Is it ethical to claim your tithing on your taxes? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, if you get our voicemail, feel free to leave your question there. We do our best to review our voicemails each day. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you're always welcome to email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Chris calling in from Tennessee.
Chris, what's your question for Adriel? When I was younger, I did some really bad things. I was a Christian, and I confessed to my pastors and asked God to forgive me, and I tried to forgive myself. It seems the older I get and the closer I try to get to the Lord, the more appalled I am by some of these bad things I've done. I was just wondering, how can I deal with that?
Yeah. Chris, my heart goes out to you, brother. The Lord has dealt with it first and foremost. Those sins, God has dealt with those sins. You've confessed those sins to them. You even confessed them to your pastor. It sounds like you've confessed them to the Lord. When we confess our sins to the Lord, he removes those things. That doesn't mean that we don't have the memory of those things and that that doesn't grieve us.
But I would just want to encourage you in that way. Psalm 51, I think, is a wonderful text to go to when we are reminded of our sins, when we've fallen, when we're struggling, and we just are looking for the words to bring to the Lord. Psalm 51 was what David wrote after he had basically taken and abused Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. Talk about heinous sin.
As someone who knew better, as someone who God had blessed immensely, who the Lord had spoken to King David in very clear ways, blessed him in very clear ways, and yet still he committed these heinous, heinous sins. And so he cries out to the Lord. He says in verse 7 of Psalm 51, Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness.
Let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. He's crying out to the Lord for forgiveness, for deliverance from guilt, from blood guiltiness over the heinous things that he had done. And the Lord heard his prayer. And the Lord hears your prayer as well, Chris.
One of the things that strikes me about Psalm 51 is so many of the things that David is praying for here are the gifts that God gives to us as believers in Jesus Christ in the new covenant, the forgiveness of our sins, a new heart, a cleansed heart, the new birth. And one of the things that's promised to us also, Chris, in the new covenant, the author of the Hebrews quotes it in Hebrews 8 verse 12, God's saying, I will be merciful toward their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more. What a promise that is that God says, you know, those sins that sometimes we have a hard time forgetting, we remember and it grieves us, God says, through my son Jesus, Chris, I don't remember your sins anymore. The last thing I want to say is as we grow in the Christian life, as we draw near to God, the light, sometimes the shadow that our sin casts is much bigger.
Things that we did in the past, maybe we thought it wasn't that big of a deal. As we get closer to the Lord, we realize, oh man, more and more I'm seeing the heinousness of my sins there. And what that should do is it should cause you to revel in the greatness of Christ's cross more and more in the wonder of his forgiveness because it wasn't just minor infractions that he pardoned. It was those sins, those heinous sins that we've done, and as we get closer to the Lord, we do have that sense of, man, my sin is worse than I ever knew, but God's love and the gospel is greater than I ever knew as well. So embrace that, Chris, and rest in it, my friend.
Thanks for giving us a call. Chris, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. We'll be praying for you in that whole situation of dealing with the grief over those past sins. You know, Adriel, just a follow-up question for you. Paul talks about godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow.
Can you maybe explain the difference between those two things? I actually have an article over at corechristianity.com where I break down the difference between godly sorrow and worldly grief. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, genuine repentance, the acknowledgment of our sins, their heinousness. We confess them to the Lord. We don't wallow in our guilt and shame, beating ourselves up. We realize that that was dealt with at the cross, and so repentance is a turning away from our sins and turning toward Christ, receiving him in his grace. That worldly grief that leads frankly to death, it's not so much interested in the fact that we've sinned against God, as David says in Psalm 51, against you and you only have I sinned. Typically, that worldly grief is upset because it was caught, right?
Man, I got in trouble for this. There's not an interest in turning toward God per se. There's just despair and frustration and not a desire for accountability, not an openness to get help or to actually repent. We're still really clinging to that sin. We're just upset that we got caught, and so those are some of the ways I think to differentiate between godly sorrow that leads to repentance and worldly grief that is deadly. Great explanation, thanks.
You can find that article by the way at corechristianity.com. Let's go to Alicia calling in from Tennessee. Alicia, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah, can you hear me?
Hey Alicia, I can hear you. Yeah, I just wanted to start by telling y'all thank you, I enjoy your program. I was just wondering, since it's tax season, what your thoughts were about Christians claiming their tithing on their taxes.
Thank you. Yeah, Alicia, personally I don't think that there's anything wrong with that, so if you're talking about, you know, you're filing for your taxes and you're talking about charitable giving contributions that you've made to your local church and nonprofit organization and getting a tax break because of that, I don't think that there's anything wrong or sinful there. Is there something specifically about that that gives you concern or makes you feel like, I don't know if this is okay or if I should just not get any tax benefit from giving a tithe? Nothing specific, but that was more along the lines of what I felt personally, so my husband and I don't claim it, but I was just wondering if there was anything that you thought biblically or in the verses that taught against that.
