Hey, Pastor Adriel here, and we want to hear from our podcast audience specifically. Give us a call at 1130 Pacific Time, 833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE, with your question about the Christian faith. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Thanks so much for joining us. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We'd love to hear from you, and you can call us right now with your question at 833, the CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. You can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel and message him that way. And of course, you can always email us a question.
Here's the email address. It's questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Don in Topeka, Kansas. Don, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Right now, I'm reading the book of Matthew, and Matthew 10-22. When I read that verse, I kind of wonder, am I saved? I mean, I have accepted Jesus to be my personal Savior, but just some days I just have that feeling I'm not saved, and I'm not sure why I have that feeling.
Hey Don, thank you for calling in with that question. So let me read Matthew 10-22. Jesus said, And you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. Now this comes in the context of Jesus sending out his 12 apostles and giving them essentially this warning saying, you are going to experience persecution for your association with me.
And we know, just based on history, that these same apostles did indeed experience persecution, often from the hands of the Jews who rejected Christ, often from the government officials like the Roman government, all for preaching Jesus. And so this is just something, I mean, one of the things that Paul says is all those who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ are going to suffer persecution. Jesus is here calling them to endurance, to perseverance. Now if you're struggling with this question, am I really saved because I don't know if I'm going to endure to the end, or I haven't really persevered in my faith, you know, there are days where I feel like I'm doing really well, and then there are other days or even seasons of my life where I feel like I really struggle.
Well, brother, that's the story of the Christian life. John says in 1 John 5, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you might know that you have eternal life. That is, you can know right now, Don, that you have eternal life.
How can you know that? Well, do you trust in Jesus? Trust doesn't just mean I recognize that he existed, I can affirm that he was this historical figure. I'm saying can you trust in him, recognizing that you're a sinner, that you break God's law, can you say, Jesus, you're my only hope. I trust in you, I trust in the work that you did to forgive my sins, and that's the only hope that any of us have, Don. And so casting ourselves on Jesus and on his grace by faith, we can have confidence right now, you can have confidence right now, that you have eternal life. And I think beyond that, you also have the hope that you are sealed with the Holy Spirit, Paul talks about this in the book of Ephesians, and that you will persevere in faith if you belong to Jesus because God himself is going to keep you.
God himself is going to be there with you, keeping you as his child. No one, Jesus said, can snatch my sheep out of the Father's hand. He says this in John chapter 10, and so you have this great hope in Christ. And so I would say if you're struggling, you look in and you think, I'm not as faithful to God as I would like to be, and that should be all of us, because we realize that we fall short of God's law. Well the answer, the solution, is not continuing to look within, it's to look outside of yourself to the objective work of Jesus Christ and to cling to that.
The author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 6, towards the end of the chapter, you have that as an anchor for your soul. Jesus is the anchor for your soul, and so when you're struggling with those doubts, lay hold of him, cling to him, and sink your teeth into his gospel promises. That's where we get comfort from, Don, and so may the Lord encourage you with that.
And just a follow-up question for you, Don. Are you a part of a local church where you're hearing the gospel preached week in and week out, Fellowship of Believers? Do you have that in your life? I go to non-denominational church, and the reason we gather is to follow Jesus. That's the reason why we gather. So I think I belong to an okay church. I know there's no perfect church. I know Billy Graham made a comment, 80% of the people going to church is not saved.
And I don't think we're going to find a perfect church, but a pastor gives a good message. We encourage you to study the Bible. I've got a braille Bible that I read.
I'm a blind person, but I've got a braille Bible that I read every day, and I'm in prayer every day. So I think I'm doing the right thing. I just some days have that feeling that I'm not saved, and I'm not sure. Yeah. Well, no, Don, I appreciate the follow-up there.
Let me just add this other thing. The question is not, do I feel that I'm saved? Because there are going to be days where you wake up in the morning, you don't feel the presence of God.
That doesn't mean that God isn't there. We can go to church, and it can feel dry, but if the Word of God is being faithfully taught, Jesus has promised to meet us there through these objective gifts that he's given to us, the preaching of God's Word. And so we have to go back to when we're wrestling with our feelings. I mean, we take those things to the Lord, right? But we go back to God's Word.
