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February 26, 2020 1:00 am
Episode 388 | Dr. Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez answer caller questions.
Key questions answered in today's show:
1. Does Romans 4 teach that we are saved by faith? I’m struggling to make sense of this. I have a friend who is convinced that we need to do good works not to earn salvation exactly but that in some way is necessary to receive salvation and enter heaven. I think she is confused but I’m not sure where to point her.
2. When witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses John 14 where it says that the Father is greater and in Colossians where it says that Jesus is the first-born over-all creation, how can I witness to them about Jesus being God?
3. I have been listening to the show for a while and was wondering where you stand on contemporary music. I have heard some things that makes it sound like you are against it and other things that sounds like you think contemporary music in church is okay. Can you please clarify this?
4. Is climate change something we can pray for, or should we not concern ourselves with that because it ties in with God’s plan for the end times? I’m kind of concerned about it.
5. My question is, in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 what does it mean God gave them a great delusion? And what does this say about Gods character?
A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship by Michael Horton
Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice
This is core Christianity, where answering your questions about the Christian life Monday through Friday. Your hosts are author and seminary professor Dr. Michael Horton and Pastor atrial Sanchez call right now with your question. At 1833. The core that's 1-833-843-2673 and now here's atrial Sanchez. Welcome back to another episode of humanity. I'm Pastor atrial Sanchez and I'm joined by Prof. theology Prof. Michael Horton were answering your questions about the faith of the book of Romans has been used by God so powerfully throughout the history of the church. Many people have come to faith just by reading the book of Romans, including perhaps the greatest Western theologian St. Augustine.
I was just thinking the other day Mike about the story of his conversion, which he describes and in the confession's confessions of St. Augustine. I want to read this section he says. So I was speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart. When low.
I heard from a neighboring house.
The voice of a boy or a girl, I know not chanting and off repeating take up and read it take up and read instantly, my countenance altered.
I began to think most intently. Whether children are want in any kind of play to sing such words nor could I remember every two of heard alike. So checking the torrent of my tears. I arose interpreting it to be no other than the command from God to open the book and read the first chapter I should find.
I seized opened and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell he reads from Romans 1313 through 14 let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Augustine said, no further what I read nor needed. I for instantly at the end of this sentence by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart all the darkness of doubt vanished away such a beautiful story made you to think about how God uses his word and we got a question here about the book of Romans such and such a beautiful book from Alice.
She says does Romans four teach that we are saved by faith. I'm struggling to make sense of this type of friend who is convinced that we need to do good works, not to earn salvation exactly, but that in some way, it is necessary to receive salvation and enter heaven. I think she's confused but I'm not sure where to pointer sure know that's a very good question Alice yes Scripture does teach that the good works are necessary for salvation, not necessary for justification. In other words, to be right before God. All we need is faith in Christ and that is a gift. All of it's a gift, then the good work spring from faith like fruit from a vine that means everyone who has true faith and is therefore justified apart from works will nevertheless bear the fruit of good works is always say it's necessary is not necessary in order for you to be right with God, but good works are necessary as fruit. In other words, what God starts.
He finishes the good work that he begins in us. He will complete now for Paul, the phrase justified by faith is shorthand for justified by Christ. Strictly speaking assignment faith that justifies us. It's Christ, his life, his death, his resurrection is fulfilling all righteousness is bearing our guilt is being raised for our justification. All of this is the work of Christ, not our works so to say that were justified by faith is shorthand for justified by Christ to say were justified through faith alone is just another way of saying were justified by Christ alone is through his works and not ours is not even the quality of our faith that justifies us.
Faith is not a good work. Faith is just relying on Christ good works as sufficient for us and that faith always produces good works.
So in that sense yeah good works are necessary, not in order to be right with God, but all who are right with God bear the fruit of good works. Thank you for your question Alice. Let's go to a call now from Steve who wants to know about Jehovah's Witnesses and their theology. From Kailua Kona, Hawaii. When witnessing to Jehovah witnesses.