Yeah, I don't think so. I don't think there's something clear in scripture. I mean, I think an individual might say or might feel like, oh, if I do this, does that mean I'm benefiting in some way from giving that would maybe take away from this gift that I'm making really to the Lord? But I don't think that there's a passage in scripture. I think this is probably more your own personal conscience for you and your husband. If it's something where you feel like, if I were to claim this, then maybe, you know, like, would God be upset?
I don't think so. I don't think there's anything in scripture to say that, but if it goes against your conscience, I wouldn't want you to go against your conscience because the apostle Paul says whatever is not from faith is sin. But again, I think in accordance with God's word, I think that if you guys did say, oh, here were, you know, our charitable giving for the year, we gave X amount to the work of the gospel, to the advancement of the local church, that there wouldn't be anything wrong with that. But the main focus certainly with regard to giving is doing it generously and with a joyful heart. And that's precisely what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians, right? He talks about not giving under compulsion and it not being done out of this sense of, oh, man, I have to do this.
Otherwise, maybe God is going to smite me down. No, it's God loves a cheerful giver. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And I think that you could still be a cheerful giver and also claim your tithe on your taxes as well. That doesn't take away from the fact that you're contributing to the work of the gospel with joy for the advancement of the word in the world. And so God bless you and your husband and give you guys wisdom and peace about whatever decision you make. And ultimately, the ultimate benefit that we get from giving, especially giving to the work of the gospel, isn't a tax break, although there's nothing wrong with that.
It's this. It's what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9, verse 9. God is able to make all grace abound to you. So that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work as it is written, he has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. And you will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. And so may God bless you as you as you seek to be generous in your life.
And I know that he does. Thanks, Alicia. Really well said, Adriel. And by the way, I'm going to be visiting your church in a couple of weeks. And when the offering plate passes by, I'm going to be very cheerful. All right. Good.
Yeah, I hope that's right, Bill. Give me that. All the joy, all the joy.
Yeah, all the joy, all the joy. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. By the way, speaking of giving, you are welcome to make a contribution to this program, which is tax deductible. By the way, a gift to Core Christianity. We are a nonprofit ministry. We don't get money from a church or denomination.
We don't play commercials on this program. We count on people just like you to make gifts to keep us on the air. And we actually have a special group of folks we'd like to say thank you to today. We call them our inner core.
Yeah. Brothers and sisters, inner core is a group of people that supports us with a monthly donation of twenty five dollars or more. And it's one of the ways that you can partner with us in our mission to help equip people with the truth of God's word, to build them up in the Christian faith.
Not not with our opinions and ideas, but going to the scriptures and hearing what God has to say. And so if you've been blessed by the work that Bill and I are doing, would you consider joining the inner core again? As I said, it's a monthly donation of twenty five dollars or more as a thank you for joining the inner core. We'll send you a copy of the book Core Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton. You can find out more by going to our Web site, core Christianity dot com forward slash inner core core Christianity dot com forward slash one word inner core. Love to have you perfectly consider joining that very special group of people who believe so strongly in this ministry that they are making an ongoing gift that just really blesses our hearts.
Big time, let me tell you. Well, let's go back to the phones. Amy is on the line calling in from Missouri. Amy, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? I was listening to your program earlier and one of the guys had asked, they were discussing whether or not like they were truly in the faith or the Lord would say, like, depart from me.
I never knew you. And I've always, my dad is a preacher and he loves the Lord and I was raised in a Christian family. But I and I've been crying out for the Lord to be saved since I was a little girl.
I remember going to heaven's gates and held flame. But never really like with repentance, like I've never really understood that. And I've always lived a double life to like I'm in ministry and the people who are in ministry with me have no idea the other life that I live. And so I feel false and I want to turn from it and I try and then I always go back and I've struggled with addiction and. Like in secret. And I just want to know that I belong to the Lord and that like, I keep praying and feeling like I've done something wrong or that he would be foolish to save me because I'm so wicked or he wouldn't save me.
And I think that comes from like this extreme low value. I was molested and raped when I was little and I always kept that a secret as well. And I have like whenever they say believe or trust, it's like. I don't know. And so I'm like. I've just I've been struggling with this now for like two years of warring every day, and I'll talk to people who are close to me and now my dad knows about a lot of stuff and and I'm married and I have three kids and it's not like I'm, you know. Young, but I still struggle like so much to know that like he would. Want to save me or.
Well, Amy, I wish. Boy, sister, I just want to come alongside of you and say that Christ is for you. It sounds to me like you. You don't believe that you're worthy, like God would be foolish to forgive you and to save you because of how often you go back to the sins that you struggle with and. The things that have happened to you in your life that have caused you to feel worthless. And now, even, you know, later and trying to serve, but still struggling with sin and things that cause you to feel like and why would God want to have anything to do with me? I just want to say to you, Amy, that Jesus does love you and that God and the gospel are for you and that the grace of Christ is for you. And sometimes the hardest thing in the world is for us to to believe that it's easy to believe that God's grace is for other people out there.
