What Is the Day of the Lord? – with David and Inga-Lill Guzik
Today’s episode is co-hosted by David Guzik and his wife, Inga-Lill.
What is the Day of the Lord?
Question for Pastor Dave… and can you let me know by email his answers.
Is there a difference between the “day of the Lord” in 2 Peter 3:10 and the “day of God” in 2 Peter 3:12? There are also other references to such a “day” as in Revelation. How do all these relate to each other, or do they relate at all?
Let’s start with a look at those passages in 2 Peter 3:
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
2 Peter 3:11–12
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
Here is the quick answer: No, there is no difference between:
- The Day of the Lord (as in 2 Peter 3:10 and many other passages)
- The Day of God (as in 2 Peter 3:12)
- The Day of Christ (as in Philippians 1:10; 2:16)
- The Day of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:5)
- The Great Day (Jeremiah 30:7, Revelation 6:17)
- The great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:14)
The term day of the LORD (used more than 25 times in the Bible) does not necessarily refer to one specific day. It speaks of “God’s time.” The idea is that now is the day of man, but the day of man will not last forever. One day, the Messiah will end the day of man and bring forth the ultimate day of the LORD. A significant aspect of the day of the Lord is the Great Tribulation described in Matthew 24:1-31.
However, the phrase the day of the Lord and related phrases could be used of several seasons of God’s judgment, when God obviously intervened and set things right.
- Sometimes the Day of the Lord was judgment on the enemies of God and Israel (as the judgment of Egypt in Jeremiah 46:10 or Ezekiel 30)
- Sometimes the Day of the Lord was judgment against Israel or Jerusalem itself (as in Ezekiel 13:3–7 or Joel 1:15)
- Sometimes the Day of the Lord is the ultimate day of judgment (Joel 2:28–32; 3:14)
Here is an example of it being used in an ultimate sense:
The great day of the LORD is near;
It is near and hastens quickly.
The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter;
There the mighty men shall cry out.
That day is a day of wrath,
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of devastation and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
A day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities
And against the high towers.
When we are right with God, we want the day of the LORD. We long for Him to show His strength because we know that we abide in Him. When we are not right with God, we dread the day of the LORD, because when God shows Himself strong, His strength may work against us. In Joel’s day Judah was not right with God, so the day of the LORD would be nothing but darkness and gloominess to them.
Prophetically speaking, the Day of the Lord is what Jesus called the Great Tribulation, and the ultimate return of Jesus in glory at the end of that period. It is the season of God’s great triumph – again, God’s Day as opposed to man’s day.
Does the “honeymoon” phase fade away after several years of marriage?
David Guzik: Why don’t you start by sharing what you often tell people about our first year of marriage? That’s supposed to be the “honeymoon” phase. How’d that work out for you?
Inga-Lill Guzik: For us, and mainly for me, that was one of the hardest years of our marriage, because there were so many adjustments, so many changes, and so many new things. I even have amnesia from those first few months.
DG: Maybe that’s good.
I-L: Yeah, that could be good. But I would say that I think the aspect of the honeymoon phase, where there’s this exuberant happiness and joy and everything is amazing and fun, depends on who you are as a person. It depends on what sways you emotionally. I think that a honeymoon phase comes and goes. I think it’s a great thing when it’s there, and it’s just normal when it’s not there.
The question is, do you strive to keep the honeymoon phase as long as you can? No, I think it’s an aspect of the marriage. And I think the honeymoon phase is something that should fade into a deeper love, a deeper understanding of each other, and a deeper sense of living with each other with the knowledge that you finally have once you’ve gotten married.
DG: There’s a fellow here in the city where we live named Dr. Jeff Schloss. He has done some interesting research. I don’t think he’s terribly unique in this; probably other people are doing the research as well. He talks about the biochemical things that happen in a person, first when they fall in love and are in that infatuation stage. That eventually progresses to a different biochemical thing going on within the body, transitioning into something that’s more suited to permanence and a long-lasting commitment.
