Frequently Asked Questions
- If God is love, why does He send people to hell when they do not believe in Christ?
- How can we be sure that the Bible is God’s Word and not just a collection of religious writings by men?
- Why are some Christians behaving worse than non-Christians?
- What about people who have never heard of Christ? Do they go to hell?
- Why are some people not healed after prayer?
- If God is all-powerful, why did He allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why didn’t He stop them before they sinned?
- I am basically a good person. I don’t do things to hurt or harm other people. Why do I need Jesus Christ to die for me?
- How can a person be saved just by confessing his sins?
- Why are there so many religions?
Q: If God is love, why does He send people to hell when they do not believe in Christ?
A: People are sent to hell not because they do not believe in Christ but for their own sins. Hell was not created for man but for the devils and his angels: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41. When man sins, he is not only rejecting God but also aligning ourselves with the devil and his angels. If we align ourselves with the devil and his angels through our sins, we will ultimately share the same eternal fate as theirs, viz., hell. However, precisely because God is love that He is determined to save men from the consequence of their alignment with the devil. So God sent His Son to save us from hell: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Q: How can we be sure that the Bible is God’s Word and not just a collection of religious writings by men?
A: When we say that the Bible is “inspired”, we mean more than that it is “inspiring”. Rather, we are saying that the Author behind the Bible is God Himself, though He has employed human agencies in the production of it. We compared that to the Bible analogy of a treasure in an earthen vessel. The container God uses is imperfect men but the content He imparts is perfect divine truths. God speaks through the limitations of the human vessels, but the Holy Spirit enables us to look beyond the humanity of the containers to the content of divine revelation. There are some arguments to support the claim that the Bible is no ordinary human writings:
a) Testimony of Christ: Jesus Himself accepts Old Testament scripture as God’s word (Matthew 5:18, John 10:35)
b) Internal testimony: Scriptures make the claim to be God's word
c) Fulfilled prophecies: Of Israel's & world history before Christ and of Christ Himself; also subsequent history after New Testament
d) Unity of Scriptures: Despite the many authors (40+) and time span (1,500 years), the Bible has one central message: God is love and forgiving and seeking to restore sinners back to fellowship with Him
e) Ethical superiority: Biblical ethics form the foundation of civilization
f) Changed lives: Where the Bible has been read, lives have been transformed
g) Historical reliability: Despite critics’ attempt to relegate Bible stories to mythology, archaeological discoveries to date have continually attested to the historical accuracy & reliability of biblical stories.
Scripture references: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Q: Why are some Christians behaving worse than non-Christians?
A: A sensitive question because we do not really know the context of what they are saying. Generally, it’s not appropriate to criticize other Christians whom we do not know because there are always two sides to a story. It might be good to generalize this discussion by looking at the issue of stages of growth and maturity in Christ. We can begin by saying that Christians are at different levels of growth & maturity; it is not determined by how long they have been Christians but by how open they are to the ministry of the Spirit and the Word in transforming their lives. The greater our surrender to Christ in all areas of our lives, the deeper the transformation and character change. The Bible compares character transformation to fruit-bearing (Galatians 5:22-23) and it takes time for fruit to grow.
Scripture references: Galatians 5:16-23; Romans 12:1-2
Q: What about people who have never heard of Christ? Do they go to hell?
A: People do not go to hell because they have never heard of Christ; people go to hell because they have chosen to live their lives apart from God while they are on earth. Hell is the ultimate consequence and expression of the choice they have made while on earth to live apart from God, because in Hell, a person is separated eternally from God. Scripture says that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). That we are saved “by grace…through faith” is an timeless principle made possible through the atoning sacrifice of Christ; it is valid for people before Christ’s advent and even for those who have heard of Christ yet. Though Jesus’ death on the Cross as a sacrifice for sin was a historical event, its effect is not limited by time & space. The atoning sacrifice of Christ opens the way for a sinner to experience the grace of God by faith: “the righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4). Jesus Christ is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). Every human being is declared righteous by their faith in God’s mercy. And God justifies everyone who comes to Him by faith on the basis of Christ’s work on the Cross – whether the person lives before Christ or after Christ. However, those who comes to faith in God through Christ receives the fullness of God’s riches according to His grace as revealed in Christ. All Old Testament saints are saved by grace through faith, even though they had never heard of Christ: Abraham was declared righteous because he believed in God.
