Monday, June 29, 2015

Was Cain Born Before Sin?

Soon after God drove the man and woman out of the Garden, they became aware that they were pregnant with their first child.  When Eve saw that she had a son she exclaimed, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD…”, which seems to indicate that she was possibly thinking that this might be the Savior that God had promised a few months before that He would send.

Is it possible that Cain and some other children were born in the Garden before Adam sinned?  I am going to say no. 

Why do I say this? 

Imagine Adam and Eve in the garden before sin. They experienced for a time the best marriage between a man and a woman ever in the history of the world. Their bodies were the most fit for reproduction and there was nothing slowing them down from getting pregnant on their honeymoon.

Let's pretend for a moment that sin did not occur for ten years after they were created and married. Their son Cain and his eight or so brothers and sisters by that time would be playing tag, hide and seek, or some other game that kids play in a perfect jungle-like garden. 

One could argue that all of the kids would be with mom and dad at the tree when Satan was tempting Eve, but given the serious lack of Scripture and thinking about the reality of little-kid-syndrome, I don't think their could ever be a serious case presented for the possibility of it actually happening in that way.

If they had kids before the fall, then because of their amazing ability to reproduce, it would almost be a guarantee that one, if not both of them, would be holding a baby in their arms during the temptation. I feel that any parent would know that Satan would have had a much harder time convincing Adam and Eve to sin if they were each holding one of their little ones and looking them in the eyes knowing that if they do this they will be responsible for their death.

So let's imagine Cain was around ten years old when mom and dad ate the fruit. His brothers and sisters would have been younger and would have varied in age range. If this were the case, then all of the children would not have become sinners at the same moment Adam and Eve did. In fact, it would have even been possible for none of the children to ever become sinners.

How can I say this? Everyone born of Adam is a sinner. No exceptions!

Well, not if we try to add children into the account timeline before sin. Then we would have one exception.

The reason for this is because their [Adam and Eve's] eyes were opened when they ate the fruit.  Yes, Cain and the other children were from Adam, but if some were already born then they would not have been in Adam because they weren’t in Adam at the time of disobedience which means that they would not have been in Adam when Adam died. They would have possibly been playing on the other side of the Garden at that point and wouldn't have realized the death of their parents until later that evening.

If they did have children, don't you think they, as two of the most loving parents to have ever existed, would have refused to bring their children down this path of sin and death? They would have done everything in their loving power to protect them from the separation they now knew to be their own reality.

We are sinners because we are in Adam.  Meaning, when he sinned we sinned simply because we were still in him.  If he would have died physically that day then you and I would never have existed, but if Cain and several other children were already born and in the world at this point, then if Adam would have died physically they would still have remained alive physically because they were no longer technically in Adam.  The same is true spiritually.

It would be absurd to say that some of their children were on the other side of the Garden while mom and dad were eating the fruit and then all of a sudden even the children immediately saw that they were naked and felt shame…as if the spirit of sin just somehow made a great leap over to possess the children for an action they had no part in.  If this were the case, then the children would not be ashamed at the sight of their sin (because they had not yet sinned) but at the sight of their parent's sin.


Therefore, we have confidence that Adam and Eve had never experienced the birth of a child until after sin entered into the world.  Thus, the famous temptation between Satan and Eve happened very quickly.  Logically speaking, it almost had to have happened at some point within the first nine months and even more likely it was probably within the first few weeks, which would make since in the beginning of chapter four just after being kicked out of the Garden they find out they are pregnant with their first child and they name him Cain.

As you can see, the argument that people put forth about Adam and Eve possibly having children in the garden before they sinned crumbles when it is placed on trial.

When Logic Hits a Wall

There comes a time when each of us realizes that God is far bigger than we could ever imagine. Some of us deal with it better than others but I think we can all admit that at times it has felt like we have literally ran into a wall and we don't know what to do or what to believe.

As I am sure all of us have learned throughout life, the more we learn about God it seems the bigger He gets. And the bigger He gets the more we realize how little we actually know about God.

The truth can hurt sometimes, especially when we come face to face with the fact that God had to literally dumb His Word down so much so that we could understand it.

