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How Can God Be Just, Merciful, and Good?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2020 1:00 am

How Can God Be Just, Merciful, and Good?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 23, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 472 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. In Matthew 27:52–53 when the saints came out of the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection. They went into the holy city and were seen by many. This would be huge! It’s the only place in written history I can find it. How do you explain that nobody else ever thought it was worth mentioning? 

2. If Jesus knew that the Roman authorities would crucify him, why did he say, "My Lord, My Lord, why do you forsake me?" 

3. Should our main focus in the church be the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures? What about growing his people in faith and boldness? Do we just preach and trust the Lord to grow his people, who then go out and love and serve their neighbors and share the gospel with them?

4. How is it possible for God to be good, just, and merciful all at once? Being just means that there are laws and rules that are written and will be followed. Being merciful is negating justice. How can God embody all three?

5. 2 Samuel 23 has always baffled me. Every time I read it, I wonder why David didn’t drink the water which three of his men risked their lives to get for him. It seems ungrateful. What is God teaching us here? These verses are in a chapter about David’s mighty men. Should the focus be on them and not David’s offering to the Lord? 


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If justice upholds the law and mercy withhold judgment. How is it possible for God to be good, just and merciful all at once. That's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Adm. Sanchez and this is a radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day and would love to hear from you can call us at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 course you can also email us with your question at questions at core, first up today a story about a dad who's been making the most of the coronavirus stay-at-home order in his state.

His name is Thomas Ruben. He lives in Kensington, Maryland, and he has a sign in front of his house that says bad dad jokes. It's become a neighborhood destination in recent months the jokes that Tom scribbles on his sign each morning are supposed to be bad and they are what people love them anyway. That's why there has been a steady stream of people walking or driving by the family's home on any given day.

Tom started posting the dad jokes soon after the coronavirus lockdown started as a way to stay positive and for father's day he decided to look for the worst of the worst dad jokes held a Father's Day bad dad Joe contest with entries costing a suggested donation of five bucks.

He plans to send all the money he collected to Martha's table which is a Washington DC based nonprofit that supports children and families in Adriano you are still pretty young, so I got ask you, do they ever roll their eyes that any of your jokes I I don't know how but even three-year-olds can roll their eyes. I seen it happen because their eyes glaze over whenever I try to tell a joke like just the way out I have a buddy just in high school because it gets about worst. Alright, let's put our first question of the day. This is an email that came in from Billy and he says in Matthew 27 versus 52 and 53. The Bible says when the Saints came out of the tomb after Jesus resurrection, they went into the holy city and were seen by many. This would be huge.

It's the only place in written history I can find it. How do you explain that nobody else ever thought it was worth mentioning.

Good question like this is a really interesting passage Billy. I want to read Matthew 27.

Beginning in verse 51. As I think this is one of those verses the people read it or this section of your people reading the limited it to say that so Matthew 27.

Beginning in verse 51 and behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This is something the other gospel writers report and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints would fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe. Instead truly this was the son of God. And so Billy as you know what Matthew says here about the dead being raised alongside of Jesus is only recorded by him, and there are some people who said well this is maybe symbolic for the picture of the cross, destroying the grave, so it's not that Matthew really means to say that people actually rose along with Jesus, but that this is some sort of symbol that Matthew is giving us trying to help us come to the conclusion that the cross is victory over death for the people of God have anything to be different interpretations of this text, but I have a hard time with that one because it seems pretty straightforward, so there have been other commentators, and NII agree with them, who say that when Christ died.

The graves were opened. And when Jesus rose there were other people who rose to in the point with this and in one of the reasons that Matthew brings this out is to highlight the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is not just about his resurrection, but that we as followers of Jesus are also going to be raised from the dead. Another words, the resurrection of Jesus affects the body of Christ. The people of God. This is the point that St. Paul makes and in first Corinthians chapter 15 he calls Jesus, the firstfruits of the resurrection. You might not be familiar with that sort of imagery.

