How can Christians have assurance if only those who endure to the end will be saved? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, this is 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.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can actually watch Adriel live on YouTube right now. We have a YouTube channel, and you can send him a message through the YouTube channel, and always email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail that we received from one of our callers earlier this week. Hi, Pastor. My name is Cheryl, and my question is in reference to baptizing. My pastor wants to change the way he's baptizing his new members. Instead of him baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, he just wants to baptize them in Jesus' name only. Should this be the way he baptizes new members? I hope you can help me answer this question so I can have more understanding. Thank you.
Hey, thank you, Cheryl, for that question. I would tell your pastor to stick with the way he's been baptizing, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. That's the proper way to administer holy baptism. Of course, this is precisely what Jesus himself said in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew's Gospel in Matthew chapter 28. Verse 18, Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age. Well, there you have it right there from the lips of our Lord Jesus. Now, the reason that there's some confusion on this sometimes is because when you go to the book of Acts, Acts chapter 2, for example, when Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost, he says in verse 38, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so there it talks about being baptized in the name of Jesus. Well, I don't think that this is different than what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 28.
I mean, this is the beginning of the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The focus here is he's speaking to a primarily Jewish audience there on the day of Pentecost, and he's calling them to align with Christ. This is why the baptism is referred to as the baptism of Jesus, or being baptized in the name of Jesus, its association with Christ, with the Messiah. This isn't the baptism of John, as we're going to see later in Acts chapter 19, verse 1.
It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples, and he said to them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? And they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. And he said, Into what then were you baptized? And they said, Into John's baptism. And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is Jesus. And on hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. So I think that these were actually Trinitarian baptisms, but the focus is association with Christ. We're baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as Paul says in Romans chapter 6, for example.
And so baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and know that baptism is this picture of our being united to Christ in his death and resurrection through faith. And so I would say, again, to your pastor, stick with the triune formula. God bless.
Good counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, maybe doctrine or theology, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to give us a call anytime. Here is the phone number, 833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. And if you call us outside of the live program hours, you can always leave your voicemail, and we do our best to review voicemails each day. Well, let's go to Tim in St. Louis, Missouri. Tim, what is your question for Pastor Adriel? Yes, I was just wondering what the Bible says about eternal security. There's a lot of verses in the Bible that kind of, to me, go both ways. And to me, it's like, what happens if we have a certain struggle or if we struggle with a certain type of sin? What does the Bible say about as far as how long we'll be forgiven for?
Tim, thanks for bringing this up, man. I know that this is something that so many believers struggle with. The first part of your question, what does the Bible have to say about eternal security? Sometimes you hear the phrase, one saved, always saved, thrown around. The idea is you can just sort of believe in Jesus, you accept him in your heart, and then you go live however you want. But so long as you've been sealed, you believe in Jesus or you made a profession of faith. You may never go to church, you may never grow in grace, you may never have any experience of the Lord's presence, you know, but you're saved, right? Sometimes that's referred to as easy believism.
Look, we're not justified by anything we do, but the person who is justified is filled with the Holy Spirit and does, by the grace of God and through the gift that God gives, begin to grow in grace, but that growth is slow and difficult, and there is a real battle with sin that takes place every day. And so our assurance doesn't come from what we do. It comes from the promises of God. And so, you know, a passage that I like to go to in terms of thinking about assurance is what Jesus himself said in John chapter 10, verse 26. He begins in this way. He says, you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.
He's speaking to the religious leaders. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.
That's a promise right there. My sheep, Jesus says, will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand.
