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If His Burden is Light, Why Does My Cross Feel So Heavy?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
April 9, 2021 6:30 am

If His Burden is Light, Why Does My Cross Feel So Heavy?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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April 9, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 681 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


1. Is God the author of sin?

2. Does the story of Jonah prove that God changes his mind?

3. If God is not the author of sin, why did he create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

4. What does it mean to be “caught up with the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 4?

5. In Matthew 11, Jesus says that his burden is light, but in Matthew 16:24 he says to his disciples that, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” How can these two things be reconciled?

6. While on her death bed, my friend wasn’t receptive to Christianity because she she didn’t believe in a “blond hair blue-eyed Jesus.” After I pled with her and read Isaiah 53 to her, she seemed more receptive. Is she in heaven?

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If Jesus' burden is light, then why does he tell us to deny ourselves and carry our cross? 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 for the next 25 minutes with your question. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. You can always watch us on YouTube, and you can email us with your question at questions at

First up today, let's go to Phillip in Pearland, Texas. Phillip, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, did God plan for sin to be a thing?

Hey, Phillip, thanks for giving us a call. Did God plan for sin to be a thing? Well, the way I would answer that is, first, I'd want to make sure that you understood that God is not the author of sin. God is not to blame for sin. We're to blame for sin. I mean, sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, left to the freedom of their own wills. They sinned.

They turned away from the Lord, and as a result, they were judged because of it. We read about that in the early chapters of the book of Genesis, but did God plan for what was going to happen? In other words, did God know that was going to happen, and did he make provisions for that?

I would say, yes, he did, because God knows all things. If you look even at the early chapters of Genesis, like I was just mentioning, in Genesis chapter three, after Adam and Eve had sinned, and they hear about, essentially, this curse that's going to be upon the whole world now because of their actions. Verse 20 says, the man called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all living, and the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. In other words, they sinned, and God made this provision for them to cover their nakedness. If you remember, Philip, earlier in the passage, they were trying to, you know, they realized they were naked.

They were ashamed all of a sudden. They're trying to cover themselves with leaves, but they can't cover themselves, and so the Lord, he steps in, and he clothes them with garments of skin. You have, right there, this sort of picture of animal sacrifice, and throughout the Old Testament, you had the sacrifices for atonement of sin, and ultimately, God would send his own son, Jesus, as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God is not the author of sin. He allowed humanity to sin, but he also made provision to redeem us. He knew he was going to do that, and he did.

He sent his own son into the world to forgive our sins. Thank you for your question, Philip. Keep listening, and give us questions in the future as well. Okay, thank you so much, Philip.

So nice to hear from young people who listen to this radio program. Let's go to a voicemail that we received yesterday from one of our callers about the book of Jonah. There was a question about, does our praying change God's mind? There were some illustrations given, but one of the strong ones that I've always questioned was the story of Jonah being sent to Nineveh, which he didn't want to go, but he finally did to tell them they're all going to be destroyed, and then they repent, and basically Jonah looks pretty dumb and like a fool to the people, because everything that he preached, none of it happened. So if God didn't change his mind, what was the intent of Jonah being sent to make his word look like he didn't know what he was talking about at all? Yeah.

Thank you. Well, I do think Jonah doesn't look so great in the book of Jonah, but it's not because God was misleading in any way. When God was threatening judgment against the Ninevites, the whole purpose for that was so that they might repent, so that they might turn to the Lord. Yes, God was threatening destruction. I mean, Jonah, when he finally does show up, we read in Jonah chapter 3 verse 3, Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord, and now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days journey in breath, and Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey, and he called out, yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. And the people of Nineveh believed God. And they believed the Lord, and the Lord relents of the disaster that he's going to bring. And then if you go back, or if you go a little bit further in chapter 4, we read, it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry, and he prayed to the Lord and said, O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. Jonah, one of the reasons he didn't want to go to Nineveh, he didn't like the people of Nineveh.

