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Annihilationism or Eternal Punishment: What is the Biblical Doctrine of Hell?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2022 3:55 pm

Annihilationism or Eternal Punishment: What is the Biblical Doctrine of Hell?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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October 26, 2022 3:55 pm

Episode 1084 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Is baptism necessary for salvation?

2. What does it means to serve God properly?

3. Is Annihilationism taught in the Bible?

4. What does “even our righteousness is as filthy rags” in Isaiah 64 mean?

5. Does God still gives apostles to the church?

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Eternal Punishment or Annihilationism?

What is the biblical doctrine of hell? 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, and here's our phone number. It's 833-The-Core. That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also send us your question via email at questionsatcorechristianity.com, and we have a YouTube channel. You can watch Adriel live in the studio on YouTube right now and message him that way. Let's start off today with a voicemail from one of our listeners in New Hampshire. Hi there, my name is Derek.

I converted about two and a half years ago, and I was brought into the family of a Church of Christ, and I just wonder if somebody can direct me on whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. I know that you've covered a lot of this before, but I don't think you've covered the Church of Christ and what they believe. I've never met you, Adriel, but just listen to your voice. You can just get a sense of how much you care, and I think I would really trust your answer. So, if you could just give me a little insight, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

Hey, Derek. One, thank you for that encouragement, and two, I am grateful to hear that you are in Christ, that you're walking with the Lord, that you've come to faith in Jesus Christ. May the Lord help you to continue to grow in His Word, in an understanding of sound doctrine, and certainly this topic, the topic of baptism and the relationship of baptism to salvation, is a really important one. The Church of Christ does teach that baptism is when your sins are forgiven.

In that sense, they teach that it is necessary for salvation. Of course, they'll point to a number of passages in the New Testament, like Acts 2, verse 38, where Peter said to them, this is Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost, 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, the idea in the Church of Christ is that, you know, when you're baptized, that's when your sins are forgiven, that's when you receive that gift of the Holy Spirit.

Now, I disagree with them there. I don't think that the grace of baptism is necessarily tied to the moment of its administration. You have instances in the New Testament where people who had not yet been baptized received the Holy Spirit. Just later in the book of Acts, for example, in Acts chapter 10, verses 44 through 48, you have a group of Gentiles who receive the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit falls on them, they're speaking in tongues, but they had not yet been baptized, and then they're baptized after that. And so, look, we're saved by grace through faith. This is what Paul says very clearly in Ephesians chapter 2. Now, we're called to be baptized. I mean, it's something that God commands. Matthew 28, verse 19, Jesus, you know, giving the great commission, going to all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

So, in that sense, it is something that's necessary. It's something that God commands of His people. But it's not such that, you know, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you embrace the gospel and then you die before you have a chance to get baptized, that you're going to be barred from the gates of heaven because you have not yet been baptized.

No, that's just not how it works. Baptism is a sign and seal of God's covenant of grace to His people, a picture of the washing away of all of our sins, the promises, the objective promises of God coming to us. And we're called to lay hold of those promises by faith. And so, we don't want to confuse the sign baptism with the reality that it signifies. There are people who are baptized, who sort of go through the ceremony, right, what Christ has given to the church, but who have yet to lay hold of the grace of the gospel by faith to truly have their sins forgiven. And so, baptism, you know, it's God's promise, but it also calls us to that reality.

And that's where I think that the Church of Christ maybe is confused on this issue in particular, so closely tying together the grace of baptism with that moment that it's administered. And so, again, Derek, thank you for your kindness and for your question. May the Lord be with you and bless you. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

And of course, you can always leave us a voicemail at that number as well. Let's go to Chris in Omaha, Nebraska. Chris, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I was wondering how to serve God. I know there's a list in Matthew 25 in church activities, but how do you serve God?