So, I do think that there’s a sense in which a relationship changes, but it changes into something that’s better, especially for the long term. The specific question is, does it fade away after several years of marriage? Well, it should transition into something more suited to permanence and a long-lasting relationship. I really think that is God’s purpose for that.
I-L: I think that love, when you start out, is more of a friendship. It’s more companionship. Then it’s infatuation. And then it goes deeper into caring, concern, love, sharing, aspects of decision making, looking to the future, what should we do, what should we not do?
I feel that honeymoon phase can be overrated, and it can be disappointing if it doesn’t last, if that’s what you think it should do. I think you should look to grow deeply in every area and aspect of your marriage from day one.
DG: Yes. Right on.
What type of Biblical advice would you give a young man about how to find a life partner?
What type of biblical advice would you give a young man about how to find a life partner in this day and age?
DG: Wow, it’s relationship day.
I-L: It is relationship day. That’s great.
DG: You know, I never get these questions when it’s just me. People probably aren’t interested in what I have to say about that, and I don’t blame them, really. So, what advice would you give to a young man about trying to find a life partner?
I-L: You are in a difficult place in the world and in the culture today. I think for a young man to find a godly woman, there’s going to be some hoops to jump through. It’s going to take some time. It’s going to be emotional. And it’s going to be practical. It’s going to have to have a lot of elements to it. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Because before it used to be that when you hit the age of twenty-one or twenty-two, people knew you were looking to get married. It’s not like that today. There are a lot of people who don’t want to get married until later, and you don’t know.
If you are a person who wants to find somebody, I think it’s important that when you ask somebody out on a date, let them know that you are looking. I think people today want to know what your motives and intentions are when you’re going out with them on dinner dates or activities. I think the best thing to do is be part of a church that has activities. It’s not just about going to church. It’s a good place to meet somebody but it’s a hard place to get to know somebody. You have to do things together. You have to be part of what the church is doing activity-wise, whether you help out with the children or the youth, or help out with ushering, which is a great place to meet people and welcome them to the church.
But trust God. Be at a place where you are marriable right now. And know what you’re looking for. That’s so important. Don’t be one who just settles. Be intentional about what you’re looking for in a woman. And pursue that. Make that your purpose.
DG: Great answer. Let me add just a couple of things. Number one, it’s fine to look for someone to marry, who can be that life partner. But you also have to concern about being the right kind of person. It’s not just a matter of finding the right person. It’s saying, “Look, am I the kind of person that someone would want to marry?”
The other aspect is this. It’s possible to over-spiritualize the process, where you just wait around. We kind of love these stories. You know, “I met her, and God spoke to me and said, ‘That’s the one.’” Those stories turn creepy pretty fast. But if you take any creepy element out of it, we love to hear that God spoke, and that was the one and it worked out in a wonderful and appropriate way. We love those stories. But part of the reason why we love those stories is that we assume that if there’s something so supernatural to it, somehow God is guaranteeing it’s going to work out.
And you and I have known couples who have had those stories, and their marriages haven’t lasted. So, you can over spiritualize it. But just like Inga-Lill said, it’s just doing practical things to get out and meet people.
I-L: Yeah. I don’t think there’s so much a problem with the romantic aspect and the love aspect. Like we were saying earlier, I think that comes over time. That’s not something you practice until you are married. You can allow for compliments, and be happy to see each other, but so many elements of the practicality of doing things together will come after you’re married.
This process definitely takes lots of prayer, but don’t over spiritualize it. Ask God to help you be intentional and to be sensitive about what kind of woman you would want to live with for the rest of your life. And be the kind of man who someone else would want to live with the rest of your life. Clean things up, get things ready.
DG: Dress a little nicer.
Was the Passover lamb understood to be a young sheep or young goat (a lamb or kid)?
The Passover lamb could be taken from the sheep or from the goats (Exodus 12:5). In the Old Testament and the New Testament, was the Passover lamb always understood to be either a young sheep or goat (a lamb or a kid)?