I and the Father are one. Sometimes you hear about a doctrine that's referred to as the perseverance of the saints. That is that those who are truly the Lords, the sheep, the saints, that they will persevere in faith. I like to think of it more as they're going to be preserved by the grace of God because even though we stumble and fall, the Lord, as Jesus says, will never leave us or forsake us. Tim, if you've believed on Jesus Christ for your salvation, justified by faith alone, He will never leave you or forsake you. Now that doesn't mean that we don't struggle and there won't be periods in our lives where maybe that struggle is more intense than at other times and we feel that we've been quenching the Spirit and so we begin to question, man, am I really a believer? I would say in those moments what we flee to is still the promise of the Gospel looking away from ourselves and clinging to the grace that God gives to us in His Son Jesus and receiving that objective promise of the Gospel by faith alone and resting in it and in light of it seeking to live a life that's honoring to the Lord. Now one other passage that I'll bring up because you mentioned that struggle with sin that we have and it's Romans chapter 7. In Romans chapter 7, I think Paul is describing his own experience as a believer and it is a struggle. It's a fight.
Sometimes I do the things that I don't want to do and I do the very things that I don't want to do or sometimes I do the very things that I don't want to do. This is this battle between the flesh, my flesh, and the Spirit and what the Spirit is leading us to. You see a parallel text in Galatians chapter 5 where he calls the Galatians to walk in the Spirit and so I would say that the reality of that battle doesn't indicate that you're not a believer but that you are indeed a believer, that the Spirit of God is at work in you convicting you of sin and so I would take comfort, brother, and cling to the cross and to the promise of the gospel.
And I just want to go back to you, Tim, briefly because I know that this is a huge struggle for so many people. Are there other passages that are giving you concern specifically? I would say I think Hebrews chapter 7 where it says for if we go on sinning and then definitely Matthew 7 21 through 23, Lord Jesus, I never knew you.
Great, let me just address those very quickly. So Hebrews chapter 6 actually is a text you're referring to and there what you need to understand is in the context of the book of Hebrews the people that the author of the Hebrews is addressing were being tempted to go back to the sacrificial system of the old covenant. In other words, they were rejecting the gospel.
This wasn't just, you know, they're struggling with sin or lust or lust or whatever it is. It's they were getting to the point where they were beginning to reject Christ, his sacrificial work for them, and replace that with, you know, the bulls and goats of the old covenant sacrificial system. This is why the author of the Hebrews, you know, over and over again says Christ is better.
He's better than the sacrificial system. He's better than the old covenant priesthood because they were tempted to go back to that. So there's really an apostasy which I think demonstrated that many of them or some of them at least had not truly believed. And that's actually I think what's indicated earlier in Hebrews where the author of the Hebrews likens the Hebrew church to the wilderness generation and he says they had good news preached to them just as you have but the word didn't benefit them because it wasn't mixed with faith, united with faith for those who believed.
And so there's that. And then in the text that you mentioned in Matthew chapter seven where Jesus says to the false teachers, depart from me, I never knew you. That's not an individual who's losing their salvation. This is somebody who Christ is saying, look, we've never at no point had that relationship, that personal relationship, I never knew you.
And so again, this is not calling into question the security of the believer, but it does highlight I think that people can be in and around the church, have a sort of cognitive understanding of the truth of God's word and yet not lay hold of the promises of the gospel by faith. And so that's what we're called to, is to look to Jesus Christ, what he's done for us, and to believe it and to receive it for ourselves, for our own forgiveness, and from that to be full of gratitude and to seek to live a life that honors the Lord. And when we fall, we get up and we trust in him and we continue to pursue him knowing that he's at work in us, both to will and to do for his good pleasure. Tim, God bless you. Hey Tim, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity. We really do appreciate you and Adriel, thanks for that great explanation of the gospel and justification and how we are called to live. Just some some beautiful theology there for all of us to really sink our teeth into. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, maybe a passage in the Bible that confuses you, feel free to give us a call.
833-THE-CORE is the number, and our phone lines will be open for the next 10 minutes or so, 833-843-2673. Today we're excited to share a new book with you. It's a book by a friend of Core Christianity, Pastor David Cassidy. Yeah, the book is called Indispensable. David Cassidy is lead pastor of Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, Florida, and this book really gets at the indispensable doctrines of the Christian faith in a way that I think is devotional and helpful, really encouraging for you.
