Can Christians celebrate the resurrection and still hunt for Easter eggs? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, I'm 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, even the Easter Bunny.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Scott calling in from Fremont, Indiana. Scott, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hey, good afternoon.
Appreciate you guys. The question actually came up during yesterday's program when you were dealing with some of the questions, and mine is, how does God respond when a believer repents and is baptized? What does God do when somebody's baptized?
Yeah, that's a great question, Scott. What I like to say is that in baptism, this is first and foremost the action of God. We're presumably thinking of an adult who repents, turns to the Lord, believes in Jesus Christ, and then comes to be baptized. Well, that's all about declaring that you're a believer, and you want to follow Jesus, you're obeying his command to be baptized, but I would say fundamentally, actually it's something else. Primarily, for the believer who's baptized after coming to faith later in life, those things are happening.
But first and foremost, it's God's action. God is the one who is speaking, and what is he speaking in the sacraments, these ordinances that Jesus instituted, baptism and the Lord's Supper? He's speaking the promises of the gospel over his people.
They're these signs and seals of God's redemptive work in his Son, Jesus Christ, and we can't miss that, because I think that when we focus on ourselves and what we're doing, and maybe God is responding to our action, we sort of flip things around. It really is God's action first and foremost, and we are called to lay hold of those beautiful promises that God gives to us when he speaks to us through his word and in these ordinances, to lay hold of them by faith. Now, what is it that's being signified in baptism? It's this picture of our union with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.
Paul makes this very clear in places like Romans chapter 6. He says in verse 3, Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father we too might walk in newness of life. So this is associating with Jesus Christ in his death and in his resurrection.
It's this sign of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and it's God speaking those promises over his people. Then the baptized individual is made a part of the visible church. It's our entrance into the community of faith.
Just like under the old covenant, they had circumcision, this sign that signified they were a part of God's people, the covenant people. Under the new covenant, we have the sign of baptism. So we are united together as members in the church, as the body of Christ through baptism.
I think this is a point that Paul makes elsewhere in Galatians chapter 3 verse 27. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. See there again the association with Jesus, have put on Christ, and then he says in verse 28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Isn't that beautiful? There's something about baptism that levels the playing field. We're one in Jesus through holy baptism. That's another thing that's pictured there, this beautiful promise of God for us, for his people, and our union with Jesus, but also with the family of faith, with the one body of Christ.
Those are just some of the things that are spoken, if you will, in baptism, some of the promises that are held out to the people of God, to the covenant people, and we're called to embrace those promises by faith. Thank you for your question. Great explanation, and Scott, thank you so much for being a regular listener to CORE Christianity. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. We're taking calls for the next 20 minutes or so, so jump on the phone 833-843-2673.
That's 833 The CORE. And with Easter coming up this weekend, we actually have a wonderful book that we'd like to offer you. Yeah, today we're offering the book Captivated, Beholding the Mystery of Jesus's Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabule, and it's just a wonderful resource as you're getting ready for Easter on your own or together with your family to dig into the Scriptures and to really grasp what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, O death, where is your sting? Brothers and sisters, that's what we're celebrating. You know, that's what we celebrate every Lord's Day when we gather together for worship, but especially, you know, on this Easter, we're celebrating that Jesus Christ has conquered death.
And this is something that each of us really needs to get deep into our bones. I mean, this is the central message of the Christian faith, and this book is going to help you do that again. It's called Captivated, Beholding the Mystery of Jesus's Death and Resurrection. Get a hold of it for a donation of any amount over at COREChristianity.com. Love to get that in your hands before Easter or even after Easter. It'd be a great devotional book. And here is the place to go, COREChristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, COREChristianity.com forward slash offers and look for the book Captivated. Let's get back to the phones. We have Michael on the line calling from Illinois. Michael, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Good afternoon. I heard a pastor on the radio yesterday say something that went counter to what I've been taught my entire life about hell and Hades. I've always been taught that there are different places that when someone dies without Christ, their soul goes to Hades and awaits the second resurrection to be judged by Christ on Judgment Day.
