Did Bible Heroes Have Normal Days?

We get the lists of heroes of the faith like in Hebrews 11 and you might think that guys and gals in the Bible leaped from spiritual mountaintop to mountaintop. They rarely doubted but even when they did a mountaintop grew out of it as God helped them learn from it. When we doubt it feels like there isn’t anything there but a dark cloud! And of course when they sinned, it seems like good things could still result while for us it seems to hardly ever work that way. You read about all the great things they did in faith, sometimes it makes me wonder if they ever just had a normal day in their lives. The answer is obvious, of course they did. But the feeling we get of reading the highlights of their lives make them seem almost untouchable. Their normal moments weren’t recorded because that just doesn’t make good oral tradition and narrative. Normal isn’t filled with tension and it never needs to find resolution. Story needs those things!

It is important for us to remember that people in the Bible had normal days. David got the blahs. Noah probably had the flu for a week and did nothing but stay in the bathroom. Abraham spent much of his time doing routine things. Moses and David herded the sheep for weeks and months on end. Paul spent lots of time on boats going here and there. The normal moments are written in between the lines and while those times probably comprised the majority of their lives, just like we experience, they are quickly ushered into the silence of scripture. It is a challenge for us to be okay with some normalcy in our lives, routine, and even some times the blahs but to also realize that there are times of spiritual mountaintops that we too can experience today. It can certainly be a challenge to find God in the ordinary but I can assure you He is there too!


Once Saved Always Saved

Does it mean anything that much of the New Testament was written to Christians who were undergoing persecutions and trials and were being encouraged to stand firm, endure, and be strong in their faith? Why encourage someone to not fall away if it is impossible? The old once saved always saved argument says if someone falls away they were never saved to begin with. If you apply that argument to the New Testament you have to say Peter, Paul and others are writing to people who appear saved but who are actually lost, encouraging them to not do what they are destined to do anyway. It would also have to say they are encouraging saved people not to do what they cannot do anyway – fall away. That sounds like gibberish and just doesn’t work out.

What do you do with passages like 2 Timothy 2:11-13 which says, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless; he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Why the need to endure if there is no possibility to fall away? Why mention disowning God if it cannot be done? Why through out a consequence – being disowned if it isn’t really a possibility.

I have heard people say there is more in the New Testament for eternal security than against it. The problem is God can see the whole picture. He doesn’t work in the realm of time. We operate in the realm of time. This discrepancy is the reason people try to argue if someone falls away they must have never been saved to begin with.

What do you do with passages like Hebrews 6:4-6? Sounds like saved person to me? Is it really impossible? Because we see people fall away and come back. Is he overstating the probability to make his case for the need to remain a Christian?

Ananias & Sapphira – A Closer Look (Acts 5)

After the earlier post on The Providence of God in Acts 1-10 I received the following email that I thought was interesting and I wanted to address it here to see if anyone had any other thoughts on the matter…

Good Morning Matthew …

As a “New Garment” Christian, I don’t allow myself to fall for many of the “old garment” fables.

For instance … claiming that God “killed” Anannias and Sapphira is not true because scriptures does NOT support this. For instance, we all know perfectly well that neither the OT or the NT state a thief or a liar should be SENTENCE TO DEATH. On the contrary, Eph 4:28 and Provs 6:30 both say to “put the thief to work”. Further, it is also not written anywhere that liars should receive death. In fact, Peter LIED THREE TIMES about knowing Jesus, and Judas STOLE from the money bag…and neither were “killed” by God. (Judas killed himself.)

Please be also advised the Hebs 13:8 states God NEVER changes His mind or His ways. And He will not DEFY His own word … not even to illustrate a point just once ! ! !

Therefore, it would be truer to say that … the devil killed these people. Based on John 8:44 Jesus said anyone who “works” for the devil “belongs” to the devil. He also identifies the devil in John 10:10 as the true killer of mankind. Therefore, the devil owned them “legally” and was in fact their “father”. Additionally, they were married and of one flesh. This means they carried equal parts of the same demon spirit … which is why they dropped dead, exactly the same way!

Please do not think for one moment that the devil cannot kill people and “collect them” to hell whenever he wants to. Notice that hell is stacked full with MILLIONS of people as we speak, whom the devil claimed and collected … legally.

While I applaud the attempt to keep a systematic view of God’s dealings with people I think there are a few things that need to be addressed.

The overarching principle behind her argumentation is that God cannot change and will not contradict himself. Heb 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Because of that she says God would apply the same punishment to a thief and/or a liar across the board. Peter lied three times and he didn’t die so God couldn’t kill another person for lying since he didn’t kill Peter for it. She then appeals to two verses that say thieves should be put to work, not death. If all of that is true you would have to draw the same conclusion she did. If God didn’t kill them who did? The devil?

Hebrews 13:8 in context is an exhortation for the Christians being written to to continue in their faith and not waiver. In 13:7 they are told to, “remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. In 13:9 they are told to not be, “carried away by all kinds of strange teachings…” Why not? Because just as Jesus Christ has always been the same, we are not to waiver. In context this verse does not say God or Christ cannot change their mind or deal with people differently (See Romans 9!). God never changes who he is or his attributes: such as holiness, omniscience, etc. But God does and has dealt with people differently even in the pages of scripture.

If there is even one case where God punished two people differently for the same offense in scripture then the above argument that God could not kill Ananias and Sapphira cannot stand. Again, I respect the angle taken to come to that conclusion and think there are some really good motives to think that way but I don’t think it really stand when the context of the scriptures mentioned and additional scriptures are taken into account.


  • What God said – Numbers 35 is clear that someone who murders another is to be punished by death.
  • God doesn’t always do it the way he laid it out:
    • Moses murders an Egyptian in Exodus 2:11-13 and receives no punishment from God.
    • David has Uriah murdered and commits adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11-12). Nathan’s charge against David, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own…” (12:9). It is clear that the guilt for this murder is on David’s hands even though he did not personally kill him. God sees him as guilty of murder.


  • What God said – Lev 20:10 – “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.”
  • God doesn’t follow through with that toward David & Bathsheba (see references above)


  • What God said – Leviticus makes it clear that the punishment for stealing is restitution and often a repayment of more than what was stolen (Exo 22:7, Lev 6:1-7, etc)
  • This is not the case with Achan who stole at Ai and was punished with death (Joshua 7)
  • God said what Achan had done – “They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions…” (Joshua 7:11) Achan’s confession of his sin – “I coveted them and took them…” (7:21). The penalty – “Then all Israel stoned him…” (7:25).

What about Jesus who forgave people of their sins unlike others who had committed the same sins but had to offer sacrifices? The list could go on and on. The point is, God doesn’t treat everyone the same. Does that mean God changes? Of course not.

I see a lot of similarities between Achan and Ananias/Sapphira. They both stole (God says that his people had lied as well which points toward Achan). Both moments were times when God’s people were trying to define themselves as a holy people/nation. Achan’s sin came as the people were finally going into the promised land and God was teaching them to be holy. Ananias and Sapphira’s sin came as the church was being established and God was teaching them to be holy. God doesn’t need to use Satan to do his dirty work. Satan doesn’t need to be legal to kill someone. The point is, God doesn’t contradict himself to treat two people different. It happens all over the place in scripture and doesn’t mean there are contradictions or violations.

Any thoughts?