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What Is the Bible's View of Free Will?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2022 6:35 am

What Is the Bible's View of Free Will?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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August 24, 2022 6:35 am

Episode 1039 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. How does “love your enemy” apply in vocations like the military and being a police officer?

2. If God knows who will go to hell, why create them in the first place?

3. Does God reward us for giving extra tithe and finances in church?

4. What is Jesus praying for when he prays that we would be “one” in John 17?

5. Under what circumstances can Christians remarry after being divorced?

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What is the Bible's view of free will? 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, and 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.

Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. We're open to questions about theology, doctrine, scriptural passages that might be confusing to you, or even if you have any doubts about the Christian faith, we'd love to hear from you as well.

Again, 833-THE-CORE. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you're always welcome to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Now, in addition to hosting this program, Adriel is also the pastor of a church in beautiful San Diego, California, and I understand you have something kind of a tradition at your church called the Psalm of the Month. Yeah, it's not that old of a tradition. We just started doing it a few months ago, but we're trying to pick a different psalm every month that we sing through every Sunday, which has been a lot of fun. It's kind of a good way to, I think, memorize scripture, to learn the music. I think that's key a lot of times, especially when we introduce new songs to the church if the tune isn't familiar. It's harder for people to sing, and so getting to learn the music has been really neat.

And I just love it. We have basically an entire hymnal in our Bibles called the Book of Psalms, and we oftentimes neglect it. And so any chance we get to sing the psalms together as a church just is so wonderful. And of course we never have to worry about the lyrics because they're divinely inspired. And so this is exactly the kind of thing we want to sing together as the people of God.

It's been pretty neat. Let me ask you just in general when we look at worship music in the church, do you think we need to return to maybe focusing on some hymns and some psalms that have really a rich theological tradition? Yeah. Well, I think it's just important for us, no matter what we do in church and especially during the worship service, that we're asking ourselves the question, is what we're doing in terms of the songs that we're singing, is this right?

Is this true? Is this in line with what God has revealed in his word? And so whether that's through hymns or more contemporary music, I think we just always want to be sensitive to the reality of the fact that the way we worship God is really important. God cares about how he's worshiped. And so we want to worship him according to scripture, and we want to make sure that when we sing to the Lord, we're glorifying him, we're honoring him, and the focus is on the triune God.

So I think whether a church chooses to do that with some of the more traditional hymns, which I love personally, or they have more of a contemporary style of worship, so long as we're really focused on the truth of God's word, I think that's what's key. You're listening to CORE Christianity, and our phone lines are open. If you have a question for Adriel, here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE, 1-833-843-2673. You can also leave us a voicemail anytime 24 hours a day.

And here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Glenn. Hi Pastor, my name is Glenn, and I was wondering about the teaching in the Bible about love your enemies, do good to those that hate you. I know there's people and groups around that hold that teaching pretty high, you know, military duty, police officers. So the teaching of Jesus at Bayside is love your neighbor as yourself. I wonder what you say about that, and is that a good teaching to chase? Is that something that's not really applicable now?

I'd love to hear it on the air. Thank you. Yeah, hey, thanks for that question.

It definitely is for us today. Jesus said, you have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven. And this is something the Apostles took and ran with it. I mean, they were persecuted, but they didn't return, you know, evil for evil.

Instead, they loved their enemies, and you see this throughout the book of Acts specifically, but it's also in the epistles, I think, about what the apostles did. In the book of Romans, in Romans chapter 12, really interesting, verse 14, he says, bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

I love that. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord. Again, getting to the heart of Jesus' teaching there on the Sermon on the Mount with regard to loving our enemies, and it wasn't just Paul that taught that, Peter as well in the book of 1 Peter, talking about persecution, talking about the suffering that we experience as the people of God.

He says in 1 Peter 3, verse 8, finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called that you may obtain a blessing. So we see this teaching throughout the New Testament from the lips of our Lord Jesus, and then from his disciples, from his apostles, and it's something that we're called to, to love our enemies, not to repay evil for evil, reviling for reviling.

