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Why Do the Ten Commandments Sound So Negative?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2020 1:00 am

Why Do the Ten Commandments Sound So Negative?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 16, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 527 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. Why did God choose Jacob over Esau or David over Saul when they were all moral screw-ups?

2. I heard your answer to Jade about there not being any shame at the judgment seat of Christ for believers. I was wondering, what does that mean, then, for our works to be tested, and what we build on Christ will last, but what we build of hay will be burned and our souls will be saved but only as through fire? What does that mean that there is no pain at the judgment of believers before we reign with Christ?

3. What do Paul and Jesus mean when they say that the bread and wine are Christ’s body and blood? Is this metaphorical?

4. Why are the 10 commandments all about telling us what we shouldn’t do? Doesn’t this focus our attention on negative traits instead of what we should be doing for one another and for God?

Resources

The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World by Michael Horton

How We’ve Misunderstood “Do This in Remembrance of Me” by Adriel Sanchez

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Why are the Ten Commandments all about telling us what we shouldn't do? Doesn't this focus our attention on negative traits instead of what we should be doing for one another and for God? 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 right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

And you can email us with your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, a toothless Chihuahua named Kismet is giving dental patients something to smile about. Dr. Garrett and his wife Deborah.

Everyone in the family has a job. Dr. Garrett is the dentist, Deborah is the dental hygienist, and Kismet is the dental therapy dog. The dog is available to snuggle with patients during exams, cleanings, and even root canals. Dr. Garrett says about 98% of his patients choose to cuddle with Kismet because so many people are anxious about having dental work done. And Adriel, the story does not mention why Kismet is toothless, but I'm guessing he just didn't brush and floss. Yeah, he got all his teeth pulled. I mean, that's what happens when you're a dog and you work at a dentist office. Yeah, I don't know. There's a cute picture of him, though, snuggling with one of the patients while the dentist is working on him there.

So very cute. We got to be sure to put that on the show notes for people that want to see Kismet. We'll post a picture of Kismet.

I don't know if it shows his teeth or not or his lack of teeth. Well, let's get to our first question of the day. And Carrie posted this on our Facebook page. She says, Why did God choose Jacob over Esau or David over Saul when they were all moral screw ups? Well, that's actually a really good question. I would say what it tells us right away is that God doesn't choose people on the basis of how moral they are.

I mean, that's kind of how we think it might work, right? God chooses people because he sees that they're really good people. I think we all know someone who we just think to ourselves, oh, man, they're just one step away from becoming a Christian.

They're such a nice guy. They're the kind of person that just should be in the church. Well, that's just not how the Lord works oftentimes. And that's one of the things that we see over and over again in scripture. And what it highlights is the fact that God chooses on the basis of his own purposes and that ultimately not one of us merits God's grace. Even the people that we tend to look at and say, oh, boy, that person is such a great person. All of us, we all fall short of God's law.

I think it was Charles Spurgeon. He had this sermon I remember reading many years ago, and he said, you know, if you go to the people of God and you ask them, you know, why is it that God chose you? Is it because, you know, you were going to do this, that, and the other because you would go on to live this wonderful life and lead many people to Jesus? And Spurgeon, I think so wisely, he said, if you ask the people of God, they'll say that since their conversion, they have had a lot to weep over.

Sometimes they have to pray to God to forgive their prayers, because even our prayers are tainted with sin. We recognize, I think, the longer we walk with the Lord, the fact that God didn't choose us on the basis of our own righteousness, because we realize how broken and how sinful we are. And the passage of Scripture, Kerry, to go to speaks directly to your very question is Romans chapter nine. I'm going to begin reading in verse six. Paul said, it's not as though the word of God has failed.

Now, let me just give you some of the context here. He's talking about how many of the Jews rejected Jesus when he first came, and so it seemed as if the Messiah failed, the Jews rejected him, and Paul says it's not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are the children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise who are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said. About this time next year I will return, and Sarah will have a son, and not only so, but also when Rebekah has conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing, either good or bad, get this, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of him who calls, she was told, the older will serve the younger, as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? And of course you know why Paul asks that question when you hear this, that God chooses not on the basis of our works, even before they had done anything, our temptation is to say, well, that doesn't seem just, that doesn't seem fair, and so Paul is anticipating that, and he's responding to it. Is there injustice on God's part? By no means, for he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion, so then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy. You see, when we embrace this understanding of the way things work, I mean, in terms of God's choice, God's choice of Jacob over Esau, David over Saul, what it highlights for us, Kerry, is the absolute sovereign mercy of God. God doesn't judge by external appearances.

