If I struggle with sin, will I inherit the kingdom of God? 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. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also call us at 833-THE-CORE.
You can always leave a voicemail at that number, and you can post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. And of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Mary calling in from Arkansas. Mary, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, thank you for taking my call.
Bless you, Pastor Adriel. I would like to know why my husband who is in heaven, I get a text from his phone, which is in his chest or drawer, that says, Hi. It was the text I got yesterday.
Why would that happen? Mary, can I just follow up with you really quick? So, your husband has died. Your husband was a Christian. He's with the Lord now? Yes. Okay.
So, the text message, I mean, there could be several explanations for that. Sister, I am so sorry to hear about the death of your husband. And I don't know how recent this was, but I pray that the Lord brings you comfort and peace. And here's the thing, you know, the Bible is very clear in various places that we don't pursue or even have real communication with the devil.
We're in debt with the departed. This was actually one of the things that God commanded specifically throughout the Old Testament. You see examples of this in the New Testament.
I think it's reiterated, you know, not pursuing that. But for us as believers, for you as a believer, you have the hope that your husband is in the presence of Jesus. And when we're in the presence of Jesus, our time is occupied with worship, with adoration, with awe, I think, in the presence of Jesus. In the presence of the angels, in the presence of the saints in heaven.
So, I would, you know, this is just me speaking personally, you know, with regard to a text like that, I would attribute that to, I don't know, some sort of issue with the phones. Because if your husband was in Christ, right now, he is around the throne of God in heaven, worshipping the Holy Trinity. Perfected in holiness. The souls of believers are at their death, made perfect in holiness.
And immediately pass into glory. They don't, you know, they're no longer in their body, or the body goes down into the ground, waiting for the resurrection of the dead, the hope that we have as Christians. But our souls are there in the presence of the Lord. And so, I would say that's what Scripture teaches. That's what you can cling to.
That's what you can know. That's the hope that we can have, even in the midst of mourning. The Thessalonians, you know, we do mourn and we do have sorrow when our loved ones die, but we don't mourn as those who have no hope.
Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. And so, I would say, you know, be comforted, above all else, be comforted by the word of God, and what God's word says about your husband. With regard to the telephone, I don't know what's going on there, but I would maybe attribute that to something else. And bank on what the Scriptures say about your husband where he is right now. Mary, thank you for giving us a call, and may the Lord be with you.
This is 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Linda, who's calling in from Iowa. Linda, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?
Hi, thank you for putting up with me. I have just listened to someone who did not understand the whole concept of the Trinity, and it's very hard to explain, and I know that. And a very rudimentary, elementary explanation I heard years ago kind of helps some people, and I don't know what you think of it, but it's like a place setting. You have a knife, a fork, and a spoon. And the knife is the knife, the fork is the fork, the spoon is the spoon, but together they are all a place setting. Does that make sense? Yeah, it does make sense. And there are a lot of different analogies that people have used to try to make sense of the Trinity.
Now the problem is analogies certainly always fall short. I've heard the Trinity is sort of like water, ice, and vapor, the Trinity is like an apple, the Trinity is like an egg. We're trying to find ways, creaturely ways, to talk about and define what God is, if you will. We just have to be careful there, because again, we're talking about the uncreated Lord of heaven and earth. God, who in his essence is incomprehensible, and while we grasp for words and for things in creation to try to say this is what God is, it all falls short. And so what we want to do, more than anything else, is focus on not what God is in his essence as we try to define it.
We're not going to be able to do that. What we want to focus on is how God has revealed himself in his word. And yes, in creation as well, because creation does tell us something about God, about his power, about his sovereignty.
Paul says this in Romans chapter 1. But ultimately, if we want to know God, who he is, we go to what he said about himself in his word. And when we begin to look at his word and prayerfully seek to understand it by the grace of the Holy Spirit, it becomes clear, as I've mentioned so many times on the broadcast, that God is a Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, three distinct persons. Now there are different things that we can point to and say, well, it's sort of like this or it's sort of like that, but I just think we have to concede to the fact that, look, we're not going to be able to sum up what God the Holy Trinity is with any creaturely analogy. We can use these things, but sometimes the danger there, too, is some of these analogies can sort of lean into untrue things about God. And so that's why I think the best thing to do, Linda, is to just stick with what God's word says, stick with the ancient creeds and confessions of the church, like the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.
That's, you know, I think those are the safe places to go. And just another, I think, piece of wisdom, which I've heard and was something that the early church fathers said, you know, the Trinity is not so much something for us or someone for us to speculate about. We adore the Trinity as he's revealed himself to us in his word, God.
