Q. My children refuse to forgive me for something terrible I did many years ago. I do not want their failure to forgive me held against them. If I ask the Lord not to hold that sin against them, as He did on the cross, will God not hold it against them?
A.Matt. 6:14-15 says unless we forgive those who’ve sinned against us, God will not forgive our sins. This doesn’t apply to our salvation but to maintaining our fellowship with God after we’re saved. If your children are saved, their failure to forgive you will not endanger their eternal salvation but it will cause them to be estranged from God during their lives here.
If that’s the case, my advice is to ask the Lord to soften their hearts toward you and lead them to forgiveness. The Lord’s preference is always reconciliation so you’ll be praying in His will. If they’re not saved then pray for their salvation just like you would if there weren’t any issues between you.
Q. Why do I hear about ‘carnal’ Christians when Romans 8:6 says ‘the carnal mind is enmity against God’? I understand what a ‘nominal’ Christian is, but what is a carnal Christian (if there is such a thing)? Also, do you believe that only people who have given up every part of their will to Christ is a saved person, or do you think there are saved people trying to hang on to some old habit or way of life?
A. The word carnal in Romans 8:6 is usually translated flesh in the King James and sinful or sin nature in other translations. It’s described as the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. All humans are prone to sin because we all have sin nature. Remember, all it takes is a carnal thought now and then to be a carnal Christian, so in that sense every Christian is a carnal Christian to some degree.
If only those people who have given up every part of their will to Christ are saved then Heaven will be a very lonely place. Surveys show that the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians live lives that for the most part are indistinguishable from their unbelieving neighbors.
Q. I heard a man on radio this morning say that God does not hear or answer prayers of those who don’t read their Bible. He continued by saying why should God answer them if we can’t be bothered to read His Word. Do you agree with his statements?
A. I don’t agree. Don’t get me wrong, reading the Bible is a good thing to do. But if this person is correct, how would those who can’t read or have no Bible ever get their prayers answered? And what about all the people who lived during the thousands of years before the Bible was available to the ordinary person. Did their prayers go unanswered? Those who do have a Bible and read it won’t find any support there for such a claim as this person has made.