Last night, Justin Richardson led optional theology. He started the evening by making our purpose clear. “The point of this whole time is not vain discussions about theology. The aim is love."
The group started with about 10 or 15 people and dwindled down as the night progressed. Here are the questions asked with a brief summary of the responses. There are quite a few, so feel free to pick and choose what to read.
Dalen Miller: How are the festivals and the new moons and the Sabboth a shadow of the things to come?
The Old Testament law was very strict on these things. All of them are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For example, the Sabboth is a day of rest, which is a shadow of the ultimate rest, which is found in Jesus.
Lucy Liu: How did Jesus, as one human, die as the sins for everyone?
Perfection is a key factor in how Jesus can cover our sins. In the Old Testament law, there were specific sacrifices for specific sins. In the New Testament, the only sacrifice is the death of one perfect human.
Rom. 5:12-18 talks about this.
Lucy Liu: Why didn’t he go to hell, if he’s taking our punishment?
He is not defeated by death; he was able to overcome death.
Ben Shepherd: How does the death of Christ cover people in the Old Testament? How were they saved, as they didn’t believe in Jesus?
People in the Old Testament believed in God and trusted in his plan. God had a method for allowing people to believe in him.
Heb. 11:13-16 and 39-40 talk about people in the Old Testament being justified by faith.
People are not made perfect in the Old Testament. They are given yearly times with a priest and momentary sacrifices to atone for their sins. And throughout the Old Testament, we can see that all this is temporary.
The key was belief in God. How was that belief flushed out? Through their works – but ultimately, through faith.
Lisa Fitton: Is it possible that God exists outside of time and that the gospel did exist for them?
His death on the cross does extend to them in some way. For us, the basis for our salvation is based on belief in Jesus, so it’s not exactly the same.
Leah Miller: What does that mean to delight yourself in the Lord and you will get the desire of your heart?
The verse is not talking about how we will get things like a new car if we just delight in Christ. It’s talking about how when we delight in him, our desires change – improve – to be the desires God wants them to be. And he gives us those desires.
Anaite Castaneda: If everyone is created for a relationship Christ, why doesn’t everyone have that?
Romans 9 could be a good place to go. While all human beings are created with hearts for knowing God, for some reason, God has chosen to harden some hearts. An example of this is Pharaoh.
AnnaLiese Durling: If, for people in the Old Testament, salvation was about belief in God, can people now be saved by just believing in God (and not the gospel)?
Rom. 1:18 talks about how people who don’t know Jesus are without excuse. It’s only through Jesus by which we can be saved. And all who God created to be saved will be saved.
Emma DeJong: In Jeremiah God tells Jeremiah not to pray for people. What’s that about?
God poured out his wrath in a different way then than he does now, as it has all been taken by Jesus. Also, Jeremiah’s motives in his prayers were more concerned for the people, rather than for God’s glory.
AnnaLiese Durling: Did the Trinity exist before Christ?
In Gen. 1:2, we can see that in the very beginning of all creation, the Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters. The trinity always existed. The Son and the Spirit came into a manifestation of their role with the cross.
AnnaLiese Durling: I have a friend who’s very moral. How do I talk about morality with him?
Christianity is not about becoming a better person. It’s about saying, ‘I’m OK.’ James Lovallo offered that advice to remember that Christianity is not about works; it’s about Christ. That’s what he needs to hear the most.
Rachel Carlson: What does it mean to pray in faith?
God will always answer your prayers. There are three answers he gives: yes, no and maybe.
Rest in what God has done, and pray about that. Expect God to do big things. Also, pray what people prayed in the Bible.
AnnaLiese Durling: In Scripture memorization, how do you choose what to memorize?
It depends on where you are in the moment and where you are in Scripture memory. One of the purposes of memorizing Scripture is to know more about who God is.
At this point, the night became much more of an informal conversation. After a while Justin prayed for everyone in closure.