The Bible is full of questions, and many of them are of utter significance to all of us. How we answer such questions will impact us greatly. Indeed, some of them will determine our eternal destiny. So it is imperative that we pay careful heed to such questions, and answer them carefully and wisely.
I have already asked five of these questions in an earlier article: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/04/01/five-absolutely-vital-questions/
But Scripture contains plenty more such important questions. Such questions need to be answered, and some of them need answering on a regular basis. Some are directed at non-believers, but most are for Christians. Believers need to do a regular stocktake of their spiritual condition, and many of these key questions must be continuously addressed.
One. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
This may be one of the most important questions believers today can ask of themselves, given the overwhelming watering down of the gospel, rampant antinomianism, and a flood of cheap grace and hyper grace teachings making the rounds.
Far too many churches, Christian leaders and teachers have played down or ignored altogether the whole concept of the Lordship of Christ. They think we can have him as Saviour, but making him Lord is just an optional extra. Sorry, but it does not work that way.
It is a package deal, and he cannot save us if he is not Lord over us. The whole concept of salvation entails a transfer of ownership and obedience from self to God. We declare at salvation that we are no longer the lord of our own life, but Christ is. Without that basic transaction, there is no real saving faith.
Two. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)
In this famous passage Yahweh asks who will go in his name and represent Him. Chapter six of this book is about Isaiah’s commissioning as a prophet of God, and the whole of verse 8 goes like this: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
This question may be specific to Isaiah but it is a general question asked of all God’s people. We are to be ambassadors of Christ – his witnesses and his representatives. And of course there can only be one correct answer to this appeal: “Here am I. Send me!”
Indeed, Jesus made it clear that this is not some optional extra for his followers. We are commanded to go, to bear witness for him. That is part of our calling, to make known the good news to those who have not yet heard it. And as a secondary application, this question may be asked of many of us in areas such as overseas missionary work, and so on.
Whatever the particular application of this call, we all have the same duty to respond as Isaiah did. There can be no hemming and hawing here, and no rejection of his call. There can only be a clear and immediate “Yes Lord”.
Three. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
As it stands this is a terrific verse to ask of our non-Christian friends. Salvation is in Christ alone, and to neglect it is to do supreme damage to our very souls. But the immediate context of this verse indicates that it is addressed to those who profess to be followers of the Lord. Verses 1-3 say this:
“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”
This is one of a number of very sombre and sobering warning passages found in Hebrews. Some of the others include Heb. 5:11-6:12 and 10:19-39. Of course these passages have generated plenty of discussion and debate, including over the issue of whether a believer can lose his salvation or not.
While that particular debate is a complex and nuanced one, and a discussion I cannot here enter into of course, I do always say that at the very least we must take seriously the warnings of Scripture. They are there for good reason, and we dare not trifle with them or assume they cannot apply to ourselves.
Four. “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1)
In his magisterial letter to the Romans Paul takes us through the salvation story in great detail. By the time he gets to Romans 4 and 5 he is discussing the great topics of salvation by grace through faith. But like all biblical truths, these can be distorted and abused.
So in Rom. 6 he deals with misunderstandings and clarifies his position on what real grace is all about. If grace so wondrously comes to the sinner, one could be tempted to claim, “Well, the more sin, the more grace”. This is of course a perversion of all that Paul has been saying.
He answers the question of verse one quite clearly in verse 2-4: “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
And to stress the importance of all this, he repeats the question in Rom. 6:15 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” But regrettably some hyper grace teaching actually seems to go in the very direction which Paul denounces here. Thus we must take great care, and never presume upon the grace of God.
Five. “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Luke 17-18, like Matthew 24-25, discuss the return of Christ. Various themes are emphasised in these chapters, such as the need to be on guard and to be ready. And as Matt. 24 makes so very clear, Jesus insists that no one will know exactly when he will return, so that is all the more reason to be prepared.
In Luke 18:1-8 we have the parable of the persistent widow. Jesus says in verses 6-7 that God’s justice will certainly come to those who cry out for it in persistent prayer, but the question of v. 8 is rather open-ended. Will he? To the extent that we can tie a great falling away with the end times, we can say that faith may be much harder to find then.
God will always reserve for himself a believing and faithful remnant of course, but it seems that upon his return, things may be getting rather bleak. Whether that is exactly how we are to understand this question in the light of biblical eschatology, we all can apply this question personally to our own lives.
When Christ returns will he find us – you and me – strong in faith? Will each one of us stand strong, continue in prayer and faith, and stay on course until he returns, or until we breathe our last breath? Thus this can be an intensely personal question which we all need to keep asking ourselves.
It is quite interesting how many questions we find being asked in Scripture. As mentioned, how we respond to these questions can be a matter of utmost importance. We need to take these questions quite seriously, and we need to carefully and prayerfully form our answers to them.