The question is not, how do you feel? The question is, what has God said in his Word? And he says, if you believe in my Son, if you believe in Jesus Christ, if you've laid hold of him by faith, you can know that you have eternal life.
He doesn't say you're always going to feel like you have eternal life, but he says you can know it on the basis of my Word. And so when we're wrestling with those feelings, we've got to go back to the Scriptures and dig into those Scriptures. And I'm grateful to hear that you're doing that, Don. And may the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, just illuminate those Scriptures for you to give you the comfort that you need in God's Word. And what I want to do right now is just pray for you, that the Lord would give you peace and would continue to guide you, brother. And so let's pray for our brother, Don. Gracious Father, thank you for Don. Thank you that he is in a church where he hears your Word. Thank you that he studies your Word every day and that he wants to know you and that he wants to know, Lord, that he belongs to you. Father, I pray by the grace of your Holy Spirit that you would fill Don more and more with the knowledge of your love for him, with a firm understanding of the Gospel, of the length that you went, gracious Father, sending your Son into the world to redeem sinners like me, like Don, so that he might know, God, that he has eternal life by faith. In the name of your Son, Jesus, would you comfort our brother? Would you encourage him? Would you fill him with your Holy Spirit? And every day as he studies your Word, I pray that you would illuminate that Word for him more and more so that he might grow in a closer relationship with you. God, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
And Don, we want you to know you are not alone. We receive a lot of calls like that here at CORE Christianity. I mean, just about every week somebody calls and says, I feel like maybe I'm not really a Christian. I feel like I'm not saved. And as Adriel pointed out, it's not how we feel at a given moment.
It's not our circumstances. It's the objective truth of the Gospel. And we actually have a wonderful core question on that topic. It's called Nine Ways to Know You're Really a Christian. And you can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
Look for nine ways to know that you are really a Christian. And Don, we hope that will be helpful to you and to any of our listeners who may be struggling with that particular question. Again, Adriel, right, it's one of our most often asked questions here on CORE, isn't it?
Yeah, it is. It's because people are concerned about their souls. I mean, we want to know that we're right with God. You think of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther, how that question just plagued him. You know, how can a man be right with God? How can I be justified in God's sight? And so you're not alone if you struggle with those questions, if you struggle with the feelings of assurance. That's something we wrestle with as Christians, as genuine believers. We have to go back to the word and rest in what God has said and what Jesus has done.
Amen. You're listening to CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian faith, the doctrine, theology, how our faith intersects with our daily life and today's culture, give us a call. We're open to all questions. 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a question from one of our listeners named Aaron. My question is regarding a friend of mine who in the last five years has taken a new stance on a theological position. And he's been telling people that he believes in the elect, that God has chosen certain people to be in his kingdom. Not only that, but the question I have is that he says if you do not believe that, then you are believing a different gospel and that you are not a Christian at all. And so I was wondering if you'd be able to address that.
Thanks so much. Hey, Aaron, thank you for that question. Sounds like your friend is pretty passionate about this. You know, sometimes when we are growing in our understanding of a particular doctrine, we can get really zealous, sometimes a little bit overzealous. People refer to it as the cage stage where, you know, you're going around telling everybody, if you don't think just like me, you're not a Christian.
You know, that's typically when young folks will get tattoos of their favorite theologian and that kind of a thing. But the question here is, one, is election, the doctrine of election, if people disagree on that, does that mean they're not going to go to heaven? In other words, if we get our understanding of election wrong, are we not saved?
My simple answer is no. There are genuine Christians who disagree about the doctrine of election. There's debate about this and there has been for 2,000 years. But that doesn't mean that it's not a significant doctrine, one that we should think about, that we should study the scriptures on.
I certainly have an opinion. I mean, it's something that we see, Aaron, in the scriptures. So we've got to go to the text of scripture. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4, even as He, that is God, shows us in Him, Jesus, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, verse 5, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will.