They took me to John 1427 and eight works of the father's greater Jesus said father's greater and vertical shooting at something. 18 talks about the firstborn over all creation. Though their big dilemma is gone may think you'd left her cortical clarification, how to witness to JW and the Mormons regarding God being the son.
Thank you sexy yet. Thanks, Steve God bless you. I remember as a newer believer in of course having Jehovah's Witnesses come to the door and I'm all excited about the Bible reading the Bible every day learning so much and then my faith really being shaken, wondering, is it would bring passages like this forward wondering what am I wrong and I have I have I been taught incorrectly.
Will the more I study the Scripture the more I realize not actually the Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus and the father are equal. The doctrine of the Trinity, one God father son and Holy Spirit minutes everywhere in Scripture and so sometimes it is as you know, Steve.
Jehovah's Witnesses can bring up passages like this, like the one in John 14 where Jesus says that the father's greater Colossians once a let's think about these verses together in John chapter 14, I think it's okay for us to admit that in the history of salvation symptoms which we call this the economy of redemption is God the father sent his son into the world to take the form of a servant. Like Paul says in the book of Philippians that in that sense Jesus is or can say the father is greater than I.
Because he's coming as a servant was actually lower than the angels that he had in his humiliation, yeah.
Oh boy, you think about they look it up. A passage like Psalm 22, you know I'm a warm and not a man. David says will get both of the very verses that Jesus takes on his lips when he goes to the cross and in that sense he can say the father is greater than I. But the reality is, is in many other places in John's Gospel, Jesus makes it absolutely clear that he's one with the father, like in John chapter 10 or in John chapter 8 verse 58 in East before Abraham was, I am echoing you know the language and in Exodus chapter 3 where God but the Lord of the covenant learning of God is so so we have to take all these passages in the consideration of the other text that you brought up Steve was Colossians chapter 1 nice want to read the relevant section because I think it's really important that we understand this in its context, beginning in verse 15, Paul said he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things were created through him and for him and he is before all things and in him all things hold together, and he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
It will that's where we get the language of firstborn from now.
I just want to say one of thing about this passage a little bit earlier if you look at the New World translation that's with the Jehovah's Witnesses. You state insert the word other.
In verse 16. As I read in the ESV and in in the Greek New Testament and it reads for by him all things were created will will what they have in their Bibles. All other in brackets they've inserted words is not there. Why because they wanted demonstrator try to show that Jesus himself is a created being, when actually Colossians 1 says the exact opposite. So already, earlier in Colossians 1 were told that Jesus made all things. He's in the category of the creator, not the creature. What about that word firstborn. You see, here's what they do with as they take that to mean that Jesus is created. He's the firstborn. He was made to a problem is there not understanding that in in the context that it would've been understood by the apostle Paul, and especially the height of Hebrew context as well. The firstborn was the one who had preeminence think about.
For example, what the psalmist says in Psalm 89 verse 27. Listen to this. Steve Psalm 8927 this is speaking about King David. I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth was David, the firstborn of the sons of Jesse know actually limit has nothing to do with order of of Crete has to do with preeminence that the preeminent one. And that's exactly what Paul is getting at in Colossians chapter 1, and that's what he says medially after this that in all things he might have preeminence. And so if anything. See what Colossians 1 does. It shows us that Jesus is the creator God who has preeminence, glory, and all things were made for him and threw him another moon the moment you say.
He's the creator, which is what Paul says there he's God, he's not the first creature he is the one by whom all things right. Yeah a great way of answering Steve's question Steve. I just add one more thing there that at the end of the day.
A good question to ask anyone who denies the deity of Christ to the equality that the that consubstantiation we call it the same substance, notice of the son with the father is the fact that he was crucified on the charge from the Jewish Sanhedrin. The charge of blasphemy.
