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What Is Theonomy and Is It Biblical?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2022 4:34 pm

What Is Theonomy and Is It Biblical?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 22, 2022 4:34 pm

Episode 1060 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode


1. Did Adam and Eve eat of the Tree of Life in Eden, and will we eat from it in heaven?

2. Did Satan know of Jesus’s divinity?

3. Is the teaching of theonomy supported in the Bible?

4. Is the idea of “age of accountability” taught in the Bible?

5. Are we still bound by the 10 Commandments?

6. How can I get closure with someone who died before we could reconcile?

7. Can a person lose their salvation even after they’ve been baptized?

8. What should I look out for in those who teach theonomy?

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Core Question – How Do Christians Relate to the Law?


What is Theonomy and is it biblical? That's just one of the questions.

Just a spoiler alert, I think that the answer is no, but we're going to get into that in just a few moments. This is Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and usually you hear Bill's voice when we begin the broadcast, but we are having some connection issues with Bill this afternoon, and so you have me. And so please say a prayer for me as we begin today's broadcast.

Bill was not raptured. He's a-okay, but it's a pleasure to be with you on the show where we answer your questions about the Christian faith every day, live Monday through Friday. If you want, you can give us a call. The number is 1-833-843-2673. Again, that's 1-833-THE-CORE. And to get the show started today, let's go to a voicemail that we received from Eddie. Yeah.

Eddie, thank you for that question. I mean, you read in Genesis, Chapter 3, and it seems to make it very clear that Adam and Eve did not eat from the tree of life there in the Garden of Eden. They did eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree that they were told not to eat from. And so had they obeyed God, had they listened to the command of the Lord, I think that they would be able to do that. They would have eaten from the tree of life, but they didn't.

It was this sort of probationary period for them. We read in Verse 22 of Chapter 3, the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. This is after they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat forever and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. And so he's banished, man is banished from the garden and not given permission to eat from the tree of life.

And now we will, I believe, eat from the tree of life. I mean, this is something that the Bible makes clear in the Book of Revelation. If you look at the Book of Revelation, going to the very end of the story now, the fruit of the tree of life is promised to the people of God. You see this in Jesus' letter to the church in Ephesus in Revelation Chapter 2, Verse 7. He gives this promise, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. And of course, that's precisely what we see even later in the book in Revelation Chapter 22, Verses 14 and 15. And so this is a hope that we have to eat from the tree of life, to live forever.

How? Well, through Christ, through His blood and sacrifice for us and for our sins. So Eddie, that is a hope that we have. And I believe that that's something that was given also to Adam and Eve, that they weren't forever lost, even there in Genesis 3, God clothing them and forgiving their sins.

And so we have the hope of seeing them there as well. Thank you for your question, and may the Lord bless you. Now let's go to a call. We have John on the line from St. Louis. John, what's your question? Yeah, how are you doing there, Pastor?

I enjoy your show. Hey, let me ask you a question. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, and the devil kept saying, if you are the Son of God, you know, was that trying to create doubt in Christ to depend on the Father? And also, if the devil knows the Bible, why would he bring that up anyway? Because he doesn't the devil know that he's the Son of God? And I'll listen on to your comments, and thanks for your show.

Thanks. Yeah, John, thank you for that question. We're thinking about Jesus's temptation in the wilderness. And first, I think one of the big takeaways from that scene in the Gospels is how the evil one uses scripture to lead people astray. So he's twisting scripture and challenging Christ, essentially, with these passages of scriptures.

It's not that he was confused. I think he knew who he was dealing with, but there's this attempt to deceive and to deceive using the word of God. Now, Jesus, for his part, there in the early chapters of the Gospels, as he's being tempted by the evil one, is walking in the footsteps of Israel.

He came through the waters of baptism, just like Israel crossed through the waters of the Red Sea. Israel's tempted in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus is tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. It's this picture of, we sometimes use this big theological word, recapitulation. It's this recapitulation of Israel in the wilderness.

Here's the big difference. Where Israel fell into sin, where Israel gave into the temptation that was put before her from the evil one, Jesus was perfectly obedient. He followed the Lord and didn't enter into the temptation. That's meant to, I think, highlight for us that he is the perfect one, the true Israelite in whom we have salvation. That's the focus of that text specifically. But as I said, the big takeaway for us, brother, is we're called to be vigilant and on guard because the evil one twists the word of God in order to lead the people of God astray.