People who maybe haven't been sinned against in the ways that I've been sinned against and people who maybe don't struggle with the same sins that I struggle with. If people really knew me, though, and how I struggle, well, then they also would agree with me that God would not want anything to do with me. But let me just say that Jesus knows you and your struggles and your pain and your sins more intimately even than you do. And he still calls you to himself and he still will lavish you with his grace and his forgiveness.
He still extends it to you even after you've fallen for the tenth time. And that's the truth. That's the promise that we have in the gospel. Satan would want to convince us that, yeah, I'm beyond redemption, you're beyond redemption, that there's no hope for you because of what you've done, because you were raised in the church and you had a father who was a preacher and so on, and you knew better.
And we could say all those things. Satan accuses us, he accuses you. You don't have an accuser in heaven because Christ has cast Satan out of heaven by dying on the cross and rising from the dead and ascending into heaven. There's no accuser that you have in heaven. Instead, you have a great high priest whose name is Jesus, and he ever lives to pray for you, to make intercession for you. And when you sin, as John says in 1 John, when we sin, you have an advocate with the Father who's on your team. Now, practically speaking, Amy, it sounds to me like there are some issues, some struggles, maybe addiction, things that you have in your life that you're holding onto in secret, maybe because you're afraid of the repercussions of opening up and talk.
I don't know to what extent you've been able. It sounds to me like you're confessing these things to the Lord, but there's still some secret there. Let me just say, whatever it is, it's not so big that it puts you beyond the grace of God, and you are invited to confess that. And I would just say getting the help and support you need from your family, from your church, maybe this means, I mean, you said you're doing ministry right now, maybe this means in light of the current situation taking a step back, no longer sort of living the facade of, okay, I'm going to keep doing ministry and trying to do these things, and pretending. God doesn't want you to pretend. God does not want you to pretend. Maybe taking a step back, that doesn't mean that God is rejecting you, that you're not a Christian, that you don't have God's forgiveness.
It's just wanting to walk in integrity and in purity and in the light. And so I would just say, maybe just practically, that's something that needs to happen, is having that and having a season of just saying, Lord, I need to draw near to you, not pretending, not living this double life, but just receiving your grace, resting in your love, and ordering things the way that they should be ordered. Because right now I'm sort of going through the motions, and I'm struggling with sin, and I hate my sin, but I can't seem to kick whatever this is, this addiction or this struggle is. Sister, getting the support and love and help that you need and that should be there for you within the body of Christ and in your family.
And if you want to stay on the line, if you want to keep talking, there are other resources maybe that we could point you to. But I just, above all else, want you to know that Jesus is for you, and that all the things, even the struggle that you've had, the weight that you carry, even the hypocrisy and the double life, does not put you beyond the grace of God. God is still reaching out to you and has in His Son Jesus, and offers you grace.
And the blood of Jesus Christ covers all of your sins through faith in His name. You can rest in that, and getting into a healthy place of service in your own family, I think needs to be the priority. And so, Amy, may the Lord be with you and bless you and give you a sense of His presence. And let's just take an opportunity right now, brothers and sisters, to pray for Amy.
Lord, we lift our sister up to you. God, the burden that she carries, the pain that she has being sinned against, Lord, in horrible, grievous ways, Lord God, and also wrestling in her own life to serve you, but to do it sincerely from the heart and wrestling with sin, wrestling with putting yourself out there and walking as a Christian and struggling, Lord, at times with hypocrisy. All of these things, God, which we know, don't invalidate your love or your Gospel.
I pray that you would fill her with your Holy Spirit and that you would help her even now in this moment to see clearly, Lord God. Jesus, your great love for sinners and the hope that we have in you. Not our own righteousness, not how perfectly we obey, Lord, that you know everything about us, our deepest, darkest secrets.
And yet, Lord, even knowing those things, you still call us to worship you, to turn to you. And you embrace us, even as the Father embraced his prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. I pray that my sister would experience that embrace as she turns to you and as she receives your love and kindness. Would you bless her, Lord, with loving community, with the support that she needs? Would you help her by the grace of your Spirit, Lord, to address these issues that are still there in her life, the addiction struggles and the things that she goes back to, whatever those things are, Lord? Would you show her that they don't put her beyond your grace? And would you give her the help and the encouragement that she needs and bless her, Lord? I pray that from this time forward, Lord, that there would be a significant break, Lord, a breakthrough in her life and in her relationship with you as she grasps your love. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen. Some great words of comfort. And one thing I would add, Adriel, to what you said.
We've talked about this before. How, in addition to confessing our sins to the Lord to find a safe place to confess to others, we've talked about Celebrate Recovery and what a great organization that is. And so, Amy, we would strongly encourage you to check out maybe a Celebrate Recovery group in your area. Brothers and sisters, so many people feel like their sin or their struggle puts them beyond the grace of God. Your sin is not more powerful than God's grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Receive it. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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