Too often I feel like the guy in the picture. The ball represents a specific doctrine or belief that I hold to and running to catch the ball represents me trying to gain a full understanding of that specific area or characteristic of God. It is, I feel like, just before I catch it and think that I have it all in order that I come crashing into God (i.e. the wall).

I have been through physical and emotional pain. I have suffered spiritually at times being enslaved by my flesh. And I have hurt other believers and have possibly even hindered some unbelievers from coming to faith in Christ. It is at times like these when I realize that the Lord Jesus really is the God I don't understand.

Understanding why God would allow evil is a wall. Understanding why God would not just do away with me in times when I have committed great treason against Him and the advancement of His kingdom is a wall. Understanding why He allows me and so many others to not only have, but at times even spread a false picture of who He really is a wall.

Ultimately, what I must remember is that above God's sovereignty, above His wrath and grace, above His love and unwillingness for any to perish, God is God. His wrath is fully against all who do evil, but He is not controlled by it. His love and unwillingness for any to perish extends to all of mankind, but He is not controlled by it. His sovereignty and freedom are infinitely equal in the doctrine of His predestination, but He is not controlled by either.

Above wrath, He says, "I AM GOD."  Above love, He says, "I AM GOD."  Above sovereignty, He says, "I AM GOD."  For every one of His attributes that we too often emphasize over the others, He says, "I AM GOD and I AM not bound or controlled by your limited thinking in this area of My being."

It is easy to say that God exists outside of time and space yet also transcends throughout and within it, but how can this be? God's presence is in Heaven right now, yet He is also everywhere present. This means that He is taking up space somewhere (at least through Christ's body) yet He is also not taking up space everywhere else, yet there He is.

For almost six thousand years it was illogical to say that a really heavy object can remain in the air for long periods of time and even carry people to great distances. That was until we discovered more in the laws of physics and began building airplanes.

Airplanes have always been logical, but because we had not discovered the laws of aerodynamics until recently, we believed it to be absurd.

It is logical to say that God exists above and beyond time and space yet also within them since He transcends throughout His own creation. The dilemma that we face at least at this time however, is that we have not discovered how this can be. I will be honest, I am not sure if our understanding will ever reach this level, but no matter what, you and I will continue to move forward. God created in us the desire and passion for discovery and we will spend an eternity learning more and more about Him in His fullness.

We do not understand the concept of outside of time because everything we know of is created in time. We do not understand the concept of not taking up space because almost everything takes up space. We do know that electricity does not take up space, but to fully understand that, I at least am not at that point.

How could God talk with Himself and do whatever it is He did before time still existing outside of it and not subject to it? How could God's presence before time and space not take up even the slightest measure of space? These are questions we may not have answers to for billions of years...maybe never.

We will continue to grow in our understanding of God for all of eternity, but ultimately we must remember that we will never become omniscient. There will never come a point when we know everything there is to know. He alone holds infinite knowledge. That's how big our God is. Real big!

The Fruits of the Spirit?

Love is like a pineapple. Joy is like a watermelon. Peace is a cantaloupe and patience is a bushel of grapes. The question is, "How many fruits are there?" Are there multiple kinds of fruit from the one Spirit or is it simply one fruit of one Spirit manifesting itself in many attributes?
If you think about it, why do we even say Fruits of the Spirit? That implies that each one of these characteristics are a separate entity? What some of us do not realize is that the Bible never speaks of the Fruits of the Spirit. Rather, it refers to the Fruit of the Spirit.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."  
Galatians 5:22-23
Notice that it is not plural, but singular. You cannot have one without the other because they are of the same essence. They are each a part of the same diamond. Another facet or cut if you will.
There is one diamond, yet many sides. The same is true for the Fruit of the Spirit. There is one fruit, yet many different aspects and characteristics about that fruit. On one side the color is yellow - that is joy. Turn it around and that side is fiery orange - that is patience. It is soft and fuzzy on the outside - that is love. You cut it open and find the seeds - that is kindness.

None of us who are believers will ever be able to say, "I have joy, but not peace." It can't be done. If you have the Holy Spirit, then He will bear His fruit.

The chart below is an attempt to show how this fruit is multifaceted and how each character quality can vary in the way it works itself out in the lives of believers. Remember, we are all different. Some exhibit more peace than others. Likewise, the same is true for the rest.

