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Can People Be Considered “Good” or “Righteous” Apart from Christ?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2022 6:30 am

Can People Be Considered “Good” or “Righteous” Apart from Christ?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 31, 2022 6:30 am

Episode 978 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. I was listening to your program, correct me if I misunderstood you, but it seemed to me like you said that if married couples are having relations not in order to have children, then they are sinning. I can’t think of anything in the Bible that says such a thing. Is that your view?

2. Is self guided meditation ok or is it wrong in God’s eyes?

3. In Luke 23, the author calls Joseph of Arimathea “a good and righteous man.” But when I read Paul, he says in Romans 3 that “no one is righteous” apart from Christ. How can I reconcile these passages?

4. Was Elijah reincarnated as John the Baptist?

5. Is paradise and heaven the same or different places?

6. Should Christians refrain from watching shows that depict Christ like The Chosen?

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Core Question – What’s the Difference Between Justification and Sanctification?

The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
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Matt Slick
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

Can people be considered good or righteous apart from Christ? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We pray you had a wonderful three-day weekend. 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 our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. You can call directly into the studio with your question. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch Adriel live in the studio right now on our YouTube channel and send him a message that way. And of course, you can always email us your question at

First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named George. I was listening to your program and I don't know if I misunderstood, but I thought that you all were saying that if a married couple would engage in relations, if they're not having children, that would be a sin. Did I misunderstand that? I can't think of anything in the Bible that would teach any such thing. I know the part when people are going to, if they're first married or whatever, they can abstain from relations for a time temporarily. But that's voluntary, so if you'd like to explain that a little bit better, thank you very much. Hey George, thank you for that question and giving me an opportunity to clarify.

Sorry if I was not clear on a previous broadcast. No, I don't believe that. I don't believe that if we're not, you know, having relations simply in order to have children that we're sinning. And the passage that you referred to, I'm trying to think back to maybe when we got a question related to this, it sounds like you're talking about 1 Corinthians chapter 7, where Paul gives some advice, some wisdom with regard to marriage, and he says, concerning the matters about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman, but because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights and likewise the wife to her husband, for the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.

Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a limited time that you may devote yourselves to prayer and then come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. So, I mean, intimacy in marriage, right? As Christians, we believe that you should not be having sex outside of marriage. Within marriage, it's a way to serve and love your spouse, and yes, you know, the fruit of intimacy is children, and that is a blessing from the Lord. I don't think we want to minimize that in any way, but does that mean you're sitting, if you're coming together just to be together, to enjoy each other, but that you're preventing, you know, the having of children, does that mean that that's simple?

No, I don't believe that personally, and I think Paul's advice there in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 is helpful. He says, look, we don't want to deprive each other in marriage. This is a part of healthy Christian marriages.

I think sometimes we minimize that. This is a significant part of that, and so it's important that we're serving each other, that we're loving each other in this, not depriving each other, except, Paul says, maybe, you know, for a time of prayer, you know, agree and say, hey, let's focus on praying, on drawing near to the Lord, and then afterwards coming together again. So it seems like Paul is all for this, and so am I. So thank you for that question. May the Lord bless you, and again, thanks for giving us an opportunity to follow up with that. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, theology, or doctrine, or maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith, and you'd like to ask Pastor Adriel about those. Feel free to give us a call. Here's the number, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

Let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners last week. I use self-guided meditation videos to help me fall asleep at night, and I did not know, or do not know, if that is against what God wants us to do. I don't know if about meditation, if that's wrong in God's eyes. So if you could answer that, I'd appreciate it.

Hey, thank you for that question. Is self-guided meditation to help you fall asleep something that's wrong? Is it sinful?

Well, I guess I'd want some more information. I mean, what is it that you're meditating on? I don't think, you know, practicing stillness and maybe, you know, thinking about things that help you fall asleep.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and if it helps you, that's great. But, you know, sometimes when we talk about meditation, depending on what it is that you're referring to, or there are other religions that practice meditation, that talk about meditation, so I think we want to be discerning here. It is, I think, wise for us to meditate upon Holy Scripture, on that which is good and true and beautiful, and of course we're called to do that throughout the Bible. I think of what Paul told the Philippian church in Philippians chapter 4 verse 8, finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. So I think oftentimes when we're talking about meditation, the question is, what is it that you're meditating on? What is it that you're focusing on?