Thank you. Hey, Chris, thank you for that question. Well, you know, in Jesus Christ, when we are baptized and enter into the fellowship of the church, we are made a part of the universal priesthood of believers. Now, that's really a special thing because in the Old Testament, you had a specific group of people who were called to be priests, the Levitical priesthood. Now, under the New Covenant, all God's people are priests, this sort of general priesthood through holy baptism and faith in Jesus Christ. And that means that we are called with our lives to serve the Lord. Well, what do priests do in the Old Testament? They offered sacrifices. Of course, there's no sacrifices now under the New Covenant.

Jesus is the once for all sacrifice for sins, but we get to offer to God the sacrifices of thanksgiving, of doing good to one another, of sharing the gifts that God has given to us in all that we do. Doing our work is unto the Lord. And so part of how we serve God today as His people, as that universal priesthood of believers, is by loving each other, by doing good to one another, by sharing the things that God gives us, by using the gifts that the Lord has given to us in order to serve the body of Christ, to serve our neighbors.

Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12-14. And different people are gifted in different ways. Chris, you might be gifted in one way that another person in the body of Christ is not gifted. And so you get to use your particular giftings to serve the Lord, whether that's hospitality, generosity, teaching, it could be any number of things. And so I would say for you prayerfully, going before the Lord and saying, God, help me to see where You've gifted me, where my gifts fit within your church family, within the body of Christ, so that I might use those gifts to do good to my brothers and sisters in Christ, to build them up and encourage them in their faith.

And the point is, the point that I'm getting at here is that we're each gifted in different ways. And so for different people, serving the Lord might look different, serving within the church, serving within the body of Christ, serving within your own family. And so that's where we come before the Lord prayerfully. You know, we're studying the scriptures or seeing how God gives us and we're seeking to use those talents and gifts that God has given to us for the good of the people around us. And I would say that that's how we serve the Lord. Chris, may God bless you and may God fill you with His Spirit to serve Him and to offer to Him the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise. God bless. Chris, thanks so much for your call and for listening to Core Christianity. By the way, we do get a lot of calls here about the topic of spiritual warfare.

And today, we want to offer you a resource on that topic, which we think you'll find really helpful. Yeah, the resource is called, Can the Devil Read My Mind? Have you ever wondered if, you know, the devils that we see in pop culture, movies, novels, might have shaped our idea of who Satan is more than scripture? I think this is a huge problem. So often when we think about spiritual warfare, when we think about the evil one, it's not the Word of God that is informing us.

It's just the broader culture around us. And so it's important for us to have a biblical understanding of spiritual warfare. And we've created this booklet written by Pastor David Cassidy called, Can the Devil Read My Mind?

It's about 70 pages long. And it'll give you a thorough understanding of what the Bible says about Satan, demons and spiritual warfare. It's yours for a donation of any amount over at corechristianity.com. Such a helpful book. And again, we love David Cassidy, a friend of this ministry and an awesome author and pastor. The book again is called, Can the Devil Read My Mind? You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

And be sure to browse our website for some of the other resources that we have because we have a lot of great ones. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core. And this one came in from one of our listeners named Drew. Drew, this is the question of annihilationism. That is, is hell a place of everlasting conscious torment? Or is it the place where people, those who rejected Christ are destroyed? The second death, right? That's the language that we see in the book of Revelation, where they just are destroyed, they cease to exist, they're annihilated. It's not that they exist in this state of conscious, everlasting or ongoing torment. That's the debate. Now historically, the church, I believe, has spoken pretty clearly on this.

There have been some people who have argued for a kind of annihilationism, but throughout the history of the church, hell has always been believed to be a place of conscious torment. Now it's going to be different, I think, for different people. I think those who have been given a lot who knew better are going to be judged more harshly. You think of the scribes and the Pharisees, for example, in the New Testament than those who didn't know. God is perfectly just.

We need to remember that. He's not cruel or vindictive. He's righteous.

He is the eternal Lord. So sin against Him is not a light matter. I think one of the reasons why so many people today are rejecting the doctrine of hell as this place of conscious torment for all time is because we just have a low view of sin and we have a low view of God and of His holiness.

