Various questions and answers about Christianity
What is sin?
Many people think of sin as doing bad things, breaking the rules, murdering, stealing, etc.
Whilst doing these things is certainly wrong, that is not what sin actually is.
Sin is actually rebelling against God.
Sin is ignoring God in your life.
So if you are commiting sin, then you are a sinner.
We have all ignored and rebelled against God's authority, so we are all sinners!
- What is so wrong about that?
God created you to love him, and to enjoy the blessings that he bestows on you.
God loves you, and wants you to love him in return.
If you loved him you'd want to talk to him, hear what he has to say to you and spend time with him.
How would you feel if you really loved someone and you showered them with many gifts and yet that person took those things and never bothered to even say thank you, or to acknowledge your presence?
Give you some idea of how God feels?
- What blessings?
God created you, and gave you life.
He also created the world and all the many wonders and beautiful things it contains.
Presumably you had parents?
Or had people who you cared about?
God gave you them, and them you.
The light and the heat of the Sun.
And many more; the problems in the world are due to us not doing a very good job of looking after it,
we don't do a very good job of distributing wealth, food, etc. so that everyone has enough.
Yet there is enough for everyone if it was shared out fairly.
God gives you all these and he will also take them away, eventually.
- Take them away?
Yes, take them away!
God will not keep blessing you forever if you aren't going to recognise who the giver is.
God has decreed that because of our rebellion against him, we will die and then be judged.
This judgement is against everyone (including Christians).
Those that have been made righteous (i.e. Christians) will be allowed to enter heaven and spend eternity with God.
Those that aren't will spend eternity in hell.
- What's hell like?
Many of the popular images of hell are those of people being tortured by devils in a very hot place.
I don't subscribe to that picture.
Why should the devils have a nice time in hell torturing people, when hell is punishment for them as well?
Also, you have other people around you, so you can at least have some sort of comradeship.
And how long will it take for the devils to get bored? You are there for eternity remember.
No, I see hell as the complete absence of everything except you and your memories.
Doesn't sound that frightening but think about that for a minute.
You will be spirit, therefore no body. Only those entering heaven get given a new body as far as I am aware.
You will be surrounded by nothingness, no light, no heat, no friends, no-one to talk to.
There will be nothing to hear except your own thoughts, because there will be no-one or nothing to make any sound.
Just you and your memories for eternity.
Just think. You will remember reading this web site, and knowing that you could have found the time to find out whether what I have said in these pages is true.
On what do I base this idea of hell?
Well, we've just looked at the fact that God provides everything that we have.
God's punishment on those who rebel against him is to take his blessings away from them.
So if God gives everything, and he will take away everything, then you are left with nothing!
But punishment wouldn't be much punishment if you didn't know why you were being punished,
which is why I said that you would have your memories.
Scares the heck out of me I can tell you!
But whatever the truth is regarding hell, it is not a nice a place to be for people or devils.
I would prefer to be in heaven - and to know for certain that I am going to get there!
What does holy mean?
If something is holy then it has been set apart, it is different.
An example might make it clearer.
If I take an ordinary tea-spoon and state that it is only to be used for serving sugar,
it is not to be used for stirring tea, but only for serving the sugar, then I have just made that tea-spoon holy.
The other tea-spoons haven't changed, it's only that one.
(Of course I could take a number of tea-spoons and declare them to be holy, but I'm just using one in this example).
The tea-spoon hasn't physically changed, it has no special markings, it simply has a specific purpose in it's life.
The other tea-spoons can be used for all sorts of things apart from stirring tea - but not this holy tea-spoon.
A silly but, hopefully, an understood example!
In the same way, Christians, have been set apart by God to do his purposes in this world.
Christians do not physically change, but our attitudes to life and death are different.
God has made us holy, and so we are no longer to conform to the world's way of thinking.
We have a different set of values, God's values, to the rest of the world.
What is faith?
Simple! Faith is trust.
You can only ever have faith in something or someone.
You can not just have faith, you have to put your faith in something or someone.
Every time you sit in a chair you are placing your faith in that chair, trusting in it to keep you seated.
Christians put their faith, their trust, in the person of Jesus Christ.
We trust in his promise to make us acceptable in the eyes of his Father, and so get us into heaven.
What is Grace?
Grace is being given what you don't deserve.
In God's Grace he has given us the means of entering heaven - through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.
Now as sinners, as rebellious people, we don't deserve to enter heaven.
Our rebelling against God and ignoring him means that we actually deserve to spend eternity in hell, not heaven.
What is Mercy?
Mercy is NOT being given what you deserve.
God's Grace is available to us because God is Merciful.
As sinners we deserve to be punished, and without delay.
Instead, God is merciful and so gives us time, and helps us to know about him and about how we can be saved from his anger and judgement.
What can I do to get God's Grace?
If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations, you're a Christian!
Well, nothing except believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died and rose on the 3rd day.
You can't earn God's Grace - His forgiveness.
It's a free gift!
You only have to say sorry for rebelling against him, ask for his forgiveness, and say thank you for being forgiven.
There is no ritual, no set words to follow, nothing to do except say it and mean it!
The following is a prayer, from the Christianity Explored course, which you can say:
Lord Jesus, I know that you are God and rightful ruler of the world and my life.
I am sorry that I have rejected you and run my own life and that my heart is unclean and evil.
Thank you for your amazing offer of rescue and forgiveness in Jesus' death.
I turn back to you, please forgive me and take over the running of my life.
You now need to know what to do next!
It's easy to say but hard to do - find a good church where you are welcomed and encouraged to grow and mature as a Christian.
You're always welcome to the church I go to - if you come, then ask for me and say hello!
If you haven't prayed the prayer, then may be you need to know more which is fine!
Find a church which is running a course let tells you about the Christian faith (like Christianity Explored), and enables you to meet with people and discuss any questions you have.
And you'll always be welcome at my church - say hello over coffee after one of the Sunday services.
(Except the 8 o'clock service - too early for me!)
Site created by Richard Coleman on 1st February 1998.
All rights reserved, all trademarks acknowledged.
All information in this page correct as of 27th May 2000.