Exodus 12:5 – Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
DG: This verse refers to the very first Passover in Israel. But to my knowledge, after this first mention in Exodus 12, the Bible includes no reference of a Passover sacrifice being anything other than a lamb. In other words, using a goat was allowed, but seemingly, they never did it. Or at least they didn’t do it after that first initial Passover. If anything, that was simply due to custom, but not by any specific command of God. I think it just became a matter of custom to sacrifice a young sheep instead of a goat.
God gives certain commands to Israel or to any group, and we develop traditions and customs. Sometimes those customs or traditions can be very strong. It doesn’t mean that they’re wrong or right. It just means that they should be recognized for what they are.
I wonder what it would be like in a neighborhood in ancient Israel if somebody said, “We’re going to sacrifice a goat, not a lamb.” They could argue that it was allowed by law of God, but maybe they would have gotten some “side eye” from their neighbors or something.
How do you recommend making it work when married to an unbeliever?
How do you recommend making it work when married to an unbeliever? I got saved 12 years after marriage.
I-L: Well, that’s a tough one.
DG: It’s a challenge for sure. Fundamentally, for the person who’s born again, Jesus Christ is the center of their life. Our life is Christ, it’s hidden in Christ. He’s our Lord, He’s our master, He’s our Savior. And to have a married life with someone who doesn’t have the same goal and purpose and center of their life, it definitely forms a challenge. But one thing to take seriously is the responsibility to be the best spouse you can, just like the Bible instructs, so that maybe God can use your conduct to help win your partner to the Lord.
1 Peter 3:1-2 – Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
The indication there is not so much that the unbelieving husband in a marriage to a believer is going to be won by the wife’s preaching, but by their godly life and love.
I-L: Yeah. And just like in any other aspect of marriage, your husband is not your project. There might be things you can influence him about. There might be things you can talk to him about, in which you see from different perspectives and have different values or direction. But the attitude should never be talking down to him. Rather, you can say, “This is what I have come to believe lately. I’ve learned this or I’ve understood this. Can you look at it from my perspective, and then let’s talk about where you’re coming from?”
I think it’s important to recognize that we don’t compromise when it comes to sin. We don’t want to sin. But we can compromise a lot when it comes to ideas and the practicality of things. We don’t have to have our own way. It doesn’t have to be his way or my way. We can learn to communicate better by just laying things out on the table. We can say, “Hey, let’s figure out what looks best from each perspective and come to a compromise of decision making that doesn’t have to do with sin.” I think that the more gracious we can be, the better. Each marriage needs grace, and each woman needs graciousness in her speech to her husband. It’s very easy to become irritated and say things in a way or a tone that can be discouraging. Then communication becomes the battleground and talking to each other becomes a source of pain and frustration for both. And if both can fix it, then that’s great, but if not, do your part to communicate well from your end.
We do have a very real marriage. But this is this is something that you and I both do. We started this very early on in our marriage. That was to respect each other. Because this person that I have chosen – nobody held a gun to my head that I remember – I’ve chosen to live with and to love and support him. He is first my brother in Christ. He is first another human being that God has made. With my life, and how I treat him, and how I behave within the marriage will affect everything about you. And so, we treat each other as best we can and know how. And when we do something wrong or say something wrong, we are usually quick to say, “I said that wrong” or “You know, that didn’t come out right.” Or you wait a little bit of time for things to work out and get over it, and then you just say, “I’m sorry.” Forgiveness and graciousness are huge in a marriage. It is a daily aspect of marriage.
Where do you think that America and African countries that didn’t exist in Bible times, fit into the end times events described in the Bible?
DG: There are two aspects to this. First, in a very general sense, the Bible does mention the nations and the peoples of the earth. In that general sense, they are included. But secondly, there are some references in the Old Testament prophets of the coastlands. I’ve heard people say that that refers to distant places, such as, theoretically, the United States or African places. I don’t really know.
But certainly, they fall under the general sense of the nations. When you read the word Gentiles in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, that word is the nations. The concept in ancient Israel was that there was Israel, and then there were all the other nations besides Israel.
