Can you go to Heaven if you’re not baptized?

HomeChristianity and the BibleCan you go to Heaven if you’re not baptized?

I saw your comments regarding baptism and you said baptism is not necessary to get to heaven…but its Jesus’ commandment for us to be baptised. If we don’t, aren’t we disobeying? Isn’t disobedience a sin? How can we get to heaven without baptism?

Aaron

You ask an interesting question, and it’s one that puzzles a lot of people. Your question isn’t really about baptism, but about salvation. How, you ask, can a disobedient person go to Heaven? You may be surprised at the answer:

Sin isn’t what sends people to Hell, so it’s not the disobedient who go there.

I know: that’s not what you’ve heard before. Let’s walk through it together…

  1. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) . The Bible is very clear on this. There’s a penalty for sin.
  2. Jesus paid the penalty for all sin, for all people, for all time. 2 Corinthians 5:14 tells us this very clearly: ‘one died for all, therefore all died’ . Jesus died to take our place…He paid the penalty for ALL of our sin. There’s no sin that His death did not cover.
  3. Because #1 is true, and because #2 is true, then #3 is equally true: were you to sin by never being baptized, that would not send you to Hell. God would not make you pay the penalty that Jesus paid for you!

Now, that leads us to another question: why does anyone end up in Hell? The Bible is abundantly clear that some people will be there, but it’s not because of their sin. Read more in 2 Corinthians 5: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Those who are reconciled to God go to Heaven. Those who are not reconciled to God go to Hell. Sin is no longer the issue because, as that passage tells us, “all died” when Jesus died for us. There’s no penalty left to pay.

So: because all sins for all time were covered by Jesus’ death, nobody would go to Hell for not being baptized. They would only go there for not being reconciled to God. Let me ask you: are YOU reconciled to God? We’re not perfect, but God’s children will naturally mature and look for ways to please Him. If you’re a Christian, you should be baptized…not so you can go to Heaven, but because you want all that God has for you. If God thinks baptism important enough to command it, then we should do it.


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119 responses to “Can you go to Heaven if you’re not baptized?”

  1. nick says:

    can a guardian angel appear as a family member

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      An interesting question, Nick. The Bible doesn’t provide enough information to answer. The existence of ‘guardian angels’ as they’re portrayed in popular culture is barely supported in Scripture. The idea that they might disguise themselves as a person we know has no basis at all.

      I don’t like to ‘argue from silence’ – that is, make a statement without evidence to back me up – but I’m going to go out on a limb and answer. God can do anything He wants to, including giving angels the ability to look like someone else. Because we have no evidence in Scripture that He does that sort of thing, and because that would make God a deceiver, I’m going to say NO.

      • nick says:

        thank you. that is a good point.

      • nick says:

        i do have another question.

        • Tony Scialdone says:

          Go ahead, Nick. Ask anything you want.

          • Mary says:

            I feel guilty and stressed up because I am not baptized neither my child.

          • Tony says:

            Mary:

            You should not feel guilty and stressed about this. Baptism isn’t a spiritual act. It’s a public declaration of your faith…not to God, but to a community of Jesus-followers. If you have a faith community – that is, a group of Christians that you worship and learn with – you should be baptized in their presence as a statement of faith. This tells them that you believe as they do, and that you wish you be part of their fellowship. That’s all baptism is.

            If you don’t have a community of faith, let me encourage you to find one. They should teach the Bible all the time, rather than other things. They should be welcoming and encouraging to you, offering to help you grow in faith. When you find such a place, ask them when you can be baptized…and then do it. If your child has come to faith in Christ as well, they should be baptized…but it’s not an act that accomplishes something spiritual. Baptism is just getting wet…but it’s getting wet in front of people to tell them you want to walk with them in faith.

      • Sarkar says:

        I have a question. Will God still consider you a christian if your parents do not allow you to be baptized?
        Can you baptize yourself in your bathroom?

        • Tony says:

          Sarkar:

          You ask good questions.

          >> Will God still consider you a Christian…

          Being baptized does not make you a Christian. Being baptized only gets you wet. If you understand that Jesus died to save you from your sins, and if you then trust God with your life, you are a Christian. After becoming a Christian, you should be baptized…but not being baptized does not make you not a Christian.

          >> Can you baptize yourself…

          Baptism is a public event, where you make a statement to the community of faith that you have decided to join them. There are no private baptisms in Scripture for that reason. You can get wet anytime you want, but that won’t be baptism.

          If you want to be baptized but are not allowed, relax. God will not judge you for things you cannot control. When you are able to both obey your parents and obey God, be baptized. Do it in front of your Christian brothers and sisters as a sign of your faith and your decision to serve God with your life. Until then, let your life be an example for your parents, friends, and family. Talk to God about your situation every day, ask Him to help you live as you should, and let those who see you also see Christ in you.

    • Penzo says:

      No, that would be demonic spirits masquerading as your loved ones.

    • Debbie says:

      My grandsons were murdered 16 and 14 stabbed to death and burned this year so very hard for our family .They werent baptized but they did believe in Jesus and know what he stood for they weren’t raised in church .They came from a 1 parent family They were good boys but they were hanging with the wrong crowd .I feel in my heart they are in heaven .The other night I was laying in bed and I know I saw Larry the 14 year old looking around the corner at me I miss them they were my only grandsonvi feel lost empty sad depressed but I keep going wondering why did such a terrible thing happen to these two your boys it still feels like a dream

      • Tony says:

        Debbie:

        I am so very sorry to hear about your grandsons. That’s a horrific tragedy.

        With respect, we should avoid using our feelings as a test for truth. Your grandsons may be in Heaven, or they may not. We don’t know. What we do know is that God will do what is right. There will be no unfairness or injustice in God’s decision. We should not place our hope in our feelings, which may change…we should place our hope in God’s character, which He has revealed to us.

        I have a question for you, Debbie. Will you be going to Heaven when you die? If your grandsons are there, they will be hoping to see you. Nobody goes to Heaven without being reconciled to God. That’s what God wants, and if you’re going to Heaven, it will be because you are willing to submit yourself to God. He loves you. Do you love Him?

        Let me know if you’d like to talk this over.

    • sarah rowe says:

      I believe so because my sister’a favorite color was yellow and she always appears to another sister and I as a butterfly..

      • Tony says:

        Sarah:

        I would caution you on this. Sometimes we see what we want to see, and our feelings will often confirm our hopes. We have no evidence that our dead loved ones appear to us at any time, let alone as butterflies or flowers or rabbits or ghosts. You may feel strong emotions when you see yellow because of your love for your sister, but that does not mean that she appears to you in butterfly form. This kind of thinking is relatively benign, but can – and has, for many – lead to serious theological problems. Theological problems inevitably lead to relationship problems with God, which is why I feel the need to caution you.

    • Willissa says:

      My dead twin sisters are my guardian angels

      • Tony says:

        No, Willissa…they are not. I’m sorry to hear that your sisters have died, but people do not turn into angels. Angels and humans are simply two different kinds of beings that God has created, like cats and giraffes. I’m curious: what happened to your sisters?

  2. Cynthia says:

    I am worried about the end of times. I feel it is very near and I’m afraid for my husband and myself. I want us both to go to heaven but I have never been baptized and we dont live a very Christian life. We believe. But we dont live our life by it. Can we still find salvation in the end?

    • Penzo says:

      Ask yourself this, if you believe in Jesus ? why do you not know His voice and walk with Him ? why are you not on fire for Him and living the Christian life and bringing people into the Kingdom of God by telling them about Him ? Is it that you don’t really know Him ? or have had an encounter with Him ?
      I say once you spend time in prayer and have an encounter with Jesus you can’t shut up about Him and what He is doing in your life. So I suggest reading your Bible and praying until you know Jesus spoke to you and ask Him His plan for your life and don’t stop until you fulfill your calling. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and you would know if you knew Him 🙂 You would be doing extraordinary thing’s for God and walking in His ways.

    • sarah rowe says:

      Read Roman’s 10:9 If you believe that Jesus died for us all and rose on the third day, thought shall be saved. I try to stay in the word because I find that the more I do I don’t want to lie it down. Jesus is awesome and a forgiving heavenly father. The more we study to show ourselves approved just as the Lord ask us to, the closer walk we can have with Jesus. Everything that happens each day is because Christ already laid it out before the foundation of the world. There is no qoincidence with God.have your own personal relationship with God and you will see that if you draw nigh to him, he will draw nigh to you. I hope this helps you* 2no Timothy 1:7 For God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. the Lord Jesus is all about love, he doesn’t bring sickness and disease on us, but he can allow things to happen. Stay in the word ask Jesus into your heart.. God bless!*

  3. Tony Scialdone says:

    Cynthia:

    Anyone can find salvation at any time before they die. The trouble is that we have no idea when that will actually happen. You could get hit by a bus, or bitten by an angry goat, or have a sudden aneurysm, or trip on a crack in the sidewalk and hit your head on the corner of a little kid’s red wagon, or slip in the shower and break your hyoid bone on the faucet, or any number of other things.

    If you believe in Jesus Christ, why are you waiting?

    Let me suggest that you get as serious NOW about your faith as you hope you’ll be the moment before you die. You don’t need to be baptized to be saved, but you should be baptized after you’re saved. The question isn’t whether you’ve been dunked, but whether you trust God with your life. It doesn’t sound like you do.

    There’s a HUGE difference between mentally agreeing with the general explanation of the gospel and believing the gospel. It sounds to me like you generally agree with what you know about Jesus, but you’re unwilling to surrender to Him.

    Please: surrender to Him.

    I’m writing an email to you as well, so you have my contact info. I will do whatever I can to help you and your husband.

  4. tammy smith says:

    Im confused about what happens when you die. The bible speaks of being asleep unconscience not knowing of anything at all until jesus returns and calls you up. Which says to me dont get cremated.dont have your ashes spread out or dispersed to loved ones. However the bible also surports your soul going on to heaven immediately. it cant be both. I believe i go to heaven immediately. i choose cremation due to cost and i dont want this body of mine for worm food. So which is it that happens?. And do i get cremated or is that wrong?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Tammy:

      We don’t know exactly what happens when we die. When the Bible speaks of the dead being “asleep”, it’s a figure of speech. It’s meant to convey that death is temporary, and that we will at one point in the future “awaken” to eternal life. In Matthew 25 we read that Jesus speaks of the resurrection of the dead:

      “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…”

      You should take a look at that passage. At this point in time, nobody is in Heaven or Hell. We know this because there has been no judgment! Jesus will, as we read in Matthew, judge everybody in the future. After the judgment, THEN people will receive their eternal reward.

      Now, on to your question about cremation. You should not worry about how your body will be handled after you die. The reasons some people have objections about cremation? Because they’re worried about the cells in their body being dispersed and then being irretrievable. That’s silly. Someone who was buried 600 years ago has decomposed, and the surrounding plants and animals and bugs used their body for nutrients. The God who is able to create Adam from the dust is able to handle this situation, obviously. Another objection to cremation is that pagan cultures have cremated the dead for centuries, and (as the argument goes) we should avoid doing what the pagans do. That’s also nonsense. The pagans give birth, eat breakfast, and shake hands with strangers…should we avoid doing these things? Of course not. You can relax. If we were supposed to worry about our dead bodies, we would have specific instructions in the New Testament to guide us.

    • Ruth says:

      Thanks for that… I have a neughbour that believes in oneness pentecostalism and he tries to make me believe him..i mean at some point it seems that he’s talking the right thing.
      He says Baptism should be in jesus name and we say it should be in the father,son,holy spirit. except mathew 28 every one was baptized in jesus name…and I found out that mathew 28 was written for the people that are not jews it says “to all nations” but every jew was baptized in the name of Jesus.
      I am not baptized yet and im not sure by which name i have to be baptized

      • Tony Scialdone says:

        Ruth:

        Oneness Pentecostals substitute their own teaching for the clear witness of Scripture. When I explained the Trinity to a former oneness lady in my church – just by showing her what the Bible says – she understood immediately that the oneness church she grew up in wasn’t telling her the whole truth.

        In the same way, your neighbor is misled. He believes, as many oneness folks do, that baptism only works if you do it exactly right. What he’s missed is that baptism isn’t only for the one getting wet…it’s for the community of faith as well. Baptism says, “I believe as you do, and I want to join you.” If you’re a believer, you’ve already been baptized, by Jesus, with the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a public declaration that you’ve made a commitment to follow Jesus, and that you want your community of faith to know it. Like Paul, I don’t baptize. If I did, I would do it in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit. Oneness folks won’t do that, as they don’t believe in the Trinity. I do, so I would baptize as we see in Matthew 28: in the names of the three persons who are all one God.

