What happens to a child who dies before professing Christ? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. And remember, if you have a question, it's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. And you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. Let's go to a voicemail question that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hi, Pastor Adriel. I just want to thank you so much for what you're doing. And I listen to your program almost every day.
And I wanted to comment actually on something that I'd heard you say on one of the programs. You said that the difference between a believer and a non-believer is that the non-believer never struggles with sin. And I just wanted to know if you had a scriptural citation for that.
That hasn't been my lived experience. I was saved by the Lord when I was 24. Before being saved, I distinctly remember struggling a great deal with my sin. But the difference is now as a believer, I've actually seen Christ give me victory.
I just wanted to maybe understand better what your position is on that. And I also love that you guys pray for people on the program. And I wanted to ask you all to pray for my brother who's struggling very hard with alcoholism. And he does not want to continue, but he can't stop. I know that the Lord can save him. Thank you.
Well, thank you for that encouragement. And brothers and sisters, let's join together in praying for this man who's struggling with alcoholism. Our gracious Father in heaven, we come before you right now, and we want to pray for this person.
We don't know his name, Lord. You know him, and you know his struggle, this addiction. God, I pray that you would break the chains, that you would fill him with your Holy Spirit, that you would do a mighty work, Lord, of healing in his life. I thank you that he has godly people around him, a sister who loves him. And I pray for her, Lord, that you would fill her with your Spirit, that you would give her wisdom to know how to encourage and to speak to him, to share your love, your Gospel with him, that you would give her opportunities. And for him, Lord, I pray that he would get the help that he needs as he battles this addiction, that you would grant him true repentance, faith, and restoration. Lord, be with him, heal him, Lord, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Well, sister, may the Lord be with you, and may the Lord grant you his wisdom and grace as you communicate with your brother.
And I do hope that he gets the help that he needs. Praise God for the mercy that we have in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of our sins. And I pray that he knows that. Now, with regard to this question about struggling and whether non-Christians struggle with sin, it is true that each of us has, in one sense, the law of God written upon our hearts, this sort of natural sense of God that we all have. There was one theologian who called it the sense of God that's rooted in us from creation, the fact that we're made in the image of God.
And there are certainly a number of passages that talk about this, Psalm 19, Romans chapter 1 and 2, and following, for example, there. Paul talks about that sense that everyone has this sort of ability to distinguish between right and wrong. And there are some people, right, in the context there, you know, associated in some sense with conscience. And there are some people who really do struggle with that and have this sense of right and wrong and battle that. And maybe they're not even believers, but they still seek to do the right thing just on the basis of that natural law that they have.
And so I don't deny that at all. Now, of course, what Paul says in Romans 1 is that most people, here's typically how sinful humanity responds to that sense of God is they suppress it in unrighteousness. In other words, instead of being convicted about our sins and turning to the Savior, we try to justify them, or we keep going further and further into these patterns of sin, and our consciences are seared, our hearts are hardened. And so that's what the Apostle Paul says mankind, by and large, has done with that sense of God. But I do not deny that there is a sense of right and wrong that even non-believers have. There are many people who do virtuous things, good things in society, even though they don't have the Holy Spirit inside of them.
But in terms of doing truly good works before God, works that are done out of a heart of faith, works that are done for the glory of God, of course that's only something that can be done by those who are in Christ and believe in Him. So I praise God for the fact that He's drawn you to Himself, and that He's given you victory by the grace of the Holy Spirit over some of those struggles that you experienced prior to coming to faith in Christ. May the Lord continue to sanctify you as He's promised to do, and bless you, sister.
Thank you for reaching out to us. Just a follow-up question for you on that, Adriel. Paul also talks about, in Romans 1, how sinful mankind has exchanged truth for a lie. And I see that happening more and more in our culture today, even in the Church at times, which really grieves my heart. Yeah, and that's precisely what he says. Now the point that Paul is making in those early chapters of the book of Romans is that all of us are justly condemned, Jew and Gentile, justly condemned before God.