Even though we are more distant geographically, we’re still included in that broad promise that the nations will see the glory of the Lord. And as far as what role we might play in any kind of specific prophetic scenario, that changes from decade to decade and from political development to political development. We can look and observe, but we hold such things with a loose hand, and just focus on God’s big picture. And that is that the glory of Jesus will be exalted over all the nations. That’s His promise.
I’ve heard a lot of people prophesy by saying that God told them something to do. Does God talk to people like that today?
This is a complicated question because I do believe that God communicates with people today. Now, obviously, the fundamental way that God communicates with people is in and through His Word. I often tell people, don’t try to hear a word from God. Read His Word, meditate on His Word, and it’ll speak to you. I mean, this is God’s Word that you don’t have to wonder about. It is the word of the Lord.
Now, that being said, I do believe that God communicates with people today. The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin. And in some way, that’s communicated to a person. “I’m a sinner. I need to trust in Christ. I need to repent.” Would you say that the Holy Spirit is speaking that to the person? Well, I don’t know, but He’s communicating it in some way.
I don’t think that we have to go around seeking for God to speak to us in a way other than His Word, but there are times in places where He may. And look, Inga-Lill, you know how it has been for our life. I-There have been times when God has brought very specific words of prophecy to us that have served to confirm what God was already showing us and leading us to do. Those aren’t everyday occurrences, by any means. A lot of people are far too flippant in the way they talk about the Lord speaking to them. “Yeah, the Lord told me this, the Lord told me that, the Lord told me the other thing.” We should be very sober minded about that. I like to tell people that what they should say instead is, “I think the Lord told me this.”
I-L: Or, “I have a sense that God is saying this.”
I-L: I think that removes some of the awkwardness from it. When you say that it gives people a little bit more understanding that God can speak perfectly, but we can hear wrongly, or we can misinterpret what we think He’s saying. Even with the Bible, we can read something and can go off in a different direction than what normally is said, and it could be very confusing to people.
DG: And the New Testament makes it very clear that any so-called prophetic word should be judged, or if somebody senses the Lord is speaking to them about something. I wouldn’t take action on anything I felt the Lord was speaking to me, unless I felt like that had been judged and confirmed.
I-L: Okay, yeah. I don’t think that that’s the whole the normal, everyday conversation.
DG: No, no, you’re right.
I-L: But if that’s happening in a meeting, or a church service or a gathering, then that’s a whole different thing. You might be out for coffee, and somebody says, “Hey, I think God told me that I need to do this or that.”
DG: Yeah. But let’s just emphasize again that there’s no doubt that God has spoken to us authoritatively in His Word. And that’s what the emphasis should always be upon.
How do you escape feeling like prayer is just a list of things you say to God or ask God for?
How do you escape feeling like prayer is just a list of things you say to God or ask God for? Sometimes it feels like it’s just a mandatory list of things I have to say.
I-L: I think that’s a very observant aspect of the Christian life at times. In my own life there have been times when I literally would have a list. I would work down my list of things that I wanted to be specific about asking God for. I don’t really think is anything wrong with that. The Bible says to bring your requests before the Lord, and I think that’s a good thing. I think that’s part of the communication that we have with Him. I give God what’s weighing heavy on my heart or in my mind, and the things I feel I need to pour out and leave there before Him. And then, as we always say, “May Your will be done in all these issues.”
If it just seems like that’s the only thing you do in prayer, and there’s no worship, there’s no asking for forgiveness, there’s no thanksgiving, then you might want to say I need to add to my prayer time more of those elements, besides asking God to do things for you.
But I think it’s part of relationship. Now that you work at home much more, and I see you sitting in the living room, I feel like I can talk to you whenever I want. And sometimes you’re like, “Wait, I’m on the phone, or I’m doing something,” or, we just use sign language, but I talk to you because you’re there. I think that’s how natural our relationship with God becomes over time. We just talk to Him all throughout the day when we are thinking about things. And then we may also add our specific requests or the people we’re praying for or the things that are happening in our lives.