Of course, the Christians, they immediately go to be with Christ, their souls. But this pastor said without scripture, he didn't say any scriptures to back it up, that hell is now the new name for Hades. I was always taught that the only entities in hell right now were some of the angels that fell with Lucifer. And I'm just really confused now about reality because he didn't quote any scriptures and I was hoping you could clarify this for me.
Yeah. Well, thank you for this question, Michael. Hades is a word that we see in the New Testament, typically associated with the grave and death. It's the place of destruction. John references it in the book of Revelation. Jesus also speaks of Hades in places like Matthew chapter 11. I believe it's verse 23.
Listen to what he says. This is a warning on those impenitent cities that did not repent when the gospel was preached to them. He says, You Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you. So you have a contrast there between heaven and Hades, the place of life and the place of destruction. So I think there's some reason to believe that we can associate Hades with the grave or even beyond that with the place of judgment. It sounds to me like that's what this pastor was doing in terms of tying it together with hell. Of course, Jesus talks about hell earlier in the Gospel of Matthew but also throughout the Gospels in Matthew chapter 5 where he's giving a warning specifically with regard to anger. He says in Matthew chapter 5 verse 22, I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.
Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the counsel, and whoever says, You fool, will be liable to the hell of fire. So it's a different word in the New Testament. Hell, the word gehenna, referred to, well, in the Old Testament it was the Valley of Hinnom. It was this place where basically pagan idolatry was practiced, where the Israelites even sacrificed some of their children.
So it was this sort of notorious place of wickedness, evil, and burning. And Jesus uses it as this picture, this image of the judgment, of destruction. And so I think, Michael, that there is evidence for what this pastor was saying, but of course we're looking at these two different words and sometimes, again, Hades when it's used in Scripture, it's emphasizing, what's being emphasized there is just the picture of death, the picture of the grave. Revelation chapter 6 verse 8, for example, I looked and behold a pale green horse, and the one seated on it was named Death, and Hades followed after him.
And authority was granted to them over a fourth of the earth to kill by the sword, by famine, by pestilence, and by the wild beasts of the earth. And so again, it's this picture of death, destruction, the grave. Hope that clears it up for you a little bit, Michael, in terms of some of the ties between Hades, hell, death, and may the Lord bless you. You know, regardless of what they call it, I'm just glad I'm not going there, Adriel.
Yeah, me too. I mean, well, that's the hope that we have as Christians, and what we're celebrating, as I was saying earlier, this upcoming Easter is the fact that that grave, Hades' death, has been conquered by Jesus, and this is one of the great hopes that we have, the ultimate hope that we have as Christians, the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, or how your Christian life maybe intersects with what's going on in today's world, in today's culture. Feel free to give us a call, 833-843-2673.
That's 833, the Core. By the way, you can also email us any questions you have at questions at corechristianity.com. Here's an email from one of our listeners named Jen. She says, Dear Pastor Adriel, I've been married for just two years, and my husband and I strongly disagree on how to participate in the cultural traditions of Christmas and Easter as a family.
For example, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. My question is, how should I address this with my husband? Because we want to be on the same page, especially since we are new parents, but neither of us can convince the other that their point of view is correct. Hey, well congratulations as new parents, and may God bless your family. You know, in situations like this, obviously you want to come together and be charitable with each other, gracious.
Obviously, I mean, one of the biggest issues I think that a lot of times we have as couples is communication and communicating well. And so talking about, right, you're each coming together with maybe different traditions that you were raised with in your own family, things that you would want to pass along to your own children. I don't think that this needs to be seen as an issue of sin or, you know, well it'd be wrong for us to, you know, have a Christmas feast or have a Christmas tree even. Sometimes people will ask that question and they'll say, is that pagan? Is that idolatrous? And you say, this is, that's going too far, right?