Why? So that he might highlight the free justification that we have in Jesus Christ there in chapter 3, God's righteousness. And so, you know, in the middle of chapter 3, he says, look, there's none righteous.
There isn't one. We're talking about God's judgments standing before the Holy One. None of us is going to be able to stand on the basis of his or her own merits. If your hope before God on the day of judgment is, I think I'm a pretty good person, you're hoping in the wrong thing. And so he says in Romans chapter 3, verse 21, but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That is our hope, brothers and sisters. And so we cling to Jesus Christ. What great words of assurance.
Thank you for that, Adriel. 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 kind of stumps you. We are open to your questions.
Maybe there's something going on in your Christian walk where you're struggling in some way, or maybe you're coming up against something in today's culture, some kind of persecution. Hey, give us a call anytime. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Elizabeth listening in Lafayette, New York. Elizabeth, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, Pastor Adriel.
Thank you for taking my question. It pertains to John the Baptist. So during the Lord's life, I don't think other than perhaps his mother, anyone knew Jesus better than John the Baptist. He certainly knew he was the Son of God. He knew he was the Messiah. He actually stated numerous times he was not worthy to even carry the Lord's sandals. What's always puzzled me is the seventh chapter of Luke, where he sends two of his disciples to Jesus to basically say to him, are you the Messiah? Are you really the one we're looking for?
Or should we look for someone else? I never could understand how he could question what I thought he always knew. Could you help me with that? Yeah, it really is remarkable. And I love that you've brought this text up. I'm actually preaching not from Luke's account, but the parallel passage in Matthew, in Matthew chapter 11. I'm preaching on that this upcoming Sunday.
And so this is fresh on my mind. And as I've been meditating on this text in particular, starting off this week, one of the things that strikes me, and this is I think the answer. I mean, some people have said, Elizabeth, that maybe it was the disciples. You know, John the Baptist, he wants his disciples to go and learn what he's already learned.
But I think John is asking for himself here. And it's clear, based on his earlier ministry, that he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. You know, earlier in his ministry, in places like Matthew chapter 3, for example, he made that very statement.
I'm not even worthy to carry his sandals. He is going to come and he's going to baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. He told the religious leaders, the Levites and the priests who came to him from Jerusalem, when they were inquiring about his ministry, that I'm the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. And so he knew he was paving the way for Messiah.
And yet, he struggled. And here he is, in prison, and he begins to have questions. And maybe, I mean, you could sort of understand this, depending on how many people thought the Messiah would establish his kingdom when he first came. There were so many people who were confused about this. They were assuming he was going to regain political control, stick it to the Romans who had been persecuting the people of God, reestablish the greatness of Israel and the temple and worship and all of those things. And yet, Jesus ushered in his kingdom in a way that no one was expecting. The forgiveness of sins, the binding of the evil one, Satan, the strong man, healing people of diseases, the kingdom of God isn't coming in a way that people are going to say, look, here it is, or look, there it is, but the kingdom of God is in the midst of you, Jesus said. And so as John was preaching, here he finds himself in prison, and he's beginning to wonder, well, did I get something wrong?
You know, why am I here? He's being persecuted. Messiah's kingdom has not come with the power and authority, at least that perhaps he thought it would come.
And that's why I think you have this question. Now, what's so interesting to me, Elizabeth, is the response of Jesus to the disciples of John the Baptist. He doesn't just give a simple, yeah, I am. I am the Messiah.
I am the one. He points them back to the scriptures. Remember what the prophet Isaiah said.
Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them, and blessed is the one who is not offended by me. He's quoting from the prophet Isaiah saying, look, that new creation, that kingdom that was promised in the book of Isaiah is here through my ministry, through what I'm doing.
And yet it came in a way that no one was expecting. And so John is struggling. He has these questions, but he's being pointed back to the scriptures. And here he is, as Jesus goes on to say, a great prophet and even greater than the prophets of the Old Testament because he's directly paving the way for Jesus.
Now, just a practical takeaway for you, brothers and sisters. Here is the greatest prophet of all, if you will, John the Baptist, suffering, and in the midst of his suffering, he's saying, Jesus, are you really it? Are you really the one?