Whether you're a newer believer or maybe you've been walking with Jesus Christ for some time, I really do hope you'll take advantage of the offer for today. Again, the book is called Indispensable, and it's over at corechristianity.com. Love to get this book in your hands. Pastor Cassidy is a great writer, and we've offered other books from him in the past. You can find this book Indispensable by going to corechristian at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and look for David Cassidy's book, Indispensable. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question for Adriel, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Justin. I was wondering, how is it possible to be saved now if Christ said, only those who endured to the end shall be saved? Thank you.
Have a nice day. That's a great question. Again, we're talking here about assurance and salvation.
So a couple of things. One, there's this phrase, you may have never heard it. It's sometimes called the order of salvation, the ordo salutis, and it's those distinct acts that God does in our lives in redemption through our union with Jesus Christ. So you think about the fact that God has called us to himself, and then what does he do? He justifies us by faith alone. Now, that justification, when you're justified by faith, believing in Jesus Christ, that's a definitive act.
It's done. It's an act of God. All of our sins are forgiven, and God gives to us the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because of that, we can say, well, I'm saved. This is at the very heart of the Gospel.
Paul says in Romans 5, verse 1, therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. So we are saved in a very real sense right now, assured of the fact that we are going to be in heaven, but God is still also working in us and bringing us to something else, ultimately the new creation fully, and finally, the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. So there's still a future element, we might say, not of our justification. That's already happened, but we're looking forward to being glorified, and day by day, we're being sanctified more and more by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Now, I know sometimes it feels like it's two steps forward and one step backward, but nevertheless, as I said earlier, God is never going to leave us or forsake us, and he's at work in our lives. So we have confidence, and our confidence, as I stated already, is not so much in ourselves. I'm really going to make it.
I'm going to try really hard. No, it's in God and in his grace, in the fact that he keeps us. He preserves us. He continues to work in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasures, Paul told the Philippian church, so that we have confidence that one day we will be in the presence of the Lord, and he's already given us a foretaste of that reality through the gift of the Holy Spirit in justification. So, brother, we are saved now by faith in Jesus Christ, and we're looking forward to the fullness of that salvation at the resurrection of the dead.
Thank you. You're listening to Core Christianity, and our phone lines are open right now. We'll be taking your calls for the next seven minutes or so if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Sarah, who's calling in from Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sarah, what's your question for Adriel? Hello, my question is about using pagan symbols to represent slash worship God. In Deuteronomy 12-4, God says, we must not worship the Lord the way the pagans do. So, if this verse is true, how do we as Christians justify using certain pagan or cult symbols to worship God? For example, things like the triquetra, which is a Celtic symbol, it's a three circle knot, and often used in Wicca, but we also use it to symbolize the Trinity. Or things like the floor of the loose, which is an artistic take on the lily flower, and often used in occult groups, we also use that to symbolize the Trinity. Wouldn't using these things be displeasing to God because their roots are in Christianity?
Hey Sarah, thank you for that well-thought-out question. There is a reason in scripture why God forbade his people from making images, from trying to represent him through pictures and symbols, even. It's because we so easily slip into misrepresenting who God is. God is the one who gets to reveal himself to us, and he's chosen to do that first and foremost through his word. So, when you ask the question, how do Christians justify representing the Trinity through pictures or symbols or images?
I don't know that we should try to justify that, or that they can justify that. I think we always, especially when it comes to worship, want to think through what are we doing, and why are we doing it? Is this something that God has called us to do in his word, or are we just making up things as we go along? If we're making up things as we go along, that's very dangerous because there's a tendency to misrepresent God or to quote-unquote make God in our own image, to represent him in the ways that we want to, not in the ways that he's revealed to us through his word. I'm appreciative of the fact that you're sensitive to this. Now, of course, I think sometimes I wouldn't necessarily say that a church that's maybe got some artwork on their bulletin or something like that, and it's this triquetra or whatnot, that they're intentionally borrowing from pagan Wiccan imagery. I think probably it's just the church secretary was looking for something pretty to put on the bulletin, and that's what they found.
