How do I know if my love for God has grown cold? 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. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. That's 1-833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, we also have a YouTube channel, and you can watch Adriel live right now in the studio on YouTube and send him your question that way. And of course, you're always welcome to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.
This is Cole in Sacramento, California. He's a very close friend of mine who has been there for me in the lowest of lows of my life, and I've been there for him in the lowest of lows in his life. And this friend of mine has recently fallen into sexual sin with someone who's not his wife. He's not married. He's dating a sister in Christ. He's with another woman.
And this has been something that has kind of been recurring the last four, five, six years in different ways. I'm just worried for him, because I care about him a lot, and I want him to find hope in Christ, but I also want him to have some sort of resources or something that can help him get past it. I know clinging to Christ is the answer, but I guess I just don't know practically how to help him. What would you advise I do to help him find freedom in Christ and move forward?
I guess that's my question, so thank you. Cole, I am grateful, brother, that you are there for this individual, and I can tell just based on your question and the way that you asked it, that this is someone that you're really close with, that you care about him as a brother in Christ, and that he's blessed you and ministered to you in the difficult seasons of your life. One thing that concerns me is how you say that this seems like a pattern of behavior over several years, four years, you said, and so it seems like this is something that's recurring.
I don't know if it's in the same relationship he continues to cheat on his girlfriend or just this is a pattern in all of his relationships where he gets with someone. That's a big issue. We have to take sin seriously in the church. You remember what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5 where he's writing to them and he says, look, I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people, not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
But now I'm writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler, not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? Now Paul is not saying just cut this individual out of your life and throw him to the dogs, that kind of thing.
No, he's saying we make these judgments in the body of Christ because we care about each other's souls. And when we see someone who has a pattern of behavior that's very clearly contrary to God's law, they're a brother in Christ and they continue to do this, I think there needs to be the church stepping in and so I don't know if the church has done that. I don't know if this individual is in the church, if he's been honest, confessed this to maybe the elders of the church that you guys are a part of. I think he needs accountability, oversight, and when there are again these sort of patterns of behavior, sometimes you do get church discipline.
And so I think one of the ways you love him is by being brutally honest with him about how serious this is and about your concern for what seems to be a pattern. And so there's that. There's also what the Apostle Paul says in Galatians chapter 6, brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
And so I think you can be honest with him. You can say, look, this is serious, this needs to be dealt with, the church needs to be involved. And it's through that that gentle restoration takes place and we humbly look at ourselves as well knowing any of us can be tempted.
And so we need the grace of God, each and every one of us, lest let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he should fall. Again, with regard to this sort of pattern of sexual immorality, I think other research, you need the help of the church, he needs the help of the church accountability. There is such a thing as sexual addiction as well. And I think people can create these patterns of addictive behavior.
You think of the pervasiveness of internet pornography and all of these things that sort of contribute to that. And I think sometimes getting professional help too, Cole, can be a really wise thing to do and the right thing to do, sort of going and maybe seeing someone who specializes in addictive behavior. And let's not make an excuse for it. We're calling it sin.
It is sin. But getting, I think, some professional help as well in terms of thinking through why we engage in these particular patterns and how we can fight it at the sort of root cause I think is important. And so, Bill, as a counselor, someone who's trained in this thinking about addictive behaviors, would you say with something like sexual sin that that can become an addiction that needs to be addressed? Well, it sounds like it may be that very situation with this friend of Cole's. And it makes me think what happened in this guy's past that is making him do this. And a lot of times it's observed behavior, something that happened in the family of origin, some kind of deep hurt. I don't know.
And I think I love your recommendation. He does need to see. I think a Christian counselor specializes in addictive behavior to really get to the root of this. Why is he doing this and why is it over and over again? As you said, we don't know if this has happened with the same woman or if this is a pattern with several different women. But I think Cole is right to be concerned. And I guess my question for you is, if he hasn't been confronted by a church, is Cole, is it his responsibility, let's say they go to the same church, if he talks to this friend and doesn't get any resolution, should he then follow that example and go to the elders of the church?