That's overthinking it really. Paul says in Romans chapter 14 verse 13, Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. So here I think the encouragement for you and for your spouse is you need to walk in love.
You need to communicate with each other clearly about this is what we're hoping to do. Obviously, like I said, it's not an issue of sin, but you're thinking about how to raise your children. You know, thinking about these celebrations that are happening in broader culture. Now, of course, there's nothing in scripture that prescribes that we need to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on a particular, one particular day out of the year. We need to treat that day as special.
We don't have these religious holidays under the new covenant. But Paul says, you know, don't judge one another with regard to these days. You know, one person wants to esteem one day, another person wants to esteem every day alike. I think we can be charitable here. We can be loving.
And so continue to have that conversation and try to get to the root of maybe what the concerns are. But ultimately, I would say in whatever you do, in whatever way you, quote, unquote, observe the day, I would say you do it to the glory of God. And that's what you want for yourself, for your families, focusing on that, on glorifying the Lord, on loving each other and fixing your eyes on Christ and his birth or his resurrection from the dead. God bless.
Great answer, Adriel. What about those little candy chicks? Are those okay for Easter? Peeps? You know, there's a lot of debate among biblical scholars about whether or not peeps are okay.
And I am of the, I am a part of the group that says, definitely, I like peeps. But I know many people are going to be scandalized when they hear that because they just think, you know, sugar covered marshmallow. How can that be godly?
My daughter put one in the microwave last year and it did not turn out so good. Wow. You got a chef on your hands, Bill. Oh, my goodness.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're so glad that you're with us today. Let's go back to the phones. And we have Dee on the line from Nashville, Tennessee. Hi, Dee. How are you?
Hey, doing great. Thank you, gentlemen. I've been studying a lot about assurance lately. And what's frustrating to me is how many authors and preachers will say that neither lordship salvation nor antinomianism are accurate, but they don't define what that middle area is. And so I find that every Christian I've ever known sort of falls in between where we do care about obedience, but there may be some problem areas of life that are harder to rid yourself of those sins than others. And some of us may never fully conquer every sin in our life.
I think most of us would say that no one ever will. But then if we are to believe that a person's salvation can be determined by their actions, then someone needs to define where that line is. And how does a Christian who does have some trouble spots in their life that they're working on, and sometimes they're more victorious than others. How can that person know within themselves whether they are just struggling with that area of sanctification or whether they're fooling themselves about the state of their soul? Yeah.
D, excellent questions. And because you threw out a lot of big words there, I want to provide some definitions. So you, one, mentioned lordship salvation. You know, there was a debate among some seminaries, actually, I think it was around the 1980s, related to this question. It was this sort of lordship, salvation, free grace debate. And the idea was, right, there were some people who were saying, you know, you're not saved unless you really make Jesus the Lord of your life, 100%. And you've repented and you've committed yourself to God.
And of course, you know, like you said, D, we don't do that perfectly. We continue to sin against God and thought word and deed. But there was, I think, a big emphasis upon the fruit of salvation. So if you're saved, you're really going to bear fruit. You're going to make Jesus the Lord of your life. And that fruit is the evidence of grace in your life. And there were others, maybe, you know, the sort of pendulum shift on the other side, the free grace theology, it was sometimes referred to as other times people called it antinomianism.
And you drop that word as a word that just means lawlessness. And it was the idea that, you know, a person believes in Jesus, but their life may not be changed very much and they can still be saved and they're going to be saved. And the extreme of that view was, you know, a person can say a prayer, believe in Jesus, and maybe not experience any real significant change outwardly and live for, you know, the majority of their life in rebellion to God in one sense.
But, you know, they really believed at some point and they're going to go to heaven and they're just not going to have a lot of rewards in heaven. So this was a debate that was happening. Now, how do we help an individual?