So we praise God that we have Jesus, the ultimate victor. John, thank you for calling in with that question. You're listening to CORE Christianity, where we answer your questions about the Christian faith every day, Monday through Friday. My name is Adriel Sanchez.

I'm a pastor and delighted to be with you here. If you have a question, give us a call. The number is 833-843-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. If you've been listening to CORE Christianity for a while and you've been blessed by the work that we're doing, we'd love for you to join what we call The Inner CORE. It's a monthly donation of $25 or more. It helps us continue to do the work that we're doing. It's not just this live broadcast every day answering your questions about the Christian faith, but also a lot of the print resources that we make, the offers that we'll give to you from time to time, free resources to encourage you in your faith and in your walk with the Lord. Brothers and sisters, if again you've been blessed by the program, would you consider prayerfully joining The Inner CORE?

You can do that by going over to Let's go to another question that we received now. This is a YouTube question that we recently got in. It's from someone who wanted to be anonymous, but they ask, I have seen certain Christian leaders online promote the teaching of theonomy more than I used to.

What do you think about this, and do you think that it's biblical? This is actually a question that I was really interested in answering on the broadcast. I've been seeing this more and more as well. There's this rise in what's called theonomy. I want to define it first and then answer your question. Sometimes people will say, everybody believes in this thing called theonomy because we're just talking about God's law. Theonomy is a compound word focusing on God's law and the fact that God rules over everything. We believe that, don't we? Aren't we all in some sense theonomists? When people say that, I think you just need to say, okay, that's actually not really what we're talking about here. We're talking about something more narrow, more specific that I believe actually is problematic, both biblically and theologically.

Narrowly defined, it's this idea that the laws that we see in the Old Testament, especially those judicial civil laws that were related to Israel as a political body, are in some sense still binding on people today, on governments, political institutions today. It's the job of the church to reconstruct society around these things. Part of the reason why you're seeing a push in this direction in Christians who are beginning to buy into this is because there's so much frustration about culture, about things politically. How can we recover what we feel like we once had?

I think that there's a lot of fear, there's a lot of concern, and oftentimes when that's the case, the pendulum swings and it can swing in unhealthy ways. With regard to this question specifically, theologically the big issue, and what I think a lot of people don't understand, is that those laws under the Old Covenant were related to Israel as a political body, but were not bound by the Old Covenant anymore. Under, through Christ, and this is what the prophets said, Jeremiah said, the New Covenant.

The judicial laws of Israel were abolished together with that Old Covenant. We're not called to put people back under Moses. Oftentimes, this was at the heart of so much false teaching in the early church, brothers and sisters. I was just reading this morning to my children, Acts chapter 15, the story of the Jerusalem Council, where you have believing Pharisees who were telling converts that they needed to be circumcised according to the law of Moses and to obey the law of Moses. They were trying to put the church back under Moses, we might say, and what does Peter say?

What does James say? They stand up there in the assembly and they say, no, no, no. This is not what we're called to. How are we going to subject them to a yoke that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?

It doesn't mean that the law of God in terms of the Ten Commandments, God's moral law, isn't universal and binding, but when we're talking about those particular civil laws associated with Israel as a political body, those were abolished under the New Covenant. We're no longer under those. A great concern that I have with this movement is the concern of mission creep. If you don't know what that is, it's when we're drawn away from the mission that Jesus gave us, which is the Great Commission, preaching the gospel, making converts and discipling people, when we're drawn away from that, we're focusing on other things.

We're no longer focusing on the main thing. What troubles me about this is there's a big push to say we need to transform or reconstruct the institutions of this world under the Mosaic civil code. That seems very different from the vision that you get in the New Testament, which is we are preaching the gospel, bringing people into fellowship with Jesus Christ, not putting non-believers under Moses. There's a lot of confusion there specifically.

There's more that could be said, but I would say biblically, theologically, it has some major issues and I don't think is in line with the teaching of the Bible. I appreciate that question. If you want to follow up a little bit later, go ahead and feel free to give us a call.

Again, the number is 1-833-843-2673. You're listening to Core Christianity, where we answer your questions about the Bible. And now let's go to Bill, who is in Illinois. Bill, how are you doing today?