        • Gina says:

          Since you clearly state you baptize based on Matthew 28, please re-read and take notice that this verse is written in the ‘singular’ not the plural, and I quote (from KJV Matthew 28:19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the ‘name’ of the Father, ‘and’ of the Son, ‘and’ of the Holy Ghost:
          Please note that it says in the ‘name of’ singular, not ‘names of’ plural.. If there were 3, it would read ‘baptizing in the names of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It does not, why because there is only 1, and His NAME is Jesus.
          John 1:1 tells us clearly,
          In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God.
          Here it clearly states that the Word was in the beginning, and it was not only WITH God, it WAS God.
          John 1:3 All things were made by Him;
          By who, by the Word. Who is the Word, Jesus. And the Word was With God AND Was God.
          John 1:10 He was IN the world, and the world WAS MADE BY Him, and the world knew Him not.
          Who was in the world.? Jesus was in the world. And who made the world.? God made the world; therefore this clearly states that God and Jesus are One.
          John 1:14 And the Word was MADE Flesh, and dwelt AMONG us.
          Who was the flesh that dwelt among us.? The Word/Jesus was the flesh. And we know from verse 1 that the Word WAS God. So Jesus WAS God robed in flesh, because there had to be a Blood sacrafice to reconcile us back to Him. Spirits do not have bodies muchless blood to atone with, thus the manifestation of God/Christ in the flesh. 1 Timothy says it like this I Timothy 3:16… God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.
          Who was here in the flesh~Jesus; Who was justified in the Spirit~Jesus; Who was seen of angels~Jesus; Who was preached unto the Gentiles~Jesus; Who was received up into glory~Jesus.
          The way I explained it to my son was like this: if your father came home with his paycheck and signed father on the back, would they cash it.? He said no, I said why, is he lying, isn’t he a father.? He said yes, but it’s not his Name. I said ok, if he signed carpenter (because that’s what he does for a living) would they cash it.? He said no, it’s not his name. I said is he lying about being a carpenter he said no, but it’s not his name. I said ok, what about signing son. Again, no, it’s not his name. So I said ok, just as you have your father, who is also a carpenter, and a son, three distinct things but only ONE person and his name James. The same is true of God, Son and Holy Ghost (John 14:26 But the Comforter, which IS the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in MY name..). They are all One, with One Name, and that Name is Jesus.
          As for the mention of Baptism earlier, Jesus also taught 3 criteria by which a man must be saved to enter into heaven.
          In John 3:5 Jesus tells Nicodemus, Except a man be born of the WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God.
          And in Mark 16:16 Jesus states He that believeth AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved;
          In order to be saved, you have to believe. But believing on Jesus is only the beginning, not the finalization. And then once you believe, then Jesus’ 3 criteria comes into play.
          On the day of Pentecost, when Peter and the other disciples were in Jerusalem in the upper room, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues. As this was happening, others heard and were marveled after Peter spoke unto them about the occurence and in Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethern, what shall we do.?
          And here’s the important 3 criteria sent and commanded by Jesus…
          Acts 2:38 … Repent (turn away from sin), and be baptized every one of you in the NAME of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye SHALL receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
          39 For the promise is unto YOU, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, as MANY as the Lord our God SHALL call.
          So we must believe upon Jesus, but then we are commanded to repent-the old man dies out, be baptized-going under the blood having our sins washed away, then filled with the Holy Ghost-ressurecting in Newness of life..

          You must put line upon line, and precept upon precept.. The Bible was, is and always will be the infallible Word of God. Therefore, I encourage all to delve into it deeper and as they do to ask God to open up their understanding and to bless them with true wisdom and enlightenment to His Word.
          God bless..

          • Gina says:

            Also, one more point I like to make, if all we had to do was ‘believe in Jesus’ to go to heaven, then satan would be going to heaven too, because the Bible clearly states in James 2:19 Thou believest that there is ‘one’ God; thou doest well: the DEVILS ALSO believe, and tremble.
            So, by that thought process you only have to ‘believe on’ and be saved/go to heaven; then satan and his minions are going to heaven also because the Bible clearly states they believe too.

          • Tony says:

            You make a good point, Gina. The modern notion of believing something isn’t at all like what we read about in Scripture. Faith isn’t simply mentally agreeing with the truth…it’s placing your trust in the object of your faith. If the object of your faith is a chair, you can think it will hold you up…but until you sit on it, you aren’t placing your faith in it. The Bible doesn’t teach about faith as a kind of mental agreement, but as trusting the One who made us.

            So, when Paul wrote that we are saved by grace through faith, he wasn’t talking about some kind of easy-believism. He was talking about surrendering to God and trusting Him, rather than trusting that our own efforts might save us. They cannot, of course.

          • Tony says:

            Gina:

            First, thanks for taking so much time to write to me. I really appreciate it.

            As for your post, I’ll try to reply simply, but without being too short. The doctrine of the trinity isn’t spelled out in a single verse in Scripture, of course…but that doesn’t mean it’s not clear. You’re correct when you say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. There’s absolutely no question about it. The trouble with your comment is that you leave out a whole bunch of other verses. There is only one God, but there are three persons who make up that one God. The Father is not the Son, nor the Spirit…and the Spirit is not the Son. You might take this part of the conversation over to another page on this site, The Doctrine of the Trinity. I’d be happy to discuss it further if you feel the need.

            On the topic of baptism, you again pick and choose a few verses, but fail to include other verses that apply. Here’s one:

            The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16).

            Those who believe in baptismal regeneration are focused on John’s baptism…the baptism that signifies to the community of faith that one has chosen to join them. This baptism means nothing without the other, spiritual baptism: the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Jesus provides this baptism, and it is this baptism that makes one a Christian. This baptism needs no ritual, has no script, and cannot be done by human hands.

            I appreciate your post, Gina. Let’s talk further about your hermeneutics…the principles you’re using to interpret Scripture. We must use ALL of Scripture, and not only the parts we like. We must test our beliefs against Scripture, as I’m sure you would agree. Have a great day!

  5. Lloyd says:

    You should be buried like Jesus was not cremated fire after death? No thanks

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Loyd:

      Jesus was buried in a tomb, as this was the tradition of that day. Later, they would open the tomb and remove his bones, putting them in an ossuary (bone box). The ossuary would then be placed with other ossuaries containing the bones of family members. Are you suggesting that you and I should be “buried like Jesus” in this way?

      The traditional reason that Christians haven’t been cremated is that it would ‘destroy the body’, making it impossible for God to put the parts back together for the resurrection. This is silly superstition, to be sure. First, we know that the molecules in our bodies will end up somewhere else, regardless of how our corpses are handled. Second, the God who created the universe and everything in it isn’t limited by our burial methods.

      I see nothing in the Bible to suggest that Christians need to dispose of their bodies in any particular way. Do you?

    • Chyanne Tuttle says:

      that was so rude what u just say that and who ever u say that too ; jesus is watching ??????

  6. Kal says:

    Myself and my father go into interpretations of Christianity and related religions, but I also note that I was born unbaptized and have yet to be. If Jesus died for all our sins, then what is the limit of human sin? I remember the moral stories of Cain being punished for murdering Abel, Adam and Eve being cast out for disobeying god, and much more, so it’s left to ponder – What defines an action as wrong in the eyes of god?

    Admittedly, I’ve strayed from the straight and narrow, I think it’s normal for a teenager, but I usually try my best to be productive, polite, and helpful, not necessarily for salvation, but because I thought it was the right thing to do. It’s frightening for me to imagine that the same…Well….Creator, God, that demolished Sodom and Gomorrah for their glut of sin would allow monsters such as Hitler or Robespierre free entry into Heaven with saints, popes, Jesus.

    Is there ever a level of Sin where repentance and acceptance of Jesus as one’s savior can’t cover it?
    I’d like to think that Justice is based on much more than devotion, but I don’t feel I have the right judging others – It’s not my place.

    I’m not the most devout: I don’t go to church, nor say my prayers out-loud or frequently, although I think them often, and I’ve yet to come to terms and fully comprehend the power of God and what exactly his actions and the actions of his vessels entail. I also admit, I’m wary to fully trust the bible as it was written by the hands of man, which is subject to the will of man leaving me afraid that I hadn’t followed god’s doctrine correctly. (Note the King James version which while written in an English format, also allowed Divorce, which wasn’t legal at the time.)

    Is there any good way to explain it, or understand it better? I salvation defined by one easy action, or is purgatory deniable? (Going based off the idea that one must atone for sin before entry into Heaven)

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Kal:

      Thanks for writing. You’ve asked some good questions. I’ll try to provide what little insight I have.

      >> If Jesus died for all our sins, then what is the limit of human sin?

      I’m not sure I understand the question, but I’ll guess. Jesus did indeed die for all sins, for all people, for all time…there are no sins that were not covered by His death, save one: failing to be reconciled to God before you die.

      >> What defines an action as wrong in the eyes of god?

      It appears that “wrong” may or may not be the best description. God’s instructions, which are to be obeyed, seem to be of a few varieties. One variety is to not do something, like lying. Another kind of instruction is to do something, like to love your neighbor. Still another kind seems centered around accomplishing a part of His plan. This would include things like not wearing two kinds of fabric together…an instruction for the ancient Israelites, as a reminder to not mix worship of the One True God with the worship of anything else. I suppose “wrong” is simply not trusting that God knows best, and failing to submit to His instructions.

      >> Hitler or Robespierre free entry

      This is a totally understandable feeling. Who would think that a just and reasonable God would keep out a person who spent their life caring for others and let in someone who made life miserable (or very short) for others? That is, however, the wrong standard. Let me put the scenario into another context. God wants everybody to be with Him for eternity, because He loves everybody. He wouldn’t, however, force someone to be with Him for eternity against their will. So, the caring person who wants nothing to do with God gets their wish…and the hateful, terrible person who wishes to change and be forgiven and to do things God’s way also gets their wish, and will be in Heaven. It’s the only logical way to see it, from where I sit.

      >> Is there ever a level of Sin where repentance and acceptance of Jesus as one’s savior can’t cover it?

      No…not a “level of sin”. Sin doesn’t keep people out of Heaven or send them to Hell. The penalty for sin has been paid…all that’s left is to be reconciled to God.

      >> I’m wary to fully trust the bible as it was written by the hands of man, which is subject to the will of man leaving me afraid that I hadn’t followed god’s doctrine correctly.

      Let me encourage you to do a little homework in this area. I’m a skeptical man, and I’ve done a lot of reading about whether we can trust the Bible. After doing my homework, I can say without doubt that the Bibles we have now are very reliable. There’s no question about the transmission of Scripture. As for whether “the will of man” was involved, it seems clear that it was…but what is your concern? Are you worried that the writers of Scripture had an agenda other than accurately conveying what God had communicated to them? You say that you’re concerned about following God’s doctrine correctly. That’s an admirable concern, but think about it for a while: if God is just (and I believe that He is), why would He hold you morally accountable for information you didn’t have access to? He wouldn’t, clearly.

      I’ve just finished reading Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace. He was an investigator, specializing in cold cases that nobody else could solve. He spends a lot of time in the book explaining why the Gospels (for example) are very credible eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus. He comes at this not from a religious point of view, but as a former atheist who wanted to prove the Bible unreliable. He’s an expert in looking at the evidence to find holes in people’s explanations. It’s very good, and I recommend it highly.

      >> Is there any good way to explain it, or understand it better? I salvation defined by one easy action, or is purgatory deniable? (Going based off the idea that one must atone for sin before entry into Heaven)

      Salvation is both a “here and now” and a “not yet” kind of thing. We gain eternal life when we trust God, but (clearly) don’t enter into that life fully until later. The question of purgatory is entirely illogical to me, having read the Bible. Purgatory is where people atone for their own sins…the ones they committed before dying, after their last confession (being a Roman Catholic rite). The way I understand Scripture, Jesus is “the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world”. He is the final and perfect sacrifice for sin, and there is no penalty left to pay. If you cheat on a test and die before making it to confession, Catholicism would have you believe that you must suffer for your sin prior to gaining entrance into Heaven. If that’s the case, then Jesus didn’t actually die for your sins…did He? As I point out in the article above, ONE DIED FOR ALL, THEREFORE ALL DIED. There is no penalty left for sins, so Purgatory is a false doctrine. Let me know if you have any questions.

      • Leah says:

        Hi,
        As you said in your response to Kal, “So, the caring person who wants nothing to do with God gets their wish”, what does that mean exactly? Like what is said “wish”? Does that mean that a caring and good person would go to hell just for not being religious even if they never did any crimes against humanity or anything really bad? I get what you mean when you said that they didn’t want God in their life, so they didn’t have Him in their afterlife either, but doesn’t that sound wrong for them to end up with Lucifer in Hell? It seems very unfair that someone who murders or rapes or any other sick crime could be let into Heaven while someone who loved and respected all living things would be tortured for eternity in hell? Why can’t someone just peacefully coexist on this planet and be a good and compassionate person who loves all organisms without having to be bound to any religion? Also, what if you’re not baptized nor have any religion, but still believe in a higher power, just not part of Christianity or anything specific; does that mean you’re going to hell? It is just so confusing because why would someone go to a place that they aren’t even sure exists and be punished so severely for their personal beliefs?
        Sorry if this is a bit all over the place, I’m just confused and never really learned about religion that much and I’m a teen. Thanks.