We are each growing in each of these areas. Some we are stronger in than others. We have clear strengths and clear weaknesses. Let us remember that each of these qualities are all a part of the one fruit in which the Spirit is working in our lives.

Can The Dead Believe?

This post may come across a little bit different then what you are expecting based on the title. I want to clarify that I am not writing about the physically dead, rather the spiritually dead.

As we see in Scripture, God gives us a long list of synonyms to describe the unbelieving man. He says they are unrighteous and ungodly, willfully ignorant and lacking understanding, immoral and full of every kind of evil. God defines them as children of wrath, cowards, liars, and walking abominations. They are disobedient, envious, murderous, and even spend their lives looking for new ways to commit treason against the Lord. In Ephesians chapter two God refers to them as Dead.

So what does this term dead even mean?

Shai Linne, a well known Christian rapper expresses his beliefs in his song "Election" by saying:
Some people say that we were drowning in the ocean
Barely floating until God threw us the rope then
Our free will helped us as we groped
Our faith is the hand that grabbed the rope and God put us back in the boat
Nope! Without apology I deny that analogy
Reality- we were dead at the bottom of the sea
I was a swollen corpse with hope no more
Until Jehovah the LORD dove from the shore to the ocean floor
Yeah, I was a corpse and I smelled like it

I’ll keep it simple, why did God choose me? Because He felt like it!
He brought me out, not an act of my volition
Breathed life into my lungs and didn’t ask for my permission...
Many of us have been to a funeral before. Either we ourselves have lost someone or we know others who have lost their loved ones. If we were to present a word picture for the word dead, then what else naturally comes to mind other than a man or a woman lying there in a casket unable to move, think, feel, taste, or see. This person is absolutely incapable of doing anything at all. Thus believing would be impossible for such a person because they are dead.

This illustration is used by many to support their views on Calvinism and in it is a very good illustration, but is it accurate? Often we find that analogies break down at a certain point, thus I beg the question, "Does this illustration pass or fail when it comes to the Word of God?"

In Hermeneutics, the study and interpretation of the Bible, there is what we call the Law of First Mention. This basically means that when a key word pops up we should look at the first Scripture passages where that specific word is mentioned.

In Genesis chapter two, God told Adam that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then he would die. What did Adam and his wife end up doing? They ate and died...spiritually speaking that is. Notice what happened though. They were not paralyzed by death and left there to rot. They could still move, see, taste, touch, smell, hear, and think. They were still very active.

You see, often we mistake death as meaning inactive when all it implies is separation. James 4:7 says that if we resist the devil he will flee from us. That implies separation, us from the devil, but in no way does that mean that we cannot believe in him.

A corpse in a coffin is a physical analogy attempting to portray a spiritual truth. It breaks down. We may go to a funeral and say, "Here lies Steve...," but this is not true. That is not Steve. Steve is either with God or separated from Him, but he is not in that coffin. That dead body is not Steve.

Let's imagine that the analogy is right. We know that we must be consistent with using it. Therefore, if a nonbeliever is unable to believe in God because he is dead, then so also the believer should also be incapable of sinning because we who are in Christ Jesus are dead to sin (Romans 6:2). This is where we see that the analogy breaks down because how often do we, even as believers, cast ourselves into sin?

If dead means inability, then we must be consistent with its usage. We would end up committing heresy by saying that we are without sin. However, if it means "separation" then things begin to make sense and fall into place.

What about the blind?

Well, an attribute of a dead man is that he cannot see. If this is the case, then why would Paul write in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving? Why would you try to blind a dead man? Why put so much effort into trying to blind an already blind man? It doesn't make sense.

The reason is because often in Scripture the word death does not imply inability, rather it connotes separation. If man was unable to believe, then it wouldn't matter what Satan did to them because he would understand that trying to blind someone who already cannot see would be a waste of time and energy.


The truth is, that left without God, no man will believe. Thankfully, man is not left without God, therefore many will believe. Can the dead believe? Yes, because even in our state of wickedness God has not left us to ourselves. He is pursuing us and has sovereignly decreed that man would have free will. It is because of Him and His marvelous grace that man has the freedom to call out to Him believing in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ so that we may be saved.