And as we adore, as we worship God, I think we're brought into a deeper understanding of who God is, and certainly through the scriptures. And so thank you for calling in. And for, you know, one of the things I love about the core Christianity community, if I can call it that, is I know that you all listen and are encouraged by the questions, but also want to provide insights and help and encourage each other. And so I appreciate you, Linda, wanting to do that. And may the Lord bless you.
And I thank you for your call. You know, I love that advice, Adriel, that we are to worship the Trinity. That's our focus, not trying to figure out the Trinity and our human limitedness, our finiteness, but actually to worship the Trinity.
Yeah, absolutely. Because at the end of the day, we're creatures and God is the creator. It's one of the most important distinctions that you find in scripture given by theologians, the creator creature distinction, because part of our problem as sinful human beings is we want to make God in our image. As one theologian said, our hearts are sort of like idle factories.
You know, we just sort of invent God as we think of him. And that's a temptation for each and every one of us. And so we have to continually go back to the scripture and receive what God has said and respond with worship and adoration. Amen.
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This one came from Kimberly. She says in Galatians 5, 19 through 21, the Bible says we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven if we have any of the faults mentioned there. I am the first to say that I absolutely have bitterness, selfish ambition, fits of rage and malice at times. Yes, I do repent of them, but I fall short of these things daily.
In fact, multiple times a day. Yes, I pray and beg for Jesus to come and help me not to have these feelings, but it seems minutes to hours later they return. So could you please share some insight into Galatians 5, 19 through 21?
Kimberly, you are not alone in the struggle that you feel. Now, the book of Galatians was written by the apostle Paul to a church that was struggling severely. And they were struggling with their understanding of the gospel. There was a group of people, Paul refers to them as agitators, who had snuck into the church and began teaching things that were contrary to the gospel. And his concern is that these Christians there in Galatia were beginning to embrace the teaching of these agitators. And what they were saying was essentially, if you want to be a Christian, if you really want to be saved and be a part of the people of God, it's not just about accepting Christ and believing in him and receiving him for the forgiveness of sins.
That's good that you've done that. But you also need to adhere to the law of Moses. For the men, you know, you need to submit to what God told Abraham in Genesis chapter 17 and get circumcised and start participating for all of you, you know, start participating in some of these dietary food laws. They were going back essentially to the types and shadows of the old covenant, which would have been a denial of the gospel. And that's why Paul has some of the strongest words that he uses in all of the New Testament here in this book as he as he pleads with the Galatians not to compromise on this issue. And he says in chapter 5 of the book of Galatians, for freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
Don't go back to this, Paul says. Was it by, you know, he says elsewhere in the book, was it by the hearing and believing that you receive the Holy Spirit or was it by the works of the law? No, you receive the Holy Spirit freely as a gift. And as those who have received the Holy Spirit freely as a gift were called to walk in the Spirit, and that brings me to the section of scripture that you bring up in Galatians chapter 5 verses 16 and following. First he encourages walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and he highlights what the opposite of that is. He says, you know, now the works of the flesh are evident.
Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalry, divisions, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law, and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If you are in Christ, if you believe in Jesus Christ, your flesh, if you will, has been crucified with Jesus through faith and holy baptism. You, Kimberly, have a new identity in Jesus Christ, and you're called to walk in the Spirit.
Now that doesn't mean that you're not going to struggle. We all do. Every single day, every single one of us as believers can confess, God, I've sinned against you today in thought, in word, and in deed. God, your law is so perfect, so pure in what it calls me to.
Perfect love of God, perfect love of neighbor. And each of us has to say, God, I fall short. Help me by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is a struggle, and the fact that it's a struggle for you demonstrates to me that there are the signs of life, that the Holy Spirit is at work in you, convicting you of sin, that you long, you long to honor God with your life.
And here's the thing. God loves you, and he's going to continue to work in you by the grace of his Spirit, sanctifying you. We're not going to be perfect this side of heaven, but the Bible does say that the Spirit is at work in us, putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, Romans chapters 6 through 8. And in Romans chapter 7, he highlights the struggle that we experience and that we feel as Christians. You know, sometimes it's like the things I don't want to do, I find myself doing, and I have to say, wretched man that I am.
Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. And so I would say, sister, yes, we struggle, and when we struggle, we're called to repent, to confess our sins, but that struggle doesn't mean that you aren't a Christian, that you don't belong to Jesus, that you haven't been saved. In fact, you know who else struggled? Speaking in, you know, giving a list very similar to the one that we find there in Galatians chapter 5, Paul writes to the Corinthians, who had all sorts of issues, and he says to them, very similar language, chapter 6, 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 9, Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God, and such were some of you. In other words, you're no longer identified with those things, you are in Christ, you've been baptized, you believe in Jesus, such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Kimberly, if you've trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you belong to Jesus, you've been washed, you've been cleansed, you've been justified, and now God calls you, just like he calls me and everyone else listening in Christ, he calls us to walk in the Spirit, to engage in that daily fight and taking up our cross and following Jesus. That struggle, and that struggle, again, doesn't mean you're not a Christian, and it's one we're going to experience throughout the Christian life, but the Spirit of God is with you and Christ is for you, and so take comfort in that.