The language of the firstfruits, but you know if you are harvesting the crop. The firstfruits were a sign of what was to come. A symbol of the kind of crap that you were going to get for that year. Will Jesus is just the firstfruits of the resurrection. Another words, there's the rest of the crop. It's coming and we as the body of Christ to the rest of the crop in a 14 Christ we can be sure that in the same way Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We too are going to rise from the dead as I think that's the best interpretation is that there was some resurrection that took place on a minor scale. We might say, and that the point there was to show us that Jesus's resurrection didn't just relate to him but it also related to the people of God through his resurrection, we too are one day going to be raised. That is the hope of the Christian faith. You know you have a lot of people who say today. I can't wait to die to go to heaven. I think I think it's wonderful. Tammy Paul says that everything in the book of Philippians. He wants to depart and be with Christ in the presence of the Lord in heaven, but having is not the end of the story for us. It's the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

It's the new creation. Everything restored the work of Jesus Christ and what I hope we have.

So thank you for your question Greg question Billy this is Cora Christianity with Pastor Israel Sanchez and if you got a question for us.

You can call us at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 Millie called us from New York with this question on going to die and they will going on cries when he was on the cross my mind. Annoyed, why do you forsake me.

Thank you. Goodbye hi Millie, thank you for that question related to the cry of dereliction. It's often referred to the words of Jesus on the cross, my God, my God, Olivia Lee Lammas Abbate, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me that course Jesus there is quoting from the book of Psalms Psalm 22 verse one begins with those words, it's David praying to the Lord, crying out to the Lord. It's a Psalm of lament Psalm where the psalmist is crying out to God in need of God's mercy and there are a lot of amazing messianic prophecies in that Psalm. It talks about the Messiah's hands and feet being pierced, being surrounded David said these things. But Jesus takes the Psalm on his lips there at that moment while he's on the cross bearing the weight of our sins. The judgment that we deserve your right Millie that Jesus knew throughout his whole life that he was headed to the cross.

That was the hour for which he came, so that he might die for us to forgive our sins and so why does he say this.

Well I think what's being emphasized here. When Jesus says these words is that in our place. He is taking our judgment, our curse, I want you if you have a Bible to look at just with what the text says there in Mark chapter 15 I'm in to begin in verse 33 this is that the crucifixion scene in verse 33 it says when the sixth hour had come there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour and at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice alloy easily. Lammas about the knee, which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken me, the point I think that being made here is that Jesus is bearing our curse. And what's so interesting is the first right before this verse 33 helps to bring this out were told that there was darkness over the land until the ninth hour from the sixth hour to the ninth hour.

That would've been basically the afternoon, the time when the sun should be shining in full strength of the sun is supposed to be out there is darkness.

And what's interesting is in the Old Testament. Did you know that darkness at noon day was the sign of God's covenant curse. The curse that God would put on his people if they disobeyed his law. Deuteronomy chapter 28 verse 29 says you shall grope at noon day as the blind grope in darkness and you shall not prosper in your ways, and you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you see Jesus is bearing our curse. The curse that we deserve because of our sins and disobedience on the cross he surrounded with darkness.

He cries out to the Lord my God, my God, why have you forsaken me because in our place is bearing our curse. It's like what Paul said in Galatians, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written curse. It is everyone who is hanged on a tree to the ideas of Jesus as is on the cross is bearing in our place bearing our curse our sins, namely our judgment in our death and Paul says in Romans Romans chapter 3 the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ. So Jesus knew he was going to the cross. He knew he was in Avera curse and in fulfillment of that he takes the words of the psalmist and Psalm 22 on his lips, and I think one of the beautiful things about what's being demonstrate what's happening here is the substitutionary nature of the cross of Jesus is what some people call the great exchange. It's one of the most beautiful doctrines of all Scripture. Jesus Millie takes our sin, our judgment, our punishment and he gives us by faith. His righteousness he fills us with his spirit. He justifies us so that we might have communion with God is the great exchange he takes our sin we get his righteousness, the very heart of the gospel really thank you so much for your question, the great one this is Cora Christianity and Ater. We should mention that we have a really great offer for our listeners today. Thanks Bill get. They were excited to share an audio resource over Cora It's called finding yourself in God's story, so you a lot of questions that essentially come down to what does the Bible story mean for me today how do I relate the stories about Abraham and the patriarchs and and what's going on in the New Testament to my life right now. How is it relevant will in this teaching series will join our good friends Michael Horton and Nancy Guthrie as they help you explore God's great plan and grand design that includes all creation, including you and me, so I don't Cora to download. Finding yourself in God's story.