DG: You know, it’s our habit to pray together most every morning. And we pray for the same things a lot.
I-L: A lot. Yeah.
DG: I mean, one reason is because Jesus told us to be persistent in prayer. But another reason is because these are things that are dear to us. These are things that are important to us. So, we want to persist in prayer. I get the sense of the question that it can feel just like you’re going through the motions. But what Inga-Lill said is spot on. It’s very helpful to mix things up and to realize that prayer is much more than just us giving requests to God. It’s thanking Him. It’s praising Him. It’s reading His Word. It’s honoring Him. It’s claiming promises. That’s wonderful to do as well.
What is the age of accountability for children? What verses in the Bible support the idea of the age of accountability?
DG: The Bible does not give an age of accountability. But it does give a principle of accountability. People who know more, have more guilt. The more we know, the more responsibility we have, and the greater our guilt is before God. On that basis alone, an infant has less accountability before God than a full-grown human being. Someone who may have some special needs or challenges concerning their thinking or thought process, they may have less accountability as well.
We see the principle of accountability given throughout the Scriptures. One very interesting passage is in the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul says that once he was alive without the law. The only way that I can make sense of that is by Paul having some kind of life or some kind of status before God before he was fully accountable before God.
It’s a habit of a lot of people today to sort of reject the idea of any kind of age of accountability. But I think that there’s a lot to it and a lot that’s neglected. The Bible does give a principle of accountability, which I suppose could be different from person to person, depending on their ability to understand and what has been shown to them.
What should you do if your spouse says they are no longer in love with you and wants a divorce?
What should you do if your spouse says they are no longer in love with you and wants a divorce?
I-L: I’m hoping that this is not what’s going on in your life, but if it is, our prayers will go out to you. We will pray for you next time we pray together, and we’ll keep you in mind. But if this is just a hypothetical question, and you’ve met people that say this to you, I think you have to go back to communication.
What is the best thing to do in this situation in order to make things right? Why has it come to this point? It didn’t happen overnight, so fixing it isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time and effort.
The reality is that there might not be any love left between two people. But divorce doesn’t have to be the solution. If you are amicable and can live together and can work towards supporting each other during this difficult time, do that. It may simply have to do with life in general. Life could be hard. Maybe you think that it’s your spouse’s fault, or it would be better if your spouse was different. Work on things together. Don’t allow for this separateness or this wedge to come in and make the space between you be so difficult to live with.
Be the giver. Be the one who works towards peace. Be the one who works towards a greater sense of belonging to each other than what you have. It doesn’t have to be all warm and fuzzy love all the time. But it can be mutual respect, honoring one another, deferring to one another, looking for ways to bless each other, as one human being to another.
Marriage is so much more than just two people dancing around the kitchen and cooking. I mean, when was the last time we did that?
IL: But we live with each other in a way that blesses each other. We look for ways to bless the other person all day long, every day. If you’ve stopped looking for ways to bless each other, get back to it or start doing it.
I think that divorce is acceptable at times. We don’t have to go into that yet. You have a whole teaching on that.
DG: Yeah, there are certain circumstances under which God definitely gives allowance for divorce. But on top of all that you said, Inga-Lill, marriage relationships are complicated.
DG: It’s very rare that it’s just one problem. Now, there may be one main problem, but in the complexity of marriage relationships, there can be all kinds of problems at work. I’m not saying what I’m going to say right now answers everything, but it speaks to one aspect. We often think of love as just a feeling that we have inside for another person. But there’s a very real sense in which it’s more helpful and more accurate, biblically speaking, for us to think of love as a choice we make.
We tend to love the things that we take care of, that we invest into, that we concern ourselves with. People have that with pets all the time. They get some kind of pet, and they don’t really have much affection for the pet at first, but they start take caring for it, feeding it, helping it, and making sure it’s healthy and enjoyable, and all that stuff. And then they learn to love that pet all the more.