Thank you for your question. You know, Aaron or Adriel, I'm convinced that sometimes maybe we need to take Romans 8-1 and put it on sticky notes all over our house, our bathroom mirror, or tattoo it on our forehead because that is so critical. That's why you got that tattoo, Bill. I always wondered about your Romans 8-1 tattoo, but now I know, I guess. Yeah, honestly, we do need, we just need the Gospel to be continually placarded before us over and over again every single day, every single time we go to church. We need those continual reminders and the call to walk as the children of light, as those who have received the grace of God in the Gospel, the implications of that wonderful forgiveness that we've received. We need both of those, and so appreciate you saying that, and it is the Scriptures that we go to to get those Gospel promises.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have lots of emails that come in on a daily basis. You can email us at questions at corechristianity.com. You can also leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners in Gary, Indiana.
Hello, my name is Lee Ince. Many times we hear that religion causes war from unbelievers, and we as believers can't deny this because we read many times war is prescribed by God himself in the Old Testament. We as believers understand this takes spiritual discernment, and we trust in God's plan for our lives, but how do we explain or reconcile these truths with God's great love and mercy to unbelievers who see so much war in God's name? Or even believers who say that was the Old Testament God, and in Christ all things are made new, and there's all love, no war. How do we know when it is of God or for judgment or for good of others? And also, how do we share the truth of God's wrath and also the truth of God's great love and mercy while maintaining true to God's pure word?
Thank you. Lee Ince, there are a handful of really important questions there, and I love that your desire is to talk with non-Christians about these things. This is one of the objections that people will bring up. Look at the wars in the Old Testament, and not just the wars in the Old Testament, but look at the history of wars in the name of God and the bitter fruit so often that has come from them. Do the Old Testament wars, the cleansing of Canaan, does that justify the other wars that have been fought in the name of God throughout history?
Well, no, not at all. We have to understand where we are in the Bible, where we are in redemptive history, and in the Old Testament there was a theocracy. God called his people. He was their king. He was leading them to the promised land, the land of Canaan, which was full, by the way, of idolaters and idolaters of the worst kinds.
I mean, these people were sacrificing their children. In one sense, God was bringing judgment on the Canaanites through Israel, and he was driving them out because the land of Canaan was this sort of type of Eden, a type of God's new creation, a type of the ultimate rest that God wants to give to his people in the new creation in and through Christ where there is no evil, where there is no wickedness, where there is no idolatry. So what you had there in the Old Testament was, in one sense, a picture of the final judgment. I mean, Jesus is going to come back at one point and judge the whole world, and I think sometimes we miss that.
That's the piece of God's wrath. How do we talk about the wrath of God and the grace and the mercy of God? And so essentially what you have there with the wars in the Old Testament is God exercising his judgment and intrusion of his wrath. But that doesn't justify Christians later in history saying, well, we think we need to do this.
No, no. There you had specific commands to Israel as a theocracy under God, and we're not in the same period of redemptive history. The Church today is the fulfillment of what Israel was as a type in the Old Testament. We are a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth, and the Gospel advances today not by the physical sword but by the sword of the Spirit. And today, right now, is the day of salvation, and God is showing mercy to the nations, to the pagan nations, to the idolatrous nations, calling them all to repentance and faith and to receive his mercy and grace, because there is a day coming where God is going to judge the whole world through Jesus Christ, and every single person is going to have to give an account. But God right now is being patient with us, being patient with humanity, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, Peter says.
And so how do we talk about this? Well, we can talk about the judgment, about the reality that God takes sin and idolatry seriously, and so we should repent. We talk about the mercy of God, that God is right now calling all people to repentance through Jesus Christ. We don't need to be ashamed of the things that we see in Scripture. We don't need to be ashamed of those things that happened in the Old Testament. This was a part of how God was administering his rule in Israel. And again, it wasn't like the Israelites were fighting a bunch of innocent people, the Canaanites. The concern was that their idolatry and that their wicked practices would spread, and so God actually was very patient with the Canaanites for hundreds of years as they continued to do these terrible things. And then finally, when they filled up, if you will, the full measure of God's judgment, then he brought judgment upon them through the hand of Israel. But we recognize, again, that that was a different stage in redemptive history, and today, right now, is the day of salvation, and so we call the nations to faith. Join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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