God doesn't choose us because we're great, because we're special. No, Romans chapter 5 says that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. We come before God broken and in sin, and it's a wonder that in his mercy, God would pursue sinners who didn't deserve it and lavish his grace upon them in his Son, Jesus, and so God gets all the glory, God gets all the credit. Does that mean that we're not responsible for our actions? Not at all, because the Bible makes it absolutely clear that when we sin, we're responsible.

Unbelief, we're responsible. And so you have these truths in Scripture that we embrace, the absolute responsibility of humanity before God and the absolute sovereignty of God, the knowledge that if it wasn't for his grace, I would be lost, I wouldn't have chosen him, I would have continued to rebel against him, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit, God wooed us. And he calls us, and he calls all people everywhere to turn to Jesus, and when we do, we receive mercy. And so what this highlights is that God is merciful, as you say, Kerry, to screw-ups, to broken people, to sinners, and that's really good news.

That is great news. Every morning I wake up and I go, thank the Lord. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. One of the ways you can ask a question is by going to our website at corechristianity.com slash radio. There's a little microphone icon there on the right side of the page. You can click on that microphone and leave a message like this person did. Hi, Dr. Meyer and Pastor Sanchez. Thank you so much for this podcast.

I really enjoy it. And I'm David from New Zealand, and I heard Jade from Adelaide's question about the judgment of believers. And you said that there would be no shame at the judgment seat of Christ, and I wondered what it means for our works to be tested and for what was built on Christ will last and what we built out of hay will be burned and our souls will be saved, but only as through fire. What does that mean if there is no pain at the judgment of believers before we reign with Christ?

Could you please help me understand? Thank you. Hey, thanks, David. I really appreciate your question. I love getting these follow ups to previous questions.

And so yeah, thank you very much. And I think the point that I was trying to make to Jade was that at the judgment, Jesus isn't going to shame us. In other words, it's not a time for him to air our dirty laundry before the watching world rubbing it in our faces. It just doesn't seem to me like who Jesus is. Now, that doesn't mean that when we stand before the Lord, when we give an account that there isn't going to be this perhaps sense of loss. I mean, that's the language that's used in First Corinthians chapter three, verses 10 and following. And I think that was the passage that you were referring to. So I'm just going to read that text, First Corinthians chapter three. And one of the things you have to understand about this passage is that it's in the context of speaking about essentially pastors and their ministries. And so when it's talking about building with gold and silver, wood and stubble, it's talking about the ministry of the word. So First Corinthians chapter three, verses 10 and following, Paul said, according to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Now, if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest for the day will disclose it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. I was just reading that text, I was thinking of that image that's given to us of Jesus in the book of Revelation, having eyes like a flame of fire. When we stand before the Lord, there is nothing that we can hide. There's nothing that's going to be hidden. All is going to be laid bare. It's going to be as though everything, our sins, our motivations, everything, they're going to be in the open before the Lord. Now, again, I don't think in that moment that what Christ is going to be doing is shaming us. That's what I was getting at. I don't think it's about shame.

I think those works, if you will, the works of hay and straw, what might that be? In the context here, Paul is talking about people who aren't properly building on the foundation. The focus is not Christ and the gospel. Maybe the focus is themselves and their own ministries. And even though they truly have embraced Christ and believe in Jesus, they've gone astray in this way. Well, those motivations are going to be burned up.

They're going to be exposed. And yet that person is still going to be saved, it seems like the apostle Paul is saying. And so there's nothing here in this passage, I think, that would indicate that Christ is shaming us. But there is this sense, David, as you bring out, that there is loss.