        • Tony says:

          Leah:

          Thanks for writing to me. Your questions are good, normal questions…you’re asking the same things that we all should ask: will God be fair, or unfair? Well, the God that Christians worship is just. That means that He will always do what is right, and will never be unfair. If someone ends up in Heaven, it won’t be by accident. If someone ends up in Hell, it won’t be by accident.

          I will summarize the answers for you here, to try to answer your questions simply…but you might want to take a look at another couple of posts on GodWords as well:

          4. First, we should ask ‘what is Heaven?’. Heaven isn’t like a retirement village, or like a vacation destination. It’s simply the place where God is. I don’t mean that God is in Heaven…I mean that Heaven is wherever God happens to be. The point I’m making is that going to Heaven after we die isn’t simply like going on a trip to a nice place…it’s going to be with God. That’s the entire reason for Heaven to exist.

          3. Next, we should ask ‘who decides who gets into Heaven?’. Clearly, God decides. He’s in charge. If God wanted to only let into Heaven those people who sing 19 songs to Him every day, it would be up to Him. We don’t have to like it, but we do have to deal with it. I would definitely sing 19 songs, if that’s what it took. It would be pretty dumb to say “I don’t like to sing, so I guess I won’t go to Heaven when I die”, wouldn’t it? Of course, people make dumb decisions all the time, including the decision to turn their backs on God because they don’t want to do things His way.

          2. Next, we should ask ‘how good is good enough?’. If being good is the ticket to Heaven, how good do we have to be? 1% good? 51% good? 99% good? What if we’re very bad when we’re young, but we wise up and become very good when we’re older? Would it be unfair for God to tell infants who die that they didn’t do enough good things to get into Heaven? Would it be unfair for God to tell old people who die that they lived long enough for their mistakes and bad judgments to add up and disqualify them? What about people’s good intentions…is it enough to believe that doing good is good, even if we never get around to doing good things? What about good deeds done for the wrong reasons…can someone get into Heaven for doing good when they have selfish reasons?

          Don’t get me wrong: God loves good deeds. When we show love to others, we are being like God. That’s awesome…but that’s not how God judges whether we should get into Heaven. Being good isn’t the measurement. I know, that sounds weird. Every religion talks about being good. Christianity talks about being good, too (more on that below) but God doesn’t bring us to Heaven because we’re good. God brings us to Heaven because we want to be with Him. Think about it like a family. The Bible describes Christians as people who are adopted into God’s family. We belong to Him, and to each other. Heaven is HOME for us, where we get to be together with our family forever.

          If you’ve had a childhood like mine, that doesn’t sound so great at first. I was mistreated as a child, and the idea of spending eternity with people who treated me badly doesn’t sound like fun at all. When we think about a good family, though, that changes things. We all want to be loved, and accepted, and taken care of, and cherished, and valued. That’s Heaven: being with God, who is a perfect Father…and being with His other kids, who are learning from Him how to love each other. Christians begin this process before they die. We’re not all great at it yet, but we want to be like God. It’s not a matter of being good enough, Leah. It’s a matter of knowing we can never be good enough on our own.

          1. Finally, let’s talk about religion. A lot of people are confused about religion. In a sense, Christianity is just one religion among many. It’s a group of beliefs about what God is like. In a more specific sense, it’s entirely unlike any kind of religion at all:

          • In a religion, people look for ways to make God happy with them so He will give them good things. Christianity teaches that it’s the other way around: God takes the first step to convince us that He loves us.
          • In a religion, God will remain displeased until we do just the right things to please Him. Christianity teaches that it’s the other way around: God isn’t interested in sacrifices and offerings, but simply wants a good relationship with us…like any good father wants a good relationship with his children.
          • In a religion, we have to clean ourselves up to be pleasing enough to God…or we have to learn just the right information, or we have to perform a minimum number of good deeds. Christianity teaches that it’s the other way around: first God adopts us into His family because we accept His love, and then – with His help – we grow and learn and serve. We don’t earn a place in God’s family by doing the right stuff, we do the right stuff as a result of being changed, from the inside out, to be more like God.
          • In a religion, people are on their own. They have to meet God’s standards or they don’t ‘get in’. Christianity teaches that it’s the other way around: we are never alone. God knows that we can’t be all that we should be without His help, so He offers His help. I accepted His help when I was young, and continue to accept His help today. I explain that in my story, which is something else I think you should read.

          We can’t be good enough to earn a place in Heaven. That’s not how it works. If we want to be with God, we will accept His offer of love and help. If we reject His offer, He won’t drag us into Heaven against our will.

          God loves you, Leah. He doesn’t love you because you know everything, or because you perform good deeds…He loves you because He’s a loving kind of person. You can’t earn that. You can only accept it or reject it. The number of sins you commit changes nothing about His love. Jesus told a story where a son who did pretty much everything wrong. The story isn’t about him and his mistakes, though…it’s about the loving father who watched the road, waiting for his son to come home. When the son ran out of money and was ashamed of himself, he went home. The father saw him coming and RAN TO HIM, accepted him back, gave him a place of honor and threw him a big party. It had nothing to do with the son’s good deeds, or good intentions…it was only because the son came home to the father. Jesus told this story to show us what God is like. We can be pretty awesome, or we can be pretty awful…God only cares that we come home, so He can lavish us with His love and teach us how to be more like Him.

          I hope that makes sense, Leah. Sometimes I wish I could just transfer ideas from my brain to someone else’s, so you could see what I see. Words sometimes aren’t good enough…but they’re all I have, so I hope I’ve answered your questions. I hope you’ll write back and let me know. In the meantime, I’m praying for you…asking God to make Himself clear to you.

  7. Keaka says:

    Im thirteen and I will not be able to be baptized because my parents are not christian. I go to a christian school but no church. I learned so much from two years there. I love God. But will i still go to heaven and live with him for eternity.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Keaka:

      Thanks for writing! I don’t want you to be confused about this issue, so I’ll speak very plainly. When we read the Bible, we see that we are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and that’s it. We read a number of times in the Bible that Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Believers have always been saved in the same way: by believing. Baptism is something that believers do AFTER they believe, and not being baptized will not send you to hell.

      My advice to you is simple. If your parents will allow it, you should be baptized. If your parents will not allow it, wait until you’re able to decide for yourself…and, in the meantime, grow in the faith. Surround yourself with people who also follow Jesus, and learn from mature believers how to serve God where you are, in your situation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have more questions!

  8. Mac says:

    I was reading through and I saw you say that no one is in heaven or he’ll at this moment. I was very surprised. Does that mean that when people say “They’re in a better place” or “they’re not suffering anymore”, that it’s not true? If so are you even aware that you’re dead?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Mac:

      Good question. It’s important to separate what we know from what’s just traditional. Some traditions are based in fact, while others grow on their own. When someone tells a grieving person “They’re in a better place”, they’re trying to comfort that person. It’s a misguided attempt at helping, and it virtually never actually helps. It’s on my list of just-don’t-say-it phrases.

      If you’ll read the “Parable of the Sheep and Goats” the end of Matthew 25:31-46, you’ll see why I say that no one is in Heaven or Hell at this point. This isn’t the only passage where I get this info, but it’s pretty straightforward. Everyone will be judged, at the same time, and will then be either welcomed into Heaven or sent to Hell. This hasn’t happened yet, because we’re still here. Thanks for asking!

      • Debbie says:

        Well Tony I truly feel my grandsons are in heaven right now

        • Tony says:

          Debbie:

          It’s never a good idea to suggest that truth can be determined by our feelings. Feelings change, but truth does not. You’re old enough to have grandchildren…I’m confident that you can think of a number of times in your life where your feelings have been disconnected from reality. I truly hope that you’re right, and that your grandsons are in Heaven. Let’s not pretend that feelings have anything to do with that.

  9. Dillon says:

    Isnt it paradoxical, for example. If a serial killer believes and has faith in God and commits every sin in the world such as hitler, he will get into heaven. This can’t be. We must have faith and follow the rules that of which God has put forth and listed. How can it be for us to get into heaven by faith alone but yet can get away with anything?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Dillon:

      I appreciate you asking this question. Do me a favor, would you? Take a moment to read my article Is Christianity about Being Good?. When you’ve given it some thought, I’d love to have you leave a comment there. You’re not alone when you struggle over whether it’s fair for truly bad people to go to Heaven, and about whether faith alone saves us.

      Thanks!

  10. Dmalc says:

    Hi, I have most of my life. I was actually Bi. I knew of Jesus, and I knew him as my Lord & Saviour most of my life. My grandma would always help me pray, I am a great person. Between 2012 – July 2015, I sinned, I thought I have lost my faith in God, as I didn’t really pray to him much, I didn’t talk to him much. I attended church in my early childhood years. but later on, I hadn’t attended church in a while. I stole, I committed adultery a lot! I lied, and I did lots of sin. Back then, I had almost been hit by a vehicle. My friend, if he hadn’t of looked to his side. We both could of been hit by that vehicle. Do you think god was watching over us that day, and still is? I found rumors about the world ending soon. I started to see more posts about people should be looking towards God during these end times. I always think, is it too late? I’ve done so much in the past that was not good in Gods eyes. But I started to look more towards god in 2015, and my life started to get better. I lived in another place where I was no where near god, I had forgotten about him. I moved to my grandma’s at some point in 2012. At night, she would always teach me to pray to god. Just in 2014, or 2015. My life had started to get better, as every now and then. I talked to god, and I was with other Christians who had prayed, and taught me to pray. I have a couple questions. PLEASE Give me some reassuring answers. I’m scared, my anxiety is bad, and I’m scared i’ll never see my grandma or my Lord ever in the afterlife, and I wonder. If the rapture were to happen, would I be saved with my Grandmother and other friends & family?

    1) Do you think, me moving to my Grandma’s, who was always with god, and taught me to pray and talk to God. Was God’s plan for me? To help me get in touch with him?

    2) Was/Is it too late for me to be saved? I started praying to god shortly after the 10th, I am trying my best to not sin. (Repent) I feel bad for the sins I have done. I was told before that sin was bad, but I still commuted it, as I forgot about the will of God. It’s working though, I don’t steal. I don’t commit adultery any more. I was gay, but as I looked towards God, my lust for men & women had slowly started to go away. I don’t like to steal, I forbid myself of stealing. I checked up on the Sins that man should not commit. Again, is it too late for me to be saved? I don’t attend church often, but I do pray. I do believe Jesus as my lord & saviour. I never knew how wicked, and how bad I was until now. And I have asked him to forgive me. I hope to not sin again, and if I do. I will keep repenting. I hate sin, and I dislike sin! I love Jesus with all my heart, cause I know how of the burden he took on for me and many other people.

    3) Did God want me to find all these Rumors & posts so that I may look up to him again and so I can get intouch with him?

    4) How will I be sure, I don’t go to Hell. Is it too late to be forgiven? 🙁

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Dmalc:

      That’s quite a lot of stuff in one comment. I appreciate you taking the time to ask. =)

      >> 1) Do you think, me moving to my Grandma’s, who was always with god, and taught me to pray and talk to God. Was God’s plan for me? To help me get in touch with him? 3) Did God want me to find all these Rumors & posts so that I may look up to him again and so I can get intouch with him?

      I don’t know whether that was God’s plan, but I would be grateful that it happened. I would also seek to honor your grandmother by making sure you know what you believe.

      >> 2) Was/Is it too late for me to be saved? 4) How will I be sure, I don’t go to Hell. Is it too late to be forgiven?

      Nope. You can be saved right now. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for sin…all sins, for all people, for all time. There’s no sin that Jesus did not pay for. Now, we know that not everybody will go to Heaven, right? So it’s not sin that sends people to Hell, since Jesus paid for all sin. What determines whether someone goes to Heaven or Hell? Reconciliation.

      Think of it this way: God is a King, and He has a Kingdom. If you want to be part of His Kingdom, you must acknowledge that He is King, and that to be part of His Kingdom you must submit to His authority. Instead of pretending that your life belongs to you, and that you can do whatever you want with it, decide that your life belongs to God and is HIS to do with as He pleases. You’re either running TO God or running FROM God…the choice is yours.

      Don’t put it off, Dmalc…commit yourself to learning and responding to the truth. I would love to discuss this with your further, should you need a hand.

  11. Michelle says:

    Hi,
    I was baptized in seventh grade. I thought I was a Christian then. I believed in Jesus and that He had died for my sins, to make a way for me to go to heaven when I died. I didn’t understand the fullness of the gospel, though. I tried to follow legalism until I was 26. Then I lived in license doing many sinful things until I was 28. Then, I finally really pursued God. I started listening to a great many sermons and began meeting with a Biblical counselor. Then I came to really understand the fullness of the gospel. I really began to live as a Christian then, and to truly understand the gospel then. Do you think I should be baptized again now (age 31)? I asked someone else, and they said they thought it wasn’t necessary because baptism is an outward way to declare you are a Christian. I really thought I was a Christian in seventh grade and made that outward declaration, so it isn’t necessary to do it again. Would you agree? Thank you very much for your input.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Michelle:

      Thanks for writing!