Yeah, I think so. Especially when you have a clear pattern of behavior, you go. But I think this individual should long for all the help he can get.
It's clear that this is a real struggle. And I do want to go back, even though we're talking about the importance of, even with addictive behavior, getting professional help, it is sin. It's sin that needs to be put to death, that needs to be mortified. That can only happen by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as Paul says. And so the call is one to repentance, confession of sin and repentance. But in terms of fighting our sins, I think we employ every resource that we have at our disposal. The help of the church, the care of good friends, elders, professional help, therapy, whatever it takes.
We want to use everything that God has put before us to fight it with all of our might. And so I think that that's what needs to happen. And, Cole, I know you love this guy. You can be a good brother to him by just stressing the concern that you have regarding this pattern of behavior and saying, look, let's get the help that you need.
And if he hasn't opened up with his girlfriend about this, if he hasn't confessed it, I think that he needs to do that as well. And so, man, so much there. But, Cole, may the Lord be with you, give you wisdom, and may God bring healing in this situation and genuine repentance. Amen. Good counsel, Adriel. Thanks for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Our phone lines are open and we are open to your calls. Maybe you have a question about the Bible. Maybe there's a Bible passage that's always kind of stumped you and you need some clarification on that. Maybe there's something about your Christian walk right now that you're struggling with. Maybe it's the way that your Christianity is kind of rubbing up against what's happening in our culture and you've got some questions there.
Or maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. Hey, we're open to your calls as well. Our phone lines are open for the next 20 minutes. And here's the phone number, 833-THECORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com.
Here's an email from Wendy. She says, My house church just finished its study on the Old versus the New Covenant. We are doing your Core Christianity Bible study called How to Read the Bible. And on page 34, where it mentions the Torah, it says this, These laws, such as do not murder and do not steal, are eternal moral principles. They apply to all people in all times, in all places.
The moral law is easy to understand and apply in our lives today. Well, the person teaching our Bible study made a point to pause and say that that particular sentence is not correct. He said the law only applies to those not saved. They also said there's no specific action that constitutes sin. And they used Romans 14 as an example. In other words, whatever is not done in love or against your conscience is sin.
It is based on a person's internal motivation. They also said that Jesus did it all. From the moment you get saved, if you never go to church again or open your Bible, you are not any less holy. There is no such thing as progressive sanctification because you can never be more holy than you are. I'm wondering for your thoughts on this. I don't agree with what was said, but I seem to be the only one in our group that feels this way. Okay, wow. I hate to disagree with your Bible study leaders, especially because they're using one of our core Christianity Bible studies, so thanks for using that.
But I would have some issues, at least with some of the things there. One, just in terms of the definition of sin, it sounded like based on Romans 14, what was being said was sin is just essentially whatever goes against our conscience, maybe. What is sin? Sin is any want of conformity to or transgression of God's law. And so God's law reveals to us what God's will is for us, for our lives. Sin is when we turn away from God's law or when we fail to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, that positive command to love. We have a concrete standard, objective standard given to us by God. This is why we talk about right and wrong.
I mean in a culture and in a world where there's no sort of objective truth and people think you just believe whatever you want that's good for you, not good for me, right for you, not right for me. We say no, God actually has a standard and he's given it to us, he's revealed it to us in many ways, in one sense just naturally through his revelation but also through his word. We have very clearly there given to us and so having a proper definition of sin I think is important and it sounds to me like there was some confusion there about what sin is. Also some confusion about sanctification, the idea that sanctification isn't something progressive that's taking place in the life of the believer. Justification is this definitive thing that we receive from God as a gift. It's an act of God's free grace whereby he pardons all of our sins and accepts us as righteous only for the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to us, credited to our account and received by faith alone. It's an act of God.