Now I'm not saying that that's you, but I do think for some at least that is the case. We just have minimized the doctrine of God's holiness, His splendor, His majesty. We have a low view of sin as this sort of trivial offense, not that big of a deal. God can just sort of overlook it, but that's not the case at all.

And it does seem to me when I look at the New Testament, like at least based on the teaching of Jesus, who did talk about hell quite a bit, hell is not just ceasing to exist for those who reject the Lord and the gospel, but that it is this place of conscious torment. I think of Jesus's words in Mark 9, verses 42 and following, whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.

Now, of course, right? I don't think that Jesus is speaking literally here. And I think that's the point that many people bring up and say, well, that's not literally. He's just talking about destruction. Yeah, this speech is very vivid, very colorful, we might say, this description of God's judgment and torment. But the point that Jesus is making is not that it's just the cessation of existence, you know, where we just sort of disappear. But that there is this conscious, you know, torment that's taking place this unquenchable fire.

Again, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Now, we don't know exactly what that's going to be like. And I do believe it's going to be different for different people. And I do think that this entire discussion should frankly, humble us should cause us to cry out to the Lord and say, God, be merciful to us sinners, help us to take your word seriously, help us to take evangelism and reaching the lost seriously, help us to take our sin seriously and your holiness seriously. Because when the Bible speaks of judgment, it uses this kind of language.

And I think we need to we need to be serious about that. And so, Drew, thank you for that question. That's my answer. Again, I think that that's supported by the history of the church and the interpretation on those passages. But I do know that there are some who differ.

God bless. You know, Adriel, just a follow up for you, it does seem like in our day and age, more and more people want to kind of redefine God in their own image. And as you said, minimize sin, minimize, minimize God's holiness and just say, well, this is kind of the way I want it to be. Can you address that? You know, I think this has been part of the problem from the very beginning. I mean, we do see it today. But historically, right, that that's all of us rather than worship God, the Creator, we turn to created things and worship them or we worship ourselves. It doesn't mean we're bowing down before, you know, little idols and trinkets today, per se, at least not in the United States, many people. But we do treat ourselves as ultimate money, as ultimate work, as ultimate, you know, we often will set the Lord aside God aside to pursue whatever it is that we want to pursue and not take His word seriously.

And so, Bill, you're totally right. I don't think it's just a modern problem. I think that it's something that mankind has wrestled with from the very beginning. It's called sin. And that's why we give thanks to God for His grace to us in Christ and the promise of the gospel to forgive our sins.

Well said. This is core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We're still taking your calls. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life doctrine or theology, here's the number to call.

It's 833 the core. That's 833-843-2673. We'd love to hear from you. We'll be taking your calls for the next six, seven minutes or so. So now's the time to call.

Let's go to Chris in St. Louis, Missouri. Chris, what's your question for Adriel? Yes. My question is this. The Bible says that even our righteousness is unto filthy rags unto God. Well, we know our badness is definitely unto filthy rags unto God. So my question is, where exactly do we stand as far as that Scripture is concerned? Because I was always under the impression that our righteousness was good and, you know, the badness was a filthy rags. So I'm trying to find out exactly what is that Scripture put us as people of God?

Yeah, Chris, excellent question. And the verse that you're referring to is in the book of Isaiah towards the end of the book in Isaiah chapter 64 verse six. It says this, we have all become like one who is unclean and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf and our iniquities like the wind takes us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you for you have hidden your face from us and you have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. And it's that that phrase in particular in verse six, all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. In other words, our best efforts are still unclean in your sight.

Well, I think one, the context of the book of Isaiah is helpful. You think of the people of God struggling with idolatry coming to God and repentance. I mean, the very beginning of the book, chapter one, verse five, speaking of of God's idolatrous peoples is the whole head is sick. The whole heart is faint from the soul of the foot, even to the head. There is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds.