In Shai Linne's song above, both views are wrong. We didn't grab hold of the rope. We have no strength to pull ourselves up. And we are not a corpse on the bottom of the sea. God is in the boat and we are separated from Him. We are in the water. We cannot swim. We are drowning. We are about to lose consciousness and go under.

God yells out, "I love you! Do you want me to save you?" Gasping for air you and I with an almost unconscious voice said "yes" and God jumped in the water with the life preserver and grabbed hold of us. He climbed the rope ladder back onto the boat while carrying you and I on His shoulders. He laid us on the deck and performed CPR on us. He resuscitated us by breathing His breath into our lungs. He revived us.

He did all of the work in rescuing us. To Him be the glory!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gifts On Purpose

The Past's Story:

It was the night that children wait for all year long. It was a night of waiting and last minute preparations. The calm before the storm for most parents. It was Christmas Eve.   

I was eight years old and Santa was coming that night.  You can only imagine the barely contained excitement I felt as a little boy. The anticipation was almost too much as I waited for those few, excruciatingly long, short hours to pass so I could see what Santa left for me under the tree. My sleep-deprived parents would perhaps be a bit less enthusiastic as they would be awaken to the sounds of my pounding feet racing up the stairs.

That night my brother, sister and I helped mom bake the Christmas cookies.  This was one of my favorite parts as I always ate several of them as they would come out of the oven.  After all, if Santa eats a thousand cookies in one night, he can afford to share a few with me. In reality, I was a little boy who ran off of sugar and cookies were irresistible!

The hours ticked by and soon it was time for us to go to bed.  But, as we each went to our own rooms, my curious and inquisitive nature took hold of me. I distinctly remember that I wanted so desperately to see who truly brought me presents every December.  Was it really Santa?  Or could the rumors at school be true.....?

At the time, I wanted to know the truth more out of curiosity than anything else. Later, I would come to realize that knowing this truth allowed me show thankfulness to the right people.  

After waiting for what felt like an eternity but was, in reality, thirty minutes, I snuck up the stairs with a quietness that would rival any mouse. I slowly peeped my eyes around the corner so that I could glean a glimpse into the family room.   

It was true!  What did I see before but my own parents?! I saw mom and dad shuffling with the gifts and strategically positioning them for us to open in the morning.

One of life’s greatest mysteries was solved that Christmas Eve night.  I went to bed that evening, satisfied with my amateur espionage skills. When I woke up a few hours later, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my thankfulness was not to be directed to an unknown stranger but to my parents.

Today's Application:

The reason why I tell this story is because every gift, no matter how big or how small, comes from someone.  My point is that if we understand Who is giving us the gift, then we will not only have more of an appreciation for the gift, but also an abundance of praise and thanksgiving for the One who rightly deserves it — the Giver.

In the story above, was my belief in Santa obliterated? Yes. Was I distraught and emotionally scarred for the rest of my life because I found out who really gave me these presents?  Not at all! You see, I realized that what I was receiving under the tree wasn’t just some random toy from a stranger I didn't know dressed in a red suit. Rather, these gifts were picked out specifically for me by the two people who loved me the most in this world — my mom and dad.   

As I begin to think about these things, I now understand that my parents were investing their resources into mine in order to find out the desires of my heart and what it was that I longed for as a child.  I now know that my gifts were not from a stranger who didn't know me, but intentionally given to me in love by those who loved me.
Knowing our spiritual gifts is an exciting thing. But when we take our eyes and place them on the One who gave us those gifts, we become filled with love and praise toward Him. What we find as we continue to mature is that God, out of His infinite love for you and I, has purposefully made us to be exactly who we are in Him. He knows the desires of our hearts, our passions, and our longings.  He knows what makes us laugh uncontrollably to the point that milk is shooting out of our nose.  He understands us better than we even do ourselves and everyday He is intentionally investing in our lives to bring us closer to Himself and to make us more like His Son.  He specifically and purposefully gave us our gifts in order that we may glorify Him!

Our gifts are not random. They have been given to us by the one who loves us more than any other person — the Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Who Said it was an Apple Tree?

When referring to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, why do we so often refer to it as an apple tree? The Bible gives us no indication of what type of fruit tree this was. Though it does not matter theologically what type of fruit it was that Adam and Eve ate of, it is still interesting to discuss for curiosity sake.
Therefore, I beg the question, "Who says?"
Who says it was an apple tree? Who told us that it couldn't have been an orange tree? Or a mango tree? Or even a banana or a peach tree for that matter?