Of course, there are major differences between a human being and an animal. But there’s a sense in which love can be cultivated when we choose the things that lead to love.
DG: Again, I know that that doesn’t answer everything, because relationships are very complicated, but that principle has been helpful for me.
IL: Yeah. And I think that when the difficulty is not so much happening to you, but to your spouse, that’s when you pray for them more. That’s when you that’s when you kind of back off and give the Holy Spirit some room to work in their personal life. Maybe even express that to them, “Hey, I know you’re having a hard time. I want you to know I’m praying for you.” Because you’re married, this is something you should be going through together, working towards each other together.
But sometimes each party has to first work on things between themselves and the Lord, and work on the things that are happening with them right at the time. There could be underlying sin, but it doesn’t have to be. It could just be life. This world is very dark, and those things can come down on upon any one of us at any time. But recognize that if you’re in this together, you can absolutely and should fast and pray for your spouse and your marriage regularly, because it’s under attack. That good?
DG: Very good.
How do I know I’m still saved after backsliding from the Lord?
DG: I would just say this. Is your trust in Jesus Christ right now today? In some sense, forget about the past. Are you trusting in Christ today? Or are you looking to yourself for your salvation – or to any other thing? To receive that standing of right relationship with God, we need to trust in the person and the work of Jesus Christ, especially what Jesus did at the cross and in His resurrection.
If that’s true of you, then you can say, “I have the assurance that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. I have that assurance of Jesus’ promise that, ‘All who come to Me I will no way cast out.’” You have the assurance from Jesus that He said, “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I’ll give you rest.” If you can say, “I’ve done that, I’ve come to Him, I put my trust in Him, I’ve called upon the name of the Lord,” you have His assurance. If you’ve moved from that position in the past, more’s the pity for that, but today you can say “No, today I’m trusting in Christ. I have that assurance today.”
I-L: I think that is a huge comfort for any one of us. I cannot do anything that disqualifies me from the Lord’s work on the cross for me. And therefore, I can’t add to it either. So, if it’s behavior that needs to change now that you are coming back to the Lord, then ask for strength to do those things that you know God wants you to do. Just like you can fall out of good habits, you need to fall back into good habits. That might be more what you’re thinking about when you start feeling good about yourself again. Nothing changes God’s love for you or His full act of redemption on the cross for you. Just like David said, if you’re still trusting in Him today for that salvation, then you do the works of salvation, based on that reassurance, and I think that helps a lot.
What are your thoughts on starting gender-oriented programs at church such as men’s weight-lifting and women’s cardio and or handyman services (men) and cooking classes (women)?
DG: I think that there’s no universal answer to that question. I don’t think it’s right to say that all churches should have such things, or that all churches should never have such things. I think it’s something for the church leadership to be open about and hopefully led by the Holy Spirit in such things. And they should be very realistic to look at the fruit that comes forth from it.
When I say fruit, I don’t just mean asking if people enjoy such things. Because it’s not the church’s responsibility to provide people with everything they might enjoy. But are these things really building disciples? Are they building fellowship among the people of God? I don’t see any automatic harm in those things, though there may be a potential harm. Nor do I see any automatic benefit in those things, though there’s a potential benefit. So, I wouldn’t make it a rule for churches, either yes or no. But if they feel led by God’s Spirit to do something, then they should be very honest about taking a look at the true spiritual fruit that may or may not come through such things. Because again, the main mission of the church is to make disciples. The church may do very practical things toward that end, but it should be contributing toward that end.
I-L: Yeah. I think that’s so true when you do these extracurricular activities put on by the church. They should have a lifespan. It shouldn’t feel like you start one of these classes, and you can never end it. Just like it can feel like Bible study starts and it’s never ending.
DG: It’s really easy for programs to kind of become eternal at a church.
I-L: Exactly. Make sure that these classes should have a beginning and an end, so that you can take the time to evaluate if they’re meeting those criteria. I think it’s great to have things like those every so often. It should not be the purpose or the goal of the church to look to have them. But if it comes up naturally, and somebody has been going to your church for a while and they say, “Hey, would you be interested?” I think it’s a decision that every leadership should focus on. And it should include opportunities for leadership to evaluate what’s going on in these classes.
