Tyler Hicks • Family Pastor • tyler@thevinecc.tv

Tyler Hicks • Family Pastor • tyler@thevinecc.tv

Will we know our husband, wife, kids in heaven?  

Yes, I believe that we will know our families in heaven. Randy Alcorn, author of the book Heaven, has shaped much of my thinking on the new heavens and the new earth. Here are some reasons I think we will know people in heaven:

We won’t be dumber in heaven. We will be smarter (1 Cor.13:12).  We don’t see any indication in the Bible that there will be some sort of “memory wipe” that would cause us to forget our loved ones or anyone else we’ve known. Also, 1 Thes. 4:14-18 talks about being reunited with one another. Why would that be an encouragement to us if we don’t know our loved ones?

At the transfiguration, the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah. They weren’t told who they were, and there’s no way they could’ve known what they looked like. So, maybe we will instantly recognize people we know of but have never met.

We do not lose knowledge in heaven - we gain it. The nature of love itself transcends death (1 Cor 13:13). The shared experiences we have had with loved ones creates bonds comparable to soldiers who have fought together in war. They never forget what they experienced together in that foreign land called earth.

Do you believe in total Depravity?

Yes. Total deparavity is a phrase that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the spiritual condition of fallen man. The doctrine of total depravity teaches us that as a result of the fall of man (Gen 3:6) every part of man - his mind, will, emotions and flesh - have been corrupted/polluted by sin. Sin affects every fiber of our being. It penetrates the core of our being.  Everything is tainted with sin so that “...all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before God in all His holiness (Isaiah 64:6).

We sin because we are sinners by nature and by choice. Our hearts are “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We are born dead in sin (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Ephesians 2:1-5). We do not naturally seek God (Romans 3:10-11). We love the darkness (John 3:19) and we don’t understand the things of God (1 Cor 2:14). We suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Our sinful lifestyle seems right in our own eyes (Proverbs 14:12). Our minds are hostile to God; we don’t submit to His law, indeed we cannot (Romans 8:7).

Paul talks about our depravity in Romans 3:9-18. Our natural tendency is to sin. This should come as no shock to parents.You don’t have to teach kids to lie, hit, steal, disobey or be selfish. These things come naturally because of our sinful nature. In Romans 3, we see that no one is without sin, no one seeks after God, there is no one who is good, our speech is corrupted by sin, our actions are corrupted by sin and we have no fear of God. These verses make it clear that fallen man (unregenerate, apart from Christ) is totally depraved - sin affects our mind, will and emotions so that “there is none who do good, no not one” (Rom. 3:12).  

Total depravity does not mean that man is as sinful as he could be. It does not mean that man doesn’t have a conscience or a sense of right or wrong. It doesn’t mean that man cannot do things that seem good from a human standard. What the Bible teaches is that even the “good” things man does are tainted by sin because they are not done for the glory of God and out of faith in Him (Rom 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). Man looks at the outward actions, but God looks at the heart, the motive behind the actions. So, even our good deeds are like “filthy rags” because they are not done from a heart that desires to please God but by our own self-interests.

So, in order for God to save man out of his total depravity, he must open our spiritually blind eyes, take out our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh, freeing us from the bondgage of sin so that we are enabled to place our faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit frees us and enables us to see Jesus as our savior and Lord.  It is the Holy Spirit that works in our hearts enabling us to place our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

The world sees man as basically good, so telling people that man is totally depraved usually doesn’t go very well. This biblical idea flies in the face of most modern religious, psychological and philosophical views of the basic nature of man. But we must believe the Bible, which teaches the depravity of the human heart and that our biggest problem is not the environment we are raised in but is our own wicked and selfish hearts. Total depravity teaches that any works-based righteousness will not get us to God. There are no good people. There is only one good person, the God-man, Jesus Christ. And he is the only good person that can save bad people like you and me.  

Who wrote the Bible?

God wrote the Bible. But he used men to do so. One catechism puts it this way “holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit”.  2 Timothy 3:16 says that Scripture is “breathed out” by God. The Bible refers to itself as the Word of God many times (Psalm 119; Prov 30:5; Isaiah 40:8; 55:11; Jeremiah 23:29; John 17:17; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 6:17; Heb 4:12). God accomplished His written word through the process of inspiration. Human writers wrote God’s message as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. It’s true that God wrote the Bible. And it’s true that inspired men of God wrote the Bible. The doctrine of inspiration teaches that God wrote the bible using men to write exactly what He wanted to write, but this did not do away with their styles and personalities.  2 Peter 1:21 says “Prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”.

What’s amazing is how the bible, though it is made up of many books by many different authors and spans many many years, it is yet one single book telling one unifying story, all pointing to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The unity of the Bible is a testimony itself to the divine inspiration of God’s word.  

Explain killing in terms of a war situation.

    Most of what I say here I found at GotQuestions.org, a very helpful website for questions about the Bible, Christianity, etc. There are many wars in the Bible. Wars of conquest (Josh 1:6), civil wars (2 Sam 3:1), and there was a war in heaven when Satan rebelled against God (Revelation 12:7). Killing is a part of war. We know that murder is sin (Exodus 20:13). But what about the killing of an enemy combatant during wartime?

There are times when God Himself commanded battles to be fought so we know that not all killing in wartime is a sin (Josh 5:14; 8:1-1; 1 Sam 15:3; 2 Samuel 5:23-25). God never tells people to sin, so the Israelites who followed God’s commands to wage war were not sinning. Killing in war cannot be equated with murder.

There is no theocracy today. No nation has a command from God to wage war but wars are still fought. War is part of the fall. We live in a fallen world filled with fallen, sinful people. The Bible never condemns the actions of a soldier following orders on a battlefield. The New Testament has examples of soldiers who had faith in God - Jesus commended a centurion’s faith in Matt 8:10; and another centurion, Cornelius, was saved in Acts 10. These men of war were not rebuked for performing the duties of a centurion, nor were they told they must change professions.

When some soldiers came up to John the Baptist and asked, “What should we do?” he could’ve told them to stop engaging in warfare, stop killing or stop being soldiers. Instead, John replied “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely - be content with your pay” (Luke 3:14). So, being a soldier doesn’t appear to be inherently sinful.  

In 1 Cor. 9:7 and 2 Tim. 2:3, Paul uses the life of a soldier as an analogy for the Christian life.  War is no doubt a part of this cursed world. There are forces of evil that must be stopped, and killing the enemy is part of that. God, in His sovereignty has put governments and soldiers and policemen and other officers in place to “wield the sword” and have the authority to protect people and establish justice. Whether a Christian should serve in the military is a matter of one’s own conscience, but killing an armed combatant in the context of warfare is not sinful in itself.  There is a time and season for everything, including war (Ecc. 3:8).