Sin, forgiveness of sin
What can someone do to make his conscience work properly?
The mere realization that our conscience does not work correctly is the very sign that it does operate. It is crucial for our conscience to function based on the truth. God's Word is the truth and the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. Conscience works properly when the human spirit is under the control of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, because these are the channels through which God talks to people. In case one's spirit is separated from the truth it works in a subjective way not measuring itself against the truth. Then the spiritual sense which helps to comprehend the things of the Almighty is blurred. In such cases, man's intuition does function, but not according to the knowledge of God. This is why we need to pay attention and condition our spirits to be strong. It should be the psyche under the control of the spirit and not the other way around, because this is how our conscience will be able to signal well. Salomon suggests that above all else we should guard our hearts. Conscience is actually the work of the heart. There is a divine entity in everyone, our spirit, which originally stems from God's breath and heart. Our spirits keep accusing our souls of those actions which we have violated God's law with. For the proper operation of our conscience we need to liberate our spirit, we should not suppress it with things which we know oppose God's law. As we keep our spirit free, our conscience will gradually overpower our personality and actions and will lead us into a state in which we have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. If our bad decisions have consequences, we need to face them, but we also must process them wisely so that they do not destroy our psyche. On the other hand, it is crucial for our conscience to be freed from the sense of guilt when we repent. It is also very important to listen to the Word of God, since faith comes from hearing. We always need to pay attention to the subject being spoken of, as those who are sent by God speak His Word, and redeeming faith comes from the speech about Christ. Since both our spirit and the Word come from God, He is able to restore our conscience with His Word, and so we may experience his guidance in our lives.
What shall I do to be certain that my soul gets into heaven when I die?
It is extremely important to listen to the Word of God and to have faith in it, mainly in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, because this is how a person can feel confident of personal salvation. This is also how the spirit can be freed from accusation, and so, a conviction is formed, that sins have been forgiven due to faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. Sins need to be confessed and repented of, and then forgiveness of sin and confidence of salvation are restored. It will create joy in one's spirit and as the apostle John says, man awaits God's judgement with trust, because he knows well, that 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.'.
Though I am Catholic, I often watch fortune telling on EZO TV. I know very well inside, that it is not good. I feel worse and worse, my legs hurt and I have a lot of problems. Could occultism have such effects? I think I need to make some changes. What can I do?
The inclination to change is from God. I would call 'repentance to the living God' a change. According to the Bible, occultism is when man turns to sources that oppose God or that are outside the framework of the Bible seeking supernatural power and knowledge. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 provides a clean-cut stance regarding occult or esoteric practices. These actions are loathsome before God and are listed among the most serious sins in the Bible. Not only their practice is prohibited but those who turn to fortune-tellers, sorcerers or magicians are also imposed a penalty on. There are a lot of forms of occultism, all of which result in connections with unclean, evil spirits, which bind man's soul, body and spirit. When someone gets involved in occult deeds they tend to go through negative psychic and mental changes. They may even become depressed. Such actions might cause changes, the result of which will be that man loses many blessings previously possessed. The loss of health is also very often related to occult practises, even if they are of white magic. The spiritual consequences of getting in touch with spirits of fortune-telling and alike is that man cannot believe in the Word of God. The wish to know the future is a natural desire in man, but when we trust the Almighty, we do not worry, but know that our Saviour has a positive plan regarding our lives. Hopeless people are afraid of their future, they read horoscopes, which only causes more distress and confusion within themselves. We need to get rid of such feelings and start to believe that God is good, therefore He is going to do good things in our lives. He is going to keep us and whatever we need to know, He will make sure to let us know.
Is it possible, that an average man will be suffering in the lake of fire together with Satan himself? Is it fair that God will have no mercy on condemned souls?
The truth is God's Word. He said 'I am the way and the truth and the life. '. As opposed to the materialistic understanding, man has no power over many things according to the rightful laws of God. One has no influence over their fate after death or over heaven or hell. Today culture is so much saturated with pride and conceit, that many people think God created the universe for man. This is wrong. If someone is so self-conceited as the modern man of the present-day, then as the apostle Paul said: 'You, therefore, have no excuse'. God's laws are objective, they are like a compass, with the help of which man can find his way. Those who accept the basic facts related to salvation and condemnation, can make good decisions that please God, even in their earthly lives. Those who do not, are rebellious and so they have to face the consequences of their actions. Everybody is responsible for their own fate. When you hear the truth of God and say no, then you vote for the father of lies. If you identify yourself with the author of sin in your earthly life, you will share in the same judgement as Satan. Everybody belongs either to God or Satan. There are only these two options, there is no third way. The essence of repentance is to end our relationship with the devil and take the side of God. If someone is not willing to do this, why do they resent God offering the same fate to them as to the devil. We need to live our lives here on earth and make decisions and choices that will define the quality of our earthly lives and also the subsequent consequences.
