Are The Prayers Of Unbelievers Answered By God??

prayers of unbelieversCan unbelievers pray to God? Are there examples in scripture of God answering the prayers of unbelievers?

There are no examples we know of in scripture of unbelieving men or women praying to God and being heard. On the other hand, we do find examples of unbelievers who interact with God (in some form) like Cain – who knew of God but who lacked faith in God’s promises. These interactions are merely evidence of James’ comments regarding the acknowledgment of God but absent faith:

James 2:19 (NKJV)

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

Nevertheless, the Bible states plainly that the “prayers” (i.e., petitions) of the unbelieving world are not heard by God, because unless we approach the throne of God by way of Jesus, we have no access to the Father:  prayers of unbelievers

Proverbs 15:29 (NKJV)

29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

Psalm 34:15-17 (NKJV)

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

 Proverbs 15:8 (NKJV)

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Psalm 138:6 (NKJV)

Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Timothy 2 (NKJV)

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

These scriptures and others testify that no one may pray to (or approach) the Father except in the name of Jesus. Therefore, those who do not know Christ cannot be heard since they do not approach the Father through the Son. This is the plain teaching of the Bible.  prayers of unbelievers

Secondly, the Bible says that men and women are born enemies of God because of the sin they inherited from Adam, but by faith in Christ we are adopted as children of God:

 Ephesians 1:5 (NKJV)

having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Romans 8:14-17 (NKJV)

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.    ]prayers of unbelievers

 

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

 

Dealing with doubt towards God

doubtWhen things become stressful, I start to question my faith. How do I stop the enemy from making me doubt the Word of God?

It sounds as if you are already aware that your doubts are unfounded and that they are the product of Satan. As such, then the scriptures teach what to do:


James 4:6-10
(NKJV)

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Humility Cures Worldliness

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

And the writer of Hebrews echoes this when he writes:  doubt

Hebrews 12:4-7 (NKJV)

You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening (discipline) of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

These writers are reminding us that we must learn to resist such things and that the Lord allows the enemy to tempt us in this way to strengthen us and mature us just as our earthly fathers disciplined us for our own good. Rather than wish your trials gone, we recommend you take the opportunity to strengthen your will and mind by focusing on Christ and His word. As you do this, you will be better prepared to serve others.

Since you a joint heir with Christ Jesus, the Lord will be particularly interested in strengthening you, spiritually. You cannot gain this strength without enduring trials. Christ endured much greater than you or I so we cannot complain about such things (since a slave is not greater than his Master). Therefore, accept these trials of doubt and work to overcome them through the application of spiritual disciplines. Pride is an ever-present concern for those who serve Christ, and even Paul required a “thorn in his side” to contend with his pride.

We must be willing and ready to act on God’s word. With action, we overcome our fears. With respect to the specific doubts that you feel to God’s word, you will find that as you study scripture more, you will doubt it less. For example, if you spent time studying the book of Isaiah, we are confident you will have plenty of reason to cease doubting, for the text itself testifies to its accuracy and trustworthiness.

 

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

 

What does it mean “Faith without works is dead”

faith without works is deadIn James 2:26, James says, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” What is the meaning of this verse?

Many people have incorrectly misinterpreted James 2 needing works along with faith to be saved (salvation)’ In the second chapter of James’ letter, He writes:

 James 2:20-26 (NKJV)

20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead (useless)? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works, faith was made perfect (complete)? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted (credited) to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Notice in verse 20 James declares that a life of faith absent good works is “useless.” He then cites the example of Abraham. Abraham was declared righteous by his belief in chapter 15 of Genesis, but he did no good work in keeping with his belief until chapter 22, when he attempted to sacrifice his son Isaac as God required.

We know that Abraham was saved by his faith alone in chapter 15 (as Paul confirms in Romans 4), and yet James says Abraham needed to perform the good works of chapter 22 before scripture was “fulfilled” in his life. James’ point is subtle and easy to miss, but Abraham’s example helps to ground and guide our interpretation. Whatever James is saying about faith and works must be consistent with what we know to be true for Abraham.

What do we know about Abraham? Was he declared to be righteous by doing good works? No, for Paul says:  Faith without works is dead

Romans 4:2-3 (NKJV)

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted (credited) to him for righteousness.”