DG: When we led the Bible College in Germany, you had cooking classes.
I-L: I did!
DG: Well, that was a Bible college setting, and it wasn’t properly church. That was really fun. We felt like we were kind of pouring some life skills into young people that that needed them. Those cooking classes were awesome.
I-L: That was pretty fun.
It seems like sharing with friends about Jesus is not enough, and it seems to be getting nothing done. Should Christians just sit back and say, “God is in control”?
DG: From the way you present the question, I would say yes, sit back and say, “God is in control.” Because it sounds like you’re saying that you are sharing with your friends. You are hopefully led by the Holy Spirit in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ, and maybe telling them about the good things that God is doing in your life. So you’re already speaking to them, it just seems to not be effective in leading them to the Lord. Then I would say, yes, there’s a place just to stand back and say, “Lord, it’s not my job to convert this person. It’s Your job. I have testified faithfully. I will do so in the future as You give me the opportunity. And so now I’ll leave it with You.” That’s kind of my initial reaction to that. What do you think?
I-L: Well, I think that there’s a sense when we share naturally with people about the Lord, we can expect a natural response. Sometimes people don’t care about what you say at all, no matter what you share with them. So don’t expect people to say, “Oh, thank you for sharing Jesus with me today; I didn’t know that.” That’s rarely going to happen.
But in those times when you’ve shared whatever God puts on your mind at the time, or whatever you think you want to share as a natural part of the conversation, it’s those things that they think about when they’re by themselves. Those things can be brought to their attention again by the Holy Spirit, and that may reiterate what you said. They might even have questions. I feel always feel like it’s much better to ask somebody that you might have shared with, “Hey, I know we talked about God last time. Was there anything you wanted to ask me, and didn’t at the time, but since you maybe have had time to think about it?” And if they say, “No, nothing,” then you say, “Great, well, that’s good.” Or if they have a question, they might ask it then, and you can add to what you’ve already said or answer questions that they might have. So be open, but I wouldn’t just sit back.
DG: Okay, so what would you do, other than sitting back?
I-L: Well, I would look for opportunities to share my personal experiences with Christ with somebody else.
DG: So you would maybe speak to somebody who doesn’t yet believe, almost as if they were a believer and just tell them about what God’s doing in your life?
DG: I like that.
I-L: I think that people want the real you and not the “witnessing you.”
DG: Yeah, you feel like you don’t have to shut off right your relationship with the Lord. You speak with them.
I-L: Yeah. You can just say, “Today I was reading, and something came to my mind and I just want to share it with you.” Or you might have been asked to pray for somebody and God answered, then you can share, “Hey, I was praying for somebody. This is very cool. Let me share it with you.” So, make your witnessing about Jesus a natural outflow of your normal conversations.
DG: I always remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians. He said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” So that’s what we do.
I-L: Very cool.
Are angels spirits? Where in the Bible is this addressed?
DG: Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation. So yes, angels are what we would call spirits or spirit beings. What does that exactly mean? I don’t know if we know. I don’t know if I can tell you exactly what a spirit being is. It’s a being that is real, that has a mind, that has will, that has emotions, but apparently doesn’t have a flesh-and-blood body the way that we know it. We do know that angels can at times assume a human body, but that seems to be rare. Their main existence seems to be as ministering spirits sent forth to minister salvation on behalf of those who will inherit salvation.
I have a close friend who said she has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, but she is still living in sin with her boyfriend. If Jesus comes back, will she get left behind? I’m worried.
DG: It’s not an easy question to answer. We don’t see a light on everybody’s forehead that changes from red to green when they’re born again. We don’t know, looking from the outside in. What we do know is this. 1 John talks a lot about this principle. A Christian, someone who is genuinely born again, can’t be comfortable in habitual sin. Now, do Christians occasionally sin? Of course. And I believe that a Christian can fall into habitual sin, at least for a season, but there’ll be tormented in their conscience about it. But I don’t believe that someone who’s truly born again, can be comfortable in habitual sin.