This is great series of downloads which will help you grow in your faith and you can get it at 833-843-2673 and ask about any one of our offers at 833 the court go back to another question that came in Israel. This one was posted on her Facebook page by PR no Genesis should our main focus in the church be the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures. What about growing his people in faith and boldness. We just preach and trust the Lord to grow his people, who then go out and love and serve their neighbors and share the gospel with them. That's a really good question and there are debates that happen in the church you novella to what extent should we just preach the gospel to what extent should we also preach application you. How does the gospel apply to everyday life but to say one thing that I'm passionate about that I think is so important you know is we need to make sure as pastors that we are preaching Jesus.

Not every church does this in NM to be bold and in making this statement I have in my time as a Christian experience, ministries that were the focus is not Christ and him crucified. But us. Our living what you're doing your best life now that kind of idea what that's so foreign to the Scriptures. It's foreign to what the apostles taught Paul says in first Corinthians chapter 2 verses one into when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom of words.

It wasn't about me and and how flowery my words were.

He says I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified and I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling try to get that image in your mind at one time heard someone say. Imagine a pastor who is applying for a job at a church in any sits down with the pastoral search committee and they say to him to talk to me a little bit about yourself. You know what kind of a preacher are you and in the past to respond to these as well. You know when I get in the pulpit.

I I tremble a little bit and sometimes I begin to shake and I'm I'm weak.

Actually I look very weak. I buy words that they don't come off very wise they're not the not too lofty, and in terms of sermons unite. I don't really have a lot of different kinds of sermons did might not be the funniest sermon that I do basically have one kind of sermon that I love to preach its it's Jesus and him crucified. You think you get the job.

I don't know but Paul says look the focus of my ministry is preaching Jesus and so you ask. Should our main focus in the church be preaching Christ from all all the Scriptures. Yeah, I think that we could say that clearly just from the testimony of the apostles, but here is that the beautiful thing is when we preach Jesus people are changed. Paul said in in that second Corinthians, so that the next book over second Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18 we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from 1 of glory to another. From this comes from the Lord who is the spirit that was as Jesus is preached as Christ is set before our eyes to the preaching of the word of God. You know what happens in us, we are transformed.

As we look upon the glory of God in the face of Jesus with the eyes of faith that supposed to go on to say in second Corinthians chapter 4 verse six. He also told the Galatians in Galatians chapter 3 verse one foolish Galatians who has bewitched you it was before your eyes, that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified in the word that Paul uses. There is this word was basically used in the ancient world fit for billboards for the signs were, you would sell things or or display information Paul says, look, here's what I did in my ministry I billboard need Jesus for you why because Paul knows when we look to Jesus were change like that old. That old hymn, turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. I think that's so true. We need pastors and churches that are fixing our eyes on Jesus.

We think will what about application.

What about you know everyday practical living will.

The fact of the matter is what our eyes are gazing at Jesus were transformed our practical lives are changed, but it's also good for us to think as pastors to bring in the implications of the gospel in our sermons and this is precisely what Paul would do. I think as well affect in that book of Galatians where he says he placated Jesus before that the Galatian church. He also talks about how Peter wasn't living his life in step with the gospel.

