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|NASB||Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,|
|Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [Prov 25:21, 22]|
|Bible Question: Please bear with me, as I am brand new to this forum and am not quite sure of even how to check if my question has already been asked. I am an 'older Christian' and have been raised and taught in the same church for 40 years. Our doctrinal statement has been the same this entire time. We have been blessed with a new pastor. He is a graduate from the Master's Seminary and I am being made aware of Biblical questions I have never thought to ask and my soul is searching for answers. I don't want to debate...I only want to learn. With this said, I came across a verse from John 17:9 that reads "My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you." This is Jesus talking to His Father. Did Jesus know at that time who was His Father's and who wasn't? If Jesus didn't pray for the 'world', should we? Or should our prayer be for the elect only? Is it futile to be praying for someone to be saved when 'before the foundations of the world' they were already known. I use to hold on to that verse "God is not willing that any should perish" like a bulldog on a bone. But I am now being taught that that verse is really saying "God is not willing that any of HIS CHOSEN should perish" I can't tell you how this has changed my prayer life, my view of my heavenly father. It really has shaken my foundation. I will be grateful for any and all responses.|
Bible Answer: Sonlite.
You are in a good place. I joined in on this forum some time ago and it has been very fruitful for me in exploring new ideas and questions about the scripture. Many people hear are wroth listening to.
I too have been raised in the church and held pretty much to the same doctrinal views for the first 29 years of my life. After joining a new church and meeting some new people, my views have been challenged a lot. After 4-5 years of this, I now actually have many more questions than before, but my views of God, Jesus, and His Word have become so much more great. The awe and worship of such a great God has changed not just my thinking, but my life and actions.
There are MANY benefits for growing up in and staying within the same community of believers (there is plenty of Biblical evidence that this is the ideal.) However, doing so can make one think that "we have it figured out." All questions have an answer that is correct and that's that. But is that possible. Can a finite being understand fully an infinite God?
Systematic theology, for all its good points, often removes the "mystery" of God that is so wonderful.
I cherish my up bringing and love the church that brought me into the world of God very much. Without their dedication, the roots of my faith would not have been so deep, and the trails I have followed may have uprooted some of my faith, rather that cause it to bloom. I have seen people loose much of their faith because they were knew to Christianity and followed many of the same paths I followed, but did not have that deep root into a faith that has been tested by time, trials, as well as joys.
All questions are worth asking, even the "scary" ones, because ultimately, on the other end, your faith will be stronger and you will probably be asking more questions and more questions...