We’re back again with another Monday Q&A, continuing to delve into the deep and difficult realm of apologetics. This week, my topic is the foundations of Christianity, an interesting and unique focus when compared to last week’s topic.
Last Monday, we talked about the character of God, finishing the 14 questions within that section of the Q&A. The first 7 questions involved the actual character of God, including his sovereignty (role as king) and triune nature (three in one). Then, last week, we wrapped it all up with a dive into the evidence for God’s existence, a fun and intriguing discussing that left me eagerly anticipating the responses in the comment section.
Now, to begin the second of our six apologetics sections, involving the very foundations of Christianity. These are simple (but common) questions usually asked by unbelievers and new believers alike. Answering them should prove quite interesting.
1: What does it mean that man is totally depraved? Why is this important?
The depravity of man involves his complete entrenchment in sin. As a result of the Fall, unbelieving and unsaved man is 100% sinful, unable to not sin. In other words, all of humanity is completely and fully sinful with only one way out: Jesus.
Jesus does not perfect man immediately. Instead, through sanctification, He slowly lifts man out of their depravity. As they grow in relationship with Him, they begin to discard smaller levels of sin in their lives. Although depravity isn’t completely removed from a Christian on Earth, the Bible tells us that sin has been defeated on the cross, so when we die and go to Heaven, we will be removed from our depravity and brought into full relationship with Jesus.
This is important because it has created the fallen man, in desperate need of salvation. If sin had not crept into the garden through Satan, there would have been no need for Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, because of Adam’s failure as the representative of mankind, Jesus replaces Adam as the greater, fulfilled representative of mankind, and His sacrifice brought us out of the carnage left to us by the first man.
“Because of Adam’s failure as the representative of mankind, Jesus replaces Adam as the greater, fulfilled representative of mankind, and His sacrifice brought us out of the carnage left to us by the first man.”Tweet
2: What does it mean for man to repent from his sins? Why is this important?
Repentance is an interesting word, usually encompassing an acknowledgement of sin within a person’s life, a deep regret and grief of this sin, and a begging for forgiveness with the intention of turning from the particular sin.
David’s repentance is quite possibly the most well-documented and famous example of true, tangible repentance within the Bible. Found in 2 Samuel, the story involves the great sin of David, who committed adultery with a married woman, then, in an attempt to disguise his sin, he eventually had the woman’s husband murdered.
Guilty of two sins (murder and adultery), David is eventually confronted by the prophet Nathan, who harshly rebukes him and proclaims God’s judgement upon David and Israel. David cries out for God’s mercy and repents for his sin, begging God for forgiveness, and God withholds judgement upon David. Although punishment does come (God does not allow the child born out of David’s adultery to live), God is ultimately merciful upon David, even in the midst of such great sin.
3: What is the difference between justification and sanctification?1
“Justification is an act of God. It does not describe the way that God inwardly renews and changes a person. It is, rather, a legal declaration in which God pardons the sinner of all his sins and accepts and accounts the sinner as righteous in His sight. God declares the sinner righteous at the very moment that the sinner puts his trust in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26, 5:16; 2 Cor. 5:21).” (Taken from an excerpt of an article written on justification and sanctification, see footnote)
While justification is the addressing of our guilt within sin pardoned by God through the cleansing blood of Jesus, sanctification is better described as God renewing and transforming our minds, hearts, and actions, bringing us out of our depravity and seating us at the right hand of God the Father.
“….justification is a complete and finished act. Justification means that every believer is completely and finally freed from condemnation and the wrath of God (Rom. 8:1, 33-34; Col. 2:13b-14). Sanctification, however, is an ongoing and progressive work in our lives. Although every believer is brought out once and for all from bondage to sin, we are not immediately made perfect. We will not be completely freed from sin until we receive our resurrection bodies at the last day” (Ligonier Ministries).
4: What is redemption? Why is this important?
The word redemption describes Jesus’ act of atoning for humanity’s sin, taking on sin itself and bearing the full judgement of God so that we might be redeemed in His sight. Being redeemed means that we have been re-brought into His favor, counted as righteous in our faith and trust upon Jesus.
It is important because the redemption of humanity through Jesus ultimately creates a love for Him in the heart of the believer. The love first begins at the understanding of the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice, and as the believer grows and matures in his relationship with Jesus, so also does his love for Him grow.
5: What does it mean to forgive? Why is this important?
To forgive is to pardon someone’s sin/actions against you, discounting them in one’s mind and heart.
For example: Say Billy hurts Joe. Joe walks away crying, but later Billy comes up to Joe and says, “Hey, I’m sorry for hurting you. Will you forgive me?”
Joe says, “Yes, I forgive you, Billy.” In forgiving Billy, he releases any anger or sadness he held towards Billy and discounts any sin Billy had committed. For our sins to be forgiven means that they are no longer counted towards our fallenness in the eyes of God.
Having our sin forgiven is important because, without forgiveness, there is no sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice was only relevant because it allowed a just, loving God to forgive our trespasses against Him and still allow us eternal life. What a fantastic gift Jesus has given us!
6: In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” What did He mean?
Sin creates death. It brings the complete judgement of death upon us, and it slowly drags us closer to the final finish line as we are drawn deeper into it. Yet out of death, Jesus brings life, and that is what the verse is talking about. Where there was the deepest darkness, Jesus and His light pierce. He brings light into the darkest hearts and minds, redeeming us in the eyes of God who forgives our sin and sanctifies us as we grow.
7: What is the grace of God? Why is this important?
The grace of God is not a term defined easily. Perhaps a relevant definition would be “the loving kindness of God in continuing to allow man to even exist, no matter what evils they may bring, and persisting in loving us no matter our fallen state.” God’s grace is shown brightest in His actions towards us, sinful beings. While we deserved death, He graciously sent His son to die for us and redeem us in His sight.
Salvation through grace is the phrase used most commonly here. God didn’t send Jesus because it was His duty, or because He “just felt like it”. No, He did so out of a heart of love and grace, saving those that do not deserve salvation.
“God didn’t send Jesus because it was His duty, or because He “just felt like it”. No, He did so out of a heart of love and GRACE, saving those that did not deserve salvation.”Tweet
If you have any questions or comments on these answers, feel free to drop a comment in the comment section below. I absolutely love reader feedback and I’m always open to constructive criticism.
Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day.
Note: Question 3 was rephrased to make answering easier.
Waters, Guy. “What Are Justification and Sanctification?” Ligonier Ministries, 3 June 2020, https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-are-justification-and-sanctification/.
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