Therefore, we know James was not saying that Abraham was made righteous by his good works. He was righteous by his belief alone. Furthermore, Abraham was declared righteous in chapter 15. Are we to conclude that Abraham was somehow less “saved” prior to his good works in chapter 22? In other words, is James saying that until Abraham did good works his confession of faith was invalid or inadequate?

Once again, the answer must be no, because Paul quotes from Genesis 15 in Romans 4 when he says that Abraham was righteous by his belief. Consequently, Abraham was no less righteous in Genesis 15 than he was in Genesis 22. So now we know that Abraham was saved by faith alone well before he did good works, so what was James’ point in referencing Abrahams good works

His point was that until Abraham did the good works that his belief expected, Abraham had yet to fulfill his purpose in being made righteous by God. In the years between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22, Abraham made many mistakes and acted in ways that were contrary to his belief. He lied about his wife and agreed to marry a concubine to make an heir. These were not actions consistent with faith.

James says in verse 23 that scripture was “fulfilled” when Abraham obeyed God in Genesis 22. James means that God’s declaration that Abraham was righteous in Genesis 15 was fulfilled in his actions in Genesis 22. What was already true in Heaven in Genesis 15 (i.e., that Abraham was justified by his belief in God’s promises) became evident on earth in Genesis 22 when Abraham acted in righteous ways.

James’ message to the believer is that we are saved for the purpose of doing good works, but if we fail to pursue good works, our faith is useless to God and to us. That faith is no less real, and therefore we are no less saved, but we will not have fulfilled (i.e., lived up to) the righteousness we have been given by our faith in Jesus Christ.

That’s the meaning of verse 22 when James says that faith is “perfected” by our works. In this context, perfected means to fulfill its purpose in our life. God has granted us faith in His Son so that we would be saved and so that we might bring Him glory by our good works, as Jesus says:

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

When we do the good works expected of us, we perfect or fulfill the purpose of our faith in God’s plan. When we fail to accomplish the good works God intends, our faith still saves us yet it is useless otherwise. Earlier in James 2, the writer says:

James 2:17 (NKJV)

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Once again, James acknowledges the presence of faith in the believer. He says that faith is by itself, not invalid or absent. Nevertheless, James says it is “dead” because it exists without works which denies faith the purpose in glorifying God. In this context, the word dead means faith that is like a corpse in that it lacks activity or energy.

James does not mean that faith is false or nonexistent. Once again, whatever is true for Abraham must be true for us. Was Abraham’s faith nonexistent prior to his good works in Genesis 22? No, and therefore we must make the same conclusion concerning the believer today who have placed faith in Christ but has not yet perfected his faith (i.e., produced the good works expected by God).

That is James’ chief concern for the church, that believers would live according to their faith so as to produce good works. Earlier in the chapter, James had chastised the church for failing to show charity to fellow believers:

James 2:14-16 (NKJV)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

In verse 14 James asks if a faith that does not produce good works can “save” a person? In this context, the word save doesn’t mean yield salvation. We know this because to interpret it otherwise would suggest that good works play a role in our salvation, which the Bible clearly and repeatedly states is not true.

Therefore, we must consider alternate meanings for the word “saved” in this context. The Greek word (sozo) has a range of meanings to include salvation but also other earthly forms of saving like being healed or being rescued. In this context, James is alluding to the judgment that believers face for their works. Believers are saved by faith alone from the penalty of their sin, but we are judged according to our works for eternal rewards (see 1st Corinthians 3). So James asks can a life of faith without good works “save” or preserve the believer from the poor outcome that awaits him at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Therefore, the phrase “faith without works is dead” refers to a believer living without a desire to accomplish good works for God. Such a person is still saved by their faith, just as Abraham was, but their faith is useless to God in that it produces no glory for Him. In that sense, the faith is “dead’ because it is inactive and without purpose.

.

What happens to infants when they die?

infants when they dieIf all men and women are born into a state of sinfulness, then what happens to infants when they die? Or when someone is mentally incapacitated to confess their faith?

The question of how God accommodates the souls of children (or for that matter, the souls of invalids, mentally incapacitated, etc.) is not easy to answer, though Scripture does give us a limited answer. First, we must understand how all men are saved. Scripture tells us that all men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and by no other means. Without faith in the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, no one may enter God’s presence.

But faith itself is not something that men arrive at by their own power and reason. Continue reading