Scripture reference: Ephesians 2:8-9
Q: Why are some people not healed after prayer?
A: All spiritual gifts, including healing, are given by the Spirit freely: “He gives them to each one, just as He determines.” (1 Corithians 12:11) We cannot pre-determine how God’s gifts of healing are distributed because healing is entirely the sovereign work of grace. It’s not a result of saying the “right prayers” or doing the “right things”. Spiritual gifts are grace-gifts which by definition are given not according to some known law but by God’s free will and according to His pre-determined plan and purpose. We can only pray for the sick and let the Holy Spirit determine who get healed. Of course, there may be hindrances that prevent some people from receiving God’s healing. Unbelief would be the most obvious hindrance because faith is required to receive what is freely given by grace. Even Jesus could not heal many in his own home town because of the people’s unbelief: “He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:5-6) Unconfessed sins also hinder our prayers, especially unforgiveness. So, before praying for healing, we should encourage the sick to confession all known sins: James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Scripture reference: James 5:13-16
Q: If God is all-powerful, why did He allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why didn’t He stop them before they sinned?
A: The thing that makes man different from animals is his free will. Animals do what they do because they have been programmed through instincts to do whatever they do. They do not make choices like us: with total freedom. Man was created to love and love by its definition cannot be compelled — it has to be freely given. Adam and Eve were created to love God — in absolute freedom. Which implies that they also had the freedom not to love God. This freedom is exemplified by the two Trees: Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We do not know for how long the trees stood in the middle of the Garden untouched. Adam and Eve loved God and freely chose to ignore the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve was deceived by Satan to doubt God’s goodness and to believe in his lies — that Eve would be “like god, knowing good and evil”. Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden Tree and gave it to Adam who ate it too. Why did not God intervene to stop them from making the bad choice? God’s sovereign grace is such that He could use even our sins to glorify Him! No sin caught him by surprise and in His divine wisdom, He intends to reveal something that even angels gasped for wonders: the revelation of divine humility and sacrificial love.
Scripture reference: Isaiah 53:3-6
Q: I am basically a good person. I don’t do things to hurt or harm other people. Why do I need Jesus Christ to die for me?
A: Sin is not just wrongdoings but the Bible defines sin as the rejection of God’s rule over our lives: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom 1:21) It is this basic sin of rejection of God that leads to the darkening of our hearts. Jesus identify the source of all our human sins as coming out of the human heart: “For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:21-23). If we are honest with ourselves, we can easily identify with most of the sins Jesus listed as coming from a defiled heart.
Scripture reference: Romans 3:23
Q: How can a person be saved just by confessing his sins?
A: Salvation as a free-gift does not depend so much on what we do as much as it depends on what Christ has done on the Cross. At the Cross, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” Translated literally, it means “The debts have been fully paid.” If the debts of our sin are fully paid, then there is nothing more we could do to pay our debts nor undo the what has been paid by Christ. Salvation is ours once we confess and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord & Saviour. It is not our confession that saves us, but Christ’s finished works. However, in confessing our sins, we acknowledge we cannot save ourselves and cast ourselves totally at the mercy of God: “”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)." The robber who hanged next to Jesus on the cross could do nothing to reverse his sins but simply called on Jesus to remember him. And Jesus’ reply says it all: “today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
Q: Why are there so many religions?
A: Religion is man’s attempt to deal with the issues of human sin and suffering. Different religions offer different ways to resolve the issue of sin and its consequences. Whether it is through prayer, fasting, penance, self-denial, or good works, all religions teach that we can attain salvation only through our own righteousness—in other words, through our own good works. They seek to work their way into heaven.
In contrast, Christianity is the only “religion” that offers salvation as a free gift, an act of grace by a loving God. However, while salvation is free for man, it’s not free for God—it costs Him the death of His own Son. When we come to God through Christ, a divine exchange takes place: God transfers Jesus’ righteousness into our account while at the same time transfers our sins into His account.
Scripture references: Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:20
The world has become more complex and uncertainties are ever increasing. But our God has not changed. His love for us has always been the same. He loves us and desires to have a relationship with us.
It is our prayer that you will find and experience God's goodness and faithfulness. If you still have questions after reading the FAQs here, you may wish to
contact the church office.
God bless you!