I think we can read a little bit more into this than we need to, but fundamentally, I would say we do have to be very cautious about how we worship God, and we want to make sure that we're letting him reveal himself to us through his word, not trying to paint pictures and create images, if you will, of God, the incomprehensible one, truly ineffable, indescribable, that we're trying to do that on our own because God forbade that in his word. So thank you. Good counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel.
This is Core Christianity. Let's go to Wallace calling in from Nashville, Tennessee. Wallace, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, how you doing, Pastor? Doing well, Wallace. Thanks for calling.
What's your question? My question, I'm not really sure. I'm almost sure it's not in the Bible, but my question is on your outlook on this. Our Lord and our God is omnipotent, and also he is also, you know, he's all-knowing, and my question is that why would he put the tree of good, a knowledge of good and evil in the garden, knowing that man would, you know, sin, and that he himself would have to come into the world and redeem mankind and die for us the way that he did? Yeah, it's an excellent question. I mean, if God knows everything, why put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there in the garden?
Well, Adam and Eve left to the freedom of their own will and gave them free will, chose to rebel against God, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there in the garden in Genesis chapter 2 is the tree of testing. There's a decision that's going to be made here. He's called humanity to follow him.
Will they listen? Will Adam listen? And there Adam is the representative head of humanity.
We all, born as human beings, are born in Adam and fallen in Adam. We inherit sin, original sin, the guilt of Adam's sin, but also the corruption that's associated with it, and so this act, this sin of Adam, led to a lot of devastation, pain, and the question is, well, why would God allow it then? Now, the reality is, I don't know that we can just say, well, here's the reason.
Not that there isn't a reason. God always has a reason. Ultimately, I think it's the revelation of himself and of his glory, but we don't fully grasp all of that, at least this side of heaven. I think we will understand more when we see no longer through a mirror dimly, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, but face to face, but we know that God gave mankind there in the garden free will, called him to follow. He didn't, but God had already purposed how he was going to redeem the world, and I think that's a key point. Yes, God allowed this to happen, this sin that led to death and devastation, but God does not allow anything that he hasn't already purposed how to defeat, if you will, conquer, and that's what he did, and that's why we get the promise of the Gospel there in Genesis 3, verse 15, where he says to the serpent, I'm going to put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed.
He is going to crush your head, and you are going to bruise his heel. They're that great prophecy of the Messiah, and so we have hope, and we know that God has promised to solve all of the sin and death in the world, and that he's already done that in Jesus and in the resurrection of Jesus. We're looking for the consummation of that, but in terms of why God did you do it, well, I think we're going to understand that more fully in eternity. We know that he's in control, and we know that he's good, and we know that he's conquered evil, and so we rest in that. God bless.
Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. One quick email question for you, Adriel. Chris asks this. I believe that God is in control and that humans have free will. This ties in with what you just said, but how is this possible?
That's a big email to try to tackle at the end of the broadcast. But so, yes, God is in control, and yes, we were, I mean, I just mentioned Adam and Eve given freedom of choice there in the garden. Now, while I think we have to recognize it in light of the fall and the fact that that fall into sin has affected us. Our entire nature, if you will, has been corrupted. We're not as bad as we could be, but our desires, the way we think, every part of us has been affected by sin so that not one of us can pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, if you will, and save ourselves.
Our wills even have been corrupted. They're in bondage, and so we rely on 100% the work of the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit to open hearts. And isn't this what you see precisely throughout the scriptures? The disciples are preaching there. Lydia's heart is opened by the Lord to hear and listen to the things that were spoken of by the disciples. This highlights the fact that we desperately need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives if we're going to understand the truth of the gospel and embrace it. Thanks. Next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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