Now that word chose, it's the Greek word eklego, it's where we get the word election from or elect. And here Paul says it very clearly, God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. That is, before we did anything, it wasn't on the basis of our righteous deeds, our good works, and I think this is a really important point to make. In fact, it's a point that the apostle Paul makes when talking about the doctrine of election elsewhere. In the book of Romans chapter 9, this is another text that you're going to want to go to when you're thinking about this doctrine. Romans chapter 9 verse 11, he says, Though they were not yet born, and had done nothing, either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of Him who calls. In other words, this is emphasizing the sovereignty of God, His choice, not on the basis of our righteous deeds, not because of good or bad that we did. And you get that again even in Ephesians 1, chose us before the foundation of the world. Just a little bit later in Romans, in Romans chapter 11 verse 5, the apostle Paul speaking of a remnant among ethnic Israel, Jews who are going to be saved by grace, he says, So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen, there's that word, elected again, by grace.
So it's not on the basis of what we do, it's on the basis of God's grace. One other passage that I just want to go to, because I think it's so beautiful as we think about this doctrine in particular, it's in 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 1 and 2. Listen to this, it highlights the fact that the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is at work in this choice, in this election. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ, and for sprinkling with His blood.
Isn't that beautiful? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit right there. So this is an important doctrine that we see all over the place, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. My view is that God chooses, not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of His grace, it's the work of the Holy Trinity. But does that mean that people who disagree with me, that I would say that they're not Christians, that they're not saved?
No. I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that they're, well, you're just embracing a different gospel. You know, I think that it's an important doctrine, and one that we really should know and study and be biblical about. But it's not the case that if someone doesn't understand it the same way that I do, that I would say that they're not a believer. Now, if somebody rejected the deity of Jesus Christ, or the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or salvation by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ, well, then we would have some problems. Then I would wonder, well, you're rejecting these cardinal core Christian doctrines. And so we really have to differentiate here between those core central doctrines, the ones by which we're saved, and then these other really important doctrines, which Christians might disagree on, but they're nevertheless important. I would say this is one of those doctrines in particular, Aaron.
Thanks for that question. May God bless you as you continue to study the Word. Good explanation on that whole issue of election, which again we've mentioned is controversial and different denominations, different Christians believe different things about that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're just a couple of weeks away from Halloween and All Saints Day.
And it seems like this time of year, a lot of questions come up about things like demons and angels and spiritual warfare. We're actually offering a wonderful book. It's a fictional book, but it really dives into the spiritual warfare issue in a fascinating way. It's by noted Christian author C.S. Lewis. If you have not gotten this book yet, I just really want to encourage you.
We've been offering it for a few days, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It's a delightful book to read, both because Lewis is such an amazing writer, but also because it's really insightful in terms of the spiritual battle that we're all in, and brothers and sisters, we are in a battle. Make no mistake about it, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are engaged in a spiritual battle.
There's a war taking place. We have to be diligent, we have to be aware, we have to be watchful, and I think this book will help you to do that. So get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers to find that. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers and look for The Screwtape Letters by C.S.
Lewis. Well, here's our phone number. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we're taking calls for another five minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.
You can call us and leave a voicemail there too, 24 hours a day, 833-THE-CORE, and we try to review our voicemails on a regular basis. Let's go to Josh in Nashville, Tennessee. Josh, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey, so my question is about Leviticus 16, and it talks about talking about sacrifices and stuff like that. But there's one part that's been alluding me. In part of the sacrifice, you make the sacrifice to God, and then you have a goat, and it's talking about the scapegoat, and you're sending it to Azazel.
Everything that I've found on Azazel, just in my research, has said that he's either a fallen angel or a demon, stuff like that. And I was wondering, why is God directing his chosen people to sacrifice to a demon, basically? Hey, Josh, thank you for that question.
A really good question. I love that you're asking about the book of Leviticus, a book that not a lot of Christians spend much time, and I preached through Leviticus a couple years ago. And it was a blast, at least for me. I don't know how the congregation felt about it, but I loved preaching through Leviticus. And when you get to Leviticus 16, this is really the pinnacle of the book of Leviticus.