I suggest to you that in our own lives, when we experience suffering and difficulty, despite what the Lord has done for us in the past, sometimes we ask that question. Sometimes we say, Lord, are you really the one? Do you see what's going on in my life right now for John the Baptist in prison?
I mean, he's going to be beheaded later for the testimony that he has. Jesus, are you really the one? Christ says, yes, I am the one. Trust in me. Hold fast to what I've said. Hold fast to my word. And so it doesn't shock me when I see this because I just think of the human condition, our own sin, our own struggle to take God at his word. And so we're reminded of that and we receive the comfort of Jesus here again for ourselves. I am the one.
Trust in me. That is so well said. And, you know, as you were reading that passage or quoting the passage from Isaiah, I thought, you know, 700 years before Christ's birth, before the Incarnation, Isaiah predicted those things. And it's really quite stunning as we approach Christmas, isn't it?
Absolutely. It's one of the things that I've been sharing with my congregation. It's one of the things that that always amazes me around this time of the year. As you look at all of those prophecies about the coming of the Christ, his birth, his life, his death, Isaiah 53. And it's one of the things that that points to the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture.
And so really awesome. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open right now. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, maybe you have some doubts about Christianity. Maybe you consider yourself an agnostic or an atheist.
You just stumbled on this program and you really want to ask Adriel why he believes these things. Hey, give us a call right now. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. You know, one of the gospels that focuses on the details of the Christmas story is the Gospel of Luke. And we have a brand new Bible study on Luke's Gospel that we'd like to tell you about today.
Yeah. I mean, what a great opportunity for you and friends, maybe in your church, a Bible study group, to pick up the Gospel of Luke and to study it with this excellent resource. Again, it's a Bible study on Luke's Gospel.
It's 10 lessons long. And, you know, it's one of the studies that we produce here at Core Christianity. It begins, lesson one, the ordinary and the extraordinary, Luke chapter one.
Then you have the birth of the king, the testing of the Son of God, Luke chapter four, following the Son of Man, Luke chapters five and six, the unstoppable mission, Luke chapter seven, the suffering of the Son of Man, Luke chapter nine, acknowledging the Son of Man, Luke chapter 12, binding up the flock, Luke chapter 19, the death of the Son of God, Luke chapter 22, the revelation of the Son of Man, Luke 24, and the servants of the Son of Man, Acts chapter one and following. What a great way, in the new year especially, if you're thinking about, man, I really would like to study the Bible in this upcoming year, get ahold of this resource over at corechristianity.com. And we just so appreciate your support. You can get ahold of this with a donation of $20 or more. We'll send you a copy of this study on the Gospel of Luke as a way of saying thank you for your support. We do pray that you'll get ahold of this resource. You know, as a reminder, Core Christianity is not supported by a denomination or a church.
We don't play commercials on this program. We actually rely on your generous support to keep us going. And as we hear from thousands of people every year whose lives are changed by listening to the show or reading our Bible studies, we would love you to prayerfully consider making a year-end gift. And to get this Gospel of Luke Bible study and support us, just go to corechristianity.com. And of course, you can always call us for this resource or any one of our resources, 833-843-2673.
And again, as we approach the end of the year, as you're considering your year-end giving to your church or parachurch ministries, we'd ask you to prayerfully consider making a gift to Core Christianity. Well, Adria, we have two related questions on a similar topic for you. First, I'm going to read an email for you, and then I'll play a voicemail from one of our listeners. So Rachel wrote in, and she says this, My daughter, who is eight years old, just got out of a week-long stay in intensive care at a children's hospital. She was diagnosed with RSV and pneumonia. The ambulance ride and the first few days were very scary. At one point, we thought we might lose her. Praise God, she's recovered, and we are now at home.
Which brings me to my question. My mom asked me if she had ever made a profession of faith and was almost pushing me to make her go to church to do it. My daughter has professed faith to me and to her dad at home, but she hasn't gone before the church and hasn't been baptized yet. We are currently between churches and have just been visiting my mom's church until we find one that fits our theological views. Should we make her go before the church and make a profession of faith?