I mean, they were quite a wicked people, actually, if you read the history books, who had persecuted the people of God, at times done horrible things. So he didn't want to go and preach, essentially, repentance to the people of Nineveh, because he did not want them to repent. He didn't want God to extend mercy to them. What we learn from the book of Jonah is not that God changes his mind, I mean, maybe from our perspective, I mean, the Lord knows all things. So God isn't up in heaven, you know, saying, oh, well, with this new information that I just received, I'm going to do this instead of that, that kind of a thing.

No, the Lord knows everything. He sent Jonah to Nineveh precisely because he knew that they were going to repent, that they were going to turn to him. But what we get in the book of Jonah is not, you know, this picture of God changing his mind, we get this clear picture of the mercy of God towards sinners, even towards those who have sinned in horrible ways.

And that's a really huge comfort, should be a huge comfort for each and every one of us. And there's also a rebuke here for the people of God, Jonah, this prophet of the Lord, he doesn't want God to extend his mercy to other people. And it really is sort of a shocking thing when you think about it, but sometimes we can be the same way. We can look at people in judgment, we can think, oh, man, they're such terrible sinners, especially if they've sinned against us in some way. And we almost don't want mercy to come to them. And yet here in the book of Jonah, we see that God's intention is to extend mercy even to his enemies. And you know what, we praise God for that, because Paul says in Romans chapter five that we were the enemies of God, and yet Christ died for us. And so that's really what you're getting in the book of Jonah. And so it's not that God changed his mind, and it's not that Jonah looked like a fool because, you know, what God threatened didn't actually happen. No, that was a call to repentance.

And they did repent, and God showed mercy to the people of Nineveh. You're listening to CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we'd love to invite you to call us right now. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, I should mention we are not supported by a particular church or denomination here at CORE Christianity. We rely on people just like you to make donations to keep us on the air. So if you find this program helpful, we would ask you to prayerfully consider making a gift of any amount. You can do that on our website at

Just click donate at the top of the page. Let's go to Glory in Modesto, California. Glory, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi.

Thanks for taking my call again. I am going, you know, back into Genesis early on chapter 2 verse 16 and 17. And I how it says from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. And I know you just mentioned that sin was not authored by God. And so I guess maybe this ties to it when there's this tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden fresh after creation. Where did that evil come from?

Who created that or how was that allowed to be? Yeah, so there's a lot of debate about this. But what I would say is in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were placed in this sort of this testing period, this period of probation we might say, where God has given them his law, his command. And he's demonstrated to Adam and Eve how good he is.

I mean the Lord, when he set them up there in the Garden of Eden, he gave them just about everything. He said of every tree in the garden you may eat, but there's one tree that I don't want you to eat from, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And of course, right, the serpent tempts Eve and Adam and Eve fall. They eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sin enters into the world. They disobey the Lord. But this was a test really for Adam and Eve, and God gave them free will to make a decision there. So the evil is not something that God created or authored.

Like I said, the earlier question, glory. And it's also not that God is setting Adam and Eve up for failure. Had they obeyed, they would have been confirmed in righteousness. They would have been there in the presence of the Lord forever in joy, but they disobeyed. And so God essentially was testing them there with his law, with his word. And because they sinned, they were cast out of the garden. Now it's really interesting because later they're sort of parallels to this, and when God gives his people the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, he gives them these commandments, you shall not do this.

If you do this, you'll die essentially. I mean, very sort of repeating what we're getting here in Genesis chapter two, or you'll be exiled. So you have this sort of repetition as the Israelites are entering into Canaan. They're called to obey the Lord, to cast the serpent out, if you will, or they're going to be cast out of the land. And we know in the history of the people of Israel, that's precisely what happened. They were exiled because of their sin.

And so we would see this, I would see this as a time of testing for Adam and Eve, not that God was causing them to stumble and not that God was creating sin, but that he was giving them a choice. Thank you for your question. Thanks so much, Glory. It's great to hear from Glory on a regular basis. She really is digging into God's Word and trying to apply it to her life, and that is something that we pray for all of our listeners here at Core Christianity.