Specifically, blasphemy quote for making himself equal with God. So they understood what Jesus was claiming for himself it's not just that we have all these passages in John and elsewhere were Jesus says I'm God, but the religious leaders got it they heard it, and he was charged with blasphemy, and he never once, never once rebuked them for that for making that charge is a great point Mike elicited a core Christianity and we are answering your questions about the faith. Give us a call with your question at 1-833-843-2673. That's 1833 the core or send us an email at questions at core, Christianity.com. We have a special opportunity for you today. Yeah, we do a drill. We like to invite everybody to consider coming alongside us and showing your support for the program by joining the inner core. What on earth is the inner core well before I tell you what it is and how to join. Let me think all of you who have joined the inner core. In fact, we recently sent all our inner core members. A copy of our new Gospel of John, Bible study series. It's just a terrific series new listeners discover this program every day and your support helps us keep reaching people all around the world and so we're very grateful to you, you know, we do our part to whatever God has equipped us to do. Others of you listening to the program benefiting from it. Wanting others to benefit from it can become part of the team making this happen to have a terrific team here in the studio but we also have a terrific team out there and you and we want you to consider if you haven't already, joining the inner core with a monthly donation of $25 or more. You can be part of that team, helping bring the light of Christ to the nations.
So head on over to core Christianity.com/inner core. To learn more or just give us a call at 833. The core thanks Mike. Again, that number is 833-843-2673 Joshua asked us an email.
I've been listening the show for a while and was wondering where you stand on contemporary music. I've heard some things that makes it sound like you are against it and other things. It sounds like you think contemporary music in church is okay.
Can you please clarify this matter.
Yeah Joshua yeah I wrote a book years ago called a better way and it's on the worship wars in one of the arguments that I've tried to make is that it's not about whether our worship is new or old.
It's not you know, traditional versus contemporary those of the wrong categories. The real question is what is worship. How can we bring both the best of the old and the best of the new together. It's not about whether you have a praise band or an organ is not whether you have a worship team or acquire.
It's really a lot deeper than that. Here's what Paul said singing in church is for. I mean, I typically think well we go to church when we sing now we are kind of expressing ourselves. There's a lot of individualism in Christianity these days I am basically a Christian alone by myself and when I go to church.
I'm basically alone together were all individuals there praying our own prayers, doing our own thing, sometimes bowing our head, sometimes not. Sometimes opening our eyes. Others are closing.
There were all kind of doing our own thing in church praying by ourselves but with other people.
It seems sometimes a lot of those corporate prayers have fallen out of our services and then it comes to singing while singing is simply song prayer and what you find is in the Bible, prayer is a corporate act primarily yeah of course. People also pray individually, privately, but it's it's a corporate act.
Here's what Paul says in Colossians 3 verse 16 and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, there it is, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom. Don't turn your mind off don't just, you know, sing mantras over and over again. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, how teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Now that's the purpose of singing in church I did.
It's kind of counterintuitive to us, but one of the main reasons we sing in church is not to have a quota quote worship experience, which is typically individualistic, not to express ourselves, and it's very me centered at me think that it's it's my opportunity to express myself emotionally to God is solid. I love him was you think X like we just read in Colossians and it is sexy for my neighbor for the person next to me then teaching them right now you don't have to be a holding office in the church pastor or teacher to teach each other and one of the ways we do that is through our songs as all the songs have to be good enough, rich enough for the word of Christ dwell in us richly in Ephesians 519 he says, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Isn't there it is again addressing one another so you were also were talking to God but were talking to God together and were talking to each other. It's a very social act and its so the word of Christ may dwell in us richly. So that's my concern with quota quote a lot of contemporary music, but it's also true in the past what we called traditional worship that we sometimes are mindless.
We just sort of mumbled things were not really thinking about what were saying or singing the whole point is focus on God and what he's revealed. This is not any different from the sermon in the sense that is part of the ministry of the word, so make it part of the ministry of the word know this is the time when I express myself I I just cringe every time I hear there's the sermon, there may be the Lord's supper.