The only details the Bible gives us concerning this tree was that it bore fruit.

But wait! We must ask ourselves some key questions before making a definitive statement.

1) How many types of apples are there? Google, the great source of knowledge, tells me that there are well over seven thousand five hundred different varieties of apples. 7,500! Can you believe that!?

2) How many types of fruits are there? Well, considering the fact that there are over seven thousand different types of apples, which is one kind of fruit, I believe that it would be safe to assume that the amount of different kinds of fruit around the world would be staggering. I also found that there are over sixteen hundred (1,600) varying types of bananas!

Those numbers are amazing to think about as we consider the fact that God never meant for us to become bored with His creation. Instead, He created it in such a way that we would spend our whole lives discovering more and more of what He gave us. Truly we serve a wonderful and very creative Maker.

Therefore, because we do not know exactly what kind of fruit it was that was declared to be forbidden, I will present my theoretical conclusion to this dilemma.
I believe that whatever fruit was on this tree does not exist anymore on this Earth.
Why do I say this? Imagine the account as if you are there watching it all take place. Eve is walking in the garden when a snake slithers up against her leg. The serpent begins tempting her to eat of the one tree that she was specifically told not to eat from.

Let us pretend for one second that the tree was a beautiful red apple tree. Satan tempts Eve to eat from it and what does she say? The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.' But I have found that the exact same fruit that is on this tree is on another tree just over that hill, therefore, why would you tempt me with this fruit, Satan, if I am free to eat of the exact same fruit just over there?"

The woman doesn't say that last part does she? Why not? Because this tree is like no other tree that the LORD God had made. Just like the tree of life, this is a type of fruit that is found nowhere else in the whole world.

If this was an apple, then the temptation would not have been near as strong because Eve could have walked a few more feet over to a tree that she was free to eat from and had the same type of fruit - just not in conflict with God's commands.

This was a fruit that could be tasted nowhere else and Adam and Eve knew that. And when they were kicked out of the garden, they, along with the entire human race, were unable to regain entry into the presence of the Lord. Thus, for over sixteen hundred years the garden was guarded by the cherubim of God so that no man would be allowed in.

With that said, the great Noahic Flood would have destroyed the Garden of Eden along with everything growing within its borders. Do you see where I am going with this? This means that the one tree with its one kind of fruit was destroyed in the global flood of Noah's day and thus it remains no more.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was not an apple tree. It was not an orange tree. It was not a banana tree. None of us know what kind of tree it was because the fruit does not exist anywhere upon this Earth. It was on one tree for one time for one test and when God destroyed the Earth with water, God destroyed this one tree that has no more purpose upon this Earth.

Shem's Line

Genesis 10 Japheth's Genealogy Chart

Ham's Line

Genesis 5 Genealogy Chart

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Josh's Story

It seems like only yesterday when Josh and Chelsea first laid eyes on each other. It was love at first sight and a whirlwind romance. It was the stuff of fairytales. People looked at them and knew that they would live happily-ever-after. Their relationship sounded like something you would read in a storybook, so would you believe me if I told you it was real?

Once they met, Josh would do just about anything for Chelsea. So much so that marriage came rather quickly for the two of them and it seemed evident that nothing could ever tear these two apart. They were inseparable. It seemed like every opportunity they got, they would choose to spend it together.

Just after their honeymoon they moved into a home down on East Garden Street. For them, everything seemed to be perfect. They were well on their way to a fairytale ending.

One day, they noticed that a man had moved into the house next door. He was well dressed, clean-shaven, and even had his hair slicked back. After he had unloaded everything into his home, he came over to introduce himself to Josh and Chelsea. His name was Stan and he was  just as personable as he appeared. However, while they were talking with him, it became apparent to Josh that Stan was flirting with his newly-wed wife.

Thankfully the conversation did not continue for very long because Stan had some things he needed to do back at home. As the door closed behind him, Josh began talking with Chelsea.

He asked her what she thought of their new neighbor and she told him that she thought he was very nice and would make a good friend. As Josh shared his apprehensions, he warned her to be cautious around him because he was aware of Stan's intentions. He knew from that very first meeting with Stan, that this would not work itself out into a good friendship so he asked Chelsea to keep her distance from Stan.