It means it's definitive, punctiliar, it's done. We are the justified and because we're justified we have peace with God. It's what Paul says in Romans chapter 5 but sanctification is that process of inner renewal by the grace of the Holy Spirit whereby our sins are mortified by the power of the Holy Spirit put to death and we're growing in the image of Jesus Christ. We're called to be holy.
We're called to be sanctified. That too is not a work that we do. It's a work of God. It's not an act, not a moment in time per se.
It's a work. It's this progressive thing that happens in the life of the believer. It flows from our faith in Jesus Christ and we're sanctified as those who have been justified. In other words, our justification is not like you're more justified the more sanctified you get.
You are already justified, accepted in the beloved but we do grow and we're called to grow in the Christian life. So God's law does relate to us as believers, not in the sense that we're under it so that it can condemn us. Paul says you and I are dead to the law through the body of Jesus Christ. This is clear, Romans chapter 6 through 8. Now we by the Spirit, Romans 8, are free to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, not so that we might be justified or accepted by God because he's already accepted us.
He's already received us. It's out of gratitude, out of saying, Lord, thank you for saving me, for making me your child, for adopting me into your family, for justifying me, sinful as I am, and help me to live in light of what you call me to, ultimately to love you and to love my neighbor. Isn't that what Jesus said was the summary of the law? And so we are called to that as believers, not so that God would love us more or justify us anew or so that we might become justified. God justifies sinners by faith, but it's what we're called to as Christians.
So I would have some disagreements there. And so I think, again, those two things, a proper understanding of sin, definition of sin, and a proper definition of sanctification are key. Thank you for that question, Wendy. You know, Adriel, the apostle Paul would be very proud of you.
I hope so, man. He's one of my heroes. I like Paul. I mean, that was basically you just summed up Romans in about one minute. That's awesome. Thank you for that. Yeah, thanks.
Good stuff. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Give us a call right now at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 833-843-2673. By the way, one of the major concerns in our society today, as I'm sure you know, is depression. And yes, depression affects Christians, too.
And today we want to offer you a brand new free resource on the topic of depression. Well, you know that one of the unique things about Christianity is that in Jesus Christ, we have a Lord and Savior who weeps. We see it in the Gospel, who wept for his people.
Scripture described him as a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. The Bible addresses depression. It gives us examples of others who have suffered like us. It gives us a language, words to bring to God in the midst of our difficulties. I think of the Psalms of Lament in particular. Often, you know, the cry of God's people during those very dark seasons, those times of feeling abandoned, feeling alone.
And so this is a real issue, but I think that the Scriptures speak to it, and that's why we want to get this resource in your hands. It's called Three Biblical Ways to Fight Depression. You can get it over at corechristianity.com, and again, we think it will be a real encouragement to you or to loved ones who you know wrestle with depression.
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We'd love to get that in your hands because chances are, if you are not depressed, there's somebody in your life that is a family member, a friend, a work associate, and you could help them with that. So feel free to get that again at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can leave us one 24 hours a day at 833-THECORE.
And here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners named Taryn. Hi, Pastor Adriel. I hear other Christians say that they love the Lord, but I struggle to do the same. I know I should say it, but I have immense guilt, and I feel like a hypocrite, and the words just won't come out. And knowing the love of the Lord, my love just doesn't seem like love at all.
How do I overcome this? And I thank you so much for your ministry. I support it and pray for you daily.
Taryn, thank you for your prayers, for your support, for your encouragement. And I think many of us could say that we know that feeling, the longing to love God better than we do, and then feeling guilty. You know, when we fall short of that love. I mean, this is what, I mentioned it earlier, this is what the law of God calls us to. Love for God and love for our neighbor. And it's something that each of us falls short of. Nobody loves God perfectly.