      What you’re describing is very common. Very few really understand what they’re getting into when they decide to submit to God. We all learn as we go. You had some things wrong when you were young, and you’ve gained a greater understanding of God and how He works since then. Very likely, you’ll feel this way again (and again) as you continue to grow and study. I know that I have.

      The question behind your question is “what is baptism?”. If baptism is something we do because we understand God and what He wants from us, then we should all be baptized over and over as we learn more about Him. Instead, baptism is primarily identifying with Jesus’ death and resurrection, and doing it publicly to declare your allegiance to God. That was your intent in seventh grade, and it’s your intent now. While there’s no prohibition against being baptized more than once, there’s certainly no reason for you to be baptized again.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Have a great day! =)

  12. Christian Psychonaut says:

    I believe fully in the gospel of Jesus Christ but I have yet to be baptized and it is for this very reason: every church I have attended is visibly wicked. They idolize material wealth, success, and abstinence from “sin” (regardless of whether or not it is actually sin). I have been baptized in past lives and I know this from regressions, however I am afraid to get baptized in this lifetime and this fear resonates in my soul. I believe that unless you understand very well what church you are joining by being baptized that it is possible to disobey god by being baptized into a false church. In fact I believe it is more likely a “christian” (if that word has meaning anymore) will be baptized into a church of satan than a church of God. I also understand in my heart that Jesus Christ saved us all, sinners and saints alike. I believe that choosing not to be baptized in this wicked lifetime is a superior moral choice to being baptized into a false faith. Hopefully before the end comes I can find a church which preaches the light and truth, unadulterated by satan. I want to be saved and I know that Jesus will save me if I stay true to him. I pray that he will give me the strength to know when I have found a true church, where saints and sinners can pray together and be saved by Christ’s plan before our planet Terra is transformed into Hades through “world peace” and New World Order.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Dear CP:

      I honestly can’t tell if you’re trolling me. What you’ve written is so vastly different from Christianity, I’m having a hard time believing that you believe what you say you believe. In case I’m wrong, and for those others who will read this, I’ll address your comment from top to bottom as briefly as I can without losing all meaning. I’m open to discussion, and to being shown wrong…don’t hesitate to re-engage.

      1. I’m happy to hear you believe fully in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
      2. I’m happy that you want to be discerning about which church(es) to associate with.
      3. There are no perfect churches. That doesn’t mean that just any church will do, but that we should make sure that our criticisms (yes, I have plenty as well) are both valid AND gracious. We should not expect everyone to meet our standards. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry with regard to choosing a faith community.
      4. The notion of past lives is incompatible with the Bible. I believe that you believe in them, but that you’ve been misled. If you’d like, I can show you where to read that they’re incompatible. If your response is that you don’t believe the Bible, I would have to question your opening statement (#1).
      5. Baptism is not a kind of spiritually binding, must-get-it-right sort of thing. Ancient Jewish converts and early Christians were baptized for the same reason: to tell the faith community that they a) have come to share their faith, and b) wish to join their community and live out their faith together. It’s not as if being baptized in the wrong church will hurt you…they’re just witnessing you getting wet.
      6. Christian is still a word that has meaning. It was used as a slur in the very beginning, and it’s often used as a slur today. That doesn’t change its meaning. Sometimes, for clarity, I say that I’m a “Jesus follower”…but it still means what it meant 2000 years ago.
      7. What do you mean “before the end comes”?
      8. How does being reborn into your next life change by being saved in this life?
      9. I would worry more about learning what Jesus taught than about the future of the planet. First things first.

      Again, I’m afraid that someone (or many someones) has led you astray. There are some large inconsistencies in what you’ve written, and I would be thrilled to be able to talk with you more about Jesus, the Bible, and the nature of things. Let me know.

  13. shayne says:

    Hi. I’m 16 years old & I feel absolutely ridiculous writing this to you because I think it’s pointless. But I have a question, does God not accept people who believen other gods? And does he accept Catholics & Mormons?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Shayne:

      Thanks for writing. I’m sorry that you felt ridiculous. =)

      You’ve asked a very common question. I hope to answer you as simply as I can, without leaving out any important parts. I also hope that my answer won’t create too many more questions.

      You asked “does God not accept people who believe in other gods?“. The simple answer is that He does not.

      One might suggest that this is unfair, and they might seem to make a good point. If God is just (or “fair”), how can He not accept people just because they have the wrong information? Well, that would indeed be unfair.

      God doesn’t judge people based on what they don’t know. He will judge us based on what we do know. The Bible teaches that everybody already has all the information they need to know that God exists, to know what He’s like, and to be saved. Nobody will be kept out of Heaven because they made a mistake, or because they were misled, or because they got a bit of information wrong. Everybody has the same opportunity to be saved, and only those who purposely reject God will be “not accepted”, as you say.

      You asked “And does he accept Catholics & Mormons?“. The simple answer is that He does…sort of.

      One cannot be found acceptable to God because they follow Catholic or Mormon doctrine. Where their teachings match what’s found in the Bible, they’re right. Where they differ, they’re wrong. Closely following Mormonism or Catholicism will not save anyone.

      Here’s how it works: God has made Himself evident to everyone, and He draws everyone to Himself. If someone responds by saying “yes” to God, they can begin a relationship with Him. That’s salvation. If someone responds by saying “no” to God, and insists on living life on their own terms, they have no relationship with Him. Those who are “reconciled” to God (as we read in 2 Corinthians 5) can be with Him forever, and those who are not reconciled cannot.

      Does that make sense? One isn’t saved by being a Catholic, or a Mormon, or a Jew, or a Baptist, or a Presbyterian, or a Nazarene, or anything else. We’re saved in exactly the same way that Abraham and everybody else in the history of the world has been saved: by believing God. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  14. Hi
    I’m 16 and I haven’t been to clear on what I believe in. For most of my life I believed in a higher power and that person to me is God. I do believe in God and I trust him, but now I know that it’s not enough. I’m very confused about what I should be doing I’ve read very little of the Bible and I’m going mostly on what my grandmother and my mother believe in and what they have tought me. I’m not baptized but I still try to go to church twice a month because their the only days when I have time. Christianity itself has never been truly explained to me and I’m afraid that if I don’t do something soon it will be to late. But I know if it is explained to me and that i truly do believe in Christianity than I have no doubt in my mind I will do what everything it takes to go back on the right path.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Fernandez:

      First, thanks for writing. I appreciate hearing from you.

      Next, I’m very happy to hear that you will do whatever it takes to be right with God. That’s awesome. I’m going to try to explain Christianity, very simply, and I hope you’ll reply with whatever questions you might have.

      CHRISTIANITY
      God created us, and wants us to have a good relationship with Him. As you know, you can’t force someone to like you or love you…so, when God created us, He gave us the ability to accept His love or reject it. We have all chosen, at least at first, to do things our own way. To demonstrate how much He loves us, God came to earth as a man (that’s Jesus). Jesus died to set us free from slavery to sin, and to show us how much He loves us. God raised Him from the dead to prove that He exists, and to show that He has the power to do anything. Before He died, Jesus taught us about His kingdom, about how we should live, and about Heaven and Hell. Heaven is for those who choose to submit to God and do things His way…that is, it’s for people who want to be with God. Hell is for those who refuse to submit to God…that is, it’s for people who want nothing to do with God.

      Here’s what happens to everyone who chooses to submit to God. We’re “born again”. Jesus talked about that in John 3. We also gain eternal life. That’s also in John 3 (and in many other places). At the same time, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. He helps us understand the way things work, helps us learn to be like Jesus, and leads us to love and serve others. When we die, we will be with God forever…first in Heaven, then on a new, recreated earth. That’s going to be awesome. In the meantime, God wants to give us joy, and peace, and confidence, and courage.

      Sometimes, life is tough. We need help and encouragement. That’s where the church comes in. The church is not a denomination, or a religion. The church is simply everyone who has been born again. These believers gather together regularly to worship God, learn about Him, and to support each other. I’m happy to hear that you join them twice a month. Try to connect with a bunch of people at the church. Find some that you can trust and let them know how things are going. Take advantage of their desire to help you grow.

      You should be aware that not everybody who gathers with the church is born again. It’s important to take advice from people who know what they’re talking about, right? If you want to be a mature follower of Jesus, you should make sure to take spiritual advice from people who are already mature followers of Jesus. Ask one of your church’s leaders to help you identify a mature believer for you to talk to on a regular basis. That will help a lot!

      Becoming like Jesus takes time, Fernandez. It’s important to do your best to live like Jesus, but don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. God loves you, and will make sure that you get there. Your responsibility isn’t to be perfect, but to always trust God…even when you mess up. Talk to Him all the time. You should learn about God, and read about what He’s done with other believers. The best place for that is the Bible. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but sit down and read a little regularly. Make it a habit. I would start with the books written by Mark and John and then Acts. You can read them online anytime. There are also great free Bible apps for your phone, if you have one. If you want a printed Bible, I’m sure your church can get you one. If not, let me know.

      Does that make sense? Let me know if you have any questions.

      • deborah dodge says:

        I am Jewish and Catholic and was Baptized I am very concerned about cremation I hope I am doing the right thing it is cheaper on the cost I want my Daughter to have the money to help her out thank you for answering back deborah

        • Tony says:

          Deborah:

          Thanks for writing! How did you find me? I’m always curious.

          This is a common concern, as many Christians want to make sure they’re doing things as God intends. I’ve studied and discussed this many times over the years, and – as my own mother passed away in 2018 – considered it as more than a simple intellectual question. Let me reassure you: there is nothing in the Bible about how Christians are to handle this issue. If it were important, it would be in there. From a biblical perspective, it doesn’t matter at all. You can choose to be buried or cremated, and it doesn’t appear that God has a preference for either.

          Why are so many concerned about it? The idea seems to be that they’re worried about the resurrection…that cremating their body will somehow make it harder for God to reunite their spirit with their flesh. This is, of course, nonsense.

          The question isn’t really what to do with your body after you’re dead, but what to do with your spirit while you’re alive. You’ve given me some clues, but I’d like to ask a few questions. You say you’re Jewish, but that’s usually a simple statement about your family history. You say you’re Catholic, but that’s often a simple statement about which church you attend. You say you’ve been baptized, which says a bit more…but many are baptized who don’t live for Jesus. The important question is whether you’ve been born again, Deborah. Jesus talked about that in John 3. He said that no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again…so our family history, church attendance, and baptism are irrelevant if we haven’t been born again.

          Have you experienced the ‘new birth’ that Jesus talks about? If so, you are my sister in Christ. If not, let me encourage you to write back so I can help you understand a little better what Jesus said. =)

  15. Ruth says:

    Do you believe in trinity? does it really matter if we believe that God is living in three bodies or in one? i am really confused help me out

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Ruth:

      >> Do you believe in trinity?

      Yes, I do believe in the trinity. That is, I read in the Bible that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God…and that there is only ONE God. This seems weird, but the doctrine is certainly biblical.

      >> does it really matter if we believe that God is living in three bodies or in one?

      What we believe about God does indeed matter. Here are three reasons why:

      1. Believing what’s true about God makes it easier to trust Him. Believing what isn’t true about God makes it harder to trust Him.
      2. The Bible teaches that we must worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’. That means that our worship must come from the heart (not just going through the motions) and that our worship must be based on what God is really like.
      3. How can we have a meaningful relationship with a person that we barely know, and that we misunderstand? Christianity isn’t a set of rules and beliefs to follow. Being a Christian means that we follow Jesus and learn what He taught, for sure…but when you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you. That’s God, living in you. When that happens, you begin a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe! Because we have a relationship with God, and because we want to know Him better, we should make sure that we learn all we can about Him. Imagine dating someone and never asking them about their childhood, or learning about their family traditions, or about their favorite food…that would be strange, wouldn’t it? It’s equally strange to think that we can have a relationship with God but never figure out what He’s really like.

      Let me try to clear something up. First, you should read my article about the doctrine of the Trinity. Second, about bodies. Think about the time before God created the universe. The Father and Son and Spirit are ONE God, and have no body at all. The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24). Then, about 2000 years ago, God came to earth as a baby. That baby’s name is Jesus. He grew up, and He had a beard. He died to save us from sin, and was resurrected. After doing a little more teaching, He went to Heaven to be with the Father. He still has the body in which He was resurrected. After He left, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in those who trust in Him.

      >> i am really confused help me out

      That’s okay. Sometimes, things can be very confusing. Please don’t hesitate to ask a LOT of questions, and do a little homework. I will do anything I can to help you be less confused…all you have to do is ask.