She, on the other hand, felt that he was overreacting. She didn't think that Stan was flirting with least to the degree that Josh told her he was. However, she agreed and followed her husband's advice.

The next day, as Josh was leaving for work, Stan was watching him from the window. As soon as Josh was out of eyesight he went back over to talk to Chelsea. She opened the door, smiled and, before she realized, they had been talking for over three hours. Stan was well aware of the passing time, however, and knew Josh would be back home for his lunch break soon. So he slyly asked her for a cup of sugar to hide his real intentions and returned home.

Chelsea, after closing the door, tried her best to hide the smile that Stan had left her. You see, for that entire conversation he seemed like the best listener. He asked her about her desires and passions and listened to her response. He told her that she was worth so much more than she even realized. He kept telling her that Josh was such a lucky man to have such a beautiful woman as herself.

He was manipulating her because of his jealousy. Chelsea was a very beautiful young woman and he wanted her for himself. Day after day, he would come over and talk with her while Josh was at work. This culminated to that shattering day when Josh came home to find a letter from Chelsea on the counter. But what broke his heart were the divorce papers laying beneath it.

To his heartbreak and sorrow, she informed him that she was leaving and wanted nothing to do with him. She moved in with Stan, just next door, thinking that the awkwardness would pass and she could simply move on.

Josh's heart was beyond broken that day and utterly shattered. From then on, whenever He would see her, he was never able to hide his emotions toward her despite his efforts. Even though she had so deeply crushed him, he loved her more than she could ever know.

It wasn't too long after she moved in with Stan, that Chelsea began to experience the real Stan. He began abusing her physically and emotionally. He would scream at her and it eventually got to the point that he would kick her out of the house for periods of time.

Things got so bad that, because Chelsea wasn't experiencing love and acceptance in her home, she began getting involved with the wrong people. In her search for belonging, she was driven to drugs and alcohol. Josh even saw her on the outskirts of town walking down the street prostituting herself to random men.

As Josh was in his living room one stormy night, with tears streaming down his eyes to rival the rain falling from the skys, he looked out the window and saw Stan throw his beloved out of the house and lock the door behind her. She was stranded in the rain. Alone and unprotected. Gripped with compassion, Josh grabbed his jacket and went outside to meet her. He extended to her not just the jacket but also forgiveness as he invited her to come back home. But her response was to ignore him, as she turned and ran off into the storm.

Josh was left there standing in the rain. Alone. Instead of the woman he loved and cared for, all that was in  his hands was the jacket. A symbol of the hope and longing he had for restoration.

The next day, Josh came home for lunch and noticed Stan's front door was open. An unusual occurrence, he was overcome with an uneasy feeling. He could sense something was wrong. As he quietly made his way toward the door he could hear raised voices that grew louder and more venomous as he entered the house. Stan was yelling at Chelsea and he could tell she was scared for her life.

Josh entered the house and ran up the stairs toward the hate-filled voice of Stan. There he found the two of them in the bedroom. Everything was knocked over and the room was a mess. The dresser was turned on its side, the lamp smashed into the floor - everything was set for the violent crime that was occurring. As Josh entered, he saw Stan throw Chelsea against the wall and pull out a gun to surely kill her. Not stopping for a moment, Josh continued to run until he stood between Stan and Chelsea. Standing as a shield to protect her, Josh felt the bullet hit as Stan fired the gun which was meant to kill her. Josh's life-less body hit the ground with a decided thud.

Chelsea was stunned. There before her laid the man, once her beloved husband, dead. Though she had treated him horribly and had shattered his heart with her actions, in the end, he showed her the greatest act of love and forgiveness by dying in her place.

Stan remarked, "Good riddance!" grabbed Chelsea by her hair as he pulled her into the next room away from Josh's body. He made her get down on her knees, head turned away from him. Stan raised the gun to her head prepared to kill again.


Everything was quiet as Stan fell to the ground. Dead. Josh had come into the room from behind Stan and shot him in the head. Chelsea, more scared than she had ever been before, began sobbing uncontrollably as she slipped into shock. Josh was dead? How could this be? Josh took her into his arms, almost forgetting the pain of the bloody wound in his side, and whispered those reassuring words that contained forgiveness, hope and, most importantly, love: "Let's go home."