As Christians, we're called to meditate upon, to focus upon the Word of God, on the promises of God, and we should do that throughout the day, and maybe that's something that you're able to do at night to help you to fall asleep. Now does that mean it is, you know, anything wrong with just sort of trying to still your mind and maybe listening to, you know, nature sounds or that kind of thing? No, I don't think so at all.

And so, Bill, want to get your insight here, too, if you have any thoughts about this as a counselor. Well, it depends on the nature sounds. I mean, if it's like, you know, wild gorillas or wildebeests. A lion that just captured a gazelle, you know, that probably is not going to help you to sleep very well.

It will not. No, I think your advice is really well said. There are some forms of meditation that certainly have a religious component when we, you know, talk about certain forms of yoga or Hindu type meditation. But I think for things like guided relaxation, where you're, you know, learning how to relax your muscles and focus on, you know, green pastures, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. And I think we can also, in that meditation, as you said, focus on God and focus on his creation, the beautiful things that he has made in this world. I think that's fine.

I think just to be careful about it, as you what you said, what the person is meditating on, what is the central focus of their meditation. You're listening to Core Christianity and, well, summer vacation just around the corner. A lot of kids getting out of school real soon, maybe out of school already. And because of that, we are offering a special free resource for families this summer. Yes, as you plan for those summer trips. I mean, speaking of meditating on that, which is good and true and beautiful, no better place to go than the Word of God. And so here at Core Christianity, we put together a brand new resource, 10 verses to memorize as a family this summer. It's free, a free resource pointing you to the scriptures, stuff to meditate upon together with your family. And not just, you know, it's not just giving you verses to memorize and to meditate upon, but there's also some teaching as well, sort of going through the verses and encouraging you with the Word of God. And so get this free resource and take advantage of it this summer over at This is a great resource for every family, and I would highly recommend you get it right now. It's absolutely free. You can go to our website at forward slash offers.

Look for 10 verses to memorize as a family this summer. Of course, you can always call us for any one of our resources as well. Here's our phone number. It's 833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. And if you want to call with a question, now's the time to do it. We'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so. And our phone lines are open, 833-THE-CORE. Well, here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is from Davis. Hey, everyone. I love your show. Thank you for continuing to do the Lord's work. I usually tend to listen while I'm going for a walk, so it's really lovely to be able to meditate on the Lord's Word, even when I'm out appreciating His creation. So I'm currently studying through Luke, and I have a question regarding Luke 23, verses 50 to 56. So this is about Joseph from Arimathea. Luke describes him as a good and righteous man. Now, I just wanted to know, how do I read this word righteous? Because if I go by what Paul says, I think it's Paul who says in Romans that no one is righteous. And even John, I believe that there's scripture that says no one is righteous. So what does righteous mean in this context where Luke says that Joseph from Arimathea is a good and righteous man?

Thank you. Yeah, excellent question, right? And we're comparing Bible verses here, because obviously, you know, Paul in Romans quoting from the Psalms says that there is none righteous. And so is this a contradiction, or at least what does Luke mean when he refers to this individual, Joseph of Arimathea, as being righteous?

Verse 50, there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action. And he was looking for the kingdom of God. Now, I think here in the context, right, we're not using righteous as a technical term, meaning, you know, he was justified, imputed with the righteousness of Christ, you know, when we think about the doctrine of justification.

But I think it's contrasted there with the fact that Joseph of Arimathea did not consent with the decision of the council to put Jesus to death. He was someone who was anticipating, waiting for the kingdom of God. He was looking forward to the promises in Scripture. And of course, throughout the Bible, specifically in the Old Testament, you know, we have individuals who are referred to as righteous. The psalmist sometimes will refer to himself as righteous as he clings to the promises of God and as he looks to them.

And so I think that we can have a category, right, just in terms of understanding the covenant people looking forward to the promises of God, the fulfillment of the gospel that was prophesied in the Old Testament, looking forward to Jesus and speak of them in this way. Luke actually brings up several people like this earlier in his gospel. In Luke chapter 2, he talks about a woman named Anna, a prophetess. There was a prophetess Anna, verse 36 of Luke 2, the daughter of Fanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin.