So absolutely, now you brought up the police force and military, and some people have the question, well, what does it look like for them to love their enemies? And I think we need to understand, I mean, Jesus is giving us these commandments. This is the ethic of God's kingdom, but that doesn't negate the fact that there are civil authorities that God has commissioned in the world, if you will. Paul's going to get into that in Romans chapter 13, and they bear the sword that they do sometimes have to execute judgment, and that they do this as God's servants. And so it'd be terrible for a judge, for example, if somebody was standing trial and they'd done some heinous act to just say, oh, I'm going to just give you grace, and I know you're guilty and you've harmed so many lives, but I'm just going to let you go. That would not be right.

That would not be good. That would not be just, and it wouldn't be right in accordance with God's word. So here, specifically, this call to love our enemies as the people of God, to pray for those who persecute us, this is the ethic of God's kingdom, and it's something that we're all bound to as the followers of Jesus Christ. And so, brothers and sisters, may God help us in this, right, because we live in a day where reviling for reviling is just all over the place, and this is one of the ways we can stand out as the body of Christ, and so God help us to stand out in that way.

Some great counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

I want to tell you about a great new resource that we have available. This is something that parents or grandparents can use with their kids when they ask some of those tough questions about why bad things happen to themselves or people they know. Yeah, once again, the resource is called Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen? This is a question we know many people ask and are going to continue to ask. It gets to the very heart of the problem of evil. It's a question we've addressed on the broadcast before, but we have this great little helpful resource, a short book by Chris Morphew, Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

And this is going to be more for young adults, maybe teenagers, middle schoolers. As you're working through these things together as a family, wanting to equip your children and your grandchildren to answer the difficult questions that are asked, get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com for a donation of any amount. It's really a great resource, especially, again, if your children are asking some of those tough questions about why there are difficult things in this world. Here's the place to go, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Look for Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen? Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners.

This is from Toni. My question kind of revolves around free will. So talking to my mother, it's really hard because she really does believe that Jesus is real. She really does believe in God. But what is so hard for her to comprehend, if she already knows that we're going to go to hell, why allow us to live this life and suffer?

And I just really don't know how to help her get past that. Thank you. Appreciate you.

Yeah. Well, thank you. And I hope that you can encourage your mom. I'm grateful to hear that she believes in Jesus. But of course, many of us, we can believe in Jesus, but have those difficult questions that really, really bother us. And so this question related to, as you said, the idea of free will, but maybe even more just to the heart of the question, why would God allow someone who he knows is going to hell to continue to live? Now, with regard to our relationship to God, we know that we have responsibility before the Lord, that he calls all people everywhere to repent, that he holds his hands out, if you will, with the free offer of the gospel, and that we're responsible for rejecting that gospel. And so I think we have to sort of set the stage with that, that the Lord is calling all people everywhere to repent, that the free offer of the gospel goes out, but that people, because of their own sinfulness, because we love ourselves and don't want the truth, hate God even at times, we reject that. And God allows us to in his kindness, in his mercy.

He gives us all sorts of other blessings, general blessings, the life, the breath, the food, the air that we breathe, I mean, all of these things. And yet if we reject the gospel, we will suffer the consequences for that. And yet even through all of that, God somehow in his sovereign purposes is still able to work even through those who have rejected him. And this is where we get into some of the mystery of God's sovereign workings in the world, but it's something that Paul spoke about in places like Romans chapter nine.

Here he uses the example of Pharaoh. He says in verse 19, you will say to me then, why does God still find fault with people? Who can resist his will? Listen how Paul responds to that question. He says, who can resist his will? Oh man, who are you to answer back to God? Well, what is molded say to its molder?

Why have you made me like this? Has not the potter no right over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. Even us, whom he has called not from Jews only, but also from the Gentiles. In other words, Paul is highlighting the fact that even with somebody like Pharaoh, who hardened his heart repeatedly against the Lord, rejected the truth, was an enemy of God's people attacking them, trying to put them to death, had enslaved them for so many years, that even somebody like that, God is using him to make a point. And what is the point there, at least specifically, it's through God's long suffering, through his patience, he is making known the riches of his mercy, the riches of his glory. So look, we don't understand all of the sovereign purposes of God, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't have purposes for individuals, even those individuals who reject him. Our call is not to reject him, to embrace the truth. When we hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to us through Scripture, convicting us of our sins, not to harden our hearts and to turn away from the Lord, but to say, Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner, and we call upon him, he hears us and receives us.