Josh is the Lord Jesus. Chelsea is us or mankind. Stan is Satan.

This is the story of grace. No, it's not a true story from today but it is a picture of the epic true story that we are all involved in today. Jesus had a lovely and perfect relationship with us until we wanted something different. We were the ones who filed the divorce papers and ran toward Stan (the devil). We are the abused and oppressed. Satan's goal has always been to destroy mankind, yet the Lord Jesus willingly jumped in our place. He took the bullet for us and just when Satan thought he had the high ground, the Lord Jesus comes in and once and for all puts an end to the devil. This is the Gospel message. This is Jesus' story!

Does God Hear a Sinner's Prayer?

There is a belief which many Christians today hold to that says God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers. I think these thoughts tend to stem from verses such as:
"We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him."  
John 9:31
"The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous."  
Proverbs 15:29 
If we were to just take these verses at face value then we could conclude that God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers. However, when we come to the interpretation of Scripture we must always look not only for verses which support our idea, but also verses and logic that could say otherwise.

Let's begin with the logic:

  1. If God could not hear the prayers of unbelievers, then how is anyone saved in the first place? The reason you and I have an eternal hope in Jesus Christ is because He heard our prayer as we cried out to Him to save us. As an unbeliever, we called out to God and He not only heard, but He responded to our call and rescued us. The point is that if God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers, then no one would be saved because God would never hear them in order to save them. God grants us the gift of repentance so that we may come to Him and agree with Him about our sin and be changed by Him. What would be the point of God granting people repentance if that same God refused to hear that repentance? Again, if God did not hear an unbeliever's prayer, then you and I would still be in our sins.
  2. God is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere present at all times. He is also omniscient, which means that He alone possesses all knowledge. If we think about this logically, then it would be impossible for God not to hear the prayers of unbelievers because He knows all things and He, whether we like it or not, is with them while they are praying because He is everywhere.
I feel at times, we have a tendency to view God as a God that sticks His fingers in His ears while unbelievers pray. This is a dangerous image to hold onto and an incorrect view of His gracious character.

Let's think about this from a Biblical perspective:
"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
John 14:13
As a believer, do you get everything you pray for? I can recall several things which I have prayed for in the past that have remained unanswered, but if I take this verse at face value, then shouldn't I get everything I ask for?

Well, much like the verses at the beginning of the article, that is not specifically what they mean. There is a broader context in which they were written in and we must see them in light of Scripture as a whole.

Often, when we read the word "hear" in the Bible what does it tend to mean? You see, it is easy to just naturally give it a set definition where it means only one thing and that is to perceive with your ear(s) a sound made by someone or something, but what we must take note of is the fact that more times than not, when Scripture refers to the idea of "hearing" it goes much deeper than just using ones ears.

It connotes or implies a response. Not to just hear a sound or the voice of the person doing the talking, but a call to action. To listen means to heed and obey.
"But prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves."  
James 1:22
Psalm 66:18 says, "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the LORD will not hear." Again, this does not mean that when an unbeliever prays God doesn't know what they are saying because He cannot hear them. It means that God is not obligated to respond to the prayers of the unbelieving. In fact, that Psalm was written by a believer which indicates that even for the children of God, the LORD is not obligated to answer us when we call out to Him.

He loves answering our prayers and meeting us when we call upon His name, but when we exalt wickedness in our hearts and crave for the abominations of the LORD, then He will not hear, in other words, respond.

He is not our genie in a lamp which we can just rub whenever we need something. He is our God and Father who loves us and is always seeking for our absolute best. Sometimes that means leaving us to ourselves and allowing us to see firsthand how destructive sin can be.

Ultimately, I do not know when or how He chooses not to hear, but what I do know is that out of His infinite wisdom and knowledge He discerns every situation and decides the very best course of action. We have a God who knows every possible possibility because He alone transcends dimensions and exists far above and beyond all time and space.

To the unbeliever, this life is His grace poured out upon you to bring you to a saving knowledge of His Son. To us as His children, He will always work out everything for our ultimate benefit in Him and in making us more into the image of Christ.