That these things that we've built without the proper materials, that there is going to be this sense of loss. And what exactly that's going to be like in the context of these rewards and being commended by the Lord, I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think it's going to be this cosmic guilt trip that Jesus lays on us. As we stand before the Lord bare, as our works are brought before the judgment, and as the one who has eyes like a flame of fire peers into our lives, all those works that didn't count will burn up, but will still be in the presence of the Lord. And He's going to wipe away every tear, as the book of Revelation says, and comfort us, and grant us that eternal life, which He's promised to us through His life, death, and resurrection. And so thank you for reaching out to us again, David. And David, so nice to hear from you from New Zealand. We know there aren't a lot of evangelical Christians in your country, and it's so encouraging to know that you are following Lord and really searching His word diligently.

That's just a great encouragement to us. Thank you so much for going to our website and leaving that question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and today we want to tell you about an opportunity you have to join us in our mission of helping to equip believers and reach out to unbelievers with the truth of the gospel. Yeah, we want to invite you, well, we want to invite everyone to consider coming alongside of us as a member of the inner core. Now, we are so thankful for each inner core member and their regular gifts that help us to accomplish the mission of getting the word of the gospel out and helping people grow in their understanding of the Christian faith. New listeners discover Core Christianity every day, and your support helps us keep reaching people all around the world.

With a monthly donation of $25 or more, you can be a part of a team that's making it possible for us to answer these questions and share the core truths of the Christian faith. Head over to corechristianity.com forward slash inner core to learn more. And of course, you can always give us a call at 833-THE-CORE. That's 833-843-2673. Adriel, here's a question that came in from Corey.

He posted on our Instagram account. What do Paul and Jesus mean when they say that the bread and wine are Christ's body and blood? Is this metaphorical? Yeah, well, that hasn't been debated for 2000 years.

You know, it's no, it really has. And it's one of those hard sayings of Scripture. I mean, you think about Jesus in John chapter six, where he said very clearly to the crowd that came to him. I mean, there's a large crowd of people, and they wanted Jesus to make bread for them. He had fed them earlier, and so now they're going back. They want more bread, and Jesus's response to the crowd there in John chapter six is, I am the true bread that comes down from heaven.

Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you. And do you remember what happened in that passage? Many people stopped following him.

This is a hard saying. What's he talking about? And even the disciples, right, they might have been tempted to stop following him. The 12 in Jesus said, are you guys going to stop following me too?

And they said, where will we go? You have the words of eternal life. Now, throughout the history of the church, Corey, Christians have believed that there is something so powerful, unique that's happening in the Lord's Supper, in communion. And it's because of Jesus's words, when he instituted this meal, he said, take, eat. This is my body given for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for the forgiveness of many.

Do this in remembrance of me. You get that in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, those words. And also, as you mentioned, Paul talks about this in First Corinthians chapters 10 and 11.

And I think one thing is absolutely clear, and it's so important for us to grasp this as believers. The Lord's Supper communion is more than just a memorial. It's more than just an opportunity for me to remember what Jesus has done for me. The fact of the matter is, you can do that all the time.

You can do that before you have pizza on a Tuesday night. This is something that's unique. And actually, I think that many people have misunderstood the words of Jesus when he said do this in remembrance of me or as my memorial. I actually wrote an article over at corechristianity.com called How We've Misunderstood Do This in Remembrance of Me.

You might want to go and check that out because I sort of unpacked that there. But one of the things that's absolutely clear is it's more than just a memorial. This is communion in a special way with Jesus, with the body and blood of Jesus. Let me give you just one verse that makes that absolutely clear.

It's in the book of First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 16. Paul said this, the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not, and then listen to what he says it is, a participation in the blood of Christ. The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? And then he says in the next verse, because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. In other words, in communion, we have participation in the body and blood of Jesus.

How? By the power of the Holy Spirit and through faith. You know, in John's gospel, there's no institution of the Lord's Supper. I mean, you do have that language in John chapter 6 related to eat my flesh, drink my blood, but you don't have the institution there in the upper room, but what you do have is a lot of the discussion that Jesus was having in the upper room with the disciples.

It's called the upper room discourse, John 13 through 17. You know what Jesus highlighted there? That he would be present with us while he was gone by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so I think it's absolutely clear in communion, we have more than just a memorial. We have communion with the body and blood of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we receive Christ, his goodness, his benefits by faith. Boy, I think if we recognize that, it would really transform the way we think about the Lord's Supper, because I think many of us, you know, we just think, oh, it's an opportunity for me to remember. It's kind of somber. We don't want it to get old, and that's why we don't want to do it every week.