And so may God bless you and your conversations with your mother. And I think just emphasizing the fact that God is good, he's sovereign, and he's good, and he calls all people everywhere to repentance. But he also allows us to make decisions. And in his sovereignty, it's his sovereign power that has even permitted us to reject him or to rebel against him. And even that is, again, God's long suffering towards humanity that continues to war against him. And so we cry out to him and we embrace his mercy, at least that's what we should do, but many don't. And so may God be with you and bless your conversations again with your mother. You're listening to Core Christianity.

Let's go to Allison calling in from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Allison, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel.

I just had a question with something that just happened this weekend to me, or to me and my husband. My question is, is God glorified in a situation where a child of God feels encouraged to give more at church? And then that person, that child listens to that call and then out of nowhere is a long awaited answer to prayer. And I know that God is good in this, but I'm just trying to make sense of how he worked.

Was he there in that? Like, why was my husband convicted to give more? And then this answered prayer happened.

How does that work? Well, Allison, as a pastor of a local church, I'm always going to say that God is real glorified when people say they want to give more to the church. I'm all about that now. Well, let me just say, sister, the Lord loves a cheerful giver, and that's precisely what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9. The point is this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion.

In other words, it's not like somebody's twisting your arm to do this. For God loves a cheerful giver, and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work as it is written. He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.

And then he goes on even more to talk about this. But we can't outgive the Lord. Especially right there in 2 Corinthians 9, where Paul says each one has to give or should give as he has decided in his own heart.

It sounds to me like your husband or you as a family, you felt like, hey, we can be more generous. Think about how God has been good to us, and we want to give more, and there was this answer to prayer. The one thing I would say that we want to be cautious of is sometimes you'll hear prosperity gospel preachers say things like, oh, if you just sow this seed, if you just give more to my ministry, then God is going to bless you and you're going to be healed of your sickness or whatnot.

Well, that's not what it is at all. But the fact of the matter is, I think there is a real blessing associated with generosity, and God promises to provide for us, to meet our needs, to increase, he says, the harvest of our righteousness, Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 9, verse 10. And so I would say, yeah, this is something that glorifies the Lord that you guys can be encouraged in. And that's how giving should be.

Again, it's not reluctant. It's not, oh, man, I don't really want to do this, or under compulsion where you just feel guilted into giving. It's out of this sense of, Lord, you have been so good to us. You have provided for all of our needs. Most importantly, you've provided for our greatest need, the forgiveness of our sins in your son, Jesus Christ. We just want to give back to you in whatever way that we can. And we know that this is one of the ways we can give. We can worship you through our gifts, through our offerings. And so when we give with joy, there is that blessing, I think, associated with it. And I'm glad to hear that the Lord has blessed you guys and that you feel like the Lord has opened up this door. And may he continue to bless you in generosity and in all things growing in sanctification and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, Alison. Thank you for your call.

Alison, thanks so much. We appreciate you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we do receive emails here.

And also, people call in with their voicemails 24 hours a day. We'd love to hear one from you. Here's an email from Derek, and he says, I'm praying to the only God in John 17. Jesus asked that we all be as one as he and the Father are one. Is one a word for unity of will and purpose, or is it a word for equality of glory and power? It's a good question when Jesus says I and the Father are one, or that he wants us to be one as he is one with the Father. Is he talking about unity of essence, which we talk about in the context of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity?

You have one God, one essence, one power, glory, if you will, but three distinct persons. And so, specifically there in John 17, I think he's talking about maybe more of a unity of purpose, especially because he's talking about the unity that we also have with him and with the Father. And of course, that would not be a unity of essence, but our union together as the people of God united together so that we might honor him, so that the world might know, Jesus says, that he was sent by the Father into the world. By the way, earlier in John 13, verse 35, he says, by this all people will know that you are my disciples by your love one for another.