  16. Roger says:

    What’s the difference between a false teacher and someone who just has contradictory viewpoints of certain issues like homosexuality, transgenderism and etc. I ask because I like to read Rob bells books and listen to his teachings a lot. When I go to look up some recent updates about rob bell I see articles and certain websites and even some videos that horribly criticize Rob bell because I guess they consider him a disgrace to the Christian Faith and a false teacher. He wrote a book called love wins in which he questioned some of the views of hell and critics have just basically tore him apart for it and in some cases they have discouraged people from reading the book. I read the book many times and I didn’t seem to have a problem with it. Is Rob Bell a false teacher because it seems like some loud voices seem to think of him as one.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Roger:

      Good question! There’s a significant difference between a false teacher and just having a different opinion. First, a false teacher is a teacher. That might seem obvious, but it’s not. You and I probably believe some things that aren’t true, but that doesn’t make us false teachers…it only makes us incorrect. The distinction is important. If we look at Galatians 5, where Paul talks about false teachers, we can see a few things that identify false teachers:

      Verse 7: false teachers distract us from being obedient.

      Verse 8: false teachers do not have the authority that comes from God, where what’s being taught matches the gospel as it was initially taught by Jesus and His disciples.

      Verse 9: false teaching spreads throughout the church, changing the way believers see everything. Usually, an error only applies in specific situations. False teachers throw almost everything into question when they deviate from the gospel.

      Verse 10: false teachers spread confusion. They don’t clear things up, but make things muddy.

      You speak of Rob Bell. He’s an interesting guy. I don’t consider myself an expert on his teaching, but I’ve spent some time on it. I do not know his motivation, or his spiritual condition…so please take note that I’m not judging Rob Bell. I’m going to comment on what I’ve read…not from others, but from his own writings.

      Does Rob Bell distract us from being obedient, or inspire us to be more obedient? This may vary from person to person, but nothing of his that I’ve read speaks of the submission inherent in being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Sure, he uses the same kind of language that others do…but he seems more concerned about straightening out how people have misunderstood the gospel than he is about helping people trust God more. I’d consider this a red flag.

      Do Bell’s teachings have the ring of authority that comes from matching up with the gospel as Jesus and His disciples taught it? I don’t think so. What I’ve read is pretty squishy. By that I mean that you and I and somebody else can read into his words whatever we want them to say. He speaks generally, and raises more questions than he answers. I’d consider this another red flag.

      Do his teachings shed light on difficult passages of Scripture, clearing up misunderstandings? Or do his teachings tend to make readers re-evaluate everything they believe about God? My experience is very clear in this regard. As I said above, Bell raises more questions than he answers. A teacher teaches, right? When you finish a Rob Bell book, do you feel more informed or more unsure? For me, this is another red flag.

      You seem confused, Roger. So do others who talk with me about Rob Bell’s words. Let me be frank: I enjoy discussing Bell’s words. I’m not against Rob Bell. I’m against the distractions and confusion that come from his teaching. Consider for yourself the controversy over his books. While there will always be controversy over almost anything, ask whether his teachings help you understand Jesus better, help you learn to obey God better, and help you learn how to make disciples better. I’ve seen nothing like that in Bell’s teaching. What I see is a reframing of Christianity, a challenge to orthodoxy, and doubts about whether sincere believers have understood what Jesus really meant.

      You asked about false teachers, not about Rob Bell. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you, Roger. To me, Rob Bell may indeed be a false teacher. He seems to fit Paul’s description of the false teachers in Galatia. Think about Love Wins. Did you read that book and then wonder whether there’s a real Hell, and not just ‘hell on earth’? Bell spent a whole book talking about this subject, but didn’t draw any solid conclusions in the end. He left the conclusions up to you and me. That’s not a teacher…that’s a troublemaker. The Apostle Paul taught with authority, helping people understand the one true gospel and avoid anything that didn’t match it. He didn’t raise questions and leave people hanging. Again, I’m not against Bell personally. My point is that if a Christian leader is going to teach Christians and non-Christians about Christianity, he should answer questions and clear up misconceptions and make trusting God easier. Instead, Bell is a lightning rod for controversy who casts doubts without relieving the tension that comes from doubting.

      I don’t know if Rob Bell is a Christian. I have no way of knowing that. I do know that he seems to fit Paul’s description of a false teacher. I could be wrong, of course…what do you think? You wrote to me to ask my opinion. You have it. What have I missed? I want to be fair to Bell, and to answer your question responsibly. Let me know your thoughts.

  17. Roger says:

    Well i know that when rob bell was interviewed about his book he said that he never meant to start controversy. His book love wins caused many people who were attending his church at the time he was pastoring mars hill to leave which probably led to his departure on 2012 after pastoring the church he found in 1999. When i read his book love wins the questions that he asked made me think and question some of Christian views i grew up believing. It didnt make me reject the views just to gain more insight on them. Basically bell seems to be asking me what kind of God do i worship a god who is loving and wants to reconcile everyone or a God who is angry and hateful just waiting for someone to sin so hell can throw them in hell. Im not sure if i would say he is a false teacher because i dont see him questioning the resurrection of Jesus or the purpose for hom dying on the cross. He says he is a Christian and i believe him. But im just not sure what to think of him as.

  18. Roger says:

    There are some things about Jesus that im confused about. Jesus was human and so he could have sinned and fell into temptation but he did not because he is God and God is perfect sinless and flawless. It sounds like a paradox to me. Did Jesus not sin because he is God and God can’t sin due to being perfect or was he just different from all the rest of humanity in some way?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Roger:

      What you’re talking about is known as the ‘impeccability’ of Jesus. It’s been a topic of debate for hundreds of years, and I don’t believe anyone can settle the matter. We know that Jesus did not sin. The question is whether He could have sinned. James 1:13 says Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. Hebrews 4:15 says For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God. So, we seem to have a bit of a conundrum.

      It’s my position that Jesus was tempted – that is, He was enticed by sin. Just as Adam and Eve had the option of sinning or not sinning, so Jesus had the option as well. While Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus did not. This isn’t the only time in Scripture that we see Jesus, who is God, being limited in ways that the Father is not. We also have Jesus telling His disciples that He didn’t know exactly when He was coming back…that only the Father knew that. If Jesus the man was ignorant of the time of His return (Matthew 24:36), then He could also be tempted as a man.

  19. Roger says:

    Do you think that with all the money that some not all megachurces spend on making a luxurious life for their pastor will one day haunt them in the form of bankruptcy or debt. I realize that there are spiritual consequces for the actions done

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Roger:

      Are bankruptcy and debt spiritual consequences? I wouldn’t think so. There are consequences, to be sure…but I wouldn’t suggest that God would punish financial excess by taking out a loan in someone else’s name. Instead, I would suggest that the unrepentant will suffer the consequences of their actions in the afterlife (at least then, if not before). In Revelation 22:12, Jesus said Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.. As I understand it, the “according to” part suggests that each person’s ‘reward’ is unique to them…whether good or bad.

  20. Roger says:

    Why do some religious establishments usually Christian seem to be so judgemental of homosexuals and gay marriage and homosexuality period but turn a blind eye to fornication, rape, incest and child abuse? It seems unfair. They seem to act as if homosexuality is a horrible problem or something.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Why? Because they don’t think clearly. While the Bible teaches that homosexual activity is a sin, so are gluttony and pride and, as you’ve pointed out, fornication and a whole bunch of other things. Fortunately, every sinner can accept God’s gracious offer of forgiveness and new life. Let me explain how I deal with this issue. I believe that each person’s sin, while grievous to God, is irrelevant in one sense: that a sinner who is reconciled to God will be considered righteous because of Jesus’ death on their behalf. My concern is not whether I can convince sinners to stop sinning, but whether I can make a case for them to trust God with their life and accept His free gift of salvation.

  21. Jasmine terrell says:

    This may sound weird and I actually recently found someone with the same gift( as we like to call it) as me but ever since I was younger I dreamt of judgement day. It seemed to be more frequent when I was pregnant with my daughter . I had it almost every night and the setting never changed. I never was able to finish it once I realize that it was another judgement day dream so I would force myself to wake up. I recently found someone that I was comfortable to open up to and he told me he share the same thing and he learned to accept it . and now I learned to accept it and to not be afraid of it. I recently dreamed of it 2 nights ago and I went further then I usually do and I woke up fearless I actually cried . I need answers on how to deal with this. Its like I want to share my gift to others but I guess I fear of being judge. The guy I met that had the same visions as I do told me it’s God way trying to get me to spread the word and to be prepared. Its a bitter sweet feeling. I just need guidance

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Jasmine:

      I appreciate you writing to ask for input. I’ve dealt with this situation a number of times in the past, and it has always ended in one of two ways: heartbreak or disaster.

      Let me explain why I say that. It’s not that I disbelieve in any part of what you’re saying. It’s that everybody I’ve ever dealt with who has experiences like yours makes the same mistake. I write this because I hope you will listen, and consider what I say, and possibly be spared great difficulty. I will write simply and briefly, to try to be as clear as possible.

      You may or may not be hearing directly from God. If you are not hearing from God, your dreams have no spiritual importance.

      If you are hearing from God, they are certainly spiritually significant…but be careful. The problem is not your experience, but what you do as a result of experiencing it. The temptation is to examine your experience, to try to extract its meaning, and then to proclaim to the world what they need to change to be right with God. That might be a huge mistake.

      I once had a friend named Ted, who believed that God had given him a vision. In this vision, he was to tell the city of Salem, Oregon that they would be devastated by an earthquake if they didn’t repent and turn toward God. Ted spent months trying to spread the word on the internet, since he didn’t live near Salem. The earthquake was to happen on December 25 of that year (1999, if I remember right). I kept asking Ted a simple question: if Salem didn’t repent and there was still no earthquake, would he admit on December 26 that he was wrong? He kept saying that he had no problem with the idea, but that he wasn’t wrong. I tried to contact him on December 26, but he wouldn’t respond. In March of the next year, he finally got in touch. He was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts because he had thought he failed God somehow. Later, he concluded that the vision was a test from God intended to help him grow. At no point could my friend conclude that he was simply not actually hearing from God.

      You are not Ted. You are also not Alex Malarkey (made famous by the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven). Alex made up his story, and later admitted that he had lied to the world about it. There are lessons to learn from both, though. Trouble awaits those who make bad decisions. I’m now going to give you my best advice…the only advice I have.

      First, WAIT.

      I don’t know whether you’re hearing from God, and I’m guessing you don’t either. We all want to hear from Him, but we seldom do. You may be tempted, because you know that people need to trust God, to move forward as soon and as quickly as you can. In my experience, that would be a gigantic mistake. Instead, you should wait. Wait for confirmation that your dreams are from God. Look for confirmation from Scripture that the message you think you’re getting matches the message that God has been sending. Wait until you are 100% certain, until your godly friends confirm for you that you seem to understand this situation properly, and until there are no more questions to answer.

      What normally happens in these situations? The opposite. The one with the dream, or the vision, or the supposed prophecy, believes that the world must hear them…and hear them immediately. They put themselves in the position of prophet, proclaiming what they believe to be God’s message, and they get into all kinds of trouble. I’ve never seen this work out well…not once. Please consider my words carefully.

      We can turn to a passage of Scripture to see why I’m so concerned. People tend to think, “Surely a message such as mine will convince people that God is real, and that they should heed my warning, and that I can help bring about revival.” Maybe…and maybe not. Let’s see what Jesus said:

      There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ (Luke 16:19-31)

      Did you catch that? The man was worried about his loved ones, and was eager to help them avoid his fate. That’s good, right? Of course it is. According to Jesus, Abraham’s response was that even something as incredible as someone coming back from the dead would not be enough to convince those who do not want to be convinced. They had enough information already…God had revealed Himself sufficiently already, and they wouldn’t believe that.

      You’re not the rich man, but you share his situation. You have a message for those you love, and that’s good. You want them to avoid the rich man’s fate. From where I stand, you should follow Jesus’ lead. If you really want to ‘spread the word’ to the world, spread the gospel. Don’t spread your dreams, which might be only for you. Spread Jesus’ message…the same message that He preached, that His disciples preached, and that believers have preached for many centuries. People probably don’t need to hear that you’ve had miraculous dreams, but they definitely do need to hear the gospel. Learn the gospel. Live the gospel. Share the gospel. Make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Please don’t make the rich man’s mistake and believe that the world needs to see a miracle before they’ll believe. Trust that Jesus knows best, and avoid the idea that your dreams are what people need. All they really need is Jesus, and for you and me to tell them about Him.

      Second, PREACH THE GOSPEL.

      Please don’t hesitate to write back, either here or in private. I’m greatly concerned for you, because – too many times – I’ve seen this exact situation end in tragedy. I’m praying for you, Jasmine.

  22. Olive says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    • Tony says:

      Thanks, Olive. You’re very kind! I do indeed accept donations. Look for my Patreon button if you’d like to give. Blessings!