I'm fine. This is a follow-up question to what your answer was yesterday about Romans 1-20. By extension of what you said, it would seem to me that if a child died at five years old, let's say, that they have not had enough time on this earth to see the glory of God in the heavens, so they would be exempt from this whole thing. Would that be a correct way of thinking?

Thank you. Bill, we got that question yesterday about what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel. An excellent question. If they die, do they go to hell? Does God give them another chance? If they haven't heard about Jesus, how can they be saved? And I said the first thing from Romans 1 that's clear is that everybody is justly judged by the Lord and that even those who don't hear the Gospel are still rightly condemned by the fact that they've rejected what God has revealed to them just through natural revelation. We suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness.

That's what Romans 1 said. And of course, one of the things that I tried to highlight there yesterday, Bill, is the fact that the Gospel is going out to all nations and that when people call upon the Lord, you see this in the book of Acts, I think that God in His mercy sends evangelists to preach the Gospel. We've also heard stories of miraculous accounts of people who had a dream. Think of in Muslim countries, for example, somebody who had this miraculous experience that ultimately led them to Christ where they heard the preaching of the Word. So I think that God in His mercy is continuing to get the Gospel out.

But again, as I mentioned yesterday, it's a just judge. So what about kids, though, who don't fully understand this? Well, I think, especially when we're thinking about the children of believers, that we have the hope that they're in the presence of the Lord. If they die in infancy or thinking of something like a miscarriage that wasn't that understanding. And in part, the reason for this is because even though we believe in original sin and the fact that all of us inherit original sin, we're clinging to the mercy of God here and trusting in Him that somehow He's at work even in those children who have died, our children.

And so I commit them to the mercy of the Lord, and I think because God is good and His kindness that He does receive them into His presence. Of course, there isn't a lot of clear texts of Scripture on this. Sometimes people will go to the things that King David said when his child died from his relationship with Bathsheba.

And he's mourning, but he says, he's not going to come to me, but I'm going to go to him. So sometimes people will go to that text. But there isn't one clear verse. I think we're just trusting in the perfect justice of God, but also trusting in His mercy. And I think that we can do that, Bill.

And so I have that hope. Thank you for your question. Brothers and sisters, you're listening to Core Christianity, where we answer your questions about the Christian faith. My name is Adriel Sanchez. I'm a pastor. And once again, if you have a question, you can email us at questions at, or you can give us a call right now. We still have a few more minutes on the live broadcast. The number is 1-833-843-2673.

That's 1-833-the-core. And it looks like we have a follow-up question from Miguel in Kansas. Miguel, what's your question?

Okay, my question is, you said you were speaking with somebody else up here, Miguel. We are not bound on the Ten Commandments of Moses. Can you define every single one of the Ten Commandments, the ones Jesus Christ gave to Moses, and why we are not bound? Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Well, thanks. So with the previous question, Miguel, what I was saying was we're not bound by the civil laws that were a part of the Mosaic covenant described in places like the Book of Exodus. We all are bound by the Ten Commandments, God's moral law.

And of course, those Ten Commandments are given in places like Exodus 20. The preface, I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image.

You shall not make any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold you guiltless if you take his name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. And you shall not covet that which belongs to your neighbor. So this is what we're called to in God's moral law. But here's the thing, we're not under the law of Moses like the people were in the Old Testament.

Why? Because we're dead to it through the body of Jesus Christ. We've died to the law. So that now we're no longer enslaved to it or under it, if you will, as this sort of works covenant where we've got to do these things in order for God to accept us and embrace us. No, we've been freed from the law.

Now, what does that mean? Does that mean we just live however we want? No, Paul says in places like Romans 6 through 8, we establish the law, we by the Spirit, Romans chapter 8, fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. So I wasn't saying that we're not bound by God's moral law. We are bound by God's moral law. And not in the same way, though, that the children of Israel were under the old covenant because we're not under the old covenant. And so it's important for us to understand where we are in the flow of redemptive history. Otherwise, we'll look at these promises in the Old Testament or these commandments and we'll say, well, that applies to me in the exact same way it applied to those people.

No, this is where faithful Bible interpretation is key and context is so important. And so, Miguel, appreciate your question and hopefully that clears it up for you. Let's go to a voicemail that we received from Laura. My question is, if somebody you know and love commits suicide, passes away, and you didn't get to say your goodbyes and they thought you didn't love them, they just felt empty, can you pray to God and ask God to send a message to them to reveal to them that they were loved and tell you your goodbyes?