He wasn't letting the implications of the gospel shape the way that he lived in so we need to preach the gospel together with its implications and as we do that lives are changed. Thanks for your question preacher brother drill and I know that's the sort of reason you do it your own church in San Diego and we appreciate you so much. This is core Christianity and if you have a question for us. We'd love to hear from you. Here's the number 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673. This call came in from Ben in Texas you were about how God is good and because he is good he is just my question is, how is it possible to be good, just and merciful all the one being just means that there are laws and rules that are ready and will be followed.

Being merciful is age 80. Just what is the definition of justice and mercy and good and how is it that God can embody all three hey Ben, thanks for giving us a call and that's a great question. Your right as God was not just he wouldn't be good for me to imagine a judge who has a man convicted of murder standing before him. He's committed this heinous crime and everyone knows that he did it. The evidence is absolutely clear you have the family of the victim there in the courtroom, tears in their eyes waiting to hear the judge's verdict and the judge says it on a good guy. What I want to be merciful. I know you've done this crime, but I'm in a let you go free. Think anyone in that family would think that's a good judge. No way would be an outcry because of the injustice. So how can God be just, and yet simultaneously merciful to sinners will ultimately as the just judge he himself in Christ bears our judgment pays the penalty that we deserve.

God doesn't just let sin go. This is really important for us to understand forgiveness is not God sweeping our sins under the rug of God within doesn't sort of turn a blind eye and just tell you know it's not that bad. Not that big of a deal. I think that's how we treat sin. Often times in our own lives. We want to brush it under the rug want to think it's not that big of a deal, we downplay it we deflect we say it's no big, big thing what God does not do that. Frankly, our sins are worse than we could ever imagine. Because there committed be before a holy God, a perfect and pure God. And so, so this is a really important point for us to understand God is not just sweep our sins under the rug. He dealt with our sins on the cross and this is why we want to follow him.

Why we want to serve because he paid for our sins. I want to read a text of Scripture for you here. Romans chapter 3 I'm a start in verse 21 because I think it really speaks to this question that you asked but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law. That is the justice the righteousness of God is been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show in this is this is I think the key here. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he passed over this, the former sins. It was to show his righteousness, and at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus all sin.

Throughout the history of humanity that is forgiven is not forgiven because God just brushes it under the rug gets forgiven because the blood of Jesus Christ is applied to sinners. God is good, just, and he's also merciful and so the answer to your question is the cross at the cross we see God's mercy God's goodness. God's justice meet for us and for our salvation. This is core Christianity and if you like to email us with the question. Here's the email addresses questions at core,, and Jan wrote to us with a question about a passage from the Old Testament. She says second Samuel 23 is always baffled me every time I read it I wonder why David didn't drink the water which three of his men risk their lives to get for him. It seems ungrateful. What is God teaching is here. These verses are in a chapter about David's mighty men should the focus beyond them and not David's offering to the Lord or to both yeah Jan, great question. I mean, I love the stories in first and second Samuel following Tito Saul and David and David's journey is this just such a such a great picture of God's mercy God's goodness.

God's protection over David and in second Samuel chapter 23, beginning in verse 13 we read and three of the 30 chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of I'd love him.

When a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of refining.

David was then in the stronghold in the garrison of the Philistines was that Bethlehem and David said longingly.

Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate and the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried it and brought it to David, but he would not drink it.

He poured it out to the Lord and said, far be it from me oh Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at risk of their own lives. Therefore he would not drink it these things. The three mighty men did them in their 70 really I just think neat things about this story when you see the commitment of the mighty men to David and me. David just six expresses this this idea he has eyes longing for this water from this well and they they go. They risk their lives for him a minute what what a picture of the kind of leader that David was shall I drink the blood of the man who went at the risk of their lives. And that's I think the key there in the answer to your question why does he do it well because he knows that it they got it at the cost of their own lives as I don't think actually that David is being rude here at all. I think what he's doing is he's demonstrating to the mighty men, one that he cares about them and he cares more about their lives than he does about getting a drink of water and ultimately David is the picture of the greater king who would come to sit on the throne.

Jesus Christ who cares for his people and at the cost of his own life gives us to drink from the water of life.

Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together

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