None of us love our neighbors perfectly. And so we repent, we confess that sin, but we are called to grow in a love for the Lord. So what do you do? Well, I think of that beautiful scene in the Gospels where after he had denied Jesus, Peter is met by Jesus on the shore. And what is Jesus doing? I mean, Peter has totally betrayed the Lord, denied him three times. And Jesus makes him breakfast there on the shore in John chapter 21. And when they had finished breakfast, verse 15, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? He said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you. And he said to him, feed my lambs. He said to him a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love me? And he said to him, yes, Lord, you know that I love you. He said to him, tend my sheep. He said to him a third time, Simon, son of John, do you love me? And Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, do you love me? And he said to him, Lord, you know everything.
You know that I love you. Now, how had Peter demonstrated his love for Jesus? I mean, what a great tension there is there.
I mean, he had just denied Jesus there in his moment, our Lord's moment of need as he is being crucified, right? Peter says, I don't know him. He curses. He swears. I don't know him.
I don't know that guy. And no doubt, Taran, he was crushed by an immense sense of guilt and yet Jesus didn't abandon him. Jesus didn't say, okay, you're worthless.
You don't really love me. If Peter is saying, you know that I love you, Jesus says, oh yeah, well then why did you do this? No, Jesus is so gracious and kind and good and forgiving and he restores Peter. And that's the Jesus that we worship. That's the Jesus that you worship. We come to him and say, Lord, I love you, but man, I struggle.
I fail. It's like the guy in the gospel says, I believe, help my unbelief. It's like, Lord, I love you.
Help me in those areas where I fall short of loving you. And God in his grace and in his mercy, he does. Now, the amazing thing about this scene is Peter denied him because he had this fear of man, right?
People are asking, do you know him? And Peter is afraid. He's afraid of what others would do to him for associating with Jesus. Peter still struggled with that throughout his life. Later in the book of Galatians, in Galatians chapter 2, Paul rebukes Peter because Peter was eating with the Gentiles, you know, having a good old time with them. And then when certain Jews came, he drew back. He wouldn't eat with the Gentiles anymore.
Why? Out of the sort of fear of man or desire to please people. The same thing he struggled with there, you know, as Jesus was being crucified, he struggled with later. After Pentecost, this fear of man, and yet Christ didn't abandon him and he doesn't abandon you either, Taron. And so I think each of us feels that weight, that sense of, Lord, I love you, but please help me to love you more. And Christ in his mercy is gracious and forgiving and does indeed by the power of the Holy Spirit help us, right? I mean, none of us is perfect. We're making these slow, you know, taking these sort of baby steps, if you will, in the Christian life and the life of holiness. And so it's, as I've mentioned before on the broadcast, sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step backward, but that sense of immense guilt that you feel, that shame of, man, I'm such a hypocrite. Just see that story with Jesus and Peter and his kindness and his goodness and know that that same kindness and goodness and mercy is for you when you go to Jesus.
He loves you, and we love him because he first loved us. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Shane calling in from Texas. Shane, what's your question for Adriel?
Hey, good afternoon, guys. My question is, there's several passages in Scripture, and I want to camp out on two of them that I'm kind of looking into. One is Psalm 82, where it's talking about the divine council or the assembly. And then 1 Kings 22, verses 19, when the Lord's sitting on the throne, all the hosts of heaven, he gets one of those hosts to put a false word into the prophet for Ahab. What's your guys' take on the divine council about Elohim plural versus singular in Hebrew, and is that too deep of a question?
Shane, excellent question. The divine councils, I mean, you see this in various places in the Old Testament, I mean, actually throughout the Bible, in the earliest chapters of Genesis, when we talk about the divine council, we're talking about that angelic council around the throne room of God, his heavenly court, if you will, where God is seated and thrown as king. They're surrounded by his subjects who do his bidding, which is what you see there in that text in 1 Kings 22, I think you mentioned. Same thing also in Psalm 82, beginning in verse 5, verse 6, where God is speaking to these unjust rulers. I said you are God's sons of the Most High, all of you. Nevertheless, you shall die like men. Now, there in particular, he's talking to the unjust rulers in Israel who were supposed to serve as judges, but did so unfaithfully, and so they were subject to death.
Sorry to go short, but that's your answer. God bless. 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.
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