The focus is on me, what I'm doing. I'm remembering, I'm trying to call to mind the cross, so on and so forth. Well, that's a small part of what's happening in communion.

It's more than what I'm remembering. It's God showering us with his gifts, with his promises, ultimately the promise of the new covenant. And that's what Jesus said when he instituted this meal. These are these tangible means that convey to us the forgiveness of the gospel, the grace of Jesus, and we're called to receive them, to ingest them by faith. And so the next time you're at church and you're taking communion, know that it's more than just a time for you to remember something. Know that it's first and foremost a time for you to receive and to be nourished by the gospel, by the body and blood of Jesus by faith. Now, does that mean that the bread and the wine are transformed into something new, that they become the literal body and blood of Jesus?

No, I don't think that that's what it means. I think that the bread and the wine are a sign of a greater reality, and through that sign, by faith, we receive the greater reality, Jesus. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Sally tweeted this on our Twitter page. She says, Why are the Ten Commandments all about telling us what we shouldn't do? Doesn't this focus our attention on negative traits instead of what we should be doing for one another and for God? Yeah, you know, that's a really good question, and I think that's how a lot of people, Sally, read the Ten Commandments, and that's why when you ask someone, you know, what's the gospel, and they respond to you by saying, I think it's the Ten Commandments, and they, you know, you know, do good, don't break the law, and they try to, you know, tell you what the Ten Commandments are.

It feels very negative, doesn't it? The reality, though, is that the Ten Commandments aren't just negative. Actually, when Jesus summarized the law, the Ten Commandments in Matthew chapter 22, verses 37 and following, listen to what it says, verse 36, someone came to Jesus and said, Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment, and the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. And then listen to what Jesus said in verse 40. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. In other words, the law of God, the Ten Commandments, all the commandments, ultimately, they're fulfilled in loving God perfectly and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

And so that's positive. It's not just don't hurt your neighbor, don't murder your neighbor. It's love your neighbor. And I think it's so important for us to grasp this because there are many people out there today who think I do a pretty good job at keeping the commandments. I've never killed anyone.

I've never cheated on my spouse. Covet, what's that? I don't do that.

You know, that kind of a thing. And we don't realize that it's not just when we break or transgress God's law that we sin. It's also, get this, when we fail to conform our lives to the righteous requirements of God's law. Now, what that means is I'm not just sinning by hurting my neighbor, you know, kicking over his trash can or whatever you might do. I'm also sinning when I fail to love my neighbor positively.

It's not enough that I just don't have any relationship with my neighbor. We're called to love our neighbors, to care for them, to sacrifice for them. Even though I think we oftentimes read the Ten Commandments as primarily negative, don't do, don't do, don't do, there is this positive element that they're positively also calling us to love God and to love our neighbors. And that's why, while they're good, they're not the good news of the gospel. Because all of us, when we realize that that's what the law is, it's not just me failing to break the law, but also failing to conform to the law that I sin in. And what we realize very quickly is that all of us fail, that none of us perfectly keeps the law. And so the law becomes for us, for sinners, bad news. And that's why we need the gospel. That's why we need the message of the free forgiveness of our sins. That's why we need to be encouraged by the one who came and perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law.

Paul tells us in Galatians that Jesus was born of a woman, born under the law, and he perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law, Sally, for his people. That's the good news of the gospel. It's not that, you know, we do a good job keeping the law, it's that Jesus has perfectly kept the law, and that in him I am justified, and guess what? Now, through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we're a people who are called to love.

I think we really have to take this all the way. We realize that the law isn't just negative, but that it also has this positive requirement, that we fail to keep that positive requirement. That's why we need the gospel.

God extends his grace to us, forgives us all of our sins, and now, having been forgiven, not because we've kept the law, it wasn't because of our morals that God forgave us, no, having been forgiven because of the goodness and mercy of Jesus Christ, as free men and women, we get to love and serve each other. 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 podcast, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-13 07:32:21 / 2024-03-13 07:42:48 / 10

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