  23. Solomon says:

    Wow am in love with this site. Sir Tony may the almighty God grant you more grace and the anointing to continue the good work. Amen. Am a young man that is so much interested in the things of God and growing spiritually

  24. Ana says:

    Jesus came to me in a dream and told me “I am coming soon” this was in 2015 sometime in February I am scared because when that comes my grandma believes in something else but not jesus but she is a really good person I do not want her to go to hell and I don’t want to tell her what to believe in I really need help.

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      Ana:

      I very much appreciate your comment. If you’re concerned, make sure to pray for your grandmother (starting now, in case you haven’t). Tell your grandmother how much you love her. Tell her that you’re worried about her, and that you want to be together forever. If you can, explain the gospel to her. Do not worry about exactly when Jesus will be coming back. I mean that…do not worry about that. Just do what God wants you to do, and leave the details to Him. God has been reaching out to your grandmother, and He wants her to understand how much He loves her. Jesus died to demonstrate God’s love for us. Trust the Holy Spirit to do the real work in her heart…you just love her and tell her what’s on your mind. I will be praying for you.

  25. Sue Bailey says:

    My church teaches we go to heaven after death. However after looking at scripture im beginning to believe we are in our Graves until Jesus returns and we are the resurrected. Now I feel completely lost. I love my church members who are doing so much in love of Christ and are very sincere. I also believe God led me to this church. Now what?

    • Tony says:

      Sue:

      I don’t think there needs to be a ‘now what’ in this situation. It could be that your church’s leaders haven’t spent any time on this issue, and have only repeated what they’ve heard. It’s important to do our best in understanding the Bible, but this isn’t a deal-breaker. There are a lot of things that Christians disagree on. Sometimes it’s due to ignorance, and sometimes it due to a difference in perspective. I wouldn’t leave a church over their teaching on this subject, and I wouldn’t create any division in the church over it. As long as your church has all of these important parts right:

      1. Only those who submit to God will end up in Heaven

      Yeah, that’s probably it. If it really bothers you, spend a little time with your pastor(s) and ask about it. Don’t accuse them, just ask. Then listen. If you disagree in the end, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Let me know if there’s more I can do for you.

  26. alexandra says:

    I’ve been saved since i was 5 and I’ve been having a lot of troubles in my live so far and all of these things happening have been taking my mind off of what truly matters. my reason for not getting baptized before now was that i was “scared of water” and this morning at church, i told one of the men that might be the pastor soon that i wanted to get baptized. i know this is the right choice, but everything keeps getting in the way.

    • Tony says:

      Alexandra:

      I appreciate hearing from you. Let me encourage you to go ahead and be baptized. If you truly have a fear of water that’s preventing you from being baptized, your church should accommodate you. While baptism is traditionally understood as being dunked, it’s not a rule. The point is that you’re making a public statement about your faith in Jesus.

      In case anybody reading this wonders about what I just wrote, let’s consider a real-life scenario. A woman has heart trouble, and doctors install an external pacemaker. This machine keeps her alive, and runs on electricity. She can’t get it wet. How can she be baptized in the traditional way? The simple answer is that she can’t. Period. Turning it off risks her life, dunking it will break it, and there are no real options. True story. She became a Christian and wanted to be baptized, so her church adjusted their normal baptism ceremony to make sure she was able to be publicly baptized without risking her life. If you have a phobia and really can’t be baptized, your church should have no issues making adjustments for you.

      There’s something else on my mind. It’s your troubles. Now, I don’t know you or your situation, but I’ve been around for a while. I’m kind of old, and have been around the block a few times. When I read that you’ve had a lot of troubles, do you know what comes to mind? All of the people I’ve known over the years who have said the same kind of thing. Troubles. The kind of troubles that keep cropping up again and again and again. All of those friends have at least one thing in common: they are what the Bible describes as spiritually immature.

      Now, I don’t want to offend you unnecessarily. You might not fit into that category. If not, I’d be very happy to hear it! However: if you do fit into that category, I have good news. Those friends who had lots of troubles, who were spiritually immature, found that many – or most – of their troubles disappeared as they chose to take charge of their walk with Christ. Rather than kind of floating around the edges of their churches, they decided to fully immerse themselves in their relationship with God.

      This brought about a few changes in their lives. First, they gained a different perspective on their situations. Second, their faith grew so they were better able to pray and trust God with the results. Third, they gained wisdom in how to deal with the people around them. Fourth, they had more peace and more joy as they grew.

      Like I said: I don’t know you personally. This might not describe you. If it does, I BEG you to make sure you’re attending a church that teaches directly from the Bible, that gives you opportunities to hang out with more mature believers who will support and encourage you, and that can help you learn to better trust God with your troubles. I’m not talking about simply having a new attitude, or changing your outlook. I’m talking about growing closer to God by plugging into a healthy local church.

      If you’d like to talk more about this, let me know. I’d be thrilled to help.

  27. Paula says:

    before my grandson was born, I was shown him, and God told me I had to help care for him because he was the son of God’s child. He was born with medical problems, and I have done as much as I can to help. His dad, my son, is a wonderful dad. Also, my grandson was born with all of his dads chromosomes and none of his mothers…is that uncommon? I have a lot of ‘visions’ about people I care about.

    • Tony says:

      Paula:

      I wasn’t able to find any information on babies being born with none of their mother’s DNA. If that’s what happened, it seems very uncommon. I’m happy to hear that your son is a good dad, and that you’re involved in helping them. God bless you!

  28. Justin Brown says:

    I have a question. I belive in good and is willing on plan on going to heaven. I am not baptized but want to but my parents dont have the time to . I have created alot of sins before and want them to be gone. Since im not baptized and may commit sins how do i wash that away and go on the the heavon rode ?

    • Tony says:

      Justin:

      Thank you for asking. Let me share with you a passage from the Bible:

      This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9)

      Baptism is good, and you should be baptized when you are able…but being baptized won’t wash away your sins. Do you see what John (one of Jesus’ disciples) wrote about forgiveness of sin? It’s Jesus’ death that purifies us from all sin. When we confess our sins – that is, when we go to God and tell Him that we are sorry for what we’ve done – He will forgive us. He knows when we’re being honest, Justin…if we really want to leave behind our old sinful life, He will both forgive us and help us.

      It sounds like you really want your sins to be washed away. If you haven’t done so already, you should stop reading right now and talk to God. Tell Him that you’re sorry for the bad things you’ve done, and ask Him to wash them away. He has already promised to do this for you, if you ask. Ask!

      Let me know if there’s anything more I can do for you.

      • Abel says:

        So I just want to say something like what was the whole purpose of God putting dinosaurs on this planet which I’m not really including Science.But what was the purpose or is it just lies from other people who are trying to deceive us in saying that dinosaurs roamed on this earth millions of years ago?

        • Tony says:

          Hi Abel. Thanks for visiting GodWords!

          I have no doubt that dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. This does not contradict the Bible in any way. I live in the middle of dinosaur country (Colorado, USA) and have seen and touched many dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs. If there wasn’t a big tree in the way, I could look out my window right now and see a hill where you and I could go touch some fossilized dinosaur footprints. I see no contradiction between the existence of dinosaurs and God’s Word.

          God hasn’t told us why He created each kind of thing…but I would suggest that He created the dinosaurs for the same reasons He created everything else: because He likes to create things. I would suggest that God was as pleased to create dinosaurs as He was to create cows and eagles and salmon and palm trees and snow.

  29. Abel says:

    I’m going to ask for your opinion.Why do YOU think iniquity was found in Lucifer?And why do YOU think Lucifer rebelled against God if he knew he would have no chance to dethrone God the Father?And what would you do IF Lucifer Ever DETHRONED God The Father which I’m not saying that he will.But what would you do?!

    • Tony says:

      Why was iniquity found in Lucifer? Good question. I would guess because he opposes what God wants to do. The word satan is Hebrew, and it means “adversary”. It’s used for more than just the devil…it’s used for anybody who is an adversary, like those who fought against the Israelites.

      Why did Lucifer rebel against God? I don’t know. Why do you and I rebel against God? Is it because we want things we shouldn’t have?

      What if Lucifer dethroned God? Tough question. I would probably try to find out how to help God win the next battle. If God couldn’t win, I would try to find out how to avoid making the devil mad.

      _______

      For the record, the word Lucifer only appears in the King James Bible…and then only one time. The Isaiah 14 passage that uses the word is describing the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer II. Lucifer is a translation of the Hebrew word heylel, which means “light bearer” or “shining one” or “morning star”. The word is used (historically, not in the Bible) to describe the moon, the planet Venus, John the Baptist, and even Jesus. For these reasons (and more) I don’t use the name Lucifer to refer to the devil. We’re just not sure it means what we once thought it meant. Instead, I use the term Satan.

      Got any more questions? =)

  30. catheren says:

    I want to ask a question that makes me wanna cry right now.. Before I start, I want to introduce myself.. I’m a 14 years old girl who lives in a family that never go to church but we pray sometimes.. It’s embarrassing to say (im crying right now) that we pray like twice a year.. I was so scares if we didnt go to heaven like what im hoping for.. Sometimes i write “letters” to god in my personal book, and i really hope that god will accept my “prayers”.. Then i have a very serious problem because im a teen girl.. I idolized people (Hollywood) just like justin bieber or one direction.. For me, it’s a very serious problem and i cant stop from listening to their musics.. About minutes ago, i watched a video, “what really happen in hell” and i aalmost crying.. It is because a small mistake can lead us to hell.. From that i was thinking that going to heaven is not that easy.. Im scared that i will not meet my parents when im gone like we’re in the different world.. And i dont want to suffer in hell and ofc i dont want to let my parents go to that place too.. I pray to god that we’re going to heaven but im not thay confident.. People say that they’re not going to heaven if they didn’t accept jesus in their lifes.. im scared cause we’re not living like a very christian family.. and im not baptized yet.. im super super scared.. do god really accept me if i apologies, pray to him to open my parents’ hearts, and do i have a opportunity to change like there’s a place for me and my family in heaven.. If i idolized those artists, does it means that im not reconciling to god.. Please answer me im scared.. And tell me how to change myself to be a good chrstian.. And please tell me that youre not going to say that i cant idolized them cause theyre my inspiration😭

    • Tony says:

      Catheren:

      It’s nice to meet you…thanks for sharing your story. Don’t stop writing letters to God. They are a kind of prayer. You’re communicating with God, telling Him what you think and feel and hope for. That’s good. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for help.

      Let me reassure you: nobody goes to Hell for a small mistake. People go to Hell for rejecting God. You’re clearly not rejecting God…you seem to want more of Him. That’s great!

      There’s nothing wrong with liking someone’s music. There’s nothing wrong with listening to a song over and over again. I grew up listening to music, and still do (I’m pretty old now). Music is good. There are two things I think about with music:

      1. What kind of person would I become if I listened to, and lived by, the words of each song?
      2. If I had to choose between listening to each song or being a follower of Jesus, what would I choose?

      Here are some thoughts for you that I hope will help you as you continue to grow: trust God with everything, pray all the time for your family and friends, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, read the New Testament (starting with Matthew), and try to find some Christian friends. These friends might be at school, or in a youth group at a local church, or just in your neighborhood. It’s important to have support in the tough times, and Christians are supposed to support and encourage each other to follow Jesus. If you need help finding a good church in your area, send me an email and tell me what town you live in…I’ll help you look.

  31. Chris says:

    I’m Confused:
    I was baptized in my Church when i was a baby where i was sprinkled with water on my face in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, yet in the Bible it says you can only be baptized as a grown up in water. If im ready to be baptized in water, what are the ways to do of baptism. What would the Pastor say to a person before being baptized, what must i be reconciled for.

    Now the question is:
    Lets say a Christian like me who was sprinkled with water as a baby and i still believe in Jesus, therefore in the Bible it says with salvation you are saved in Faith through Jesus Christ by praying and repenting of your Sins and im still never baptized in water, will i still go to Heaven.

    The Confusion is:
    I acknowledge my Sins and pray to Jesus to forgive me, why do I have to be baptized in water. What am i washing off if its not my Sin even though im Human and would Sin again without knowing it, must i be baptized again for every tiny sin i do everytime.

    • Tony says:

      Chris:

      The practice of infant baptism has some biblical support. The idea is that when the head of a household came to faith, their entire household (family and servants alike) were baptized. One example is Acts 10. This is not to be confused with the kind of baptism practiced by John the Baptist, or by Jesus’ disciples and the early church. I’m also not a proponent of this kind of baptism, but I’m not against it. Consider it something like a baby dedication, where parents promise to raise their children in the community of faith.

      The kind of baptism commanded by Jesus is the kind that accompanies personal faith. Each believer is baptized after believing, to profess their faith to the community. It’s not spiritual reconciliation in any sense…that comes prior to baptism.