They are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil. It's this picture of just being corrupted by sin, by idolatry, incapable of offering anything good and pleasing to the Lord. And in one sense, for us as believers in Jesus Christ, Chris, everything that we offer to God, our best efforts are still tainted by sin. And so we distinguish between works that are truly good and acceptable to God and works that are perfectly good. As believers, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit, we do do truly good works. We're called to do truly good works to cultivate a life of righteous living in pursuit of the Lord in obedience to his law, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And those things that we do in honor of the Lord for his glory, out of the heart of faith, those things are pleasing to the Lord and truly good before the Lord, even though they're still tainted by sin. And so they're not perfectly good works, but they are truly good works.

And so I think one of the things that you see there in Isaiah chapter 64 is this helpful distinction. Even the best things that we do are still tainted. If God were to justify us or to have to justify us on the basis of our righteous deeds, no one could stand because there is none righteous, no, not one. As the Psalmist says, and as Paul quotes in the book of Romans, this is why we desperately need the gospel, because it's only through the gospel that our sins are forgiven and that we are given the perfect record of Jesus Christ so that we can stand before a holy God in the day of judgment, cleansed, justified, righteous, not on the basis of our own merit, our own works, which are tainted with sin still even our best efforts as believers, but on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. And as those who are justified, Chris, now we do seek to live a life of holiness and obedience to God's law. And we do truly good things that are pleasing to the Lord, but they're not the basis of our justification because even our righteous deeds are still tainted by sin. Even our righteous deeds still need the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse them. Just think about the times, brothers and sisters, where you've done something to honor the Lord. And your first thought was, I wonder if anyone was watching, right?

Who saw me do that? Often our motivations are improper in seeking to please the Lord. And I think we can be overly introspective about this in a way that's not good, that's not healthy. And so I think it's helpful just to realize, look, our righteous deeds aren't going to be perfect this side of heaven, but they can still be pleasing to the Lord in so far as they're offered to him in faith and for his glory. Chris, God bless. Thanks for that question.

Great point about our motivations. By the way, did I mention I'm teaching Sunday school this weekend? Yeah, four times already before the episode started. Just don't stop mentioning it. This is core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. A reminder, we have this great resource available for you today. It's called, Can the Devil Read My Mind? This is really a wonderful book.

And Pastor David Cassidy wrote, it really answers a lot of the questions you might have about spiritual warfare, demonic oppression, you name it. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Let's go to Edward calling in from Colorado. Edward, what's your question for Adriel? You there, sir? Hey, Edward. I'm here. God bless you, man. My main question is, do you think God still brings prophets onto the earth today?

What works he's doing? And can new books of the Bible be added? Oh, man, so many good questions. First, with regard to the last one, can new books of the Bible be added? And oh, no, they can't revelation in terms of God's special revelation. That's done.

Why? Because there's a close relationship between revelation and redemption. Redemption has once for all been accomplished by Jesus Christ through his sacrificial life, death and resurrection. And so that book, if you will, is sealed, is closed. Since there's no new redemption, there's no new revelation. There aren't going to be any new books of the Bible.

It's really important that we grasp that correlation. Otherwise, we might think, Oh, yeah, we are waiting for something new. Some new revelation, of course, Mormons and other sects fall into this trap in terms of understanding. Now, with regard to whether or not God is giving apostles and prophets today, ordinarily speaking, I would say that the answer is no. The primary way in which God speaks is through that revelation that he's already given through the apostles and prophets who were once for all laid down as the foundation of the church. This is what Paul says in Ephesians chapter two, verse 20.

I'll start in verse 19. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. That foundation of the apostles and prophets, what was the foundation that they laid? Well, Paul tells us when he wrote to the Corinthians, it was Christ and the preaching of the holy gospel.

That's been laid. Now we're pursuing God through his word, growing together in faithful biblical churches that are committed to the scriptures, organized, I think the way Jesus said the church should be organized. You have elders, deacons, the ordination, first Timothy three, Titus chapter one. And that's how God is ordinarily blessing his church and speaking to us today. It's not that God isn't speaking, it's just that he's chosen to speak to us definitively in Christ and he's speaking to us through his holy word. And friends, that's why we're so committed to the scriptures on this broadcast is because we know that it's there that God speaks to us. 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.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 00:23:54 / 2022-11-06 00:29:30 / 6

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