And then as a widow until she was 84, she did not depart from the temple worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour, she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Again, looking forward to the kingdom of God coming, righteous Anna, we might say. And so I think Scripture speaks this way.

We can speak this way. But we also affirm with the apostle Paul and with the rest of the Bible that when it comes to our standing before God apart from Christ, as you say, there is none righteous. We can't do anything to merit our way into heaven, to justify ourselves. And that's precisely the point that the apostle Paul makes in the passage that you were alluding to.

In the book of Romans, in Romans chapters 2 and 3, I mean, really going back to chapter 1, Paul is highlighting the universal sinfulness of humanity, the fact that we all need the gospel, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Well, then how can we be righteous? Well, he gives us the answer in Romans chapters 3 and 4, specifically in Romans chapter 4, he says in verse 4, to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift, but as his due, but to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly. That is, God justifies not the righteous, but the ungodly, sinners who come to him in need of his grace, looking for forgiveness in Jesus. His faith is counted as righteousness, just as David, who by the way, in the Psalms, would at times refer to himself as righteous, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one whom God counts righteousness apart from works. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. And so I think what Luke is doing there in Luke chapter 23 is he's portraying Joseph as this man who was waiting for the promise of God's kingdom, and in that sense, because of that, he is called good, righteous. And even though Christ had not risen from the dead yet, the reality is you have a guy here who's clinging to the types, the shadows of the Old Testament, looking forward to the kingdom of God by faith. So in a real sense, I think we can say that he was righteous, not apart from Christ, but through Christ and Christ's promise. Thank you for your question and for your encouragement.

I'm grateful to hear that the program is a blessing to you. You know, I've always wondered what happened to Joseph of Arimathea. Did Jesus reveal himself to him after his resurrection?

I kind of think maybe he did, but of course, that's speculation. But it is so interesting just to think about, you know, as you said, he was a righteous man in his standing before God, and what happened to him? Yeah, yeah. Go ahead. I was gonna say, you know, I'm sure there's a book out there. I'm sure there's a book out there, Bill, that's all about Joseph of Arimathea that you can look up. But we don't know. I mean, it's interesting because you have characters like that in the scriptures. I think of Nicodemus, for example, right?

There's another guy who's, right? There's indication that the Lord was working in his life, that maybe he was converted and following Jesus. But we don't know the whole story. And so we probably won't know the entire story, what ended up happening until we're in the presence of the Lord, hopefully with those brothers as well.

Maybe you should start on that fiction book, the Adriel Sanchez first fiction book, Joseph Arim, the next story, the final chapter. This is Core Christianity with Adriel Sanchez. And we'd love to get your calls if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Here's the number.

It's 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Rick calling in from Nebraska. Rick, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, my question is, Jesus refers to John the Baptist as Elijah returning back to earth. Was John the Baptist Elijah in the New Testament? Were they one and the same? Yeah.

Thank you for that question. Well, first, here's what we can rule out. It's not that Elijah was reincarnated as John the Baptist or something like that. There are some strange ideas out there about this.

I've actually heard people make that claim. Well, the Bible supports reincarnation. Look, Elijah was reincarnated as John the Baptist.

No, that's not the case. The passage that you are referring to is Matthew chapter 17. And in verse 10, the disciples asked Jesus, why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? And Jesus answered, Elijah does come first and he will restore all things. Elijah had this calling of restoration. Of course, this is what John the Baptist is doing in his ministry, prophesied in Isaiah chapter 40.

He's paving the way for Christ. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, Jesus said, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. So in what sense is Elijah, you know, John the Baptist, or in what sense did Jesus come or John the Baptist come as a new Elijah, if you will? Well, remember what Jesus said at the beginning of, or what was said about John the Baptist at the beginning of Luke chapter 1. I'm going to read in verse 15. This is a prophecy about John the Baptist. He will be great before the Lord and he must not drink wine or strong drink and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb.