By the way, let me just give you guys another cool highlight. Leviticus is the center of the Torah. You have Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, there at the center, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. So this book, Leviticus, is sort of the core, the centerpiece of the first five books of the Old Testament. And it's all about how we have fellowship with the true and the living God, how we're welcomed back into his house. And at the center of the Torah is Leviticus 16, the Day of Atonement, this picture of a sacrifice and a scapegoat being sent out into the wilderness, which ultimately points us to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us on the cross.
So isn't this beautiful? Here at the very center of the Torah, you have this picture of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. But there's this great mystery here as well, Josh, and you touch on it. Who is this Azazel that's referred to in Leviticus chapter 16 verse 8? I'm going to start reading in verse 6. Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.
So you have both the sin offering and then the other goat isn't being offered to Azazel. It's being cast out to Azazel, whatever that is. Now there's speculation about what that is. It could be, some people think, this steep precipice.
In other words, it was just being sent to its death on the edge of a cliff. And they think that's what Azazel referred to. Others think it's just this idea of being excommunicated, sent out, cast out of the community because of sin.
And still others think Azazel is this reference to this pagan deity, this false god, this demon, really. So this goat is being sent into the wilderness, into the darkness, into the world of the demons. And it's a sort of picture, if you will, of excommunication, what sin leads to. You know, I think of what the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5, verse 5, where he was talking about a person in the church who was continuing an unrepentant sin, unwilling to repent, unwilling to turn from it. And remember what Paul said there in 1 Corinthians 5, 5? You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. In other words, cast that person out, excommunicate them, leave them into the hands of the evil one.
Hopefully they'll realize how bad it is and turn back to the Lord. But it's this picture of excommunication. So I think what you have there in Leviticus 16 is a clear picture of what sin does. There needs to be a sin offering, but it also removes us from the presence of God, if you will. We're cast out of the community. You have this picture of being cast out. Isn't that precisely what happened to Jesus? He was cast out, excommunicated, if you will, by the false religious authorities, crucified outside of the camp. And so, again, it's this glorious picture of the gospel, and I think those are just some of the ways that people have understood Azazel. But we shouldn't take this as meaning that they were sacrificing two demons.
No, it's this picture of the goat being sent out into the world of darkness, into the world of evil, into the wilderness, if you will, of sin, and being exiled from the community. And so thanks for that question, Josh. God bless you. Hey, thanks, Josh, and love the fact that you're diving into God's word on a regular basis. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez.
Let's go to Ennis in Cherokee, Iowa. Ennis, what's your question for Adrian? Well, hi, I just love you guys. Thank you so much for your ministry. Hopefully someday you'll have an hour program. Hey, thanks. Yeah, maybe.
That'd be fun. A friend of mine—well, we'll have to donate more. I was talking to a friend, we were talking about Noah and the flood, and I was curious. Noah's family was saved, but everybody that was killed otherwise, there had to be people saved in that group, right? Hey, great question, brother.
You know, it's something that we can speculate about. There are certainly passages that make it seem like the world at that time had completely turned its back on God, certainly leading up to the flood story in the book of Genesis. Things were getting worse and worse and worse, so much so that you have that strange scene right before that, where you have the sons of God and the daughters of man coming together, and you just have this rampant sin.
And the whole point there in Genesis is that things were just—the people of God, after being kicked out of Eden, if you will, were continuing this steady trajectory downward, away from the true and the living God. And Noah, he's this preacher of righteousness, so he's calling people to faith, he's calling people to repentance, but they're not turning. And so you get in places like 2 Peter 2 these descriptions of God's judgment that came upon the world there. Verse 5 of 2 Peter 2, If God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah a herald of righteousness with seven others when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly. In the context there, you know, Peter is talking about how sure God's judgment is, essentially, that God is going to judge sin, and these are just examples of that throughout the Bible, and he points to Noah and the judgment that came upon the world there. But it does seem there like this was an extensive judgment. Now, were there some people there in the world who maybe were still saved somehow by the grace of God?
I don't know, we can speculate, but that's as much as the Bible says, and so we want to stop where the Scripture stops. Thanks for your encouragement, brother, and may the Lord bless you. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together. Thanks for listening to today's episode of CORE Christianity. Adriel and I love our podcast audience, and we'd love to take your questions. Give us a call Monday through Friday at 1130 a.m. Pacific Time at 833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE.
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