Let's go to Danny from Burden, Oklahoma. Danny, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? I want to know how a person could say they are not a pre-Trib rapture person. And reading 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, it talks about the catching up and says, and encourage each other with these words. And then we read in Revelations, the 21 judgments of God against this world, the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments. And if we have to go through that, what comfort could there be being caught up after the tribulation period?

Hey, Danny, thank you for that question. Really been enjoying these questions we've been receiving about the end times, and it is so important for us to talk about this and to think through what the scriptures have to say. And you're alluding to several different passages.

There's one in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 where it talks about being caught up with the Lord. And like I said, there are genuine believers, I've said this before on the program, there are genuine believers who differ on their interpretation of the end times, of what it's going to look like. There are some people who say, I think there's going to be this rapture of the church of believers that precedes the second coming of Jesus Christ and will be followed by a time of great tribulation. There are others, this is also a legitimate view, I would say, there are others who say, no, right now the church has been going through great tribulation, great persecution for a long period of time, for this entire season, and Christ is currently reigning from his throne and he is going to come back and essentially judge the world.

He's coming again. And so what those people would say is, they would say, look, what we see in 1 Thessalonians 4 is not a description of the rapture of the church prior to the second coming, but just another description of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because later on in chapter 5, Paul begins to essentially go deeper into what he was talking about. He's talking about the day of the Lord, the final judgment, and that final judgment happens at the same time that the believers themselves are delivered. The judgment of the wicked and the glorification of the saints are contemporaneous events.

That means that they happen at the same time. You see this in the book of 2 Thessalonians. So if you look at just the very next book in the New Testament, 2 Thessalonians 1, beginning in verse 5, give you some more context, Paul says, this is evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God for which you also are suffering. See, the believers were experiencing tribulation there, since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. So you have right there these events happening at the same time, essentially the revelation of Jesus, his coming, the deliverance of the saints, their comfort, and also the judgment of the wicked.

So that's why some people, Danny, take that view. That happens to be my view in particular, but again, like I said, and like I often repeat on this program, what we're about here is core Christianity. That is what are the fundamentals of the faith that all Christians need to embrace. When we're talking about the end times, the fundamental truth that you need to embrace, that we all need to embrace, is that Jesus is going to return, that there will be a bodily second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, that that hasn't already happened, and that we're called as Christians to be ready, to be prepared, to be watchful. Are we watching?

Are you watching? That's what we're called to do in light of the fact that the Lord Jesus is coming, we're told, and so we turn to him in faith. Thank you so much, brother, for your question. May the Lord bless you as you continue to study the word of God. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and today we would like to offer you a special free booklet that Adriel created. It's called Seeing Jesus.

Yes. You know, really, the question is, who is Jesus? Not who is Jesus for me or to me primarily. There are all sorts of people who have differences of opinion about who Jesus was, but the question is, who did Jesus reveal himself to be? Let's let Jesus introduce himself to us through the scriptures.

That's how we grow in our understanding of Christ is as we dig into the word of God, as he speaks to us through his word, that's how we see Jesus and how we lay hold of him for ourselves. And so this resource, Seeing Jesus, that's what it's all about, helping you lay hold of Christ for you as he's revealed in his word. It's a devotional resource, and it's yours for free. All you have to do to get that resource is go to our website at forward slash jesus. Again that's forward slash jesus. You can also call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to a voicemail we received yesterday. A question came to my mind this morning, two verses from scripture in Matthew, where Jesus says first in Matthew 11 25 30, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. And then later in Matthew 16 24, Jesus said to his disciples, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. I was thinking in my mind it would be difficult but possible to reconcile those two things. I was just wondering if you would address those two scriptures as being seemingly contradictory.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless you as well, and yeah, is there a contradiction here? How can Jesus say in Matthew 11 my yoke is easy and my burden is light, but then in Matthew 16 if you want to follow me you're going to need to take up your cross.

And that doesn't sound very easy, that sounds difficult, that sounds like actually a really heavy burden. Well the first thing we need to understand is that in Jesus Christ our relationship to God's law has changed. One passage of scripture that I would point you to that I think makes this absolutely clear is the first half of Romans chapter 7. Jesus essentially was condemned by the law.