I feel like my mom is pushing us out of fear, and I don't think that's right. But I want to make sure we're following God and obeying His word. Does my daughter's original profession of faith count? And now here's a voicemail that we received from one of our listeners on a similar topic.
This one is from Marilyn. Pastor Andrew, I have a question regarding infants and preborn babies' deaths. If covenant children are protected and die and go to heaven, doesn't that contradict election? Wouldn't it make more sense if preborn babies or infants who died only the elect would go to heaven and the non-elect would not? I'd love some biblical reference to answer my question with verses, and that would be extremely helpful.
Thank you so much. Hey Marilyn, thank you for that question, and Rachel for your email. So maybe I'll just start with Marilyn's question. There have been different views on this, and so there are some people who say, well, the children of believers, they're for sure in heaven, the covenant people, if you will. We don't know about everyone else. Others would just say, no, we believe that everyone who dies in infancy or preborn babies are in heaven in the presence of the Lord. And you asked for scriptural support, Bible verses for this. The reason there's differences of opinion here is because there isn't a lot.
It's not like there's one proof text that you could go to. A lot of times people will go to the situation where David's child died from what happened with Bathsheba. And David says, I'm going to go to him, but he's not going to come to me. And of course, that was before his child had been circumcised, included in the covenant, quote, unquote.
And yet there was still this hope that he was going to go to his child. I think that's one passage that you can go to, but it's not like the Bible gives us real clear direction here. I think, and this is just my view, and again, we're speculating some here, but my view is that all children who die in infancy or preborn children, that they are in the presence of the Lord, not because they're sinless. They believe in original sin and the fact that that clings to each and every one of us and to our children as well, but because of the mercy of God. And so at the end of the day, that's what we do. We entrust them to God in his mercy, God in his goodness, in his kindness. Now, you also said, well, does that contradict the doctrine of election?
Here's what I'll say about that. It's not our job as the people of God to try to determine God's divine, like to try to figure out, you know, like, am I elect? Am I not elect? You know, as though we were climbing up into heaven and getting a behind-the-scenes view of what God had decreed from all eternity.
We don't have access to that. Some of the best theologians have said, look, if you're trying to figure out election predestination, that's like getting lost in a labyrinth. What we do have, Marilyn, is God's sure promise, his word, the word of the gospel. All who believe in me, all who confess their sins are forgiven. I write these things to you, John said in 1 John 5, you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And so our job isn't to ask the question, you know, is that person elect?
Are they not elect? Our job is to go to the promises of God that he's extended to us so freely what he has revealed in his word and to cling to those promises. And so I don't see any necessary, you know, like any contradiction between, you know, this idea that all children are in the presence of the Lord, all those who die in infancy or preborn children in the presence of the Lord, that undermines the doctrine of election per se in any respect.
And I appreciate your thoughtful question. Rachel, with regard to your question, first, thank you, Jesus, that Rachel's daughter is out of the hospital and that she's doing better. Second, I would say yes, her original profession of faith does count. It's not like, you know, she believed in Jesus, but because she didn't get the words out, then, you know, she's not saved or something like that.
No, faith is a gift that God gives to us, and Jesus welcomes the children to himself. And often in the Gospels, I've said this before, little children seem to be able to recognize, to see who Jesus was even before some of the religious leaders, the teachers of the law. You see this in Matthew chapter 21, the children crying out, Hosanna to the son of David. And the religious leaders were indignant.
They were indignant. They said, do you hear what these children are saying? And Jesus said, yes, have you never read out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies?
Do you have prepared praise? So it sounds like your daughter, based on what you've said, you know, she believes in Jesus. I don't think you want to force her to make a profession of faith.
I don't think that's what you're trying to do. I think as she makes profession of faith, you do bring her before the church and make sure that she is a communing part of the church. Praise God for that physical healing and praise God for the spiritual work that he's done in your eight-year-old daughter, Rachel. May God bless you guys and continue to build you in the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. God bless. The truth of God's word together.
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