Wow. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready for the Lord a people prepared. So in that sense, John the Baptist is coming as this new Elijah, paving the way for the Lord, for the Lord Jesus and calling people to repentance, calling people to faith, and also just in the sense that he is this last in line of the great old covenant prophets, if you will, the prophets Jesus says, right? He's the greatest.

And so John the Baptist is coming as this prophet, as this Elijah-like figure in the spirit and power of Elijah, Luke chapter 1, verse 17, but it's not that Elijah was reincarnated as John the Baptist. Thank you for your question. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder, we're going to be recording a second episode of our program today. It won't be live on the air, but we'll be recording it and you can call us with your question for the next 35 minutes or so. If you have a question weren't able to get in during the live program, feel free to give us a call. Again, anytime the next 35 minutes, call this number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 833-843-2673. We'd love to take your calls, your questions on the Bible, the Christian life, theology, doctrine, you name it. Let's go to Donna calling in from Missouri.

Donna, what's your question for Adriel? Okay, Jesus said to the thief on the cross, today you will be with me in paradise. Did he mean in heaven or is there another place that we go before we go to heaven?

Yeah, hey Donna, thank you for that question. Yeah, for the believer who dies in Christ, we are immediately transported into the presence of the Lord. I do believe that he was speaking of heaven, that Jesus was speaking of heaven, that he was going to take the thief on the cross to be with him.

It's the same thing that he does for us. This is what we sometimes refer to, Donna, as the intermediate state. The reason we call it the intermediate state is because heaven, if you will, being disembodied, our bodies going down to the ground, our spirits, our souls being in the presence of the Lord in heaven, that's not our final destination. We as Christians look forward to the resurrection of our bodies secured by Jesus through his resurrection. That's what the apostle Paul makes absolutely clear in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

We believe that God is going to raise up every single person who has ever lived on the earth throughout all history. Some are going to be raised to condemnation and some are going to be raised to eternal bliss or everlasting bliss in the new creation with the Lord. But until the time of the resurrection, until the time of the final judgment, believers who have died, including the thief on the cross and all of our loved ones who have died in Jesus, they are in the presence of the Lord, worshiping him. It's what the apostle Paul looked forward to as he was anticipating his death. He writes about this in Philippians chapter 1.

He says, I want to depart and be with Christ for that is far better. And in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, he says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And so that's the hope that Jesus gave to the thief on the cross there.

And that's the hope that he gives to all of those who put their trust in him. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness. They immediately pass on into glory and their bodies, our bodies, still united to Jesus. Jesus still holds our bodies in his hands.

You know, they go down into the grave, into the into the ground or wherever they're buried. And wait, if you will, for that time of resurrection when we are restored, when our bodies are restored by the power of the Holy Spirit. God bless. Great explanation. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We do have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel live in the studio every day on YouTube and send us a message that way. One of our YouTube viewers has this question for you, Adriel. Should we watch shows that depict Jesus like the chosen? Hey, thank you for that question.

And there's a lot of talk about about that show, the chosen. Well, let me just say something. You know, during the time of the Protestant Reformation and even early on in the history of the Christian church, Christians were very much opposed to the making of images or depictions of God on the basis of God's law. I mean, we're told in scripture not to make any images of God.

Why? Because we're so prone to worship the work of our hands. And because, I mean, the reality is the tendency, the reality of misrepresenting God. And so while, you know, a lot of times you have these movies, these depictions, these television shows that are trying to work with the Bible and teach a little bit about who Jesus is or give, you know, a sort of historical depiction through cinema of the life of Christ. I mean, we have to be really careful because our hearts, our minds can become so drawn to that. And the reality is, the fact is there are creative liberties that are taken.

And so I just think you want to exercise wisdom here. If you want a clear picture of who Jesus is, go to the word. I mean, it's what the apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter three, that Jesus Christ was placarded before the church at Galatia.

How? Through the preaching of the word. And I think that's where we want to focus. If you want to understand who Jesus is, if you want to know Jesus, his heart for his people, what he's done, go to the scriptures and dig into the scriptures. Learn the scriptures. And when you do, you'll find Jesus. Next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-10 06:48:11 / 2023-04-10 06:58:11 / 10

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