He was put to death. He experienced the curse of the law. In Jesus we too are dead to the law. That means that the law is no longer over the Christian to condemn them. The law can no longer condemn you. That's why Paul says at the beginning of Romans chapter 8, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Why? Because the condemnation that was over us was exhausted in Jesus. And when we're in Jesus it's as if we're now dead to the law. We have this new relationship to it so that it can't weigh us down, condemn us, and in that sense in Jesus we can say his burden is light. We're free.

We're justified. We're saved. I don't have to work to earn my salvation. I've already been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and as one who is redeemed, I get to follow God. I get to obey the Lord now by the Spirit because the Spirit of God has filled me and lives in me and is working in me to put to death the sinful deeds of the body and to vivify me, to make me alive more and more so that I might follow the Lord and love the Lord. So I think that's one of the reasons why Jesus can say and why he does say what he says there in Matthew chapter 11. It's also why John in 1 John chapter 5 verse 3 says this is God's will that you keep his commandments and that his commandments are not burdensome. What does God call us to do?

To love him and to love one another. We know that really none of us do that perfectly, but we can no longer be condemned by the law because we're in Jesus and in that sense, we experience the rest that Jesus talked about in Matthew chapter 11. We follow him, we deny ourselves, we take up our crosses because of what he has done because he has borne the cross and put away our sins once and for all. We follow him and as we follow him and as the Spirit works in us, there is this joy that we can have.

Now again, none of us do that perfectly, but the good news is Christ perfectly obeyed the law so that we could experience forgiveness, no longer be under its condemnation, and follow him with joy. So thank you for that question and for getting us into the Gospel of Matthew there, sister. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Laverne in St. Louis, Missouri. Laverne, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, my question is, I have a friend, I had a friend, and the Lord told me to go to her and she would sit and he told me to go to her and I'll follow Christ to her. And I did that, and she refused, she said, this is what she said, she said, I'm Afro-centric and I don't believe in a blue-eyed white Jesus. And then the next day God said, called her up and read Isaiah 53 to her.

And I did that and she said, okay Laverne, and she wasn't angry then, and then the next night at five o'clock the next morning, she coded in her house and she died. And I'm just asking, you know, you've got to go through Jesus. You've got to go through him. Laverne, well one, I praise the Lord that you had that opportunity to share Jesus with your friend. And at the end of the day, you know, we can have these false conceptions of who Jesus was. It's like your friend said, I reject the sort of Jesus of popular culture, the blonde-haired blue-eyed Jesus. I don't, I don't know that I embraced that Jesus.

And you know what Laverne, I don't embrace that Jesus either. We embrace the Jesus of Holy scripture. And you opened up the word of God to your friend, Isaiah 53, which takes us straight to the heart of the gospel. What Christ has done for us to redeem. I mean, talk about a picture of the sufferings of Christ for his people.

Isaiah 53, it doesn't get clearer than that. And I don't know what the Lord was, was doing in that situation, but it sounds to me like you were able to share the true Jesus with her, the Jesus who bore the sins of his people so that we might believe in him. And, and boy, I pray that your friend did embrace that Jesus as, as you read the scriptures, you know, it's where the scriptures are speaking to us.

That's where God works is through his word. There are a lot of people who have false beliefs about Jesus, who have a Jesus that they've invented in their minds, but who isn't the Jesus of scripture. And so if your friend rejected that Jesus, that's okay.

We should reject the Jesus of popular culture. That's not the Jesus of God's word, the true, the true Jesus. And so I would say, sister, I mean, I can't tell you where, where your friend is, but, but I'm encouraged to hear that you were able to share the truth of the gospel with her.

And then it seems like she, she listened and that there was a peace that came over her and what an encouragement for each and every one of us, brothers and sisters. There are people around us who need the gospel. Let's not give them the sort of pretend Jesus of, of culture. Let's give them the Jesus of scripture who has spoken to us so clearly and revealed himself for our salvation. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-03 10:40:13 / 2023-12-03 10:50:23 / 10

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