      Your question is whether a believer who isn’t baptized can go to Heaven. The answer is yes. Baptism doesn’t wash off your sins. Jesus is the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. If you trust God with your life, you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is preferable to John’s baptism:

      I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:8)

      You are born again. Your sins have already been forgiven. You should now be baptized and take part in the community of faith. Does that make sense?

      • Chris says:

        “You are born again. Your sins have already been forgiven. You should now be baptized and take part in the community of faith. Does that make sense?”

        That is the part im talking about, what if said Christian Person feel the need nah im good in Faith with Jesus, but doesent bother to be baptized in water because they believe their Faith is strong in Jesus Christ they think they will go to Heaven and live Eternal with God.

        Now here is my dilemma, im a Christian and i feel ready to be Baptized, but what if you have Christian Parents that insists being baptized as a baby by sprinkling of water on your face is good enough that theres no need for Adult Baptism. It is my Parents that are so afraid of Adult Baptism because they too were Baptized as Babies, that they tell me No its not worth it you are fine with Christ.

        • Tony says:

          You ask good questions, Chris. It’s possible your parents are concerned because being baptized again might be seen as you leaving behind the faith they raised you in. Remind them that you want to be baptized because you want to be obedient to Jesus. There’s no reason to think that getting wet will create a spiritual problem…ask them what they’re really afraid of.

          • Chris says:

            They are raised with the idea that being a Plain Christian and just having Jesus in their Heart will get them to Heaven, i say there is so much more to be in Faith with Christ.

            Now we have been going to the Same Church for many Years, but im not as Lukewarm as my Parents because i decided to Up my Faith and Sing while Cheering for Jesus.

            This is the Life of a Lukewarm Christian that believes living a simple ordinary life will get them to Heaven without being Water Baptized, sadly my Parents with some of my Family and Friends fall in that category.
            https://bethelgrace.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/are-you-lukewarm

          • Tony says:

            You’re right: there’s much, much more to being a Christian than just having Jesus in your heart. Mature believers will have a clear understanding of what they believe, and why. They will live for God, and not for themselves. They will seek first His kingdom, and always be ready to explain why they have hope in Christ. They will guide new believers, serve the needy, and watch their life and doctrine closely. In short, they will be a lot like Jesus. They won’t look down on others, but be filled with love and compassion. They will forgive because they have been forgiven, and they will be gracious to others because God has been gracious to them.

            Immature believers will miss many of the blessings that God has offered them…however, they will still go to Heaven.

          • Chris says:

            Can i have a Private Baptism at Home in my pool with a Pastor where its only with some Relatives and Friends.

          • Tony says:

            Chris:

            You could certainly get wet in home, in a private ceremony. The idea of baptism, however, is that it is a public ceremony…where you show the community of faith that you intend to join them. To a first-century Israeli mind, a private baptism is an oxymoron…two things that can’t go together. A baptism is public in nature, and you can’t have a ceremony that’s both private and public.

            That’s not to say that you can’t be baptized at home, of course. You could be baptized anywhere. I was baptized in a horse trough. Some are baptized in a river, or a pool…even a kiddie pool will do. The point is that the ceremony is done in front of your faith community. There’s no limitation on the number involved, but because it’s an important step for a believer, we should make an effort to do it well.

  32. Clint says:

    Thanks Tony for taking the time to answer so many questions over the years. The heart of the baptism conversation and inquiry to me is “why are so many so-called Christians living lives that are not remotely reflecting Christ?” Divorce, unforgiveness and disunity are just as rampant in the church as outside the church.

    Jesus’s plan was for his disciples to make disciples who make disciples who all follow Him! This is the plan to expand the reign of the kingdom of God. (Matthew 28:18-20) According VERSE 19, this passage says a disciple is made, baptized and taught all under the authority of Christ.

    Many people are “taught” to be Christians without having much of an idea about faith or repentance. I ask, are they really being taught if Christ’s life and teachings are not the central lesson.

    Faith in Christ is the agent that makes the baptism in Matthew 28:19 life changing according to Colossians 2:12, “buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God…” and Galatians 3:26-27, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith in Christ for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Baptism now saves us due to faith in Christ (1 Peter 3:21-22). The first century church and all the apostles were very clear of the power of baptism which has been diluted greatly over the almost 2,000 years since the church started. What they were not as clear on was God’s plan to reach Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). God’s plan was to save jews and gentiles so he used the outpouring (separate from the indwelling) of the Holy Spirit to convince all of His divine plan. The subtle but significant difference between the indwelling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit which can cause confusion as to what is happening at water baptism which now gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    See article for more on outpouring versus indwelling: http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/036-outpouring.html

    Romans 6:3-14 nails down the importance of why Jesus included baptism in Matthew 28:19 as he prepared to leave his disciples under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is our participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for all mankind but all mankind has the choice to accept what Jesus did through faith, baptism and following Jesus and his word. Verse 7 of Romans 6 says, “…anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Amen for freedom! Christ died once and we will only have one true baptism once we understand its power and its call to alive to God in Christ. Many are baptized multiple times because they aren’t taught accurately about conversion, at least that is the case for those I have ministered to.

    Paul is the same author for the passage in 2 Corinthians 5 that you mentioned in your original post, as well as Colossians 2 and Galatians 3 in my response. Combining all of Paul’s writings about conversion we see that because of God’s establishment of a new covenant through Jesus’s death and resurrection, we can die to our life and live for Him. This isn’t possible without Christ. Imagine if EVERY Christian lived out Matthew 28:19 and taught other would-be Christians this truth as we walked with each other in life. We could truly expand God’s kingdom on earth more effectively than we are in currently are. Our churches would be vibrant, godly and convincing the world that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35).

    • Tony says:

      >> Thanks Tony for taking the time to answer so many questions over the years.

      You’re very kind, Clint. I appreciate it.

  33. chris says:

    Im stuck with a dilemma where i read something in an article, ive been water baptized, but no hands were laid on me to receive the Holy Spirit.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19%3A1-6&version=NIV

    So must i be baptized again for hands to be laid upon me to receive the Holy Spirit, because it seems im just baptized for repentance of my Sins.

    • Tony says:

      Chris:

      I’ll reply here, too, since some might need to know the same thing. Your original question (on Facebook) included an article from the United Church of God. I wouldn’t rely on the UCG for any of my doctrine. They deny the trinity, the existence of hell, promote the so-called British Israel doctrine, claim that Christians should be Torah-observant (but only in the ways they think are best), teach that Jesus’ kingdom IS of this world (despite His direct statement to the contrary), believe there will be three resurrections of the dead, and so on.

      You might take a look at Acts 10. Peter is called to Cornelius’ house, and is given a vision that tells him that Gentiles can be Christians too. He goes to Cornelius, preaches the gospel, and…well, here it is:

      While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

      This passage makes a couple of things clear. One is that they received the Holy Spirit – just as the Jewish Christians had – before they were baptized. Unless one believes that non-Christians can receive the Spirit, this should settle the issue on whether one must be baptized to be saved. Another thing, relevant to your message, is that nobody laid hands on them to receive the Spirit, and it didn’t happen when they were baptized.

      When someone tells you something like “you must be baptized to become a Christian” or “you were baptized wrong,” check with the Scriptures. Christianity isn’t about saying exactly the right words, or performing rituals exactly right…that’s magical thinking. It’s about hearing the gospel and believing God.

      As always, let me know if I’ve created more questions.

  34. Cindy says:

    You can be privately baptized it never says in the bible that you cannot be privately baptized.

    • Tony says:

      Cindy:

      You’re right…the Bible never says that you can’t be privately baptized. It also doesn’t say to not be baptized in the blood of an anteater, or that you should (or shouldn’t) have your pets baptized. When we’re discussing something that Christians throughout history have considered a direct command, it’s not enough to point to what the Bible doesn’t say. We should also pay close attention to what it does say.

      Christian baptism isn’t uniquely Christian. If it were, the New Testament would explain – in detail – what it is, why it’s done, and how to do it. Instead, baptism isn’t really explained at all. There’s a very simple reason for that: everybody involved already knew what baptism was, why they did it, and how to do it. You can read a bit about that in another article on GodWords, Do you have to be baptized to go to Heaven?.

      The main point here, in response to your comment, is that baptism was always a public ceremony. The whole point of baptism is to let the community of faith know that you are joining them. A private baptism – that is, where one is baptized without the presence of one’s faith community – doesn’t accomplish what baptism is designed to accomplish.

  35. Ted Smith says:

    Hi, I’m a college grad and I recently felt my faith slipping. I grew up in the church and at one point I was having a hard time in middle school and I asked God to come into my life and being in control, because I didn’t want to be any more. But I’m confused if I fully understood what that meant at the time. I do know, but I don’t know if I want that or have the will to do that. I know it would mean making Jesus the Lord of my life and believing that he died for my sins. But I still feel held back from getting baptized I feel like I don’t know enough if this is the best religion for me yet. I mean I grew up in this religion. It basically was chosen for me by my parents. I want to get to a point where I believe this religion and I chose this religion for myself. But I need help getting to that point. I still consider myself a Christian, because I believe in Jesus and what he’s done for me and I’m trying to follow what God wants for my life by following the 10 commandments and things like the Beattitudes, but I can’t quite become baptized. I still have some doubts. I’m unsure how we can believe in the Bible and believe it wasn’t faked. Also how can we believe in Miracles?

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for writing, Ted! I’m sorry for the delay in replying…my mother recently passed away, so I’ve been pretty busy.

      I appreciate your honesty. There’s nothing wrong with having doubts and asking questions. It’s not a good idea to believe things just because your friends or relatives do. You need to examine the evidence for yourself, and come to your own conclusions. I have a few thoughts about this.

      You wrote “I don’t know enough if this is the best religion for me yet.” Let me strongly suggest that you examine this idea. When buying shoes, it’s important to get the right size. Your feet should be comfortable. You might also look for shoes that match your existing wardrobe. These are very personal decisions. Your words tell me that you might consider what you should believe to be a personal decision as well. It’s not. The only decision to make here is whether to look for, and live by, the truth. If what Jesus said is true, you should believe it and live by it.

      Because of this, it seems what you need is more information about whether Christianity is true. Fortunately, there’s an entire field of study for this! It’s called apologetics. The word means “to make a case” as a lawyer would…to provide the evidence that something is true. One can be an apologist for anything…making a case for something isn’t a religious endeavor. Those who make the case that Christianity is true are Christian apologists. I’m a Christian apologist. I spend a lot of time explaining why believing in Jesus is a rational, reasonable, and good thing to do. You can find TONS of information on the interwebs about Christian apologetics. I’ve followed a bunch of Christian apologists for many years. Some of the better-known are folks like Stand to Reason, CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry), Frank Turek, William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, J. Warner Wallace, Tim Keller, and many more. Christianity is an intellectually rigorous pursuit of the truth, and these folks care about explaining the truth in ways that make sense. I would recommend them, and many others. In fact, your comment has inspired me to create an article listing my favorite Christian apologists. There are a bunch I haven’t mentioned. Regardless of your personality or field of study, there’s probably an apologetics ministry that’s a good fit for you.

      You’ve mentioned two specific questions: whether we can believe the Bible, and whether it’s reasonable to believe in miracles. After many years of study, I have no doubts about the Bible’s reliability…including the parts about miracles. After all: if God can create the universe, there’s no reason to believe He can’t heal the blind. Frank Turek has a full evening session on miracles. Here’s the video:

      Daniel Wallace, one of the foremost experts on the Bible, has a full session on the reliability of the Bible. Here’s the video:

      I would be very happy to help you with this, Ted. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with more questions, or if you need to talk, or would like to learn more about apologetics.

  36. Dezijay says:

    im Dezi what if your saved but your still scared about whats gonna happen and when it happens…

    • Tony says:

      Dezi:

      Thanks for writing. Fear is something most of us live with, but we don’t have to. What are you scared about?

  37. Hera says:

    How can u be reconciled with God??

    • Tony says:

      Hera:

      Being reconciled with God is simple, but it’s not always easy. All it takes is surrender.

      When we decide to turn our lives over to God and trust Him with the results, we are reconciled. Here’s what Paul wrote about that in 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1:

      For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,

      “In the time of my favor I heard you,
      and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

      I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

      Did you catch that? Do not receive God’s grace in vain. Jesus died to reconcile you to God…He’s done all of the work, and the only thing left for us to do is to accept this fact and trust God with our lives.

      Will you do that right now? He wants to heal your broken heart, Hera. Let me know (here, or in an email) if there’s any way I can help.

