Gospel presentation, have you repented of your sins? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you received the free gifts of repentance and faith? Working and providing for yourself does not send you to hell. Unbelief will send you to hell.
Speaking of work, please understand that Christians are actually created for good works (plural), not a unique purpose (singular). Good works are done in the mundane. Christians do their good works in their vocations. Consider the following texts:
Ephesians 5:22-6:9 (NASB):
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
When a Christian wife submits to her husband in the area of leadership in the home, that is a good work. When a Christian husband reads God’s Word with his wife, that is a good work. When a Christian child obeys his/her parents in the LORD, that is a good work. When Christian employees work hard for their employers, that is a good work.
Here is Colossians 3:18-4:6 (NASB):
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
4 Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
When a Christian behaves wisely toward non-Christians (outsiders), that is a good work. When a Christian watches his/her speech, that is a good work.
The last text I consider as it pertains to good works and the doctrine of vocation is 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NASB):
9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
When a Christian leads a quiet life, tends to one’s own business and works in his/her job as an employee, that is a good work. Simply put, Christians are created for good works. These good works are done in the mundane. This is what Christians do. Cows moo. Dogs bark. Christians do good works. They can’t help but do them because of their new nature. Now that they are no longer slaves to sin, they are free to serve their neighbor via doing good works. People do what they do because they are what they are.
What does being a disciple mean in this day and age? Is accepting Jesus as our savior enough or do we have to be a disciple to go to heaven? It’s just too much.
The Bible is silent on what it means to be a disciple in the 21st century. However, keep in mind that a disciple is a learner. Just like a Christian can’t help but do good works, the Christian also can’t help but continue to learn about his/er Savior.
It sounds like you’ve heard a lot of messages that were heavy on the law and light/silent on the Gospel. Keep in mind that Jesus’ yoke is easy. His burden is light. Consider Matthew 11:20-30 (NKJV):
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus is gentle and lowly in heart. With Him is true rest. The law is neither gentle nor lowly in heart, for it always demands. It always accuses. There is no rest with the law. In fact, cursed is everyone who tries to be justified by the law (Galatians 5:1-6; see also the entire epistle of Galatians for fuller context).
Another text I show is Matthew 25:31-46 (NKJV):
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Notice that the judgment takes place before any work is brought into account (verse 33). The sheep are believers. The goats are unbelievers. Notice also that the sheep ask Jesus when they did the good works Jesus stated they did. They even say the words “when did we see You” three times. They seem to be stunned as to when they were doing good works for Jesus. As I mentioned earlier, Christians cannot help but do good works. Good works flow from a life saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
I’m constantly thinking everything is a sin and it’s making me want to give up honestly. I just feel so alone. I’m not in church because most churches don’t talk about these verses. Most just believe that belief is enough. But then if you become a disciple it seems like it becomes a works-based salvation. Thank you for your time. I know it’s a lot of questions. I’m scared. I don’t want to be homeless. Wasn’t Jesus homeless?
Please refer back to my Gospel presentation regarding what is a sin. Please do not give up. Please understand that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
As for Jesus’ being homeless, GotQuestions.org (henceforth referred to as GQorg) has an article titled, “What does it mean that Jesus had nowhere to lay His head?” Here is the article in full:
The idea that Jesus had nowhere to lay His head comes directly from a conversation recorded in the book of Matthew and again in the book of Luke. Jesus was talking to a scribe who wished to follow Jesus and become a disciple. In fact, the scribe boasted, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:19–20; Luke 9:57–58).
These same passages mention two others who had similar discussions with Jesus. In each case, Jesus made the point that there is a cost to following Him. The scribe who said he wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went was not considering the lifestyle Jesus led. Our Lord was functionally homeless; He and His disciples stayed in the homes of those who would take them in (see Luke 10:6–8). The scribes were among the wealthier citizens. It was as if Jesus were saying, “Are you sure you want to be homeless with Me?” Even the animals have a place to stay—foxes have holes and the birds have nests—but Jesus literally had “nowhere to lay his head.” He wanted the scribe to truly count the cost of what he was proposing. It is always wise to count the cost (Luke 14:28).
Many would-be followers of Christ expected that He would soon set up His kingdom, and they wanted to be on the winning side to partake of the glorious victory (see Luke 19:11). The scribe in Matthew 8 was probably looking to follow Jesus straight into the kingdom, where he would share in ruling the world. But Jesus wanted the scribe to understand that to follow Him is not to find earthly glory; it is to share in earthly suffering. There was no golden throne awaiting His disciples but only privation and poverty. The King was homeless.
The fact that Jesus had nowhere to lay His head does not mean that every Christian today is called to live a life of poverty or forsake family and friends. Even in Jesus’ day, some of His followers were wealthy (Joseph of Arimathea, for example, in Matthew 27:57). But every Christian should be willing to forsake all. Every believer is called to give up any idol that stands in the way of following Christ wholeheartedly. Each of us knows what that thing is and how difficult it is to say goodbye to it. But, in the end, the heart that loves Christ will dispose of that competing love, despite the very real pain and anguish of doing so. We are all like the merchant who found that pearl of great price and sold everything he had to possess it (Matthew 13:45–46). Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but in this world we may have to do without, for we look for “a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). There we will find a place to lay our head.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with two lectures that may give some food for thought. They are from Dr. Rod Rosenbladt. The first one is “The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church.” The second one is “Christianity In Five Verses.”
Hope you find all these answers helpful.