There may be a baptism there may be prayers. But when they turn on the electric guitars are the organ. Now they call it the worship typically, when people asked me, you know it's the worship like at your church. I I'm I get I know what they're asking this think what kind of praise band you have. You do piano do we know what but it's such a truncated view of worship. Worship really it it it the preaching of the word. It's taking the Lord's supper. It's the from the very beginning of the gathering to the very end were worshiping the Lord is not looking into ourselves. It's looking outside up to God in faith and out to our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in love. You want multimedia you have preaching to the ear you have baptism and the Lord's supper for the eyes and even taste the whole person is receiving and engaged all of the senses are engaged. Let's not manufacture experiences or manipulate emotions with things that God hasn't commanded let the music serve the singing and the singing of the congregation, not just of specialists in if the instruments whether an organ or a praise band, drown out the voices then it really becomes entertainment and you can do that with an organ few or a praise band, rock concert, you can do it all sorts of ways that has divided the church because both sides. I think have not thought deeply enough about what worship is in the first place.
We come to receive God's word to be reminded of his precious promises and then, in view of his mercies to present our bodies as a living sacrifice we do come to praise. We do come to give thanks. By the way, we also come to lament, even sometimes to to cry out to God, how long the Lord, how long will you leave me in this distress the Psalms. If you read the Psalms that was the hymnal of the church is the hymnal of the church.
It still God's word you look at the Psalms you have a Psalm for every occasion.
My concern today is that so much of our spirituality in Christian circles is really not honest before God.
Thank you so much for that question habit and a call here about climate change and we know there are a lot of discussions about climate change going on right now in the broader society think political discussions as well. But listening to Fabrice's call-like an angel.
Thank you so much for this audit to do it every morning as I get ready for work when it was for Broussard from New York that I did have a quick question is climate change something. As Christians we should pray for or according to God's plan. Regards, concern about it didn't have the common I feel like maybe it's all part of God's prayer. Thank you so much you think you Fabrice great is about the earth burning up now.
Maybe with the will and that's the thing.
I think a lot of people read that don't get to the last verse. What were waiting for is a new heavens and a new earth you what Peter's talking about. There is a restoration, the analogy here is the resurrection of the body when I'm raised on the last day is not to be another me that's raised it's gonna be me in a different condition and that's how the Scriptures again and again tell us about what's called and asked the restoration of all things living wisely and responsibly as stewards of God's creation. Fabrice is just part of the calling that God gave humanity from the beginning were viceroys of God.
The image of God. Part of that is that we are stewards we are our lieutenants where second-in-command as it were, as God's servants over his creation, not ours.
It's his. And Christians have been at the forefront of such concerns. Think of the 19th century, with the peak of the Industrial Revolution evangelicals were pioneers on these topics and concerns. I remember when Francis Schaeffer not only called our attention to the horror of abortion on demand, but wrote a book called pollution and the death of man. I think today you know you have some Christians praising them for waking us up to the horror of abortion and other Christians mad at him for writing a book on environmental concerns but it wasn't that long ago when conservative Christians actually cared about both issues. One of the reasons I think Fabrice for this shift is that your point you raise here in your question whether we should concern ourselves with the environment because it it ties in with God's plan for the end times. I used to hear what I was growing up, almost a giddiness about nuclear holocaust because that was going to fulfill God's plans for the apocalypse. Yikes. Decades ago, as I was growing up. In fact, this book was really really influential how Lindsay's the late great planet Earth best-selling book of the 1970s as the title itself indicates this massively popular view of end times reflected the expectation that when Jesus returns. This world will be completely annihilated. It's very recent view in the history of the church and it's a very un-biblical view. The Bible teaches that the God of redemption is the same as the God of creation, God sent his son not only to save souls but bodies and not only bodies, but the whole creation. Take some time. Fabrice to read Romans 816 to 21 there.
It's very clear the whole creation is waiting for its redemption along with us. Jesus didn't save us from this world, but with this world our whole selves will be raised bodily in glory and the whole creation will be liberated from the curse was not at work and have another world, but that this world will be in another condition and same with our bodies no longer under the reign of sin and death.
It will be saved.
So does that make a big difference. If you believe that instead of of it's all gonna burn is all gonna be saved. God is going to save everything that he is made he will deliver it from sin and corruption. I think the late great planet Earth view has done a lot of damage to centuries of Christian stewardship and witness.
As Christians we don't embrace the physical world all around us as divine for demonic. We don't worship it. We don't exploit it. We care for as God's creation. We are called by God to be his stewards over. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time.
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