  38. Tim says:

    I am torn. Many years ago, when I was 7 years old, I went to the altar and asked God to save me, I do not remember how long after that that I began to have doubts about whether or not I was truly saved.
    In the course of my childhood through early teen years I must have made 4 professions and been baptized as many times, but still doubt remained.
    In highschool I discovered pornography and this soon progressed to homosexual porn. I remember crying thinking, if I’m having problems with this, I can’t be saved. I prayed to God many times to heal me of this sin, but I lived with it for many years.
    Lately I’ve dedicated more of my life to God, destroyed my computer and tablet and spend more time in the word and prayer and my faith is growing. And God is helping me.
    My dilemma is, I’m not sure if I was truly saved when I was young, and just backslid, or if my sin proved that I was lost and am only now truly receiving Christ now that I am dedicating more of my life to him and trusting him more.
    I’m not certain if I should get baptized again or not. I don’t want to be disobedient to Christ, but I also don’t want to get baptized a 5th time if it’s not needed. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Tony says:

      Tim:

      First, thanks for sharing your story. You’re not alone…many have the same questions. There are two sides to answering whether you were saved before. I personally know many (many, many) who thought for years that they were saved, only to find later that they had never really understood the gospel at all. Some were involved in churches that didn’t teach them well, and they later understood that they were missing something. It’s clear that some people who think they are saved aren’t actually saved. On the other hand, one might suggest that any person who seeks God sincerely is, at the very least, being saved. I can’t see into your heart, and I can’t see into God’s mind. It sounds to me like you were probably saved, or at least that you were ‘in process.’ Honestly, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time debating the idea with anyone, including myself.

      As for being baptized, I’d like to settle your dilemma. Baptism isn’t just a Christian thing. The ancient Israelites baptized converts to Judaism. It was a public ceremony, where a person expressed their faith to the community, saying that they wanted to be part of the community. Christian baptism is exactly the same thing: a convert telling the community of faith that they have been saved, and that they wish to join that community. If you’ve already been baptized, there’s nothing wrong with getting wet again…especially in a new community. There’s no spiritual reason that I know of to do it more than once, though. It’s something that new believers should do, which is why “repent” and “be baptized” are so closely connected in Scripture. We have no record of believers being re-baptized when they moved to a new community.

      I’m very happy to hear that you’ve taken control with regard to porn and your thoughts. If you don’t mind me asking, how are you doing in dealing with same-sex attraction? Was that a temporary thing, or a longer-term thing? It’s important to surround yourself with people who will help you grow, and be with you during tough times. If there’s some way I can help, I will help.

      • Tim says:

        For me, it’s been a long term problem. So far the only solution I’ve found is cutting out all of my triggers for lust. For me this includes my computer, and tv. And replacing these activities with bible reading and prayer, and moving my hobbies to outdoor activities or working to improve a skill like piano or foreign language.
        This is still very much a work in progress for me and I take it day by day, but I’m confident that God will help me overcome it, where once I was not confident at all.
        Thank you for your response. I appreciate it.

        • Tony says:

          Tim:

          It’s GOOD that you’re taking action! I’m with you: confident that God will help you. There were many years where I didn’t have that confidence as well. Keep in touch!

  39. Carol says:

    Hello Tony,

    I was saved about 6 months ago. I believe that God commanded me and directed to one specific group of believers (Church), my focus was mostly on baptism knowing that this is the next step after being saved. However, just before I was going to be baptise I started feeling really anxious in my spirit (not because of the baptism but of becoming member of that church), so the elders of the Church and myself decided that I can do it on the next occasion. I kind of felt and still feel that I had no choice really, because of the pressure of becoming member of the Church. Please tell me is that me, or the enemy trying to stop me from being baptise or just the church may be wrong. Im very confused. Thank you in advance.

    • Tony says:

      Karolina:

      Thanks for your comment…and welcome to the family! I’m happy to hear that you’re my sister in Christ. I applaud you for choosing to be baptized, of course.

      I certainly can’t say with certainty what happened to you, but I have a suspicion. My guess is that you’re in the wrong church. I could be wrong, but you should trust yourself. We have been instructed, by Jesus Himself, to be baptized. The idea is that we are making a public declaration of our faith, and that we want to join the community of faith…so we’re baptized in their presence. It could be that this is a commitment that the Holy Spirit does not want you to make with this particular congregation. I do not believe that this is our enemy, trying to stop you. It’s not that the devil won’t try to mess with your head, of course. It’s that the Holy Spirit dwells in you, and it’s much more likely that you were being warned than that you were being tricked.

      I would, of course, pray about the situation if you haven’t already. Take the time to visit another church or two, to see how they “feel” to you. We shouldn’t be directly by our feelings alone, but asking God to help you will pay off. It could be that going to another (good) church for a week or two will give you the insight you need to better judge whether this original church is where you belong. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you feel wrong about, Karolina. You’re already a member of the church, like every other Christian in history. You don’t need to become a formal member of a local congregation unless you want to play a part in things like voting on leaders. If someone is pressuring you, it may be time to leave. Let God do the pressuring. Read His Word, pray often, and listen for Him as He leads you.

      And, of course, let me know if there’s more I can do for you. If you’d like a hand picking a few local churches to visit, I can help. Have a great day!

  40. Pa Cawi says:

    Hi Tony, I read some of your answer. I really respect you. I can tell God give you a wisdom.

  41. Carry Hardy Cray says:

    I’m so thankful that I found your article. I’m a teenage girl from North Carolina. My grandparents are very religious and conservative. I see them a lot and I am thankful that I get to see them and have a good relationship with them. But whenever they are around I can’t play my music around them. Even if I have earphones on, they would want to hear what I’m listening to. And they would say stuff like “I hope your not listening to that demon music!” Or “that’s the devils music!” But I only listen to k-pop (BTS) and lofi (which usually is instrumental and or samples some parts of songs, movie scenes, etc. I know none of the stuff is demonic because they (BTS) spreads messages about self-love and self acceptance. Which is something I struggle with. And lofi barely has any words in it. I respect my grandparents very much. But I sometimes find it hypocritical that I’m not allowed to listen to BTS and lofi when they listen to the Temptations and Micheal Jackson. Which is fairly more secular compared to what I listen to. So I have 2 questions: Should Christians listen to secular or non-christian music? And what would be considered satanic or demonic music? I keep getting mixed answers but I believe that you would solidify the answer.

    • Tony says:

      Carry:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m happy to have been even a little bit helpful. I enjoy a bit of k-pop myself, by the way.

      You show wisdom here, and it’s nice to see it. You want to respect your grandparents, but also want to challenge them. I would probably feel the same. I don’t know you, or them, or your relationship…so I’ll try to simply share my thoughts, and what I might do.

      Thoughts

      What makes something like music good, or bad? Music is a combination of sounds and words, sung to a rhythm. The words can be good or bad, for sure…depending on what the words are promoting. The sounds (notes) can’t be good or bad. They’re just notes. The same notes are used in “good” music and “bad.” The rhythm can’t be good or bad, either. Rhythm is just the speed at which we do things. You know how sometimes you’re walking along, and the pace you’re at makes you think of a song, out of nowhere? That’s rhythm. Older generations have sometimes tried to argue that certain rhythms or beats are ‘the devil’s music.’ This is nothing new, but it’s always been ridiculous. Gospel singer Leon Patillo was performing in a church many years ago, and started playing the intro to a song, when a woman stood up and moved toward him, pointing her finger and shouting. She claimed that THAT BEAT was the devil’s beat, and that he should never play it. He stopped playing everything but the beat and asked her, “This beat?”. She said yes…that was the devil’s beat. He laughed and explained that the rhythm was actually a human heartbeat. He asked her, “Who made your heart?”. She got the point. Music can only be good or bad based on the message it sends.

      In Matthew 15, Jesus explains that it isn’t what goes into a person that ‘defiles’ them. It’s what comes out of their mouths. He was explaining the difference between following human traditions, which focus on external things, and following God, who looks at our hearts to see the truth.

      A Confrontational Approach

      Nobody likes hypocrisy. If you feel that your relationship with your grandparents is strong enough for a bit of push-back, here’s what I might do. I would find songs that they like, and look closely at the lyrics. When I found one of ‘their songs’ that sends a message that a Christian shouldn’t promote, I would save it to play when I’m with them. When they asked me what I was listening to, I could say this: “I was listening to one of the songs you like, and wondered about these lyrics. Do you think I should be listening to it?”

      Now, that’s a risky move. It could backfire and hurt your relationship, rather than make anything better. It may be better to take another tack:

      A Non-Confrontational Approach

      It’s not your job, or mine, to correct your grandparents. Our job is to do what we think God asks us to do, even if others don’t get it. Now, it’s possible that your grandparents have a valid point to make, even if they’re off-base about the specific music you like. You may be better off if you try to figure out what that point might be. Rather than criticizing them for criticizing you, I would suggest another way. Ask questions. Listen carefully. Don’t argue…seek to understand. It’s okay for you and your grandparents to come to different conclusions, but it’s helpful to understand them.

      Let’s say they’re right. Let’s say they have a really good point. Wouldn’t you want to learn from their wisdom? I would.

      Let’s say they’re wrong, and they’re being hypocritical and silly. You’re probably not going to change that by telling them that, are you? I wouldn’t think so. Get the wisdom they offer, ignore the silliness, and continue asking good questions about what God wants. I think they’re being silly, and – given the right opportunity – I might actually tell them so. I am not, however, their granddaughter. They don’t love me. They love you, or they wouldn’t be concerned about the messages your music might be sending you. Right?

      I would recommend the non-confrontational approach. It’s safe, and wise, and mature. If you prefer the confrontational approach, that’s okay. I love confrontation, if there’s a good chance it will make things better. Maybe you should just avoid playing your music while you’re with them. Maybe you should start a grown-up conversation with them about what kinds of things you, and they, should listen to. I can’t make that call for you.

      I love music. I love most kinds of music. Rock, rap, blues, easy listening…you name it. What I don’t like is music that makes me feel bad, and some songs do that to me. They describe things that aren’t the way they should be, and I’d rather take the Apostle Paul’s suggestion: to think about things that are true, noble, pure, and lovely. That doesn’t mean everything has to be all puppies and rainbows all the time, of course. It means that I try to feed my heart and mind things that keep it healthy. Some songs by BTS are really great. Some by Michael Jackson aren’t. That’s life. He wasn’t a Christian, by the way…He was a Jehovah’s Witness, which is an offshoot of Christianity that denies that Jesus is God. Food for thought.

      On a related note, you might enjoy another website of mine. I created it with my son, who’s now 20. It’s all Christian music, and you can use AutoPlay and Shuffle to listen to the whole website. Let me know what you think about Awesome Christian Music, would you? Let me know if there’s more I can do for you. Have a great day!

  42. Audry says:

    Will I go to heaven if I have committed a lot of sins and haven’t gotten baptized?

    • Tony says:

      Audry:

      Thanks for asking!

      The way you phrased your question tells me that you’ve misunderstood the nature of Christianity. I hope to make it clearer for you.

      The number of sins you’ve committed has absolutely nothing to do with whether you go to Heaven. I know that’s probably the opposite of what you’ve heard, but it’s true. God doesn’t judge us based on whether we’ve been more good than bad. That would mean we could earn our way to Heaven by being good. That’s not how it works at all. If it worked that way, Jesus would have simply taught us to be good… right? Be good, go to Heaven. Be bad, go to Hell.

      That’s not at all what Jesus taught. Here’s what Jesus said to a religious scholar named Nicodemus: No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again John 3:3. That didn’t make sense to Nicodemus, because it was different than what he had been taught. Jesus explains to all of us that He came to give us LIFE. One of Jesus’ best students, John, explained it this way: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

      You see, Audry: our problem is not that we’re bad, and need to be good. Our problem is that we’re spiritually dead, and need to be made alive. Heaven isn’t a place you earn the right to live in. It’s simply where God is… and we who have eternal life will live with God forever, being where He is.

      As for baptism, that’s basically just getting wet. Baptism is important, but it doesn’t give us life. It doesn’t make us better people. It’s simply a public ceremony where we tell people who follow Jesus that you’ve chosen to follow Jesus too. Baptizing a dead person just gets them wet. Baptizing an alive person just gets them wet. There’s no magic involved.

      Who goes to Heaven? People who have said YES to God. When we decide to trust Him with our lives, and choose to do the things He wants us to do, He makes us spiritually alive. We’re actually changed. We become different. Here’s something Paul of Tarsus wrote:

      As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10

      Does that make sense? I was dead, and then God made me alive. I belong to Him, and THAT is why I’m going to Heaven… not because I sin less than I used to, or because I was baptized. It’s because I said YES to God. I choose to live His way, which – by the way – is the best way I’ve ever found.

      Have you chosen to turn your life over to God, and to trust that He knows best how you should live? Have you crossed over from death to life? Do you belong to Him? If not, I would – of course – tell you that you should make that choice. I don’t say that to ‘get you on my team,’ but because I care about you. You’re important to God. He loves you enough to die for you, and He proved His love by actually dying on the cross. You can trust Him.

      If you’re already a follower Jesus – that is, if you’ve already been born again – I recommend that you find some people in your area who follow Jesus closely, and be baptized. Hang out with them. Learn with them. Find out what Jesus taught about how we should live… it’s awesome. If there’s any way I can be helpful to you, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

      Have a great day!

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