I don’t know about your friend’s life. I don’t know about their conscience. I don’t know. Maybe your friend is just absolutely tormented by their sin and the Spirit is striving with them. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just sort of a cover, and they don’t really care. But a person’s attitude towards sin, and especially sin in their life, is one indicator of whether or not they’re born again. It’s not the only indicator, by any means, but it’s one indicator.
A lot of this comes from passages in 1 John. I’d recommend that you read that book carefully and slowly. That’s the best way I could explain it to you. We don’t really know looking from the outside in. But I think that principle is true, and it abides.
I-L: And the follow-up to that is, “If Jesus comes back, will she get left behind?”
DG: Oh, okay. I believe if someone is born again by God’s Spirit, if they are a believer and in God’s kingdom, then they will go when Jesus comes.
I-L: Absolutely. If only those who are finished and ready and sinless get to go, I think there would be very few people in heaven. But I think there will be a lot of people in heaven who have done their utmost to live before God with as little sin as possible, and who have been forgiven of sin every day, completely because of what Christ did for us on the cross. Our belief is in what He did, and we each receive that it was for me. Only He knows.
Why are people so selective in their beliefs in the Bible when it comes to tithing? Some say they don’t tithe because they believe it isn’t taught in the New Testament.
DG: I’ll give you my perspective on this. I would say that tithing is definitely taught in the New Testament. And when we say tithing, we’re talking about giving 10% of our income to God’s work, to the kingdom of God. God’s work could be represented a lot of ways. It could be a ministry, it could be charitable works to other people, but it’s 10% of your income given away. Tithe means ten percent.
I would say that the New Testament teaches tithing, but it does not emphasize tithing. Instead, it emphasizes the principle of what we would call giving. I think that’s really the difference. The emphasis in the New Testament is not on a strict 10% tithe, but on giving and generosity in general. I’ll tell you how many Christians in the early church understood that.
There were Christians in the early church who said things like, “We as Christians are not under the tithe. We can give more.” I’ll be straightforward with you. I believe that for some Christians to give 10% would be disobedience. God has so blessed them that God would want them to give more. And for other Christians, 10% is a goal that they’re shooting for and working towards. The New Testament clearly teaches us that our giving should be proportional. Paul wrote that in a letter to the Corinthians. He says that as one has been blessed, that’s how they should give.
I-L: That makes sense.
DG: So, if our giving is to be proportional, then 10% is a great benchmark for proportion. But, I’ll agree, tithing is not emphasized in the New Testament. The principle of generosity is.
I-L: Generosity comes from a heart that is affected by the goodness of God and the generosity of God. It’s a heart that evaluates, “What I have can be used greatly for something else. I don’t need this much, or I need to live on less, or I need to keep this in perspective in my life.” And God has a wonderful way of doing that through His Spirit. Trust that you can’t outgive God. You can’t give more than He thinks you should. But you can under-give. You can withhold from God. And nobody wants to be in that position when you withhold from God.
DG: Malachi talks about robbing God. I’ll tell you a story. This is a secondhand story, so I didn’t hear it firsthand. There was a pastor who used to teach about tithing a lot. And there was one couple in his church who was really annoyed by that. They were not happy with the fact that he talked about tithing a lot. So, one day they came up and after the sermon, and they were really kind of bugging the pastor about this. And the pastor just said, “Okay, let me let me get this clear. You don’t want to give in proportion to how you’ve been blessed?” And they said, “No, we don’t want to do that.” Because that’s what tithing is, it’s giving, and the percentage is 10%. So the pastor said, “Well then, fine. May you be blessed in proportion to how you give.”
I think that gets back to a principle. It’s not meant to heap manipulation or guilt upon people. But we shouldn’t fear being too generous before the Lord. We should fear being manipulated into giving. Absolutely. But we shouldn’t fear being too generous.