Is it practical? Because the question is, how do we help an individual? And I know that there are people listening right now who have this question, who they look at their life and they think, am I really a Christian? Do I really believe in Jesus? There are some times where I feel like I am saved, I am a believer. And there are other times, especially in those moments where I'm really struggling with sin or with doubts about the faith that I think, maybe I'm not a Christian at all. Maybe I don't belong to the Lord.
Where can we get assurance? Well, the lordship salvation, folks, I think what they focused on is, well, you get assurance from your obedience, from the things that you do. And of course, there are places in the New Testament that talk about examining yourself and the fact that the Spirit of God is at work in us to put to death the sinful deeds of the body.
Paul in Romans chapters six through eight, it's a doctrine of sanctification. And so there is some of that, but here's the thing that I want to say is that cannot be the main thing when it comes to assurance, because the reality is for those who have a sensitive conscience, for those who struggle to grasp onto assurance, the assurance that I think they should have as Christians, oftentimes they look at and they still see that indwelling sin that we all see inside of us and they think, boy, you know, I mean, I do do some good things, but I know that I continually fall short. And so where else can we look for assurance? Well, some people will point to Romans chapter eight, what we sometimes refer to as the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God is sort of this subjective, right? The fact that we belong to Jesus, his spirit lives in us, and we have this sense that we belong to God, that we are his children adopted into the family, and so we cry out, again, as Paul says there in Romans chapter eight, Abba Father, but that's also somewhat subjective, just like sort of looking at our works. And so I think fundamentally, and this is where I think the Lordship Camp was off, fundamentally, when it comes to assurance, what we need to go to is the promise of the Gospel, something outside of us, not within us, but something outside of us, God's holy word where he has spoken to us in his word, and also in the ordinances that I was talking about earlier, baptism and the Lord's Supper, these tokens of God's grace, of his good will towards us, even as sinners, and we cling to those, we cling ultimately to the promise of God, and that's what anchors us. Now, if you want some scripture on this, and I know I'm going a little bit long, but I just think that this is really, really important, because I know a lot of people have this question. If you want some scripture on this, Hebrews chapter six, towards the end of the passage, the author of the Hebrews talks about the promise of God that anchors our soul.
I'm just going to read this text. For when God made a promise to Abraham, verse 13 of Hebrew six, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, Surely I will bless you and multiply you, and thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes, an oath is final for confirmation. So, when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we, that's us, we who have fled for refuge, might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
We have this hope, we have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus is gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Friends, if you're struggling with assurance, and you look in, you think, I've seen some change, but I know it's not perfect, I still struggle with sin, and you think, well, there are days where I feel like I am a child of God, I pray to God, I cry at Abba, Father, but there are other times where I really wonder, here's, I think, what God would say to you. Look away from yourself, look up to the objective promise of the gospel in Jesus Christ, the anchor of your soul is not your own obedience to God, your own faithfulness. And that thing will snap quickly and will be adrift at sea, the anchor of your soul is Jesus Christ, your great high priest, ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father, whoever lives to make intercession for you, and who has promised to forgive all of your sins by faith, so that when you come to Him, saying, Lord, forgive me, I've done it again, I'm struggling, you know, not on the basis of how you feel, your feelings will come and go, you know, on the basis of the word of the King, who cannot lie, that your sins are forgiven, that you belong to Jesus, and in that you can have assurance. And so I would say, you know, those are the things scripture gives us, we can, right, think about how the Lord has changed our lives, our works, but that's not the primary thing. We do have the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, yes, Romans chapter 8, and that's another evidence, but the main thing we flee to is to the cross of Jesus Christ for sinners. And you cling to that cross, brothers and sisters, and it's there beneath the cross of Jesus for sinners that we begin to experience, I believe, assurance and comfort in the gospel.
And again, friends, I'm sorry I went longer on that question in particular, but I know so many of you wrestle with this question. I did in my own life as a newer believer, and boy, what a comfort we have in the gospel, the objective word of God to sinners, your sins are forgiven. 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.
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