And so there's something about our love for each other and our unity in the body of Christ that is so key for our witness to the world. But it's also absolutely clear that Jesus is one in essence with the Father, one power, one glory, unity of substance, if you will. Earlier in John chapter 5, in verse 23, Jesus said that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. In other words, there isn't a lesser degree of worship or honor that is given to the Son, the eternal word of the Father. And then the Father gets a greater degree of worship and maybe the Spirit gets even less.

This is what some of the cults say today, Jehovah's Witnesses. They'll say, well, Jesus is divine, but he isn't equal with the Father, consubstantial of the same substance as the Father. And some of them might appeal to those texts in places like John 17 and say, it's not unity of essence, it's unity of purpose. We're one with the Father, Jesus is one with the Father in the same sense that we're united with this same will, if you will. But that's not what we read throughout the scriptures. And in particular, the Gospel of John makes it clear that Jesus is of the same substance. The word is of the same substance as the Father together with the Holy Spirit as well. And so I appreciate your question getting into John 17 and pray the Lord blesses you.

This is Core Christianity. If you've got a question for Adriel about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. And just a reminder, we're going to be recording a second program today.

So when our live show ends here in a few minutes, you can continue to keep calling. In fact, you can call us for the next thirty five minutes or so with your questions about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it. Here's a question from John. He says, I have two Christian friends. Both are divorced. They believe they can't remarry because of what the Bible says.

What are your thoughts? Well, so, I mean, this is the question of divorce and remarriage. I mean, there are some reasons that the Bible gives for, I think, a divorce that's, let's say, legitimate.

I mean, of course, all divorce is heartbreaking. But there are provisions in the scriptures. I mean, in particular, there's a case of adultery. So this sort of breaking of the marriage covenant, in that case, the innocent party, I think, is free to remarry. And then even with the individual who committed the adultery, I think that there needs to be repentance. Obviously, confession, the recognition of what they've done. And I don't know that that means that down the line that they would be incapable of being remarried.

I think that that person can really and truly repent. And so this is a complex thing. I would want to know a little bit more, John, about the specific situation. But it's not the case that just because people are divorced that, you know, regardless of the circumstances, that they could never be remarried.

So I need a little bit more information here, I think, to be able to provide a real clear and specific answer. But even there, if you know this broadcast, you know that I'm very careful about, you know, addressing these kinds of questions. Because I know that in cases of marriages and the question of divorce, there's just always more to the story.

There are two parties. And so I always encourage people, look, if you're looking for a specific answer on this, you need to be in a good church where you're being cared for by the elders of the church, the pastor of the church, and they're speaking into your life, the life of your family, and giving you, providing you with wisdom and guidance from the scriptures. And they know you best. And so you should be plugged into a church and getting the counsel and care of your local church as well. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners. This is from Charles. Can you be too needy in life? I noticed that Jesus said, you've always had the poor and needy among you. Well, what kind of needy was he talking about? The physically needy, spiritual needy, financially needy, and the socially needy. A lot of times people do get tired of people always needing help all the time. As a blind person, I've experienced it, and even I get a little tired of it when I see people constantly needing stuff who have less than I have, and I don't have enough to fulfill their needs.

It'd be interesting to see what you have to say about that. Thank you very much. God bless you, brother. Yeah, so with regard to the question, when Jesus talked about always having the needy or the poor with you, he was talking there, I think, those who had physical needs, the poor, that the church historically has sought to care for and to look out for. But of course there are different kinds of neediness, if you will.

And I think we all can be needy, and we can all have people in our lives who are needy. And so the question is, well, how do we relate? I read earlier from Romans chapter 12 where the Apostle Paul said to associate with the lowly. And I think there's something really important for us to recognize as Christians. When we're called to love each other and to serve each other, you think of Jesus' words in Luke 14 specifically. When you throw a party or a feast, don't just serve those who can give back to you. Serve those who are needy, those who have nothing to contribute. They're not going to invite you over to their place, right?

They're not able to give anything to you to raise your status in society. And so I think it's easy for us, the temptation is just to reject or neglect those who are very needy. But I think that there's something Christian. I mean, it's just what Jesus calls us to in terms of serving those who are needy, those who, whether it's socially or physically or whatever it is, to bear one another's burdens. And so may God help us to do that. And ultimately we're needy and Christ served us. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 23:38:41 / 2023-03-05 23:49:19 / 11

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