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, even ones that cannot be reversed, no matter how much I regretted them. I have long been burdened with the consequences of my wrongdoings. Does God really cancel these as if they never existed?
The answer is justification. When man receives the gift of justification, the power of sin is broken over them and they become free from bad conscience too. By all means it is given to man by faith, when they acknowledge that Jesus Christ died instead of them, took their sins on Himself, and had their sins nailed on the cross at Calvary. By identifying ourselves with the burial of Jesus Christ of Nazareth we also express our desire to put an end to our rebellious life against God. It is water-baptism. As a result of identification, God's grace and justice are poured out on man. God does not give righteousness to man because of his merits, but due to the justice that is in the atoning sacrifice. God always looks at the atoning sacrifice, since the power to transmit grace is in it. The sacrifice of atonement is the inevitable central event of worship and fellowship with God, which does not need to be repeated as the sacrifice was the High Priest Himself, who rose after the atonement. Then He, as the risen One, entered the Most Holy Place, the real Sanctuary, in front of the Father to show Him that atonement had been made. In this way reconciliation was achieved between mankind and the Creator in and by His blood. The Father accepted it, that is what pentecost and the out-pour of the Holy Spirit testify. It meant that God anointed the One of Nazareth to be Christ, the Messiah and in Him man can receive forgiveness of sin and God's promises. Forgiveness often results in a real experience in man's spirit and soul. Man knows and feels in that very moment, that his sins have been forgiven and that the burden of consequences are gone. Then man is able to process the visible consequences of sin as well.
According to the Bible whose duty is it to assess and absolve sins? God's, a priest's or a pastor's? Or is there a kind of division of work among them?
No clergyman may define what sin is. The Bible states that the legislator and law-maker is not man but God. Therefore one must accept God's moral judgement regarding sins and deeds, namely what is right and wrong, what is life and death. It was Jesus Christ, the atoning sacrifice, who obtained forgiveness for man. He gave such gratification to God that as a result God excuses sins in regard to the blood of Jesus Christ, and men become righteous by their faith in the blood of Jesus of Nazareth. In this process the duty of clergymen, the servants of God is to preach the gospel of God's Kingdom, the Word, as faith comes from the hearing of that. This is how people get into the state of faith. Clergymen have no right to seclude anyone from this grace. We are not here to override our spiritual commission, which is in connection with showing the door into the kingdom of God too, but to point out that everyone who repents from their sins and accepts Jesus as their Saviour will find an open door to this kingdom, whichever denomination they belong to. So there is a kind of 'division of labour', but we need to emphasize that sometimes there might be a difference between God's people and clergymen, namely that God's people may be clergymen too, but not every clergyman is God's man. The great difference is that God's people submit themselves to the authority of the Word and do nothing out of self-will but take the words of life to people, or take people to the words of life. That is their duty.
Is it conceivable that God did not present the first couple clearly enough what would happen if they ate from the forbidden fruit?
God spoke to people in every era, so He gave revelations to Adam and Eve too. Redemption and salvation are given by the Word. God does not need to show anything or present anything great. If somebody rejects His Word, He does not give them any other way to be saved, so that person will be condemned. From Adam to Jesus Christ of Nazareth – moreover in these days – we can see that people are saved through the foolishness of what is preached. The Word is the rock by which we can be delivered and get into the presence of God.
Did the Father know that man would sin after the creation?
Naturally, He is omniscient and is prepared for every eventuality. He had a plan A and a plan B, and though He was not happy about man's failure, he was prepared to pull them out of that state. In the first version, man had the chance to get into God's presence completely through progress by following the truth and reaching the maturity in which their physical bodies transform into imperishable and immortal ones. As a result flesh gains eternal life. But that path is not relevant any more, because man sinned. Therefore the path of salvation began to operate, as man has to be brought out of sins and their consequences, but even after that man cannot enter into God's glory and into personal fellowship with the Saviour independently. Only the Saviour is able to take man into God's kingdom.