No, I don't know. Just get closure with them after they've done passed. Thank you. Yeah, Laura, sister, I am so sorry to hear about this situation.

I can tell that this is very, very near to you. So, Lord, I just want to pray for Laura, asking, Lord, that you would give her comfort, the comfort of your spirit, that you would help her to rest, Lord God, in knowing that you, God, are intimately aware of all of these details, that none of these things catch you by surprise, and that you are good and merciful. Lord, would you bring healing in her life and, again, grant her that peace of the Holy Spirit that she needs.

In Jesus' name, amen. I understand the desire for this, sister, and why you would want to, you know, try to get this closure, try to communicate with this person, but there's nothing in the Bible that says that we should do this or can do this, you know, to try to send a message to a deceased loved one. And so I would say, no, we don't do that, but what we do is, and this is, I think, what we're all called to do in the midst of these moments, is resting in and clinging to the mercy of God in Christ and in his sovereignty, and the fact that he knows all things, that not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from his knowledge and his providential hand and care. And God cares about us and our loved ones more than the sparrows, and so know that you can entrust yourself to a loving God, a God who loves you and this person in question, and that God is perfectly good, and rest in that reality as opposed to trying to, you know, send a message or communicate to a deceased loved one. That's not something that we ought to do according to Scripture, but may the Lord comfort you in the midst of this morning and be with you, Laura. Thank you for reaching out. This is core Christianity. As you can tell, brothers and sisters, we get difficult questions, pastoral questions that we want to apply the Word of God to, and applying the truth of the Gospel, the grace of God, with conviction and compassion. I'm Pastor Adrian Sanchez, and we're taking your calls right now.

The number is 833-843-2673, and right now we're going to go to Reed in Minnesota. Reed, what's your question? In 1st Ephesians 13, 13 or 14, it talks about being sealed with the Holy Spirit, but if a person has an addiction or something like that, is he going to lose it?

Hmm. Yeah, Ephesians 1, verse 13, In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory. Is this seal something that you can lose through a struggle with sin or addiction?

No, Reed, I don't believe that it is. I think that we're always sealed by the Holy Spirit as believers, and even that language there, this is the guarantee, this is God's guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire the possession of it. Now then what happens when we sin? Well, when we sin, and Paul's going to go on to say this later in Ephesians, we grieve the Holy Spirit.

We can quench the Spirit. So we have a sense at times that the Spirit is distant from us, or that conviction of sin that we feel as believers, as those who are born again, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but we don't lose the gift of the Holy Spirit because we are sealed. And we believe that that's something that God doesn't seal us and then unseal us, and then maybe seal us again later if we believe, and then unseal us.

That's not how it works. This is a part of God's goodness to us, his people, his covenant promises, that give us that sure hope that we belong to him and that his Spirit is never going to abandon us. And so we can grieve the Spirit, and when we do, we repent. We confess our sins, and if there's an addiction issue, it's getting the help that you need, accountability. Sometimes counseling therapy can be really helpful as well.

And so pursuing those things, pursuing help in the local church too, but not just assuming the Spirit of God, that God has abandoned you in your struggle because he doesn't. When we turn to him, he's gracious and merciful and forgiving. We have time for one more question. Let's go to Joe really quickly. Joe, what's your question?

We have just about a minute left. Hi, Pastor. I'm referring back to a question about theonomy that was asked.

I really thought the way that you articulated that was helpful, and I've also kind of noticed that trending in a way. Is there any specific movements or figures in the church that you would point to that were kind of championing those ideas that people could be a little wary of? Watch out for?

You want me to name names, don't you, Joe? Well, I want to be careful. I would just say, look, if you got a guy who's really pushing theonomy and talking about it like, this is what we really need to recover, I would say that should send up red flags, one, because it's more of a novel understanding or interpretation of Scripture and God's covenants and how they work.

And any time you have that, these sort of newer ideas in terms of application of the Bible, I think we should just be cautious of that. And so that's what I'll say about that. Thank you, Joe, for following up and thank the rest of you listening to CORE today. It's been a blessing to be with you. Join us again tomorrow. Together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-15 18:00:23 / 2023-01-15 18:10:24 / 10

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