June 2024 Newsletter

From Pastor Onstad

Last month I had the chance to participate in a “Stump the Pastor” session with the After School Program. They wrote down their questions, and I was given their questions a week in advance so that I would have a chance to prepare my answers. I must say, these kids are asking some really good questions! I had questions asking me about God’s “age,” how and why Jesus rose from the dead, what state Jesus was in when He rose from the dead, why Judas gave the money back, what heaven looks like, as well as a handful of questions about the Bible. However, I want to highlight 3 questions and their answers here to show you some of the deeper, tougher questions these kids are already wrestling with.

  1. Question: What happens to the people who were born before Jesus and didn’t know Him? Answer: Great question! They still did go to heaven because their faith looked forward to Jesus’ coming. You see, God gave a bunch of promises and prophecies throughout the Old Testament that pointed forward to a Savior coming and defeating Satan. The first one comes in Genesis 3:15 where He tells Eve that, while Satan (the serpent) would bruise the heel of her children, that same child would crush his head. And so, everyone who trusted in that promise, and all the other promises of God, looked forward to the day when this child would come. And that child ended up being Jesus! He crushed Satan’s head on the cross through His death and resurrection. So now for us who live after Jesus came, our faith in Him looks back to what He did on the cross, and looks forward to His return.
  1. Question: What does God do to kids/babies that couldn’t live a life? Answer: Excellent question. Unfortunately, some babies die before they’re born, or shortly after they’re born. Some children might only live for a little bit of time. For those who do live for at least a short time, we can trust that, if they’ve been baptized, God has saved them! We believe that when you’re baptized, God promises to connect you to Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6), and wash you clean of your sins (Titus 3:5), thus saving you! If they haven’t been baptized or didn’t get the chance to be baptized, we trust that God is gracious and merciful, and that He loves all of us, especially children and babies. King David lost one of his children, and he seemed to think that he would see that child again (2 Samuel 12:15-23). So, while we don’t have a clear, definitive answer to that question from the Bible, I trust, and we all can trust, that God has them in His loving, capable hands, and they are taken care of.
  1. Question: Why did God forgive us but not Lucifer/Satan? Answer: Another good question! God has forgiven us, but not Satan, because Satan doesn’t think he needs to be forgiven. He is unrepentant, not acknowledging His sin, nor trusting in Jesus, despite knowing God (arguably) better than most of us do! He rejected the place in creation that God gave him. Satan wanted to be in God’s place, and has hated God ever since He kicked him out of heaven. And so, Satan has never repented of his sin. He remains stubbornly in his sin, despite knowing Jesus has defeated him. And because Jesus has defeated him and forgiven our sins, we can, and should, repent of our sins of pride and such and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins!

The After School program is clearly making a difference in these kids’ lives. They are diving into God’s Word and asking good, thoughtful questions. But I write this not just to promote the good work of the After School Program. No, I write this because, perhaps, you’ve wondered about some of these questions too. And that’s okay if you have, because God welcomes our questions! He wants us to come to Him and His Word for answers. Many faithful Old Testament saints like David, Elijah, and Jeremiah all came to God with their questions. Jesus Himself encourages us to keep seeking and knocking and looking and praying to God (Matthew 7:7-8) with our questions and requests.
So you see, God is big enough to handle our questions, and because of that, our Christian worldview is big enough to handle them too. There is no need to fear when questions begin to come up as you study Scripture, or when you hear questions coming from those outside the faith. There are a multitude of good answers to those questions in God’s Word, and your pastors would be more than happy to help you find them and wrestle through them with you. The After School Program kids are already wrestling with them, and that’s a wonderful sign that they are listening to and engaging with God’s Word. As you do the same, I pray that you would not run from any questions that come up, but that you would bring them before the Lord and dive into His Word to find some answers. You may not find every answer to every question you ever have, but I promise you will find many good answers from a good and gracious God who created the world in an ordered way, who sent His Son Christ into the world to save you, and all humanity, from sin, and who, because of Christ’s death and resurrection for the salvation of the world, will restore the world from its depravity and brokenness. In Christ, God’s Word made flesh for us, we have the answers, and the hope, we truly need.

View the June 2024 Newsletter here.